The day may be unlucky for some, but Friday the 13th has proven to be a box-office bonanza for movie producers since 1980, when Paramount Pictures took a low-risk chance on a low-budget slasher flick called, well, Friday the 13th and struck gold.
The movie spawned the genre's longest-running franchise, grossing more than a half a billion dollars worldwide over the course of 10 sequels and a reboot. Friday the 13th also introduced one of the scream scene's most popular bogeymen ever, Jason Voorhees, who, along with his mom in the first film, amassed a body count of well over 200 victims!
Join us in celebrating the best holiday ever as we select a favorite kill from each film. It's Jason's Greatest Hits!
Friday the 13th (1980)
The one that started it all, director Sean Cunningham's New Jersey-lensed slayathon also features the most famous star (then an unknown stage actor) to ever fall victim in a Friday the 13th film, none other than Kevin Bacon! In his classic death scene, a post-coitus/pot-smoking Bacon relaxes on a cabin cot when an arm suddenly emerges from underneath the bed, holds him down and methodically drives an arrow up through his neck. Though this is supposed to be the dastardly handiwork of Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), the film's unit photographer, Richard Feury, actually performed the stunt.
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
The sex = death edict rears its moralistic head again in the first Friday the 13th follow-up, released less than a year after the original hit. This time we find horny campers Sandra and Jeff doin' the nasty when the potato-sack-hooded Jason turns the duo into a human shish kebab with the help of a well-placed spear. Part 2's greatest cuts came courtesy of the MPAA, so most of this scene wound up on the cutting room floor. Fans, however, still got the point of this shocking double murder.
Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
For this installment, Jason gained his trademark hockey mask and the benefit of 3D to continue his unstoppable rampage. In Part III's horrifying highlight, we watch obnoxious show-off Andy walking into the room on his hands when Jason steps out of the shadows to chop him completely in half at the middle, his two halves flopping to the floor like limp mackerels. That's gotta hurt!
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
"Hey, Ted, where the hell's the corkscrew?" asks Crispin Glover a year before he played Marty McFly's dad in Back to the Future. Unfortunately for him, Jason answers by plunging the kitchen aid into his hand, then bisecting his face with a meat clever. What would Rachael Ray think?
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
'Final Chapter'? Yeah, right. Paramount rebooted the series with the much-hated New Beginning, which introduced a lame Jason imposter on an unrelated blood binge. Luckily for gorehounds, Part V also boasted one of the franchise's highest body counts (21), such as the choice bit where Tina (the unrelated Debbiesue Voorhees) has garden shears plunged into her eyes. Jeepers Creepers, how'd you lose those peepers?
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
You can't keep a good slasher down, so when A New Beginning underperformed at the multiplex, the sultan of slaughter returned to the screen, revived by a convenient lightning bolt. Hey, it worked for Frankenstein! The last murder in this tongue-in-cheek entry (dig the 007-style title sequence) finds the zombiefied Jason tussling with the local sheriff when he breaks the poor lawmen in half, bending him backward, head to feet.
Friday the 13th Part VII: A New Blood (1988)
It's 'Jason vs. Carrie' in this offbeat effort, as everyone's darling hockey-masked maniac battles a telekinetic girl (lovely Lar Park Lincoln). The New Blood also welcomed stuntman Kane Hodder to the role of Jason, the first actor to eventually play the character more than once. Though Jason never wielded a chainsaw (Leatherface would not approve), he did go to town with a Weed Whacker here, which he lays on the duplicitous Dr. Crews (a pre-Weekend at Bernie's Terry Kiser). This one narrowly beat out the sleeping-bag bashing as our #1 New Blood kill.
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
One of the crappiest Friday the 13th chapters at least sports one of its most rousing kills. When Jason (Hodder again) finally does make it to the Big Apple, he squares off against Muhammad Ali wannabe Julius (V.C. Dupree) on a city rooftop. Julius begins pummeling the unshaken Jason, and dares, "Take your best shot, motherf**ker!" The heavyweight then counterpunches with a single blow that knocks his contender's block clean off, landing in a street dumpster below.
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
You'd think those oversexed campers would learn by now? In this, perhaps the series' most brutal offering (in the feminist-unfriendly unrated version only), the coupling of an amorous couple is fatally interrupted. Jason's barbed-rail spike cuts through back of their tent, skewers the girl from the back, the sharp pole exits from her solar plexus, then graphically rips upward and tears her in two. Nothing safe about this sex.
Jason X (2001)
Friday the 13th buffs weren't exactly over the moon when producers made the radical decision to send Jason Voorhees into outer space for the series' campy 10th edition. The movie has its supporters, too, largely due to some literally out-of-this-world kill scenes. In the choicest (not moistest) moment, Jason awakens from a centuries-long slumber and goes right back to work. He grabs the head of a comely spaceship scientist, dunks her face into liquid nitrogen, then slams the frozen mug down, shattering it into hundreds of tiny pieces. Wow!
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
It took years before the titans of terror squared off in a motion picture, and Freddy vs. Jason largely delivered the WWE-style goods in one action-packed gruesome package. Both Freddy and Jason wrack up significant body counts before they go at it, but Jason scores higher for sheer viciousness. The standout occurs when the big hulk takes out the big hunk Trey as he lies in bed. First Jason furiously punctures the guy's bare back with his trusty machete, then he grabs the bed and folds it — and Trey — in half. Time to change the sheets!
Friday the 13th (2009)
For the successful Michael Bay-produced remake, director Marcus Nispel took a more realistic, grittier and scarier approach to his teen massacres. You will notice this when Chewie (Aaron Yoo) makes the mistake of going into the tool shed. There he encounters an angry Jason (the gigantic Derek Mears), who jabs a long screw driver into his throat. As the kid whimpers and flails about, Jason pushes the long tool deeper and deeper into the squirming man's neck, blood copiously flying from his mouth. This one works because it feels authentic — and too close for comfort, unlike the more outlandish kills in previous Friday outings (Part VII's death-by-party horn, anyone?).
Bonus: Jason's Best Death!
Since no one's made a 13th Friday the 13th film just yet, for our baker's dozen pick we turn the tables on Jason. The woods-based serial killer has died pretty spectacularly himself over the years, and none so spectacularly than in director Joseph Zito's Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. To do the deed, the producers wisely brought back makeup FX guru Tom Savini, who singlehandedly launched the splatter industry with the original Friday the 13th and other gore epics. In the film's thrilling conclusion, young Tommy Jarvis (a bald Corey Feldman) whacks Jason in the head with his own machete. Next the villain falls forward, his face sliding down along the blade in excruciating fashion. When the still-breathing beast twitches a little, Tommy lets loose with another flurry of wicked blows. The perfect death for the perfect killer.