ScreenAge Wasteland Ranks the ‘Friday the 13th’ Franchise

To celebrate October a.k.a. Spooky Season, ScreenAge Wasteland is proud to present our community’s ranking of the Friday the 13th franchise.

Six people (whether is was staff, commenters, or social media followers) took part in sending us their personal rankings of the twelve Friday the 13th films. We then assigned them points (top spot got 12, last spot got 1) and tallied the scores. In the event that someone hadn’t seen an F13 film, a multiplier was added to bump that film’s score up to what it would have been if all six people had seen it.

So sharpen those machetes and get ready to see where each Friday the 13th film placed. And feel free to agree or disagree with where a film ranked in the comments below!

12. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) | 16 points

  • ….sigh. I was 14 years old when this came out and I’ll say now what I said then…  “WHERE THE F*** IS JASON?” – Derek Fremming
  • Two things keep this film from being in the bottom two: a) some pretty spectacular gore (that road sign dissection is pretty nasty) and 2) Duke. If it wasn’t a Friday the 13th movie I could easily get behind the completely gonzo storyline, but it tries to mash The Hidden with Halloween and those two great tastes add up to WTF. Pro tip: never make Jason a slug. I think there’s a universe where this isn’t a Friday the 13th movie and it’s become a cult hit. Body hopping serial killer with a magic bloodline and a character like Duke hunting him? Those crazy folks at the diner? The gore and nudity? Yeah, this is someone’s favorite horror movie in another timeline. But not this one. – Bob Cram
  • This is where the franchise got really stupid for me. All of a sudden the “Voorhees” name has a mythological and complicated backstory attached to it? Only a Voorhees can kill a Voorhees? Jason has a half-sister? It’s all bogus. Also, why do people still live in Crystal Lake? That place should be a ghost town. Why are you continuing to live and work in a town where a near-immortal serial killer slashes things up every few years?! – Marmaduke Karlston
  • (Deep breath) This entry hurts probably more than any other movie on this list. Give me a minute…Okay…Anyone who knows me knows my affection for this franchise and the big lug behind the mask. I can honestly say I love every film in the franchise and can argue their merits to the death. Even though I can point out some aspects of Jason Goes to Hell that I like, this is the one exception of this franchise that I simply can not defend. I even hold personal animosity toward this entry because it was the first Friday the 13 film I was able to see in the theater. 12-year-old Vinny Kane was as pumped as one could be for a movie. This was the movie event of my young life, and it was an utter disappointment.If you are watching the ninth installment of the F13 franchise you are pretty much there for one reason and one reason alone. That’s to see Jason kill fools in cool and gruesome ways. We get a fantastic opening scene where Jason, who looks badass by the way, is tricked into a trap with a SWAT force just waiting to blow him away. They do (spoiler alert) and we don’t see Jason for almost the entirety of the film… “Are you motherfudging kidding me?!”, young Vinny exclaimed. So, we don’t get to see Jason, and still get the bad acting, terrible dialogue, and horrible directing. Creighton Duke is one of the only redeeming factors of this disappointment, but you broke my young horror heart Jason Goes to Hell…You broke my heart. – Vincent Kane

11. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) | 22 points

  • Bottom of the barrel. Sure, I could attack it easily for the title and five minutes in New York, but even beyond that I feel like whoever made this wanted to kill the franchise off completely. Jason being a small child, her visions, the uncle drowning his niece… WTF? When you go from instalments 6 & 7 to this it’s a huge drop off and suffers because the previous movies actually tried. – Derek Fremming
  • Jason gets on a boat, kills a bunch of teenagers, follows the survivors to New York and then gets turned into a little kid by toxic waste. I’m not kidding. Along the way he doesn’t kill any people on a subway train despite them being, like, RIGHT THERE. He does punch a guy’s head off, which was entertaining for a second or two. Even the dog lives. And taking Manhattan? More like strolls through it for 30 seconds. I know some people – okay, ONE person – who actually likes this movie, but for me this scrapes the bottom of the toxic waste barrel. – Bob Cram
  • I love this movie. Is it dumb? Sure. Is it better than Part VII? 100% yes. I don’t care if the title is misleading, it’s still a fun movie and doesn’t deserve its bad rap. – Marmaduke Karlston

10. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) | 32 points

  • The New Blood includes some great F/X on the kills, which are maybe the most creative kills of the series (sleeping bag meets tree). – Derek Fremming
  • Outside of the introduction of Kane Hodder and a couple of fantastic stunts, there’s really not much to recommend with this one. Carrie vs. Jason is a million dollar idea but the film never really does anything interesting with it. I think the extent of her psychic abilities involves some fire and her throwing a really big rock at his head. The only good thing you can say about it is the fact that it isn’t the worst one and that’s only because Jason went to Manhattan and Hell. – Sailor Monsoon
  • Full disclosure, I hated this movie when I first saw it. I’ve seen it a couple of times recently and my opinion of it is much improved. It’s still Carrie vs Jason – psychic kid vs supernatural slasher – but it’s totally worth it to see Tina kick Jason’s ass all over the place. Plus it’s got Kane Hodder as Jason for the first time. I was astonished to find that there’s a generation of folks who love this entry enough to put it in their top five. I’m not ready for that, but it’s moved up several spots since I first saw it. I still hate the ending, though. Schlubby McWifeslapper saves the day? I don’t care if he is brought back from the dead by his psychic kid, people who wear cardigans should not be the ones to take down Jason. – Bob Cram
  • Do people actually think this is a better film than Jason Takes Manhattan?! This is essentially a knock-off Carrie film that just so happens to feature Jason. The Carrie girl is also extremely boring and her powers aren’t even that good. Why didn’t they just bring Tommy Jarvis back for the seventh film? – Marmaduke Karlston

9. Freddy vs. Jason (2003) | 34 points

  • I don’t care if you don’t classify this as a Friday the 13th movie. I waited my entire childhood for this movie and when it finally came it was better than I could have ever imagined. – Derek Fremming
  • This was WAY better than we had any right to expect. It took a decade to fulfill the promise of the final few frames of Jason Goes to (development) Hell, and against all odds New Line gave us a film that felt like it treated both iconic characters with the kind of respect they deserved. (Well, except for that ping-pong scene with Jason.) The biggest drawbacks of the film are the obligatory teens/victims. It’s not that the actors are bad, it’s just that every time they’re on the screen you’re hoping Freddy or Jason kills them. And they do. I just wish they’d have done it quicker. – Bob Cram
  • It was better than it had any right to be. However, the whole “he’s afraid of water / he’s afraid of fire” idea was revealed in the movie with such terrible acting that I found it hard to take it seriously. – Marmaduke Karlston
  • A crossover that was years in the making and had no way of working but yet we still get a decent horror icon vs horror icon battle. Some decent fight scenes with Robert Englund delivering one of his better performances as Freddy. Could it have been better? Yes, however, I’m glad it exists. – Vincent Kane

8. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) | 38 points

  • Rewatching this you feel so dumb not knowing who the killer is given the way the camera is drawn to a random ambulance driver. It tried something new and held its own, even if it continued the dumb “Tommy will become Jason someday” bullshit. – Derek Fremming
  • As a Friday the 13th movie, A New Beginning is seriously lacking in… anything that makes it feel like a Friday the 13th movie, beyond teenagers getting killed. I mean, there’s a finale confrontation with a guy who isn’t even Jason – or believably threatening. The best part is Demon and his van full of fast food. If it was another in a long line of imitators instead of a part of the franchise it might have been better received. Maybe. The film is clearly a set up for the Tommy Jarvis character to become the new Jason and maybe that would have worked out (a part of me thinks seeing Jason doing bad kung fu would be worth the price of entry). We never got to see that because of how hard this entry tanked at the box office. – Bob Cram
  • This is my personal favorite Friday the 13th movie. I also think it’s the most interesting in terms of where it could have taken the franchise. Tommy Jarvis as the next Jason. Uh, yes please! At the very least, this new creative direction would have saved us from such duds as The New Blood and Jason Goes to Hell. – Marmaduke Karlston
  • Usually regarded as one of the worst of the series and for a while, I agreed but lately, this entry has grown on me. I still don’t like the fake Jason but the kills are decent and it has a grindhouse vibe to it. Part of me would like to have seen the shift it was taking with having a new killer but the other part of me is glad because we wouldn’t have got one of the best slasher movies ever in Jason Lives. – Vincent Kane

