The Friday the 13th franchise was started, produced and directed by Sean Cunningham and was meant to capitalize on the success of Halloween, the mother of all modern slasher films. The series consists of 12 films (if you count the 2009 remake); each progressively increasing in production value and cinematography aesthetic.
Friday the 13th. (1980)
This is the movie that started it all. The plot is simple. Flashback several years… A little boy named Jason drowns in the lake while camp counselors are having sex, in 1958. His mother Pamela Voorhees is devastated by the loss of Jason and the camp is closed. The camp is reopened several years later and a new crop of counselors arrives to prepare the camp. The most notable counselor, Jack is played by Kevin Bacon. Sex is had, and people are killed. Alice discusses the previous murders at the camp and Mrs Voorhees talks about Jason’s drowning and we arrive at the final showdown between Alice and Mrs. Voorhees. In this film, Mrs. Voorhees’s is the killer. Alice decapitated Mrs. V and we leave Alice in a canoe on the lake. The last scare of the film is during this scene when Jason flies up out of the water and takes Alice down into the lake. Alice is taken to the hospital and it turns out to be a nightmare.
Let’s face it the story isn’t great, the cinematography is even worse, especially in the kills. There is always a scene, a jump cut and then there is a sharp instrument in someones head. We never actually see how it gets there. It’s laughable. This is one of two films that Jason isn’t the killer.
It seems to me that Jason may have been autistic or mentally challenged and may have had elephentitis.
- Betsy Palmer – Mrs Voorhees
- Adrienne King – Alice
- Harry Crosby – Bill
- Laurie Bartram – Brenda
- Mark Nelson- Ned
- Robbi Morgan- Annie
- Kevin Bacon- Jack
Friday the 13th Part II (1981)
This movie opens with a long scene with Alice at her house with a few minor scares before Jason comes for her, killing her with an ice pick through the temple after Alice discovered Mrs. Voorhees’s decapitated head in her refrigerator. What I want to know is how did Jason know where she lived? Did he have a primitive version of GPS??
It is five years later and a new crop of kids arrives to open the camp yet again. Paul tells the story of the happenings at Camp blood around the camp fire and a masked figure jumps at them scaring them all. Jason is dead, he says. Little does he know that Jason is stalking them. People are killed while having sex, throats are slashed and people are killed in various ways. The climax of the film is Ginnie happening upon the mummified remains of Pamela Voorhees’s head. Ginne dons Mrs. Voorhees’s sweater and tries to distract Jason taking advantage of his low intelligence. That only works for a while. Jason bursts through a window revealing his face and then Ginnie wakes up in the hospital having no recollection of how she escaped. We never find out what happens to Paul. The final scene is a really bad (and obviously a live person head with bad make up on the table to open the door for another sequel.
Production Note: Adrianne King who plays Alice had an obsessed fan after the first Friday and demanded that her role in the second film was as small as possible.
This film was not much better than the first with the same type of kills and cinematography.
- Amy Steel- Ginnie
- John Furey- Paul
- Adrienne King _ Alice
- Warrington Gillette as Jason Voorhees
- Lauren-Marie Taylor as Vicki
- Betsy Palmer as Pamela Voorhees
Friday the 13th Part 3 (presented originally in 3-D) (1982)
This is the first film where Jason is featured wearing the now trademark Hockey mask which he aquires after killing Shelly in this film, to hide his grotesque facial features.
This film begins one day after the events of part two. This movie does not have much of a plot and I recently saw it again in 3-D and it just isn’t memorable. Teens are warned not to go there, people are killed and the whole damn thing is revealed to be a nightmare.
This installment is just god awful but worth a look if you are a fan of the series.
- Dana Kimmell as Chris Higgins
- Paul Kratka as Rick
- Tracie Savage as Debbie
- Jeffrey Rogers as Andy
- Catherine Parks as Vera Sanchez
- Larry Zerner as Shelly
- David Katims as Chuck
- Rachel Howard as Chili
- Richard Brooker as Jason Voorhees
- Marilyn Poucher as Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer appears as Mrs. Voorhees during flashback from Part 2)
- Amy Steel as Ginny Field (Flashback)
- John Furey as Paul Holt (Flashback)
Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)
This installment in the series is a favorite of mine. I loved the two Corey’s back in the 80’s and a pre Goonies, Corey Feldman is absolutely adorable in this movie. This film notably also stars Crispin Glover playing basically what amounts to himself.
