With May 13th falling on a Friday, what better time would there be to take a trip back to Camp Crystal Lake? A media empire that encompasses twelve films, a TV show, novels, comics, and tons of merchandise, the Friday the 13th series is one of the most successful horror franchises ever.
The series’ big bad is Jason Voorhees, and his iconic hockey mask has become one of the most instantly recognizable images in popular culture. Although he doesn’t say much, he is a man of certain convictions. And we can all respect a man who sticks to his guns, or in this case, his machete.
While bloodthirsty fans patiently await the long gestating Friday the 13th reboot, tv series, and video game, join us as we take a look at the best kill of each entry in the long, blood splattered history of Camp Crystal Lake, in order of release.
Naturally, there is some graphic content ahead. You’ve been warned.
13. Friday the 13th
Promiscuous Crystal Lake camp counsellors Marcy and Kevin “Footloose” Bacon sneak off for an intimate rendezvous in one of the empty cabins. After their romp, Marcy declares that she needs to wash up, leaving the future Ryan Hardy to kick back on the bunk, smoke a joint and revel in his conquest.
That is, until a hand reaches out from underneath the bed to hold his head in place as an arrow is thrust through the underside of the mattress and, consequently, his throat, spurting blood in an iconic kill that would go on to influence others in the series.
12. Friday the 13th Part 2
Part 2 may not have broken any new ground, but it did introduce us to Jason, the hulking menace who would become the face of a franchise. Again, hapless would be camp counsellors set up shop in the Crystal Lake area, presumably because property values have plummeted since the last rash of teenage murders.
Jason doesn’t take kindly to attractive flesh bags of raging hormones, so he goes about dispatching them in particular brutal fashion, including the double impalement if a couple mid-coitus. But the best kill is saved for wheelchair-bound Mark. This nice guy gets a machete to the face, causing his wheelchair to roll violently down a flight of stairs, defying all laws of physics in the process.
11. Friday the 13th III
Making the jump to the much classier roman numerals and introducing the iconic hockey mask, Part III also marks Jason’s first (and only) foray into the third dimension. Those red and blue lenses resulted in some creative kills, like the spear gun to the eye.
Despite things flying at the screen in a transparent attempt to make 3D seem viable, the best kill is the death of Andy, the annoying, overconfident jerk who insists on fetching beers in the most irritating way possible, by walking on his hands. Unfortunately, we never get to see how Andy planned on carrying those beverages, as Jason appears overhead and splits him down the middle while doing his handstand shuffle. Viewers see this from the floor up, watching as Andy’s halves tumble to the ground like bowling pins.
10. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
The fourth chapter, the subtitle of which seems like the world’s lamest joke in hindsight, features the most nudity, an amazing free form dance number and ’80s sensation Corey Feldman as a special effects wunderkind.
Easily one of the best sequels in the series, Jason meets his match in the suitably creepy Tommy Jarvis, but not before he slices and dices his way through a holiday home packed with young teens.
A particularly bloody entry, the top kill belongs to Crispin Glover’s Jimmy, who, after bellowing for a corkscrew, is obliged with one in hand, courtesy of Jason, before having a meat cleaver buried into his face.
9. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
A much maligned sequel due to the film’s unceremonious dumping of Jason and letting some other schmuck take up the hockey mask, the fifth entry in the series features annoying characters and some of the worst displays of “acting” in the entire series, which is really saying something. But for all its missteps, it does have some spectacularly gory kills, including hedge clippers to the eyes and a particularly inventive kill involving a belt.
The standout kill in this film has to be Demon’s though. The poor guy is experiencing some bowel mishaps after some Mexican food. He escapes a disaster in his drawers by seeking relief in a porta potty, but ends up being the killer’s personal pincushion in the crappiest death of the series.
8. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
The Friday series always been a bit tongue in cheek, but with Jason’s resurrection in Part VI, the filmmakers started to have a bit more fun with the character and the clichés and tropes of the genre. Also, there’s an awesome soundtrack courtesy of Alice Cooper.
This entry has some of the tamer kills in the series (not to mention zero nudity) due to MPAA mandated cuts, but what they lack in gore they made up with in imagination. Case in point, the death of the sheriff, who after seemingly gaining the upper hand in a fist fight with Jason, is bent backwards like a twig.
7. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Affectionately known as “Carrie vs. Jason,” this entry boasted one of the more out there concepts in the series. Part VII involved a young girl with telekinetic powers who accidentally resurrects Jason and utilizes said powers to defeat him, with tree branches and other assorted everyday items. This comes after Jason goes on a murderous rampage of course, which includes some of the funniest kills to date.
