Okay, so they might not exactly have been the high point of horror’s illustrious history, but I still get a kick out of the Friday the 13th films.

There’s no doubting that as the series went on (and on), the films took a dip in quality, even dipping their toes into the waters marked ‘bloody awful’ at some point (yes, I’m looking at you, parts 7 and 8).

But, whatever the merits of the films themselves, one thing you could always count on was good old Jason carving up some hapless teens.

In fact, you could make a strong case for the fact that seeing the hockey masked one going about his business was the only reason to sit through the movies.

Anyway, with another genuine Friday the 13th about to hit us in February/March, what better time to revisit the series and come up with a list of Mr Voorhees’ greatest hits?

So here, film by film, I’ve picked my favourite kills of the franchise – feel free to disagree below.

 

FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)

 

More a whodunit than the slashathons that were to follow, this original entry famously had Mrs Voorhees, played by the inimitable Betsy Palmer, carrying out the carnage as she looked to avenge her supposedly dead son.

Top of the kills this time around simply has to be the demise of Jack Burrel, played by Kevin Bacon (yet another star whose CV features an early slasher appearance).

Lying on his bunk bed, Burrel is grabbed by an unseen assailant and has an arrow thrust through the bed and his neck – an impressive feat of strength I’m sure you’ll agree.


FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 (1981)

My favourite moment of this first sequel is the quite frankly bonkers (yet genius) decision to show Jason taking a boiling kettle off the stove after he has skewered first film survivor Alice with a screwdriver.

But this is a kill list, and my top death this time around is the offing of wheelchair-bound Mark, played by Tom McBride.

To be honest, the butchering in part 2 isn’t that great, but Mark’s checkout, thanks to a machete in the face then a tumble down a staircase, probably takes the biscuit.


FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 (1982)

No such worries over a lack of inventive kills this time around, with part 3 chock full of memorable murders.

By now Jason has also got his hands on the iconic hockey mask, adding a new dimension to the onscreen carnage.

I’m spoiled for choice this time around, and, although I was sorely tempted to go with Vera Sanchez (Catherine Parks) getting a harpoon through the eye, I’ve decided to go with the delicious demise of Andy, played by Jeffrey Rogers.

Andy’s exit is a perfect storm of a death – the delightful fact of seeing a show-off dickhead (handstanding his way around to impress his girlfriend) getting his comeuppance, the appearance of Jason, and the fact that he gets a machete through the balls – love it.


FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 4 (1984)

A pretty straightforward choice this time around – for me anyway.

Honours in part 4 (billed as the Final Chapter – who were they trying to kid) goes to the removal of Jimmy Mortimer, played by none other than Crispin Glover.

Topping the list due to the swiftness of the kill, and the fact it is precipitated by Jimmy bellowing ‘where the hell’s the corkscrew’, this corkscrew to the hand/cleaver to the face combo always makes me laugh.

I probably should also mention the killings of Paul (Clyde Hayes) – via harpoon gun/spear to the nuts, and Tina (Camilla More), who gets one of the more impressive ‘flying through the air and landing on a car’ deaths I’ve seen, but none match the sheer comedy value of Jimmy’s dispatching.

 


FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 5 (1985)

A piss-poor sequel I’m sure we can agree, but ‘A New Beginning’ still managed to rack up a massive amount of kills.

Trouble is, none were that memorable, so I’m really struggling this time around.

At a push I’m going to go with the slaughter of Eddie (John Robert Dixon), which comes hot on the heels of the garden-shearing murder of Tina (the magnificently named Debi Sue Voorhees).

Eddie has a strap thrown around his eyes, is backed up against a tree and basically has his skull crushed, which looks pretty painful if nothing else.


FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 6 (1986)

Jason was resurrected for this comedy-heavy instalment, returning from the grave thanks to a lightning bolt.

There were still plenty of deaths, but by now a combination of wimpy directors and trigger-happy censors meant the series had drifted into the ‘blood splash against the wall’ type murders, virtually negating the point of the movies.

I’ve actually gone for a comedy-ish death this time around, which is the demise of Sheriff Garris, played by David Kagen.

Garris thinks he has the upper hand when he is bludgeoning Jason with a large rock, but we know better of course, hockey face turning the tables and folding the Sheriff in half – backwards. (about 1:30 into the video)


FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 7 (1988)

The seventh instalment, subtitled The New Blood, may be better left forgotten, but we can obviously find something to recommend of course.

That would be the sleeping bag death of Judy (Debora Kessler) – a kill that would be repeated in the later Freddy vs Jason movie.

It’s a simple enough slaughter, as Jason whips the sleeping bag out of the tent (with Judy still in it) and proceeds to pummel it against a tree, but it’s pretty enjoyable nonetheless.

I also have good memories of this particular kill thanks to it earning me a load of free rentals during my first year at university – the video store had this playing when I popped in one night – for some reason the owner had forgotten about the sleeping bag scene, and when I told him it was about to take place he offered me a bunch of freebies if it did.

Suffice to say, I came out on top.


FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 8 (1989)

The hits just keep on coming, and, while part 8 is even a step down from part 7 (hard to believe I know) there is still one classic death to bring a smile to the face.

That would be the lengthy showdown between Jason and boxer Julius (Vincent Craig Dupree), which comes off as a sort of horror take on the Raiders Of The Lost Ark ‘Indy shooting the sword-wielding assassin’ scene.

Julius spends a solid minute-plus taking swings at Jason, only for the great one to take the boxer’s head clean off with one punch – naturally after Julius has implored Jason to ‘take his best shot’.

And the fun doesn’t stop there, with the head bouncing into a wheelie bin, the lid slamming shut for added comic effect.


JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY (1993)

There was a four year hiatus after the box office dud that was Jason Takes Manhattan, before the series returned with this bizarre offering, which saw the spirit of Voorhees passing from person to person.

Naturally those folk became psychotic killers so there was plenty of the red stuff to go round, with the franchise going back to some pretty nasty deaths.

Topping the list this time is the dispatching of Deborah (Michelle Clunie), mid sex scene.

No sooner has Deb got her kit off and got it on, but the coroner/Jason spears her from behind and rips her in half – it’s a real hark back to the vicious slaughters of the early films and is a real standout moment.


JASON X (2001)

Us Friday fans had to wait another eight years before a further chapter was unleashed, which naturally sent Jason into space.

Despite that crazy decision, we were to get one of the best kills of the entire series – not bad for a tenth instalment, 21 years after the original.

Adrienne (Kristi Angus) is the unfortunate victim here, offed in a manner that can only be described as pure genius.

Catching her off-guard, Jason grabs her from behind, before dunking her into a sink of solution which freezes her face.

That would probably do the job, but Jason finishing things off by smashing Adrienne’s frozen face into the work station, obliterating it in the process.

Magnificent.


There were obviously more Jason appearances to come, both in the aforementioned Freddy vs Jason flick, and the disappointing Friday the 13th reboot a few years back, but I’ve decided to simply stick to the original series for this piece.

Do you agree with my selections? Let me know below.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.