I fondly call to mind my first ever camping expedition in the great outdoors. Aside from the liberally scattered itching powder lining my sleeping bag (cue a great deal of wriggling) I must say I wholly enjoyed my preamble into the woods…It’s a different earth out there; full of organic wonder and serene splendour.
Camp Crystal Lake is an idyllic location, sunrays dance off its shimmering waters suggestively. A safe place; the kind of tranquil getaway every young person coming of age should experience at least once.
Jason Voorhees; the name alone should be familiar to all. His broad shoulders, impressive wingspan and brisk stride all resonate robustly. The mask! The hockey mask – blank eyes behind its iconic design. The machete – effective swing and intimidating range. All the above are of tantamount symbolism to the brand.
Over the course of my Friday the 13th season of appraisals I will, revisit, vivisect and cross-reference all ten of Jason’s original ten solo escapades. Our voyage will take us away from the bay, to the Big Apple and ultimately space. Here are a few of my all-time favorite Friday kills.
• Savini’s hacksaw head-swivel from strong fourth entry ‘The Final Chapter’
• The upside down machete-to-groin bulwark shattering hand-walk halter from Part III
• The ridiculous rooftop rumble complete with eventual dunk and slam from Jason Takes Manhattan
• Marvellously effective nitrogen face freeze worktop head slam from Jason X
• Betsy Palmer’s very first scalp – I am referring of course to one of the finest throat slices ever committed to film (edging out by a whisker Karen’s jugular aperture from The Burning).
• Kevin Bacon – long before his plucky and heartbreaking turn in The Woodsman; skewered from various perspectives dependant on cut viewed.
I really could persist for pages and will include a Gallery of some of the wonderful kills at the end of this article. Anyone who is familiar with my appraisal for The Burning will be aware of where my personal allegiance lies but that is not to say that I haven’t shared some tremendous times with the most marketable and iconic Slasher series of its cohort. I will appraise not chronologically; nor numerically. It will be without any rhyme or reason so basically I’ll go where the tide takes me. Before I revisit all of them in turn I thought, as an experiment, I’d list all ten movies in order of quality as I remember them. This will be subject to change post-return.
1 Friday the 13th (1980) 9/10 $59,754,601
2 Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984) 8/10 $32,980,880
3 Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) 8/10 $21,722,776
4 Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (1986) 8/10 $19,472,0574
5 Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982) 7/10 $36,690,067
6 Jason X (2001) 7/10 $16,951,798
7 Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (1985) 6/10 $21,930,418
8 Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood (1988) 6/10 $19,170,001
9 Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993) 6/10 $15,935,068
10 Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) 5/10 $14,343,976
For the completionists among you:
Friday the 13th (2009) 6/10 $91,375,051
Freddy vs. Jason (2003) 6/10 $114,908,830
The series has accumulated nearly half a billion in revenue over the course of its thirty year duration. This doesn’t take into account the copious amounts of spin-offs and merchandise spawned from its source material.
• In 1987 Friday The 13th: The Series first aired on US television. Fashioned by Frank Mancuso Jr and Larry B Williams, it ran for 72 episodes eventually earning a primetime slot.
• Various novels have been adapted from the films and in 1994 a number of original tomes for young adults using the brand identify and based their fictitious fables on possession via Jason’s iconic mask.
• Topps Comics, Avatar Press and WildStorm have published various graphic novels since New Line Cinema’s acquirement of the franchise.
• His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday The 13th was released in 2009. Directed by Daniel Farrands and hosted by Tom Savini, it documented the icons meteoric rise and featured cast and crew interviews.
• Two documentary books have also been published; David Grove’s Making Friday The 13th: The Legend of Camp Blood and Peter M Bracke’s Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday The 13th both surfaced in 2005.
• Over a hundred licensed products have been released earning over $125 million in revenue.
• Two Friday the 13th videogames have surfaced; the first coded in 1986 for Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum (I have fond memories of playing said game though rose-tinted spectacles may mask the reality) and, three years later, a further offshoot was developed for Nintendo. In addition, mobile phone games and even a board game inclusive of blood capsules for authenticity.
• A further sequel to the potential-squandering but well received reboot is planned and apparently the script is finished and awaiting the green light from New Line Cinema.
There are many different discussion points which I will explore during my thorough dissection and I am already tooled with vast knowledge of each entry which I will aim to extend upon to give you the most all-encompassing cross-section of all movies from this most well-heeled of slasher franchises. Enjoy.