This marked the first time fan-favorite Kane Hodder played Jason, and even some of the sillier kills are disturbing with Hodder behind the mask, like when one unlucky coed gets stabbed in the eye with a party horn.
But, in what has to be one of the most iconic kills in the franchise, the best is when Jason stumbles upon a woman in her sleeping bag. He rips the tent open, and while she is still zipped up, he drags her outside and swings her like a baseball bat directly into a tree, killing her.
6. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
One of the best promotional posters of the slasher genre advertised a movie that failed to deliver in virtually every way, shape and form. Part VII is an soundly unremarkable entry, as it mostly involves Jason hitching a ride on a cruise ship that inexplicably gets from Crystal Lake to the open sea.
By the time they get to Vancouver, uh, we mean New York City, most of the cruise faring student body has been killed and Jason is stalking his way through non-descript alleyways and posing for menacing shots in Times Square while tracking down the remaining survivors.
Jason manages to corner one of them, an amateur boxer named Julius on the roof of a building. Julius stands his ground, punching Jason to the point of exhaustion, only to have Jason knock his block clean off in a single punch.
5. The Final Friday: Jason Goes to Hell
In this mess of a film, the FBI blows Jason into little itty bitty pieces, that are then brought to a morgue for examination. Then a coroner eats Jason’s heart and Jason’s evil soul is transferred into the body of the coroner or some other nonsense. Jason also has a sister and apparently lived in a mansion and also there’s some bounty hunter that’s known all about him and has supposedly been hunting Jason for years yet conveniently ignored all of the mass murders taking place at a single campsite where Jason supposedly died.
Jason Goes to Hell is awful, but it does have an especially gory scene (which you can watch by clicking the link above). When Jason approaches the tent to kill a wily couple, he steps on an unopened condom. So, when viewed as an advocation of safe sex, this brutal murder can be seen as the most socially responsible kill in the entire franchise.
4. Jason X
When a horror franchise goes in the double digits, even the most hardcore fans cringe when they hear that their favorite slasher is heading into the final frontier. Whether you are Pinhead, the leprechaun or a homicidal undead maniac from a summer camp, an installment in space usually indicates that the franchise is running on fumes.
Occasionally these films have redeeming qualities, especially when the filmmakers recognize how silly the movie is and pull out all of the stops. Make no mistake, Jason X is a bad film, but it has its moments. In addition to the brilliant homage to Part XII’s sleeping bag kill, this entry is home to a true fan favorite: the flash freezing of a victim’s face and subsequent smashing of said victim’s face into tiny, gory ice cubes.
3. Freddy vs. Jason
Depending on who you ask, the long awaited match-up between Elm Street’s resident child murderer and Crystal Lake’s deranged zombie was either a hokey disaster or a fun send up of two classic slasher characters. We’re not weighing in on that debate, but the film boasts a high body count and some truly devastating kills, as evidenced by the murder of Trey, the douchey boyfriend of one of the film’s main characters.
This tool is lying in bed sipping on a recently cracked beer when suddenly Jason appears overhead and proceeds to ram his machete into Trey over and over. As Trey’s body shakes violently, an annoyed and impatient Jason folds the entire bed in half, box spring, mattress and Trey in all.
2. Friday the 13th (2009 remake)
The 2009 Friday the 13th remake might be considered borderline blasphemous by fans, but it was a decent attempt to make the character scary again.
This reimagining of parts one through three featured more realistic kills, like that of comic relief character Chewie, who slowly has a screwdriver plunged into his neck. These more brutal depictions of murder were cringeworthy, but the top kill in this entry goes to that of Richie.
His leg is caught in a bear trap while he watches his girlfriend slowly roast to death in a sleeping bag that has been suspended over their campfire. He frantically tries to escape, peeling off layers of skin and muscle before Jason puts him out of his misery with a machete to the skull.
1. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
To cap off our list, we’re gonna cheat a bit here. But really, how could we not include the true death of the series’ central character?
Tom Savini was asked to kill the character he created and he did so in a spectacularly gory way, with Jason’s head sliding down the blade of a machete. In an extra layer of ickiness, the creeptastic Corey Feldman loses it, and hacks at Jason’s lifeless corpse over and over again. Thankfully, the hockey mask and machete aficionado doesn’t stay dead for long.
What are your favorite Friday the 13th kills? What do you want to see from Jason’s next outing? Let us know in the comments!