[Choose your film or view the full report below]
FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
Matt: Often imitated but never duplicated, 'Friday The 13th' was the one that started it all for me. Much like 'Halloween', this one was also low-budget filmmaking at is best. It was the one that scared everyone out of their seats. Betsy Palmer was very convincing as Mrs. Voorhees, and Kevin Bacon's career launched off of this movie. The ending was great too, lots of blood, lots of gore, and then a surprise appearance by Jason, which would set the stage for the future films. Harry Manfredini really delivered on the music for this film with his iconic score and the creating the 'ki ki ki, ma ma ma' sound effect (with his own voice!) that will continue to haunt generations to come. If it wasn't for 'Friday The 13th', the slasher genre would have died out right after 'Halloween', and the '80s would have been a much different decade. 10 out of 10.
A.J.: It's Friday the 13th personified. It started everything and has all the good elements of a horror movie. 9 out of 10.
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 (1981)
Matt: Part 2 was a good sequel in an era where studios were not really looking for them. It has all the makings of a great horror movie, and was able to spin the 'Friday The 13th' world into a new orbit with the debut of Jason as the killer. The only thing weak about this movie was the poor transition from the original to Part 2. In Part 1, Jason is a boy. All of a sudden in Part 2, he is fully grown, and there's no way he got that way in just 5 years, as explained in the movie. There should have been a scene actually showing Jason coming out of the lake. It just leaves a gap in between there that most people wouldn't be able to figure out. But, on the other hand, it IS the arrival of Jason, so that can't be too bad. The acting was good, but not great, about what you'd expect from an '80s slasher film. The killings were just how we like 'em-- stylistic and bloody. Harry Manfredini again delivered the goods with the score and sound effects, continuing the 'Friday The 13th' feel. All in all, a solid effort. 8 out of 10.
A.J.: It is the arrival of Jason and you can clearly understand why everything happens and it has more blood and gore. 10 out of 10.
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 (1982)
Matt: Part 3 was one of the first films to utilize the 3-D gimmick, which has become the rage in the new millennium. Many of those films today have Part 3 to thank, as they were able to do some truly groundbreaking things for their time. There are awesome 3-D kills and, in one of the most iconic moments in horror history, Jason gets his hockey mask! Shelly had no idea that he would set the trend for the rest of the series by giving up the mask (and his life). Sure, not being at Camp Crystal Lake hurt this movie, but Higgins Haven was a good setting for Jason to roam, and it gave him lots of interesting new toys to play with, particularly in the barn. Richard Brooker really was the first to establish the menacing presence in the role of Jason, something that became an essential part of his character the rest of the way. Harry Manfredini's haunting score continued once again to define the series. 8 out of 10.
A.J.: Jason gets his infamous mask and there are awesome 3-D killing effects. The only thing is that being at Higgins Haven and not at Camp Crystal Lake hurt this movie. 7 out of 10.
FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER (1984)
Matt: 'The Final Chapter' was not properly named. As we all know, it wasn't Jason's Final Chapter. Perhaps they should have called it, "The Next Chapter." That would sound better. But my understanding is that Paramount really did want to end the series with this film, but as always, money talks, and nearly a dozen films later, this franchise continues to be a cash cow, albeit now in remake form. Anyhow, this movie gets almost everything right. They return to Crystal Lake, have some gruesome killings, and the role of Jason is played with sinister intensity by Ted White. I don't know why he didn't want to be known as Jason at the time (he has since embraced the role), but he certainly delivered. This film also marked one of the early appearances of actor Crispin Glover, who would go on to semi-fame in the 'Back To The Future' films, and became one of the more well-known names to emerge from the Friday series, along with Corey Feldman, for that matter. Again, Harry Manfredini brought forth a menacing musical score, including the eerie opening and closing credit themes. The only thing wrong is-- What is up with Jason's long black fingernails? They couldn't have gotten that way overnight, given that it is supposed to start the same night as Part 3. Other than that, a classic sequel. 9 out of 10.
A.J.: They kept the ax mark from Part 3 with wet blood on the mask and returning to Crystal Lake was a plus. We also meet Tommy, who becomes a key player in the later movies. 8 out of 10.
FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART V: A NEW BEGINNING (1985)
Matt: As much as they got right with Part 4, there was that much more wrong with Part 5. I don't know what the producers were thinking, aside from cashing a paycheck on the backs of the devoted 'Friday' fans. A Jason movie without Jason? What the hell? This movie totally sucked. The acting was poor, the storyline was poor, everything was poor. It was very obvious many times throughout the movie that the killer was not Jason, and it was just some guy in a mask. The mask wasn't even scary at all, and Roy was a joke. Who is scared of a paramedic for god's sake? Even Harry Manfredini's musical score couldn't save this film, and that in itself says all that needs to be said about this film. Part 5 definitely gives the Friday series a black eye and is a direct insult to Jason. 3 out of 10.
A.J.: This movie was horrible. I am not even gonna waste my time saying why it sucks, because we would be here all night. 3 out of 10.
FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART VI: JASON LIVES (1986)
Matt: 'Jason Lives' is by far my favorite 'Friday sequel'. It contained all the right elements, and director Tom McLaughlin gave the 'Friday' fanbase what it was so longing for-- bringing Jason back after the Part 5 debacle, and getting him back to doing what he does best-- slash, maim, and murder. C.J. Graham was very imposing as the revived Jason, who makes the transition from hunter to zombified killing machine. They managed to get Jason back to camp and make it scary again, although the film did have its 'campy' moments. What do you expect from a 'Friday The 13th' film? Each one has a little bit of the lighter side to it at some point. This film also marked the conclusion of the Tommy Jarvis saga, here played admirably by Thom Mathews of 'Return Of The Living Dead' fame. There was definitely a revenge factor involved in this movie, and C.J. and Thom had a good chemistry on film as the opposing foes. This film restored the credibility of the franchise for Paramount, and set the stage for all the sequels to come after it. It was as if Part 5 never existed, which is fine by me. The acting really wasn't that bad in this one, and the killings were excellent. All that, combined with the kick-ass music of Alice Cooper and new score from Harry Manfredini, and this one knocks it out of the park. 10 out of 10.
A.J.: The real Jason comes back and kicks ass at the original campground. The only thing that kept this movie from getting a 10 was the fact that they changed the name to Forest Green and didn't keep it as Crystal Lake. 9 out of 10.
FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD (1988)
Matt: 'The New Blood' marked the second film of the zombified killing machine known as Jason. It was great in many ways. It featured the debut of the great Kane Hodder as Jason, and Kane took the role to a whole new level. Jason was definitely at his best in this one, and it was the last time Jason really scared me in a film. You can tell Kane had a direct hand in the killings, as he delivered some of the most memorable in the series (sleeping bag, tree-trimming saw, etc). The main thing keeping this movie from getting a 10 is the storyline. It seemed a little far-fetched that Tina had telekinetic powers, and it really strayed far too much away from the simple premise of all the 'Friday' films. The movie would have been a whole lot better without that part of the plot, but I understand why they did it, to put Jason up against something he'd never seen before. Still, it would have been a lot better straight up, and it was pretty entertaining to see Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser of 'Weekend At Bernie's fame) get what was coming to him. That, combined with a weak effort on the musical score by Fred Mollin, really dragged this down a little. If they would have continued on with master Harry Manfredini instead of using his stock score, this film would have been much more effective as a 'Friday The 13th' film. 8 out of 10.
A.J.: This was the first movie that Kane Hodder appeared in and Jason looked better than ever with some spectacular killing scenes. The only thing that kept this movie down was Tina's telekinetic powers. She should have fought Jason toe-to-toe like everyone else. 7 out of 10.
FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (1989)
Matt: 'Jason Takes Manhattan' would have been an incredible concept if Jason actually 'took' Manhattan, and not Vancouver doubled as Manhattan. There isn't much good I can say about Part 8. Kane Hodder was again brilliant behind the mask, but other than that, most of it pretty much sucked. Some of the scenes were too ridiculous to even imagine (Jason teleporting, for example). Paramount blew it big time with this movie, and just think, they wanted to end the series with this one as well! Every time they try to kill it, the fans demand more, and thank goodness in this case. I realize they wanted to do something different, but come on, you have to draw a line somewhere. The acting was horrible, and continued the downward trend. The murders were sometimes cheered for (Tamara), and there was no soul to the characters. I didn't care for most of them anyway, and didn't mind when Jason took care of business. The producers said they had additional New York scenes planned for the Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center, and even the Empire State Building. It would have given the film more credibility, but wouldn't have done much else for it. Kane Hodder said he hated the ending, and I have to agree with him on that one. And what is up with that awful musical score? As they should have learned from Part 7, Fred Mollin can't deliver, and they should have brought back Harry Manfredini once again. At least they used some of his stock score in Part 7. In this one, they didn't even use the 'ki ki ki, ma ma ma'. Instead, we get 'j-j-j-j-jason'. What a travesty to 'Friday' fans. 3 out of 10.
