Oh, Part VI.
What this film lacks in violence, it makes up in waves with style.
Director Tom McLoughlin envisioned this film to be a gothic-inspired entry harkening back to the classic Universal horror era. Jason really moves and feels like an unstoppable force of evil throughout, which adds to the tension and rising action.
McLoughlin even originally intended for this entry to be shown in black-and-white, which is just sublime.
In this entry, Jason is leaner, stealthier, more sinister. The look, provided by ex-Marine C.J. Graham, really amplifies Jason’s menacing, ruthless presence.
The acting here is next level. Each character really sells it, and there are truly no small parts. Additionally, this film has such a funny meta tone, with multiple scenes that break the “fourth wall” and encourage viewer participation.
We get the return Tommy Jarvis, now an adult hellbent on killing Jason once and for all. During his quest for Jason’s demise, Tommy is partnered by Megan Garris, the quick-witted, tough-as-nails sheriff’s daughter.
After many viewings and debates with friends, I will say Megan is my personal favorite “final girl”. She is strong-willed, independent, has heart, and faces danger head on. She drives a fucking Camaro, too! What’s not to love?
Due to its superb acting, balance, and aesthetic, this entry may be the most re-watchable of the series. Check it out here.
Plus, the entry got a killer theme song, courtesy of the shock-rock legend Alice Cooper. The video is classic Cooper, and the song is insanely catchy. Watch it here.
Despite all of the naysayers, I love this entry for many reasons. In no particular order, here’s why:
- Jason looks fucking incredible.
- This is Kane Hodder’s first appearance as the hockey-masked killer, and he nails it. Hodder is really acting as Jason, delivering every heavy breath, head tilt, and fatal interaction with supreme craft.
- Often dubbed “Carrie meets Jason”, our protagonist Tina is a troubled soul with an immense telekinetic power. Tina’s battles with Jason are nothing short of stunning, and provide a more aggressive tone courtesy of Hodder’s years of experience as a professional stuntman.
- Though the kills were heavily censored, we get the iconic “sleeping bag kill”. Hodder has even said this is his favorite kill in the series. Fortunately, YouTube exists and we can see the extended versions of each kill at our leisure.
Though the onscreen chemistry between characters is a bit dry, it doesn’t detract from this film’s lasting entertainment. Plus, the intro music is industrial metal as fuck.
Watch it here.
Rennie: Look, you don’t understand! There is a maniac trying to kill us!
Waitress: Welcome to New York.
Ok, let’s talk about the “elephant in the room”. Yes, this could have been retitled to Jason On A Boat. But, who cares? It still works!
Yes, I love this movie. Though the intro music is a wild departure from the classic Manfredini theme, I think it’s great in all of its smooth sax and synth-laden glory.
Visually, this movie looks wonderful, including Jason’s slime-covered, waterlogged design. Once off the boat, Jason delivers an epic promenade through Times Square. While it is one of the few scenes to actually depict the Big Apple, I just can’t help but smile. The “boombox punting” scene gets me every time.
In Part VIII, the colors really pop, and there are scenes that look like they could have been pulled right out of a graphic novel. Notably, the “guitar head-smash” kill:
And, who could forget the perennial rooftop boxing match between Julius and Jason? It really needs no further explanation. Watch it here.
Fun fact: Julius (Vincent Craig Dupree) is actually throwing genuine punches at Jason’s mask. The bloody knuckles to follow are real.
Again, Hodder’s Jason looks fabulous and his subtle body language provides much needed depth to our silent villain.
Though the ending is a bit goofy, it manages to venture back to Jason’s tragic origin story, which adds an unexpected, sentimental touch.
Oh, and I’m pretty sure Wayne is actually a real-life, time travelling hipster:
Wanda: Do you ever wonder if Jason has nightmares, and if Freddy can invade his nightmares?
Reggie: I think about that all the time.
-National Lampoon’s “Senior Trip” (1995)
In many ways, this entry may be the most divisive film in the entire series. Regardless, I can’t help but be mesmerized by all of its over-the-top insanity.
While Jason gets a scant amount of screen time, there are just too many memorable, insanely brutal moments throughout its 89 minute run time.
When you do see Jason, he has, arguably, the best look of the series:
Notably, there are two exceedingly different versions of the movie; the R-rated version, and the Unrated version. The level of intense gore is significantly augmented in the latter. In my humble opinion, just skip the R and go straight for the Unrated.
Holy fuck, the “fencepost impalement” kill is unbelievably barbaric. This one really sticks with me, no pun intended. Unsurprisingly, it is often mentioned as a frontrunner for the series’ best kill.
Apparently, in pre-production, there was a storyboard scene considered so violent, so disgusting, and so profane, it didn’t even make it to filming. One can only imagine what we missed out on there….
Though this entry delves into some bat-shit crazy backstory about the Vorhees lineage, a worm demon, and the nature of Jason’s existence (all previously unmentioned over the last 13 years), I can’t help but be entertained.