This film also picks up one day after the events of the last film. Jason’s body is taken to the city morgue where it is found out he is still alive when he kills the morgue doctor, Axel, by sawing his neck with a bone saw, and then a nurse, Morgan, with a stab to the stomach. Jason then cruises on back to Crystal Lake.
Tommy Jarvis, apparent master of special effects makeup and prosthetics, and his family have a house out in the woods and a group of teenagers rent the house next to the Jarvis family. Each of these teens are killed one by one as it seems a requirement for these films. Tommy and his sister are left. They are pursued by Jason for a while and Tommy gets the idea to shave his head and distract Jason because he looks like Jason as a boy. This enables his sister, Trish to attack Jason with a machete. Jason drops and we think he’s dead but you know that is never the case. Tommy sees jasons hand move and he picks with the machete and repeatedly brings it down on Jason’s body. It seems that by this point Tommy has snapped. This is confirmed when in the final scene he is visiting his sister at the hospital and when in his embrace with his sister, Tommy psychotically looks towards the camera.
- Kimberly Beck as Trish Jarvis
- Erich Anderson as Rob Dier
- Crispin Glover as Jimmy
- Corey Feldman as Tommy Jarvis
- Peter Barton as Doug
- Clyde Hayes as Paul
- Barbara Howard as Sara
- Lawrence Monoson as Ted
- Joan Freeman as Mrs. Jarvis
- Judie Aronson as Samantha
This was supposed to be the final installment in the series. Everyone worked on this assumption. Jason was supposed to die in this film. The man, Ted White who played Jason made Jason different, made him move faster and be more of a mindless killer. I liked this one and it is always a treat to watch.
Friday the 13th Part Five: A New Beginning (1985)
Because the franchise makes money the aptly titled New beginning reboots the series.
In this film, a young Tommy Jarvis stumbles upon a graveyard. Two grave robbers, Neil and Les, are digging up the corpse of Jason Voorhees. Jason rises from the grave and murders Neil and Les before advancing towards Tommy. Tommy wakes up reveiling this to be just a nightmare. This portion of the film is set in a halfway house, where Tommy is staying after the night he viciously hacked up Jason. The other teens at the halfway house include lovers Tina and Eddie, Robin, a goth chick named Violet, and a shy and stuttering kid named Jake. Joey, a teenager at the halfway house, is killed with an ax by Vic at the house. One paramedic, Duke, jokes, but another medic, Roy Burns, is saddened by the death.
Many murders occur in this film as in the others, but it is revealed that the killer is NOT Jason but a copy cat killer and paramedic, Roy who was driven mad by his son Joey’s murder earlier in the film. The film ends with Tommy standing behind Pam wearing a hockey mask and wielding a knife.
- John Shepherd as Tommy Jarvis
- Melanie Kinnaman as Pam Roberts
- Shavar Ross as Reggie
- Corey Feldman as Tommy Jarvis (age 12)
- Richard Young as Matt
- Marco St. John as Sheriff Tucker
- Juliette Cummins as Robin
- Carol Locatell as Ethel
- Vernon Washington as George
- John Robert Dixon as Eddie
- Tiffany Helm as Violet
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Jason has been dead and buried for years at this point (even though the film has been released just one year after the last film) and Tommy (a character appearing in the two previous sequels) is hell bent on exhuming and cremating Jason once and for all. So him and his friend Allen Hawes ( who is played by the loveable Ron Palillo – “Horshack” of Welcome Back Kotter fame.) He and Hawes exhume Jason’s casket, but before they can cremate the body, an infuriated Tommy begins stabbing it with a steel fence post. Unfortunately, the fence post acts as a lightning rod for an incoming storm, and a bolt of lightning brings Jason back to life. Jason rips Hawes’ heart out and throws his body into the exhumed coffin while Tommy escapes. How convenient.
Tommy returns to the town of Crystal Lake, the site of Jason’s killings, which has now been renamed Forest Green to distance itself from negative publicity. Tommy attempts to warn the town sheriff, Mike Garris, of Jason’s return, but Garris, aware of Tommy’s institutionalization, writes him off as mentally disturbed, and has him locked in a holding cell. Jason returns to the lake.
