There are three major franchises that have anchored the genre of slasher films: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and last but not least, Friday the 13th. Jason Voorhees survives not just as a famous horror movie villain, but as an archetype for generic horror killers in media. How often is the killer in other shows and movies depicted as wearing a hockey mask?
The entire Friday the 13th franchise is imperfect. There have been so many sequels, plus one reboot, that it is hard to remember which ones are worth watching and which ones are better to just skip. Luckily, this handy list has you covered, with the definitive ranking of every film in the franchise.
12 FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III
For the third entry in the Friday the 13th franchise, the filmmakers knew that they had to go bigger and more exciting. So how did they go about setting their new entry apart from the previous two? By utilizing 3D filmmaking so that every kill popped out from the screen (figuratively and literally).
The film can hardly be called good, even on its own merits. sure, there are some pretty silly and interesting moments where Jason takes out a new set of campers in creative ways, but the special effects, as well as some of the dialogue, are just bizarre and totally off putting.
11 FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN
New York got a special visitor in the eighth entry of the franchise when Jason found himself leaving good old Camp Crystal Lake in order to travel to the Big Apple. At least, that was what the movie wanted you to think, though it will quickly become obvious that this movie was not shot anywhere near New York City.
The majority of the film finds the characters trapped on a houseboat with Jason, which is not exactly what you would expect from a movie that makes such a big deal about taking place in New York. The city sets are so bad, though, you'll wish the whole thing had just been Jason on the boat. He does punch a guy's head clean off, though, so it gets some silly points for that.
10 JASON X
In 2002 it finally came to the point in the franchise where Jason had to leave Earth entirely. In Jason X, Jason is discovered in the far future by a space ship crew who bring him aboard in order to study him. Obviously, this leads to a lot of trouble, and some very strange (and outright silly) situations.
This movie is by far one of the weirdest entries in the entire franchise. Jason gets a futuristic makeover thanks to nanobots that are used to repair dead tissue, a man falls in love with a cyborg he is building, and there is even a holodeck sequence. This movie essentially killed the franchise until the 2009 reboot.
9 JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY
Yes, there had already been a "final chapter" of the Friday the 13th series, but as we all know, if something can continue to make money, then the final chapter is never really the end. That was certainly true this time around when Jason (or rather, Jason's spirit) continued the work he had started in the previous films.
That's right, this film barely even features its central character as the killer. Instead, after his body is blown up, Jason's spirit jumps from host to host to carry out his killings. That's pretty weak, especially considering the film seems to have no internal logic. The only fun moment is when Freddy Krueger's clawed hand makes a last-second cameo.
8 FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009)
Friday the 13th was the first classic horror film franchise to get the reboot treatment all the way back in 2009. The film starred Jared Padalecki and Danielle Panabaker, as well as a host of other young actors to play Jason's latest batch of victims. Instead of staying at a camp, the young folks stay at a family cabin this time around.
Though the film went a long way in updating the look and feel of the franchise, it didn't really do much to reinvigorate it. Really, it could have just been yet another sequel for all it did to rebuild the Jason mythos. It never even got the obligatory sequel that seems to come right on the tails of almost every slasher film.
7 FRIDAY THE 13TH: A NEW BEGINNING
You might think that a film with the subtitle "A New Beginning" might actually do something to breathe life into a franchise that was starting to become stale. Well, you would be wrong, because Friday the 13th: A New Beginning is really just more of the same old schtick that made the franchise famous.
The only difference this time around is that Jason is nowhere to be seen. The killer in this outing, like Jason's mother in the very first film, is just a father looking for revenge. The film doesn't skimp on creative kills, but it can't help but get bogged down in some of the campier tendencies of the era.
6 FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES
The sixth entry in the Friday the 13th series seemed to go in a completely different direction than its predecessors, leaning into the silliness of its story. In this entry, Jason is brought back to life and wreaks havoc in a variety of different settings, including one hilarious romp through a paintball match.
This film might not have leaned as hard into horror elements as some of the other films, but what it lacks in solid scares it makes up for in creative kills and almost slapstick situations. This film proved that horror movies don't always have to take themselves entirely seriously, a lesson that would be adopted by future horror comedies.
5 FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD
When a franchise has been going for seven films, its tempting to try and add a new wrinkle to shake things up. That's exactly what happened in the seventh Friday the 13th film, which included a girl with psychic powers. What this had to do with anything was anyone's guess. What was really bad was that this new wrinkle was not even integrated well.
Once again, the film failed to follow its own internal logic, seeming to change the rules of its world at will in order to keep the plot moving. This entry in the series also has significantly less brutal kills than some of the other films, due to the need for an R rating.
4 FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER
This Friday the 13th film was the first to promise that it would be the end of Jason and the entire franchise. This was a lie, of course. The franchise continued for years afterward. However, this one did its best to tell an interesting story and stick to the mythology that made the franchise so great to begin with.
This was the first film to introduce Tommy, the child who would appear in several other Friday the 13th films (here played by Cory Feldman). There's plenty of fun stuff to love in this sequel, including an inexplicable flashback within a flashback. Yes, someone thought that would be a good idea.
3 FREDDY VS. JASON
This was it, the showdown that had been built up for audiences ever since the final moments of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees were finally teaming up to wreak havoc on the residents of Elm Street. That is, until they ended up turning against each other.
This film is not perfect by any stretch, but it is a lot more fun than several of the other entries in the Friday the 13th franchise. It got to include the brutality of Jason and the morbidly hilarious one-liners from Freddy. The movie got pretty nuts at some points, but it was still entertaining in its own silly way.
2 FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2
After the surprise ending of the first Friday the 13th film, it was inevitable that there would be a follow-up. This time out, the killer really is Jason. However, he still hasn't donned his famous hockey mask, choosing instead to hide his face behind a burlap sack with a single eyehole.
The second film could never quite live up to the legacy of the first, but it is still a solid entry in the canon of '80s slasher films and introduced one of the most enduring horror movie villains of all time. It even included some subtle nods to Psycho, which showed that the filmmakers at least had good taste.
1 FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
The original is always the best, and that is still true of the Friday the 13th series, which, along with Halloween essentially invented the American slasher genre. The film followed the counselors of Camp Crystal Lake as they got it ready for the summer, letting them get picked off one by one by an unseen killer.
The movie was inventive in the way it introduced a character that seemed like she wouldn't be threatening, but ended up being the most dangerous person all along. The film inventively had characters interact with Mrs. Voorhees during her POV shots, in order to keep the audience guessing as to who the killer was. It also starred a young Kevin Bacon!