Welcome to the series that made hockey masks creepy and summer camps synonymous with death. Like Jason Voorhees himself, the Friday the 13th franchise is nearly impossible to kill — and its innumerable sequels continue to put the lives of sexually liberated teens in jeopardy. But which of Jason’s killing sprees ranks highest among horror aficionados? You voted and the results are in for your favorite Friday the 13th flicks.
1. Friday the 13th (1980)
With gross-out effects that continue to churn stomachs, this opening slice in the slasher series set the tone for future installments. We learned that “Cha, cha, cha. Ha, ha, ha” is the sound of imminent death, that the greatest danger for sexually active teens is a machete. But what really makes the original special? A final twist worthy of Psycho.
2. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Before the hockey mask, Jason wore a burlap sack on his head. That may not be as cool, but this fashion faux pas doesn’t bother Jason as he follows in the murderous footsteps of his demented mama. The first sequel got the franchise in full swing by fleshing out its mythology. Face facts: the killing-the-dude-in-a-wheelchair scene took this sequel to the runner-up spot.
3. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Jason finally dons his iconic hockey mask in the three-quel, which was also the first to be filmed in 3-D. Snakes, hay bales, baseball bats, red-hot pokers, yo-yos, and distended eyeballs pop off the screen. It’s also got a funky “Thriller”-esque theme song and a motorcycle gang straight out of “Beat It.” For sheer kitsch and killer sight gags, this third entry lands at No. 3.
3. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
This not-so-final chapter offers an embarrassment of riches. To wit: a spastic Crispin Glover as a lovelorn camper; a teddy-bear-size Corey Feldman as a preteen with weird hobbies; skinny-dipping; death by corkscrew; sexy twins; self-referential humor; and, most importantly, some of the series’s most creative kills — courtesy of returning F/X guru Tom Savini. There’s nothing like a well-aimed harpoon to shoot you into the No. 4 slot.
5. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)
Thanks to a lightning bolt, our masked killer is back from the dead. This entry in the series is beloved for turning up the camp humor — mixing homages to Frankenstein and James Bond with plenty of cheesy in-jokes. “I’ve seen enough horror movies,” says one victim-to-be, “to know any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly.” For its whimsical take on the Crystal Lake legend, Jason Lives rises from the grave into your top five.
6. Friday the 13th (2009): This relaunch of the series allowed a whole new generation to experience the fun of watching teenagers being slaughtered by the baker’s dozen.
7. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988): What has the Friday the 13th series always been lacking? According to this sequel, psychic warfare!
8. Freddy vs. Jason (2003): Two preeminent baddies go head-to-head like Tom and Jerry (with decapitations), fulfilling the longtime dreams of horror fans.
9. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985): A copycat killer is on the loose, and you can’t believe it’s not Jason! Rest assured: there’s still plenty of Crystal Lake-style gore.
10. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989): The Muppets did it. Now Jason must. Even streetwise New Yorkers are no match for Jason’s knife and, yes, boxing skills.
Catch Jason in all his murderous glory during AMC Fearfest.