Tommy insists that Jason is back and no one believes him. Murders by Jason occur and it is figured out by Tommy that Jason can be destroyed by being trapped under the lake where he drowned. Tommy lures Jason to the lake where he waits with a large boulder and a chain. Tommy and Jason fight and they fall into the water where Jason pulls him down drowning him. Meghan tries to save Tommy and ends up killing Jason by putting apropeller motor into his neck, breaking it. Tommy is saved on the shore by CPR and they celebrate. Jason in the final scene is floating, still alive, attached to the boulder on the bottom by a chain.
- Thom Mathews as Tommy Jarvis
- Jennifer Cooke as Megan Garris
- David Kagen as Sheriff Mike Garris
- Renee Jones as Sissy Baker
- Kerry Noonan as Paula
- Darcy DeMoss as Nikki
- Tom Fridley as Cort
- Alan Blumenfeld as Larry
- Matthew Faison as Stan
- Ann Ryerson as Katie
- Tony Goldwyn as Darren
- Nancy McLoughlin as Lizabeth
- Ron Palillo as Allen Hawes
- C.J. Graham as Jason Voorhees
- Vincent Guastaferro as Deputy Rick Cologne
- Michael Swan as Officer Pappas
- Courtney Vickery as Nancy
- Whitney Rydbeck as Roy
- Bob Larkin as Martin
- Wallace Merck as Toboloco
- Justin Nowell as Billy
- Roger Rose as Steven
When I was a kid these movies were taboo and made me want to watch them all the more.
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
This is the first sequel in which Kane Hodder plays Jason. In my opinion he is the best Jason because he is a huge imposing man. I got to meet him once at a Horror Con. That was a treat.
This film the seventh installment and the sixth sequel takes place several month after the events of the previous film. We are introduced to a female protagonist named Tina Sheppard. She lives in an abusive household and overhears her alcoholic father abusing her mother. This emotional trauma unlocks Tina’s previously latent telekinetic powers, which result in her father’s death at the bottom of Crystal Lake.
Ten years later feeling guilty over her fathers death her mother and doctor remove her from the mental institution where she had been staying. Tina ends up fleeing to the doc on the lake where her father died and she uses her telekinetic powers and inadvertently raises Jason from the lake, freeing him to kill again.
Murder Murder murders. In the end Tina wills her father to come out of crystal lake to wrap chains around Jason’s neck and pulls him back to the lake. Tina feels that Jason is gone forever. Or is he??
I watched this film in the dark on my own house when no one else was home and it scared the crap out of me.
- Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees
- Lar Park Lincoln as Tina Shepard
- Kevin Spirtas as Nick
- Susan Blu as Mrs. Amanda Shepard
- Terry Kiser as Dr. Crews
- Jennifer Banko as Young Tina
- Susan Jennifer Sullivan as Melissa
- Elizabeth Kaitan as Robin
- Jon Renfield as David
- Jeff Bennett as Eddie
- Heidi Kozak as Sandra
- Diana Barrows as Maddy
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Jason is once again shocked back to life when a boat anchor cuts a power line underwater in crystal lake where Tina left him years before. The occupants of the boat are found by Jason to be having sex and he kills them. Surprise Surprise.
The senior class of Lakeview High School is aboard the SS Lazarus (perfectly named, wouldn’t you say?) bound for New York City for graduation. Jason hitches a ride aboard this boat for the pleasure cruise to NYC. A bunch of people are killed leaving a small group to escape the boat. Charles, Rennie, Colleen, two other students, Julius and the captain’s son, Sean Robertson, as well as Rennie’s dog, Toby, abandon the ship in a row boat.
Jason follows this group around the city killing people from their group and the lovers Sean and Rennie are left by themselves. “Rennie and Sean run onto the New York subway system, but are trapped by Jason. Sean tackles Jason and Jason is electrocuted by the ground wires, seemingly killing him. The two leave the subway and emerge into Times Square, where Jason continues pursuing them. Rennie and Sean run into a diner but Jason crashes through a wall to get to them. They run into the sewers, where Rennie attacks Jason with toxic waste, melting much of his body. After an ensuing flooding of the sewer, all that remains of Jason is a young boy lying at the bottom of the sewer, with a hockey mask floating away on the water. Rennie and Sean reunite with Toby on the streets above, and set out to start a new life” (Wikipedia)
- Jensen Daggett as Rennie Wickham
- Scott Reeves as Sean Robertson
- Barbara Bingham as Colleen Van Deusen
- Peter Mark Richman as Charles McCulloch
- Martin Cummins as Wayne Webber
- Gordon Currie as Miles Wolfe
- V. C. Dupree as Julius Gaw
- Kelly Hu as Eva Watanabe
- Saffron Henderson as J.J. Jarrett
- Sharlene Martin as Tamara Mason
- Alex Diakun as Deck hand
- Warren Munson as Admiral Robertson
- Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees
- Amber Pawlick as young Rennie Wickham
- Ace as Toby
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
This is the first of the Friday franchise to be distributed by New Line Cinema the same people who brought us the Nightmare on Elm street series of films and paves the way for a film involving both Jason and Freddy.
