FRIDAY THE 13TH TOP FIVE
Friday the 13th is like Christmas for horror fans… Actually that’s probably more likely to be Halloween, and calling it Easter for horror fans seems inappropriate, especially seeing as how technically Easter has a disturbing tale of a revenant in it…
OK, I’ve got it. Friday the 13th is like Mother’s or Father’s Day for horror fans, and if card companies were clever, there would be a series of Friday the 13th cards available for the spooky end of the human spectrum to give each other whenever that day turns up. The cards could say things like ‘To my spooky love on Friday the 13th’ or ‘Wishing you the best of luck on Black Friday’, and we could give each other lollie ladders to walk under and black cat cakes.
Anyway, I digress: there is no doubt that most horror fans will watch one of the Friday the 13th series of films on Friday the 13th and I thought to myself ‘rather than just watch a F13 film, why not share with the readers of the To Watch Pile what my Top 5 favourite Friday the 13th films are’, because no one EVER does top fives on the Internet.
Gosh, my capacity for originality is astounding… Almost of as high a standard as my sarcasm.
Now I’m not going to attempt to re-educate those who SHOULD have watched the entire Friday series of films with a giant series of plot synopses though I will quickly say this ‘Crystal Lake has a whole lot of horrible murders happen there, and they all revolve around the Voorhees family and the legend surrounding them and the murders they committed’: so here we go, the top five Friday the 13th films as told by J.R. of the To Watch Pile.
5. Friday the 13th The Final Chapter. Define the 80s in two people; l can: Crispin ‘George Mcfly’ Glover and Corey ‘Not Haim’ Feldman. The two of them are the Godfathers of 80s films, along with Anthony Michael Hall, and their presence here powers this film to the top five. Add hot skinny-dipping twins and one of the greatest dance sequences ever committed to film and you’ve got a winner.
Oh, I suppose I should mention the fact that Jason Voorhees is in this one too and he has some pretty sweet kills. It remained quite serious for most of the time, but the humour is incidental and feels like the sort of amusing stuff friends would do and say to each other.
4. Friday the 13th Part 3. Jason gets his signature hockey mask. I still well up when he first places it on his face. It’s akin to watching an angel get his wings.
Some of the 3D stuff is silly when you watch it in 2D… That bloody yo-yo, for example… But any other crime committed can be ignored for that one simple thing.
3. Friday the 13th Part VI Jason Lives. I would have to say that this is one of the F13s I have watched the most because as a teen I had my own copy on VHS which was given to me by a closing video shop as a gift for being a faithful staff member and a solid customer. There is a lot of levity in this one and the smart-arsey-ness of 80s Brat Pack films, not to mention another Return of the Living Dead actor (more on that later). As an adult I probably can’t really name what it is that I like about this film other than nostalgia, but sometimes that’s enough, I suppose.
2. Friday the 13th (1980). There is a reason why these films have the longevity they do, and it all comes from this foundation. This movie is one of those perfect horror films, like Halloween or Psycho: there is always something happening and there is a bunch of nice victims who you care about when they are dispatched. All of the other Fridays had characters who may as well have had ‘stereotypical victim: please kill’ tattooed to their forehead, but this had well rounded people filling up the cast. The surprise reveal of the killer really makes the film. Any horror fan who doesn’t have this in his collection, doesn’t have a well curated horror film collection at all.
1. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Since the first time I saw this entry in the series it’s been my favourite, and this is for many reasons. I like how for the first time since the original there was a air of deceit about the identity of the killer (it wasn’t Jason remember, he ‘died’ in the last one) and my future affection for gialli possibly started here, except for the fact that the identity is hilariously telegraphed almost from the first time he is spotted. Also this film has two actors from my much loved Return of the Living Dead, has a hilarious hillbilly mother and son duo that crack me up every time I see them, a girl who does ‘the robot’ to Pseudo Echo (how very 80s) and easily the best boobs in the entire series attached to front of an actress whose surname is Voorhees! How can you best that? Add to that a general air of sleaziness and most funny, a pair of 50s styled greasers (?) who are so out of place that one thinks for a tiny minute that it’s some kind of obscure flashback.
For me, the worst Friday the 13th is Jason Goes to Hell. I think when you have to change the entire M.O. of an antagonist, you are not just diminishing him, but taking away his power all together. This film, whilst innovating in its attempt to explain Jason’s regenerative powers, makes him a lesser bad guy. Yes, it does have Buck Rogers’ Erin Grey in it, and it really does attempt to do something different, but it gets a fail from me. At least it set up the premise for Freddy vs Jason.