I always liked Jason and how he’s basically an anti-hero rather than a villain when it comes to how he’s written. However, because I just don’t deal with anything remotely called horror usually, I never saw any until Giant Bomb did a Film And 40’s of Jason X which is the first I had ever seen and I completely loved it and wanted to see more of Jason and these movies and kind of became a big fan of the character. I got a set of 1-8 for my birthday back in January but didn’t get around to watching them until Friday the 13th came to actually pass and it put me in the right mood a couple months ago and that is when I actually watched all these in order (aside X and the ones I didn’t watch, including 8 at the moment). Since it’s Halloween, literally a minute before midnight of November 1st so juuuust barely still Halloween, I figured I’d finally get around to finishing this and posting it.
It’s worth saying upfront that the age of almost all these films is really apparent in acting, obviously things like clothes and technology and cars within the setting which were modern at the time, camera quality, cinematography in general, special effects, and most importantly the directing style itself which is absolutely the type of directing you’d never find outside of the 80s.
Here’s something I feel is really important to all the films though; if you watch them as they released like I have now (aside X) then you should watch them as prequels, slowly building up Jason to becoming what he is so famous for being, because he certainly isn’t for awhile. He’s not in 1 at all, in 2 he’s a bumbling idiot who does an awkward comical jog after everybody and even falls on his face multiple times by his own stupidity and not someone making it happen, 3 he’s starting to do more of his signature trolling and is a lot more capable of taking pain, and then at 4 is when Jason is truly, finally, the Jason everyone knows and loves – well almost, really he isn’t his final form until he’s a zombie but still. He’s basically an immortal demon, he’s way taller and far more built than the last 2 films, he barely gives a shit about any injuries he receives, and he just walks through doors and they explode from the sheer might of this monster of a man being near them. It’s a really fun journey to watch him grow from incredibly embarrassingly hilarious retard who fucking stands on a chair at one point to surprise someone but it breaks from how fucking heavy he is and falls flat on his face and breaks his weapon or losing a fist fight to some random teen guy to finally having his imposing Terminator unstoppable walk and just not giving a fuck.
Anyway, on to the mini-reviews.
Friday The 13th Uncut
This one’s famous for of course being the original film yet lacking the main character that the entire franchise is known for. I mean he exists for like maybe 1 total second at the end as the stinger, but that’s it, and the movie does definitely suffer for it. However, I thought it was pretty okay especially as someone not too overly used-to horror tropes as I don’t watch horror movies, which brings me to an important point; the first 3 Friday the 13th movies are absolutely trying to be horror films, not slashers, and that also drags them down quite a bit because 80s horror was even worse than modern horror – not “worse for me cuz spooooky”, but “this is real fucking stupid”. It also means everything was very boring.
It tries really hard to be tense and atmospheric, but instead it’s just kind of a lot of wasted time. At one point in the movie the evil teens are shown for almost 10 full real life minutes (cutting sometimes away to show some other pointless meandering) playing fucking Monopoly. This is a big issue with not just 1, but many of the movies where they’re basically 70 minutes of set-up yet all of it being totally uninteresting and boring. However, the novelty of an 80s horror movie, something I’ve never really seen, kept me watching and it was totally fine…up until the end.
The end makes it just hilarious. I already knew Jason was not in this and that his mom was the real killer the whole movie, but I didn’t realize she was some stubby little grandma in a pale blue sweater. Nor did I realize when she reveals herself to the last survivor – a young lithe girl who could totally fend off an old woman who has no way to surprise-kill her anymore, the girl for some reason just tosses her and runs off like 10 times. It’s absolutely retarded to watch and it plays like a joke parody skit because it is literally almost a montage of an old woman being bullied by some young girl who is too stupid to just kill her or tie her up. I’m sorry, but having her dressed in the most grandma outfit possible and just weakly being tossed to the ground a bunch does not really work as the big climax of a horror movie.
One other problem I had with this; all the kills are extremely tame, the main go-to being a very very very very very very very light papercut level cut of the neck done very slowly and gently. You’ll find this is a problem for a bit.
The first appearance of Jason, and one of the most oddly adorable and embarrassing instances of him. Here, Jason is just learning what he’s doing and how to do it, and boy does it ever show. I don’t think they were going for that on purpose, but watching these after having this idea of Jason from how popular he is and also from seeing X this made it feel like a purposeful PREQUEL (true for all the films really) developing how Jason started out in his early days. It’s not that, but it certainly feels that way when you see the guy who is average height, average build, and incredibly stupid trying his best and failing multiple times to kill people because he is fucking clumsy and retarded. It’s unironic fun to see him be such a stupid goof.