7. Friday the 13th (2009) | 44 points

  • Pure shit. I’m sorry that I paid money to see this garbage in theaters. Just give the IP to Blumhouse already. – Derek Fremming
  • Before Blumhouse, Platinum Dunes was horror’s biggest punchline. Michael Bay remaking classics that didn’t need remakes was never going to gel with fans but now with enough distance, I think the project was ultimately a success. With the exception of A Nightmare on Elm Street (which is the single worst remake ever), every remake is good to great. The Hitcher has its flaws but Sean Bean is fun. Amityville Horror is better than the original. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is better than it has any right being and Friday the 13th should’ve been the beginning of a brand new franchise. The first fifteen minutes are more brutal than at least six of the previous entries combined, the new Jason is the most distinct outside of Kane Hodder and it’s loaded with fan service (both in the form of nods to other films and in the amount of kills and tits). The biggest criticism you can level against it is the fact that Jason takes a girl hostage. That’s it. And if that is so out of the norm to you that you think it breaks the cannon, you’re an idiot. – Sailor Monsoon
  • I saw this in the theater with my brother Scott who is a huge Jason fan. His response after it was over? Meh. That’s mine, too, unfortunately. Aaron Yoo as Chewie was entertaining and the effects were good, but it was just… okay. Nothing special. I watched it again recently and STILL could not tell you much about it, beyond it being quite a bit slicker than any other Friday entry. If you’re going to see one movie with a star from Supernatural in it, see the much more fun remake of My Bloody Valentine. – Bob Cram
  • How did this film not get a sequel? It’s one of the best Friday the 13th movies. This Jason is fast, brutal, smart, and calculating. I want more of him ASAP. – Marmaduke Karlston

6. Friday the 13th Part III (1982) | 45 points

  • By this point, watching such films was more of a pleasurable ritual, so there was an enjoyment of its use of gimmickry – the 3D, the mask, the garish deaths with their Fangoria VFX. – Zak1
  • While short-lived, the 3D resurgence of the early ’80s was popular enough that even the major studios wanted a piece of the action. Comin’ at Ya made so much money off that gimmick that Hollywood took notice and immediately started ordering all of their third sequels to be in 3D, because if you’re going to be shameless, you might as well go all the way. That line of thinking bled into the making of Friday the 13th Part 3D. Say what you will about it, but the director sure as hell didn’t skimp on the 3D. Every five minutes, a character will do something that involves an object to come at the camera, such as pass a joint or throw a wallet or play with a yo-yo. Watching it at home, the gimmick becomes tiresome quickly but in the theater, it’s a blast. Audiences, whether they want to admit it or not, love seeing shit come at them and in that regard, this film is a triumph. It also has the introduction to the mask, a killer disco theme, and my personal favorite Jason. Part III isn’t a good film, but it’s a great Friday the 13th film. – Sailor Monsoon
  • Friday the 13th Part III: the 3D Tech Test. That’s really the biggest drawback of the film – it knows it’s a gimmick film and so it shoves that gimmick into every frame it can. Poles come at you, rats come at you, machetes, pitchforks, popcorn and eyeballs come at you. And because it’s NOT being seen in 3D it just screws with the tension and pacing and you start getting annoyed. Yeah, I see it – stop holding it right in front of the camera for crying out loud. If it wasn’t for the first appearance of the iconic hockey mask I’d say skip this and move directly to Part IV. I still kinda want to see it in 3D though. – Bob Cram

5. Friday the 13th (1980) | 51 points

  • It wasn’t until considerably later that I actually saw the first film fully (though I’d seen some of Betsy Palmer’s F13 scenes by then). I don’t see anything that interesting about this film, beyond the twist with Palmer’s role. Even Kevin Bacon is pretty nondescript, apart from one subtle and interesting reaction shot that I vaguely remember (plus he had a cool death). I barely remember anything else, apart from the finale (and that coda). – Zak1
  • Look, Friday the 13th is only a step above the classic exploitation flicks of the 1970s. It features a cast of varying ability, a script which could charitably be called ‘thin,’ and lets dim lighting, gore and (admittedly awesome) music do most of the heavy lifting. I freely admit that much of my enjoyment has to be put down to nostalgia. But I did enjoy it. God help me, yes I did. – Bob Cram
  • Despite watching this film almost forty years after it was released, I still had no idea Jason wasn’t the killer. When Pamela Voorhees is revealed as the one killing all the horny teenagers and not Jason, I remember messaging Sailor in disbelief. The original Friday the 13th is a classic. It’s just a shame to think of how the franchise evolved into a convoluted mess afterwards. – Marmaduke Karlston