A.J.: The only thing good in this movie was the first five minutes when they were at Crystal Lake. The rest sucked and the acting was terrible. I actually wanted Jason to kill some of the people so they would shut up. 5 out of 10.
JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY (1993)
Matt: I was sad to see Jason "go to hell" in what was supposed to be the final 'Friday The 13th' film, but what was really sad was how they sent him there. Kane Hodder again proved he is Jason, and it was a big improvement over Part 8. However, this film strayed way too far from the 'Friday' concept, and the idea of Jason's demonic soul jumping bodies was just a bit too much to handle. I just wasn't buying anyone but the real hockey-masked killer murdering people, and it was plain laughable when the hellbaby emerged and was reborn through Diana. This film wasn't really scary, except when Jason was in it, and even then they kind of handcuffed Kane Hodder from exhibiting what he does best. They should have went back to the drawing board and did a classic 'Friday The 13th' campsite movie, something I am still waiting for, complete with Harry Manfredini's original score (although his effort here isn't bad). As it is, the acting was improved, but it still resembles nothing more than a Sci-Fi movie of the week. 4 out of 10.
A.J.: Once again, the only good part was in the beginning when they were at Crystal Lake. Once Jason's heart jumped from body to body, the movie went downhill. I expected a lot better from what was supposed to be the final Friday The 13th. 6 out of 10.
JASON X (2002)
Matt: I was so excited to see this film that I originally rated it higher when I first reviewed it. Then I saw a film called 'Aliens', and it all went downhill from there. I waited nine damn years for this sequel, and THIS is what they come up with? I cannot believe they got away with this without being sued. To hear writer Todd Farmer say it is "loosely" based on Aliens is absurd. I like Farmer and enjoy most of his work, but 'Jason X' is a damn near carbon copy of 'Aliens', except with Jason inserted in place of the aliens. My true rating is now a 2, but only because Kane Hodder kicked ass and really got to show why he is now an icon. Much like Part 7, he delivered some of the most memorable kills in the series. Aside from that, the special effects weren't very special (thanks Beavis), and the acting was subpar from the rest of the cast. Casting gorgeous women on the surface just couldn't hide the bad acting underneath. Even Harry Manfredini had a bad outing on this one, as his musical score was good for a sci-fi film, but not worthy of a 'Friday The 13th' film. I did like their use of Drowning Pool's song 'Bodies' in promotion of the film, but where was it in the actual film? That might have earned the film an extra point, but as it stands now, it is merely a 2. Excuse me while I go throw up. 2 out of 10.
A.J.: I knew there just wasn't something right about this movie the first time I saw it, and it only recently dawned on me. It was an exact replica of one of my favorite childhood movies, Aliens. I apologize to all the fans out there when Matt and I defended Jason X, but we finally see the light. Jason X sucks and if you don't agree with what we have to say, then just go watch Aliens and see for yourself. 2 out of 10.
FREDDY VS. JASON (2003)
Matt: I will always be bitter about 'Freddy Vs. Jason' for the fact that Kane Hodder got screwed out of the role of Jason. With all that man gave the franchise from Parts 7-X, I could not believe he got passed over, and I am not buying that 'expressive eyes' crap. Ken Kirzinger, his replacement, cannot lace his boots! He portrayed Jason like a big walking dildo, something I say almost every time I view the film (which isn't too often now). Since when is Jason afraid of anything?
Two of the greatest horror icons are finally brought together for the long-awaited face-off from hell, and this is the best they can do? The script was decent, but it did have some holes in it. It it understandable that it was a very difficult task to tie together the two mythos of Freddy and Jason, and this is probably about as good as it was gonna get from New Line. The kills and battle scenes were nicely crafted, and the effects were pretty good on the nightmares. The acting was halfway decent and included horror vets Katharine Isabelle and Brendan Fletcher, among others. This one also marked the last performance of the legendary Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger, but the large dark cloud will always hang over this film for me. I truly believe Robert Englund and Kane Hodder would have tore up the screen like never before. Now we will never know. As good as it was, it could have been THAT much better with Kane Hodder as Jason. Hell, 'Kane Hodder as Jason' is a horror institution, and now I'm afraid we will never see that again.
