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The Definitive Ranking of the Friday the 13th Franchise

Arthur is an avid television and movie fan with horror being his favored genre. If you can name it, he has probably seen it. Twice.


When it comes to horror, few names are more recognizable than Friday the 13th and Jason Voorhees. The man turned monster has been the fuel of many a nightmare and paved the way for other horror baddies to make their mark on the pop culture landscape. Here we will deliver the definitive list of all 12 (and counting) films in the Friday the 13th franchise from worst to first.

Jason Goes to Hell

Jason goes to hell is easily the worst installment in the franchise. It is basically a hour and a half set up for a teaser trailer to Freddy vs. Jason, a movie that didn't even get made until 10 years after this one was filmed. The idea behind the plot of this abomination is that Jason Voorhees is not just a man, but pure evil incarnate and can hop from body to body to be reborn. The movie plays like the Lifetime Movie Network tried to take a stab at horror and missed completely. This movie needs to be dragged back to hell where it belongs.

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Chapter

*Spoiler Alert* Who makes a Friday the 13th movie without Jason Voorhees?! I just had to delete about a hundred typed excuses for this movie because it is just that bad. The plot was thin, there were times that it just didn't make sense at all, and trying to capitalize on a mentally unstable hero didn't help either. Even the high-pitched screams of Reggie the Reckless could not save this film from being toward the top of the list.

Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan

Ok, so it was a toss up between this and number 5 for their ranking on the list. The idea is that Jason stows away on a boat and goes on a murderous rampage before stalking the rest of the survivors through the streets of New York City. The movie itself would have probably not been super terrible if it wasn't for the nonsensical ending that really ruined the whole movie. The movie is good for two scenes; when the dude gets his head knocked clean off and when Jason uses his face to scare off a group of New York City punks.

Jason X

You guys, what if we do a Friday the 13th space *BRAHHHHM*. Ok, so where to begin? This movie is all kinds of funny, but they really embraced the suck on this one. Jason does get some pretty cool upgrades, but they come a little late in the movie. Even though they knew that this movie would never make enough to green light a sequel they still set it up for one which may have been the funniest part of this movie.

Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives

Jason Lives sees the 3rd time that Tommy Jarvis and Jason face off. This movie does a lot of things right. For one, they add some much-needed humor into the franchise with scenes like a bloody smiley face after Jason slams someone's face into a tree or a gravedigger looking straight into the camera and exclaiming, "Some folks sure got a strange idea of entertainment." The movie even has one of my favorite deaths in the entire series, the issue here is how they bring Jason back to life and how they eventually dispatch him.

The beginning of the movie sees Tommy Jarvis going to rid himself of Jason for good by burning his corpse. Upon seeing the dead body of the serial killer he goes nuts and stabs it a few times with a wrought iron pole. Tommy leaves the pole in Jason and it then gets struck by lightning twice, not only reanimating him but apparently giving him super strength. At the end, Tommy decides that the best way to get Jason out of the picture is too light the water on fire and sink Jason to the bottom of the lake. Unlike most movies, it is the middle part that is decent and the beginning and end that ruin the movie.

Friday the 13th Part 7: New Blood

To be honest, this may be my favorite movie in the franchise, but that does not mean that it deserves to be any lower on the list than here. I love it because the final girl happens to be a telekinetic that can actually give Jason a run for his money. That being said, every single death in this movie was so ridiculous and it is like there was an open garden shed that Jason kept visiting to get his weapons. The ending is pretty ridiculous which keeps this movie from finding itself lower down.

Friday the 13th 2009

This movie did a lot of things right, they just tried to do too much. There was a little too much story building, they tried to make Jason too human, and there are some pretty big lulls in the movie. The movie did have a great "surprise" ending and some up and coming star power, but it fell a little short of what we come to expect from the franchise. The weirdest part about this movie is that it plays for about 20 minutes before abruptly announcing that it is a Friday the 13th movie.

