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Friday-The-13th

Blog – Friday The 13th’s… Reviewed

To celebrate today being Friday The 13th In what may be either a heroic or heroically dumb move, off the back of the rather excellent Crystal Lake Memories documentary, I have decided back in 2014 to rewatch EVERY Friday The 13th movie.  From the original 1980’s classic to the franchise killing remake, I re-watched ever kill, every slash and every Jason death. So here it is – a complete look at the Jason Vorhees back catalogue…

Phil Hobden

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History Of Friday The 13th (2013)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
So the documentary that started it all: Crystal Lake Memories is an exhaustive (and exhausting clocking it at a nearly 400 min run time) look at the history of the Friday The 13th films – from it’s humble beginnings right through Freddy Vs Jason and the studio remake and is a must see for fans of the films. Brough to you by the same team that delivered the equally essential Nightmare Of Elm Street documentary Never Sleep Again no stone is left unturned.  Best of all far from a fluff piece this digs into what worked, what didn’t work and what happened behind the scenes.  Simply put this is both essential and fascinating. 

IMDB Rating: 

Any cast of note?   Almost everyone who has ever been in or involved with the films! 

 



 

Friday The 13th (2009)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
So in hindsight the remake of Friday 13th is actually pretty good.  Gone are the japery and silliness of the later Friday films, back comes the hardcore gore and nudity that was a hallmark of the series at it’s best.  Plenty of gruesome kills, a story which nicely remakes three Friday’s for the price of one and a cast that can actually act, it’s directed with a sense of respect to the better instalments whilst delivering a few nice new moments.  I liked it and, stood alongside the rest in the series, it comes across as very good indeed.  Recommended.

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill: Sleeping bag then on fire.  Ouch. 

Any cast of note?   Danielle Panabaker, Nana Visitor

 



Freddy Vs Jason (2003)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Okay that’s better.  Whilst most of the Friday films have aged badly, Freddy Vs Jason is still a prime cut in a butchers shop of (mostly)offal.   Bride Of Chucky director Ronny Yu once again delivers on a quirky premise and gives fans something they have been waiting for since it was first muted back in The Final Friday.  A knowing film with a strong idea its heart, the films full of crowd pleasing smackdowns, gross out blood and guts and nudity: everything you want from a Freddy or a Jason movie.  Best of all it leaves you wanting more which, sadly, hasn’t yet arrived.  So overall even though this isn’t strictly just a Friday The 13th movie it’s certainly one of the strongest in the series and for sure the one that delivers best all-round.

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill:  Freddy’s hand kills… er… Freddy.

Any cast of note?   Robert England, Kelly Rowland, Monica Keena

 



Jason X (2001)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Yup Jason X is terrible.  But it’s terrible in a knowing, fun and silly kind of way that the franchise has been seriously lacking up to this point.  Just the idea of taking Jason and putting him on a space ship is insane BUT even with terrible 90’s CGI, a near total lack of nudity and gore and acting that is at best dubious the film is just such damn fun. From VR deaths, 80’s Friday The 13th homages to a Cyborg Jason this film just knows what it is and delivers on that, never trying to be anymore or less.  And I kinda salute it for that… oh and did I mention CYBORG JASON??????

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill:  Face, Liquid Nitrogen, Desk.

Any cast of note?   Kane Hodder. LexaDoig. David Cronenberg. Peter Mensah

 

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Oh dear.  Look I totally understand that the Friday 13th movies were never grounded in reality.  But seriously Part 9 really does stretch credibility to levels even I couldn’t get on board with.  Supernatural nonsense, Jason’s heart being the key to his powers, transferring from one body to another… it just jumped the shark.  And for a franchise that had last ended with the pretty dire Jason takes Manhattan that’s saying something.  What’s worse is that the gore has been dialled down to almost PG13 levels means the film doesn’t even have that possible redeeming feature.

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill:  Freddy comes for Jason (okay technically not a kill but buy far the best bit of the film)

Any cast of note?   Kane Hodder returns as Jason an in a cameo as himself.  Steven Williams.  Erin Gray.

 

 

Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhatten (1989)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
This was one was a bit of a slog.  Which is a shame as I quite enjoyed Jason Takes Manhattan when I was a kid.  Reanimated via electrical cable(yes really!), this film borders on PG-13 at times with virtually zero nudity or gore (and when there are FX they are pretty poor).   Add to that a host of bad performances, an idea so totally dumb that you end up laughing at it more than being scared and you are left with one of the weaker Jason films.  That said it earns an extra star for having the infamous man boxing Jason sequence…

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill:  Head knocked clean off.

Any cast of note?   Kane Hodder returns as Jason. Also TV stalwart Peter Mark Richman. 

 

 

Friday the 13th Part 7: New Blood (1988)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Sadly Jason returns once more (via telekinesis no less) and despite marking the first time behind the mask for the legendary Kane Hodder, Part 7 is a bit of a slog.  It doesn’t help that it take almost 20 minutes for the first kill to take place, and when they do most are pretty uninspired by this point.  Gone are the higher budget effects of Jason Lives as the franchise marks it’s decline into even cheaper produced tat.  It has a few moments – the sleeping bag kill is ace, but the ending is bad even for these movies.  All in all it’s one to miss.