4. Jason X (2002) | 53 points

  • Jason X works very well as a cheesy grade Z space adventure. It’s almost respectable. – Zak1
  • Jason X feels like the greatest fan film in existence. It’s clear that the makers have nothing but reverence for the series. It’s so in love with the franchise’s cheesiness, that many detectors incorrectly label it a parody or criticize it for making fun of the previous films. They’re wrong. This film embraces the ridiculousness to such a degree that it jumps past a love letter and ends up in bed with the series. This film is the result of a nine movie orgy with nothing but Velveeta as lube. It’s no reason they decided to reboot the series after this one — it can’t be topped. It has two of the best kills, an even more powerful Jason and a cameo by David Cronenberg. If you love the franchise and you don’t love this movie, you’re wrong. – Sailor Monsoon
  • Jason X is a Friday the 13th movie that divides fans. Really a placeholder to keep the franchise alive while Freddy vs. Jason was still in development hell, it manages to inject some new life into the franchise by throwing everything into the future. Yeah, it’s cheesy as hell, makes fun of the whole concept of slasher films (“It’s okay guys, he just wants his machete!”) and has the second stupidest mask (after the burlap sack of Part 2), but it has some decent death scenes, moves at a good clip, and manages to be pretty damn fun. – Bob Cram
  • I expected this to be terrible. I was wrong. Well done, Jason X. – Marmaduke Karlston
  • Jason X or “Jason Goes to Space” is just ridiculous and one of the most fun entries in the entire series. Jason is on a spaceship in the future fighting space marines. What the hell is there not to like? It doesn’t take itself seriously and has one of the best scenes of any slasher film when Jason is transported back to 1980 Camp Crystal Lake through virtual reality. Hodder is a beast as Uber Jason. Yes, UBER JASON! Just a damn fun movie. – Vincent Kane

3. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) | 54 points

  • I rank this high up because it probably made the biggest impression on me at the time. I was of age to be part of its target audience and on these terms it genuinely scared me. – Zak1
  • My first Friday the 13th movie, and the one for which I have the fondest memories. It’s basically a remake of the first film, but as it’s better in almost every way I don’t really care. (I do miss Tom Savini’s makeup, though.) I like the characters more, I like the cinematography (all those great Steadycam shots), I like that Jason is finally the killer (even if he’s looking like the guy from The Town That Dreaded Sundown the whole time). And I love Ginny. She’s my favorite final girl. She’s smart, sarcastic, capable and strong without being a fearless automaton. She’s terrified the entire time she’s being chased, but you can see her overcome it and do what she has to. I always kind of wanted to see that character again – showing up with a chainsaw and a Psychology textbook to save the next batch of teenagers. – Bob Cram
  • Not only do we get our first film with Jason as the killer but also get him at his scariest with that one-eye sack of creepiness. Don’t get me wrong, I love the hockey mask and it is what made Jason iconic, but sack-head Jason is the scariest Jason hands down. Here we get more of the same formula that the original F13 helped usher in. A group of youngins’ doing the drinkin’, the sexin’, and the pot-smokin’ who all need to die at the hands of momma’s baby boy. This is the only film in the franchise in which Jason actually feels like a real human antagonist. Director Steve Miner works in quite a few frightening shots throughout the film (the shot of Jason running towards the cabin Ginny has just sought refuge in stands out) and maintains a tense atmosphere throughout. The film is brutal, with Mark’s death being a highlight. The climactic chase scene with one of the best final girls of all-time in Ginny is a long, grueling sequence. It proves to be as exhausting for the viewer (in a good way) as it is for the character. – Vincent Kane

2. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) | 63 points

  • Crispin Glover stands out, but not just as accidental casting. The Final Chapter is the one movie among them that would cast someone like Crispin Glover and then make interesting use of him. This is the only movie where Jason actually seems to represent something. The way it looks to me, this film is evoking the tenderness of youth and sexual awakening. The use of Glover captures this, his awkwardness, like a doe learning to walk, and then his death is where we see the movie making its statement. Jason seems like some kind of horrid Puritannical adult force that descends to strike down and punish the young during the throes of their exploration. This is exactly what young people are taught to fear. Glover’s death feels like some kind of obscenity. There’s nothing else in the series that carries such an emotional charge and seems to actually MATTER in some sense. – Zak1
  • The setup is so boring. Tommy Doyle is okay, but nothing happens. There are some Okay kills. – Derek Fremming
  • No other franchise save for maybe the James Bond series has split it’s fanbase as equally as the Friday the 13th films. You ask 100 Friday the 13th fans which film is their favorite and I guarantee each film in the series will be picked at least once. Some fans love the over the top cheese of the 3rd, while others defend the divisive remake and Jason X, and believe it or not, there are a select few that even go to bat for A New Beginning, The New Blood, and Jason Takes Manhattan. They’re rare but they do exist. But if you got that same group of fans and asked them which film they think is the best, the results would be radically different. Part 2 is arguably the scariest and Jason Lives the most fun, but The Final Chapter is pound for pound the most enjoyable in the series. It has the best kills, the best cast of victims, the best story, and the third-best Jason behind Hodder and Mears. Pretty impressive for the last entry in the franchise. – Sailor Monsoon
  • In the general sense there’s nothing special about The Final Chapter – it’s full of standard Friday the 13th stuff, like horny teens, plucky heroes and heroines, and gory set pieces – but in the details it succeeds at doing all those things in the best possible way. It’s the epitome of Friday the 13th movies. If you can only see one of the series, this is the one to watch. I know there are issues with the making of the film – director Joseph Zito was notoriously difficult to work with and there were injuries, walkoffs and threats – but none of it comes through in the film itself. It’s tense and fun and gory and would have been a great sendoff for a classic character. But then it went and made a ton of money. – Bob Cram
  • It’s rare that any franchise, horror or otherwise, gets better as the series goes on, however, that is the case with Friday the 13th. Unlike most horror franchises there is no consensus on which film is the best overall, but I feel the best film is The Final Chapter. Part 4 is the rawest and grittiest entry that had everything you would want in an F13 movie. Great characters that you want to see survive the night, a hulking Jason with his iconic hockey masks, some fantastic kills, and Crispin Glover dancing. The movie builds quite well with a heart-pounding finale and gives us one of the best final confrontations of any slasher flick. – Vincent Kane

1. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) | 67 points

  • Why it’s number 1: Zombie Jason, “Happy Friday the 13th,” and most of the kills are creative enough. The cemetery opening is probably the best intro a Friday the 13th movie has done (i.e., it looked expensive). Oh, and ’80s paintball was weird. – Derek Fremming
  • It’s rare that any franchise, horror or otherwise, gets better as the series goes on, however, that is the case with Friday the 13th. I know most would put the 1980 original on their list but unlike most horror franchises there is no consensus on which film is the best overall. Therefore, I simply decided to go with not only my favorite but the one that I feel is the best film of the F13 franchise and that is Jason Lives. A huge departure from the rest of the films in the series up to that point, Part VI is the first to treat Jason like a monster rather than an unstoppable killer. Maintaining the grit and rawness of The Final Chapter but with a tongue in cheek sense of humor, the film gives every type of audience the perfect horror experience. Filled with great characters you want to see survive the night, a hulking Jason who’s arguably scarier here than he’s ever been before and some of the best kills in the franchise, Jason Lives should’ve been the last film in the series. We would’ve missed out on Kane Hodder but we would’ve gotten the perfect end to the series. Fairtrade in my book. – Sailor Monsoon
  • I know some Friday the 13th fans who absolutely cannot stand this movie, because they feel it’s making fun of something they love, ridiculing it. To me, though, it manages to have its cake and eat it too. It works because it’s still a Friday the 13th movie – with teenagers, Jason, murders etc. – and it’s also an action comedy that pokes fun at the ridiculous elements of its own mythology. It’s a meta-comedy horror film years before Scream was a thing. It’s also just plain fun – something that’s sorely missing in the films that were to follow. That it serves as a sequel to my favorite film of the series doesn’t hurt, either. – Bob Cram

I don’t think anyone is that surprised with the films that made the top of the ranking! If anything, what might surprise some people is that Part VI beat out The Final Chapter in the top spot.

If you’re looking for more Friday the 13th goodness, listen to Sailor and Kane rank and review the Friday the 13th movies, show, and video game on their podcast Night of the Lists here.

Thank you to everyone who participated in SAW’s seventh community ranking!

Do you agree with our ranking? How does your ranking of the Friday the 13th films look? Share your thoughts down in the comments!

Author: SAW Community

A group effort by the entire gang.