Move Over Michael: Countdown of 10 of the most memorable moments in the Friday the 13th franchise (that don’t involve Jason).
It may be “The Night He Came Home”, but my heart will always belong to Friday the 13th. Out of all the mainstream “hero” killers, Jason is my favorite. I love each and every film in the franchise — moldy, seaweed-encrusted warts and all.
Granted, some I watch more than others. Jason X is a blast, but it has that fucking sarcastic, trendy, self-parody-Scream-inspired thing that gets under my skin like rusty screws on a blackboard. And Jason Takes Manhattan just doesn’t quite get there, does it? In every sense of the phrase, Friday the 13th Part 8 just doesn’t get there. Therefore, those two aren’t screened very much in the Darkscars’ household.
I’m going to join in the “list article” fun, and Jenga-together a list of my own. The list topic was suggested to me by our lovely editor-in-chief, but I changed things around a little bit, as I am frequently inclined to do.
Something that has always bothered me about slasher movie criticism is that the victims aren’t intended to be cared about, and that they are just murder meat. That may be true of other franchises, but some of the greatest, most memorable, warm comfy-blanket moments in the F13 series revolve around the victims and supporting characters. Jason Voorhees is the star, hell yes, but the campers, camp counselors, trespassers, and townies are what really make the movies shine.
Using that as inspiration, I came up with a list of ten favorite non-Jason moments.
There could be dozens more, but these are the ones jumping out at me right now. They could be jokes, set pieces, single lines, stunts, props, or anything else, as long as Jason has no direct involvement. I tried to stay away from deaths, but I just couldn’t leave out one of my all-time favorite Friday the 13th deaths as the beginning of my list.
10. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday: Body Horror
Ok, maybe I’m a sicko, but the body melting scene with Officer Josh is a beautiful one. The flesh, muscle, and ooze just drip off of this guy in a sequence that tops Jason’s melt in Friday the 13th Part 8 by galaxies. I watched Jason Goes to Hell this week for the first time in years, and I had forgotten about this death. My jaw hit the floor. This is the definition of “FUCK YES LOOK AT THAT” gore.
9. Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives: Jason’s Soft Spot
The only Friday the 13th to feature children camping at Camp Crystal Lake (or “Camp Forest Green”, as the unnamed land owner has shamelessly renamed it), this is one of the many reasons why Part 6 is one of the most enjoyable entries in the series, and a great example of what makes the F13 movies so special. We all love the lines, and know them by heart: “So, what were you going to be when you grew up?” But Jason spares them all, even the little girl reading philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s book “No Exit”.
8. Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning: The Whole Enchilda
Yes, I must confess, I love this one. I don’t care if Jason isn’t the “real” killer. His presence is palpable in the movie, if you use your imagination. So there you go. While not the best in the series, it does have some of the best overall moments. I’ll spare you with only mentioning a few. Little Reggie runs off to visit his cousin, who is partying with his girlfriend in the back of his van. Reggie’s cousin and his lady-love don’t bully him and tell him to fuck off. They welcome him, and offer him an enchilada. I like that. This is followed by the infamous bathroom kill scene.
7. Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning: Mrs. Voorhees – No, Not That One
Ok, no apologies. Actress Deborah (Debi Sue) Voorhees (real name, no bullshit) and her topless scene. I’m just being honest.
6. Friday the 13th remake: Sexy Time
Let’s just get the sex out of the way completely. Truthfully, I could probably do a top ten hottest F13 actresses, but that would be boring. There’s a lot of beautiful people in the F13verse. Seeing them killed by a freak is one of the most satisfying things about the series. But, I digress. The sex scene between Trent and Bree is a classic. He’s so arrogant, even while they’re doing it, and she seems to notice and be annoyed by it, but she continues to have sex with him anyway. “You have perfect nipple placement.” Glad he died. He should have suffered more.
5. Friday the 13th remake: Garden of Paradise
Wade finds the marijuana garden. Anyone who has ever smoked and enjoyed it probably felt the joy right along with him when he pumped his fist and said “FUCK. YES.” Every time I watch it, I daydream a little bit about what I would do with it all.
4. Friday the 13th Part 3: Something’s Fishy
I love Harold. I hated seeing him get killed. But that’s how the pot brownie crumbles in the F13verse, so you enjoy what you can of the characters you love — like Harold eating the fish food.
3. Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter: Crispin Glover…Enough Said
Every slasher movie needs different victim ingredients: the slut, the virgin, the stoner, and so on. Sometimes, but only sometimes, is an oddball like Jimmy Mortimer (Crispin Glover) thrown into the mix. There is something so authentically strange about Jimmy. If we knew then what we know now.
2. Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning: Wanna Bite?
Poor Joey. All he wanted to do was share. That same warmth didn’t extend to woodchopping Vic, though, because he not only refused Joey’s generous candy bar offering, but he chopped it in half. Then he chopped Joey’s spine in half. One of the many hilariously illogical things in the F13 series, these mentally ill people were left free to just roam, damage, and encourage each other to misbehave all day. It reminded me of Don’t Look in the Basement.
1. Friday the 13th: Prophet of Doom
The harbinger of death. The elderly truth-teller on a bicycle. I love Crazy Ralph’s (Walt Gorney) glimmering eyes when he threatens the camp counselors, like he’ll be disappointed if they survive. Seeing the occasional character actor and familiar face in a Friday the 13th movie is another one of the special charms of the franchise.
I realize that I left tons of things out. I didn’t mention Freddy Vs. Jason at all, nor did I mention Friday the 13th Part 2, but as I said earlier, these are just the moments that got stuck in my recent memory. I can’t pick a favorite anything: movie, character, kill. I lump it all together, and just politely avoid Jason X and Jason Takes Manhattan.
I’m sure some people will disagree with these choices, but wow, there’s another great thing about the Friday the 13th movies: there’s so much to love.