Freddy Vs. Jason

This movie may be in a class all its own, but as a Friday the 13th movie it is a little underwhelming. It sees a face-off that we were patiently waiting for for years. The problem is that this movie was in developmental hell for so long that by the time it was finally green-lit neither baddy held the weight they once did. On top of that there were so many rewrites that the movie was a shadow of what once could have been. At the end of the day, it was an ok movie for what it was, but it is never going to make it into the horror hall of fame.

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Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter

This installment of the series rides the fence between inspired and terrible. Factors like Jason's (at this point) inexplicable return to the living after taking a hatchet to the face and the random Jason hunter who shows up make this movie laughable. However, Crispin Glover's sweet dance moves and Cory Feldman burying a machete halfway into Jason's brain make the movie worth watching a couple of times.

Crispin Glover's Sweet Dance Moves

Friday the 13th Part 2

As far as horror sequels go this one was not bad. After the untimely death of Mrs. Voorhees, someone needed to take up the mantel of killing camp counselors. The movie theorized; What if Jason didn't die and instead became a wild, murderous, burlap sack wearing, woodsman? There are many theories about this movie including that it was just one incredibly long dream sequence and none of it actually happened. If it wasn't for the burlap sack and a questionable ending this film would have probably beat out the 3rd movie for ranking.

This movie does have one of the best horror movie deaths of all time where the guy in the wheelchair gets a face full of machete then, to add insult to injury, rolls backward down a flight of steps. Savage Jason, Savage.

Friday the 13th Part 3

This movie earns its coveted spot for one major reason. This movie is the first time that Jason dawns the iconic hockey mask and creates the legend of Jason Voorhees. Everything about this movie is good to great from the cast of characters to the excellent deaths. Oh, and did I mention that the entire movie is in 3D? Friday the 13th part 3 is really the beginning of the Friday the 13th franchise as most people know it.

Friday the 13th 1980

How could this not be number one? The original Friday the 13th basically made slasher films what they are today and created a franchise that is nearly as unstoppable as its iconic killer. Though this movie saw Jason's mom and not Jason behind the knife it was a brilliant low budget movie with tons of thrills and a whole lot of suspense. The original Friday the 13th is not just number one on this list, but it is arguably number one on a lot of best of horror movie lists.


Friday the 13th 2017

Proving that you can't keep a good man down, Friday the 13th is coming back with another reboot in 2017. When it comes to the hockey mask-wearing psychopath there is just something that horror lovers like me just can't get enough of. History tells us that this movie will probably end up toward the top of this list, but that doesn't mean that I won't be first in line to see it.


Arthur Thares (author) from Burnsville, MN, United States on November 24, 2016:

Thanks for reading, and you're right, lists like these are always very subjective. I can't argue with your comments and it is always nice to meet another kindered spirit.

Jeremy Christian from Texas on November 24, 2016:

One thing about that 6th movie, though, that has to be addressed. It's that opening. How stupid. Out of all the stupid things people did during course of these movies, this has to be the worst.

Freaking Tommy. Jason is literally dead and buried. Decomposing. In the grave. So you dig him up, stick a steel rod in him, and leave it to be struck by lightening. My God. Why, Tommy? Why? Rid yourself of a blood-thirsty killer fail.

Jeremy Christian from Texas on November 24, 2016:

I realize lists like this will differ from person to person and the debate can rage on perpetually with no unanimous consent ever being reached.

With that being said, I have to make a couple of arguments. My two favorite Friday the 13th's are part 2 and part 6. So, obviously, on my list, those two would be at the top. The first one obviously deserves credit for starting it all in the first place, but it wasn't until the bag on the head Jason protagonist that this series truly got scary. I like the hockey mask he gets in the 3rd, but bag on head Jason is my favorite. The single eye hole was a nice touch.

And the 6th movie I find to be the most entertaining and the most re-watchable. There comes a point when the old formula becomes redundant. The humor they began to work in at this point was definitely needed.

As far as the worst, in my mind it's whichever one I watched last between part 5 and Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X. Part 5 for the exact reason you specified. Why? Why some other guy in a hockey mask? Why? It's like that third Halloween movie. It has nothing to do with the other two!! If you want to make that movie, call it something else. Don't dupe people into the theater with a name and throw a completely different movie at them. That's just wrong.

Anyway, overall I like the list.

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