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill:  Sleeping bag around tree!

Any cast of note?   Kane Hodder makes his debut as Jason

 

Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (1986)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Jason Lives picks up on the momentum of A New Beginning and runs with it – more kills, more violence but oddly less nudity.   The MPAA strike again.  It also starts the journey of the franchise being (relatively) grounded that ends with Jason being in Space.  Tommy Jarvis returns (with Thom Mathews taking over the role) and this time manages to bring back the unstoppable killer with a bolt of lightning.  Accidental of course, and from there its back to the usual routine of creative deaths.  Jason Lives feels a little more high budget than some of the other entries and a bit more polished. All in all another fun entry.

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill:  Head into a toilet wall.

Any cast of note?   Jennifer Cooke, Thom Mathews

 

 

Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (1985)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Well this was a surprise.  The legendarily bad Part 5 (the one where Jason isn’t actually Jason) is actually one of the stronger entries into the series so far.  So yes the plot is total hokum, but this is the last Jason film before things start to go really mental (physic powers, resurrection, Space) and you know what it’s brutal, bloody and well paced with out the “God is anything going to happen” tedium of Parts 3 and 4.  It also has a nice pay off at the end, a hint of where things could have gone, but sadly didn’t.  So far from being rubbish, part 5 is actually a pleasant surprise. Who’d have thought…

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill:  Belt around face, tightened.

Any cast of note?   Corey Feldman. Shaver Ross 

 



Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Oh dear.  Growing up this was always MY Friday The 13th film.  The one that grabbed me, the one I thought I remembered.  It had Tommy Jarvis, a young Feldman and a kick arse nail in the coffin for Jason.  And years on those things remain.  It’s just a shame that the rest of the film is so tepidly done. Yes much like the previous Friday The 13th sequels, it’s an hour and 10 mins of nothing happening (well some 15 rated nudity but little else) with a handful of kills interspersed.  Sadly it ended up being quite a slog.  So far from the 7/10 classic I remember, this has been the most disappointing Friday yet (at least in terms of expectation!).  Oh and the legendarily bad Part 5 is looming.

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill: Jason’s death at the hands of Tommy.  Brutal.

Any cast of note?   Corey Feldman, naturally. Crispin Glover (Marty McFly’s dad)

 

Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Part 3?  In 3D?  Don’t mind if I do.  Problem is, when it’s all over, what you have is yet another retreat of the original movie, with little of new of note, zero nudity and some really toned down kills.  I know the MPAA was pretty tough back in the early 80’s but even so it takes the film almost 50 minutes to get into gear and when it does the screaming cast and modernly good FX do little to hop dour attention.  Okay so it’s fun looking at everything set up so that the 3D could be used to max effect and, back in it’s day, this was pretty innovative.  But now?  It’s just kinda funny. The weakest Friday yet…

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill: Eye pop into screen.  Ah… 80’s 3d!

Any cast of note?   Betsey Palmer briefly returns again with reused Part 2 footage. Dana Kimmell did a few bits after. 

 

 

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
So Part 2 delivers slightly less gore (thank the MPAA for that), a slower pace (mostly the murders don’t start until after 45 minutes in) and a sack-headed Jason.  But whilst it’s not as strong as the original, there’s still a  lot to enjoy here.  Jason get’s his machete for the first time, there’s a nice call back to the infamous part 1 jump scare ending and the film certainly starts to set the tone for what would follow in it’s relentless Jason as unstoppable killer trope. I also really liked the ending where Ginny pretends to be Mrs Voorhees, confusing Jason long enough for her to try and escape.  Miner is a workman like director so the film overall is proficient rather than spectacular but still enjoyable none the less.

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill: Machette + Head + Wheelchair

Any cast of note?  Amy Steel is something of a cult favourite.  Betsey Palmer briefly returns. 

 

 

Friday the 13th (1980)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The original, and one of the lesser regarded films in the franchise (it didn’t, after all, even feature the iconic Jason as the killer), I was surprised at just how well the film held up some 34 years later.  A nice quality HD transfer, some creative kills and some excellent early Tom Savini FX work, Friday The 13th plays more as a who done it that the slasher series it would later become.  Yup the acting is variable and the fashion dated, but overall it’s a much stronger film that I remember.

IMDB Rating: 

Best Kill: Kevin Bacon of course! Arrow through the throat.  Excellent!

Any cast of note? Kevin Bacon

 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

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About Phil Hobden

Phil Hobden
Phil Hobden is the former Film Editor & Writer for renowned martial arts focused COMBAT MAGAZINE in the UK. He is also a filmmaker in his own right, having produced two cult Independent action films in LEFT FOR DEAD and TEN DEAD MEN. He was the host for the Filmsploitation podcast for 4 years and now writes and edits for his own site Phil's Quick Capsule Review...

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