Plus, we get the best anti-heroes of the series: the irreverent, sociopathic Creighton Duke.
Simply put, I love this character.
Duke’s cynicism and sly grin brings a nice dynamic to an otherwise dark, violent film. When Duke is on screen, he controls the pace and emotion in a way rarely seen throughout the franchise.
While the Final Friday retains a stark controversy among long term fans, it’s just too wild to ignore.
Fun fact: Jason Goes To Hell is the only film in the series to be released in the 90s.
Not to mention, the director was 23 years old when he took the helm of one of horror’s longest running and most lucrative franchises. I could barely hold down a part-time job at 23. Kudos to you, Adam Marcus.
Check it out here.
After a long 8 year hiatus, Jason finally returned to us…IN SPACE! (cue heavy reverb/echo)
Yes, this film has the aesthetic of an early 2000s, late night “SkineMax” feature (shout out to Forrest Green for this description). Who cares? The reason these movies make so much fucking money is because they’re entertaining. Nothing wrong with that.
Sadly, Jason X would mark the end of Hodder’s reign as Jason. Thankfully, Hodder ensures Jason goes out with a (literal) bang. I always found strong parallels between Hodder’s Jason and Connery’s Bond. While there were other great actors who donned the roles, these respective gents just owned them with a special swagger.
This film has, what many consider, the best kill in the entire series: the “cryo-freeze head smash”. I’m certain this provides an ample description for the uninitiated.
In this iteration, I love how we essentially get two Jason’s for the price of one, and witness the machete-wielding killer evolve from his familiar state, into the nano-bot enhanced Uber Jason.
The scene where Uber Jason wanders into the X Men-esque Danger Room is a brilliant touch, and allows Hodder to reboot his favorite kill of the series.
In light of Jason X’s otherworldly direction, I love this movie for many reasons; most importantly, because I saw it in theaters with a group of friends and we had an awesome time. To me, these are the kind of experiences horror movies are all about; moments shared laughing, joking, and talking shit with friends.
Check it out here.
And, then we have the granddaddy of horror villain clashes: Freddy vs. Jason.
After a huge reveal a decade earlier at the end of Jason Goes To Hell, and despite numerous roadblocks, script rewrites, writer changes, actor changes, you name it, I love how the filmmakers persevered to deliver us such a wildly entertaining horror experience.
Like Jason X, I saw this film in theaters with friends and loved every minute of it.
Direct Ronny Yu brought a unique vision to the franchise, and the result was a sharp, crystal-clear depiction of two horror icons.
Ken Kirzinger’s Jason embodies this high-res, big screen feel, making Jason seem larger than ever. Seriously, Kirzinger literally towers over Englund:
Fun fact: Kirzigner first appeared as a stuntman/actor in Friday the 13th Pt VIII.
And what of Robert Englund’s Freddy Krueger? Visceral, brooding, acid-tongued, magnificent; all the things fans know and love.
There are so many things to love about this movie, in all its blood-soaked glory. While some diehard fans will nitpick this film into oblivion, I choose to sit back, kick my feet up, and enjoy the hell Freddy vs. Jason.
Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the appearance of one of my favorite scream queens of all time: Katharine Isabelle’s Gibb.
Ah, the reboot; the scourge of cinema to some, a fresh, invigorating retelling to others.
I’ll just say it…I love this one, too!
Anytime Jason gets major screen time, count me in.
There are so many great elements to this reboot, starting with the aesthetic. Director Marcus Nispel’s vision managed to combine a robust amount of grit and clarity. I mean this in the best way possible. So many scenes have a dingy, grimy feel, but look stylish and modern. It really is the best of both worlds.
As shred-aficionado Yngwie Malmsteen once described the film Alien, the F13 reboot features characters who appear as “real people in a real situation”. The acting is top notch, and the characters are believable. Plus, we get the aptly-named “Trent”, the douchey Chad everyone loves to hate.
Again, we get a new Jason played by the mountainous Derek Mears.
Mears’ enthusiasm for this role is distinctly obvious. His portrayal of Jason is down right ferocious, brought to life by his years as a seasoned stuntman combined with MMA training. Next to Hodder, he’s my favorite actor to don the hockey mask.
The kills here are unnervingly realistic. Especially the “flathead screwdriver to the Adam’s apple”. Yeesh.
If you haven’t seen this one just because it’s a reboot, just take a chance. At worst, you lose 106 minutes. At best, perish the thought, you actually have fun!
Watch it here.
And there you have it, my take on why I love each Friday the 13th film. These films aren’t vying for an entry to AFI’s Top 100, but that’s not the point. These films are meant to be fun and entertaining, especially with a group of friends. There are still whispers of a Friday the 13th Part 13 in the works, but only time will tell. In the meantime, I will just sit back and daydream on the possibilities. Perhaps Tommy Jarvis and the surviving “final girls” can team up to face Jason in one last showdown? Finger’s crossed!