The music was a definite positive with this film. Graeme Revell's score really echoed of an epic battle, which I can totally buy into. I would have preferred a little more of the classic scores of Harry Manfredini (Friday The 13th) and Charles Bernstein (A Nightmare On Elm Street), but overall it was solid. In addition to that, the hardcore soundtrack of this film was the best of any entry in either franchise. Beginning with Ill Nino's 'How Can I Live' and concluding with Type O Negative's underrated 'We Were Electrocute', I can listen to this and not get bored. It is also on my workout list when I hit the gym. To the producers' credit, they used many of the songs on the soundtrack in the actual film, something not done too often these days.
With Kane Hodder as Jason, this movie would have definitely been a 10 out of 10, something I haven't given to a 'Friday' film since Part 6. As it stands, this film is merely half that. 5 out of 10.
A.J.: This is by far the hardest movie I've ever had to critique. I know most fans are disappointed that this movie did not receive a 10, because it was one hell of a film. Just the simple fact that it included both Freddy and Jason, I had rate it tougher than normal. The plot is perfect, the kills are freaking outstanding, and the acting, although it needed a little work, was still good. The only thing that hurt this rating was Ken Kirzinger! If Kane would have played Jason, not only would he have done a totally better job, but he would have never let the writers do Jason such an injustice as making him afraid of water?! And he would have made sure Jason's hockey mask had the infamous "ax mark" in it. Other than a few minor errors, this movie simply kicks ass; an instant classic. 8 out of 10.
FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009)
Matt: This was a tough film to rate. The challenge was to rate it as a stand-alone, even though it clearly had big shoes to fill. I admire what the writers and producers attempted to do, but they missed in a lot of ways. First off, where was the signature "ki ki ki" sound effect throughout the film? Aside from the beginning credits and when Jason finds his mask, it was noticeably absent. And what is with the music? Steve Jablonsky's score sounded like it was lifted straight from the 'Texas Chainsaw' remakes, and the token rock and rap songs were terrible and did not fit in at all. 'Sister Christian'? That was just awful. This would have been much more effective and creepy with some classic Harry Manfredini musical score. The other main thing that hurt this film was the fact that there weren't actual campers staying at the camp. I went into this expecting them to stay in the cabins and actually be at the camp, not around it. That was a major disappointment.
I also didn't agree with the fact that there was a mine underneath the camp. Sure, it explains how Jason navigates the camp so easily, but at times, it seemed like I was watching another incarnation of 'My Bloody Valentine' instead of 'Friday The 13th'. It just didn't fit. Some of the casting was questionable as well, particularly the old lady and the old man with the tow truck, who were recycled from the 'Texas Chainsaw' remakes. You couldn't tell if the old lady was telling Clay about Leatherface or Jason, and that also hurt the film. On the positive side, Derek Mears really delivered as Jason, and the kills were very top-notch. That campfire kill was very original and made me cringe (which isn't too easy anymore). In general, the rest of the cast was passable at best. Travis Van Winkle played a good dickhead as Trent, and the girls were off the charts hot. The sex scenes were also very hardcore, and definitely rank up there among the best in the history of 'Friday The 13th'. Overall, the film was the best in the franchise since Part 7, but for the reasons I mentioned above, it's not a classic by any means. 6 out of 10.
A.J.: This remake definitely blew a breath of fresh air into the deflated 'Friday The 13th' series. Producer Michael Bay took Jason home, where he belongs, to Crystal Lake, and devised some of the most gruesome and intriguing kills of any horror movie, not to mention some hardcore borderline porn sex scenes. He definitely had all of the ingredients of a classic movie, including gory kills, hardcore sex, and Jason back in the woods mowing down horny drunken teenagers. However, where this movie excels in the above mentioned, it fails miserably in just about every other aspect. The musical score is beyond horrible, with cheesy unpopular songs playing during key parts of the film. The acting was average at best, although I must tip my hat to Derek Mears who played one hell of a Jason, and in my mind is now THE Jason. I can't bash this movie too hard though because it is so hard to rate the remake of an all-time classic. I guess what it boils down to is Jason is back at camp (not space or New York), doing what he does best. What more can you ask for? 7 out of 10.
Back To The Lair Of Horror