This film I barely remember. Only bits and pieces of this film. I remember This black dude with Bad Jheri Curl in a port-o-potty who gets wasted by Jason after serenading his girl friend who is killed just before him. The other part I remember is a dog unearthing Jason’s mask and Freddy’s claw coming up from the ground and pulling the hockey mask underground and Freddy’s laugh. This was the first Friday film I saw in the Theater.
- John D. LeMay as Steven Freeman
- Kari Keegan as Jessica Kimble
- Steven Williams as Creighton Duke
- Allison Smith as Vicki
- Steven Culp as Robert Campbell
- Billy Green Bush as Sheriff Landis
- Erin Gray as Diana Kimble
- Rusty Schwimmer as Joey B.
- Leslie Jordan as Shelby
- Andrew Bloch as Josh
- Kipp Marcus as Randy
- Richard Gant as Coroner (Phil)
- Gino Kane as Ward
- Julie Michaels as Elizabeth Marcus
- Paul Devine as Paul
- Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees/Guard/Freddy Krueger’s claw
Jason X (2001)
Known in my mind as Jason Goes to Space, this fresh take on the franchise features Jason trapped in cryogenic storage at Crystal lake by the US government for research on rapid cell regeneration. He kills a guy and spills cryogenic fluid all over the place freezing the two of them.
Fast forward, to the year 2455, the earth is polluted and cannot support life. Three students find Jason at the Crystal lake facility and take him into space aboard their star ship. They reanimate Jason and pronounce him dead and place him in the ships morgue.
Our first couple has sex aboard the ship practically on top of Jason’s body and he comes up and kills them. He then kills a few more of them. Jason is later killed when he is knocked into a nanite-equipped medical station, and blasting off his right arm, left leg, his right rib cage and finally part of his head. Jason is brought back to life by these nano beings and returns as a cyborg type being (“Uber Jason”). Jason eventually gets incinerated by Earth Two’s atmosphere.
I think this film had one of the best kills. Adrianne is killed when Jason grabs her and slams her head into liquid nitrogen, her face freezes solid and Jason removes her head and smashs it onto a counter shattering her face into a million pieces.
- Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees/Uber Jason
- Lexa Doig as Rowan LaFontaine
- David Cronenberg as Dr.Wimmer
- Lisa Ryder as KM 14
- Jonathan Potts as Professor Brandon Lowe
- Peter Mensah as Seargent Brodski
- Melyssa Ade as Janessa
- Melody Johnson as Kinsa
- Phillip Williams as Crutch
- Derwin Jordan as Waylander
- Dov Tiefenbach as Azrael
- Chuck Campbell as Tsuaron
- Kristi Angus as Adrienne Thomas
- Yani Gellman as Stoney
- Todd Farmer as Dallas
Freddy VS Jason (2003)
I discussed this movie in my Nightmare on Elm Street entry and will not discuss it again here.
Friday the 13th (2010)
I was not impressed with this reimagining of the original film. That is all I will say about it.
In closing, you have to admit that most of the storylines were crap and there we kills just for the sake of killed with no rhyme or reason for any of them except for Jason wanting to avenge his mothers death. When I was a teenager I would visit my friend Sheryl and we would watch these films in her dark TV room in her old house in a small town on Long Island. We needed permission on file at the video store to rent these rated R films. Those were good times and good scares.
Now I really watch these films more for heckling value than scares but occasionally I still get a scare! This year I am already “Friday’d out” because AMC is playing a prime time marathon of these films for the full first week of Fear Fest. But they are never as good cut and edited on TV as they are on DVD or Blue Ray.