Jason gets his ass beat by a random guy. Jason gets his ass beat by a literal girl at one point. Jason does a really awkward jog at people and he literally trips himself multiple times on nothing at all and falls on his face. Jason stands on a chair to try his hand at troll-killing for the first time, hoping she won’t notice while she’s hidden under the table he’s on this chair. The chair breaks because he’s an adult man putting all his weight on a shitty chair. He faceplants directly into the kitchen floor and also breaks his pitchfork. This is really the whole movie, just a bunch of watching Jason be a dumbass and also getting his ass kicked before ultimately only winning because he’s already kinda dead.
Part 3 3D
Aside the horrible forced in 3D gimmicks – almost all of which are nonsense like “popcorn flying at the camera” or “playing with a yoyo into the camera”, this movie feels lacking. I don’t see why people think it’s the worst one, but it’s certainly just a rehash of the first two which makes it mediocre. The main thing of note is seeing that Jason has grown since his first attempt at mass slaughter, this time being 25% more capable and 25% less clumsy and bumbling. Really, watching him progress is the best aspect of this entire franchise, for a character who doesn’t speak and is just an immortal killing machine they really make him genuinely endearing and enjoyable to see grow as a person.
Oh, right, this is actually where Jason’s look finally shows up. It’s so strange to think that maybe the most iconic horror character in the world not only was not in his first film whatsoever, but didn’t even have the most incredibly famous iconic look until three films in. Even that isn’t so true, dude literally is wearing clean pressed clothes the whole movie which really doesn’t suit him but is also kind of another charm point in that he canonically went into town to kill people to steal some clean clothes because he wanted to look nicer. Wait, maybe that part was in 4. I don’t actually remember as I didn’t keep to writing these like I planned right after.
The Final Chapter
Tommy Jarvis is introduced in this one as a kid. A lot of people think of this as the very best of the series apparently, but for me it was just maybe one of the better ones – but absolutely not THE BEST. It’s pretty much 1, 2, and 3 yet again only this time with a little boy involved and Jason FINALLY reaching his peak form. He barely cares about anything done to him, he walks to a door and it basically explodes itself, and he really feels like THE Jason here, he’s finally learned all he had to learn and he’s using it to the fullest.
However, again, I really can’t agree this was all that good. Jason was great in it, that’s for sure, but that only comprises about 20 minutes of the movie (a huge amount compared to the prior 3 movies, but still not much). Aside him the writing was maybe the worst of the series, nothing makes sense, the setting makes no sense, the teens this time make no sense, nobody is anywhere near Jason’s lake so he can’t REEE DON’T TREAD ON ME REEE for his motivation so it’s unclear why he’s even doing any of it this time, for some reason this place has 2 homes and nothing else but the homes are extremely close and one is a family that’s lived here a long time and Jason never cared. The characters were all so badly made that I didn’t even get anything out of any of them at all, it was just really fucking awkward and like 3 different screenplays were taken apart and had their pages mixed up at random with one another. It’s a complete mess of a movie, but Jason is great in it.
Part V: A New Beginning
This has the absolute worst acting of the entire bunch, and I don’t just mean the people trying to pretend to be mentally ill. Absolutely nobody in this one but Jason, who is as always played by another stuntman, is able to act at all. The worst has to be the fat fucking loser trying to depict a mentally retarded guy. You know me, I’m not the type to think that stuff is offensive and it isn’t, it’s just really really really awful acting to the point it’s embarrassing just to see the one scene he’s in before being murdered, not even by Jason. Then there’s the two crazy hicks including the stereotypical mom-fucking freak covered in dirt and clothes that weren’t washed for a month who sits at a broken table shoveling literal gruel into his mouth and said mother who is some sort of Abby Russel if she wasn’t born in an era where women of all looks are coveted as angelic and must-hires with the same acting ability as the real one! Nobody in this one can do remotely anything resembling believable or human, not even the police or EMS characters.
I do appreciate that it finally took things from occasional events happening while the ‘set-up’ happened to actually being full of various murder while the set-up occurred too. It isn’t just stupid mindless murder going on like it would be without ANY of the ‘character development’ these films have, but it manages to progress that aspect while also having stuff actually happen which made it, in a way, a little more interesting to watch. 4 had a little progress there but not nearly as much as here, the same goes for the kills themselves. Jason is way more violent in this one, no more soft slices, no more lack of creativity or diversity. The movie might not be the best, but Jason’s development took a huge step forward yet again in this one. It was nice to see him on a rampage in a new setting too, finally venturing into town.
Except, to ruin all of the good, Jason isn’t actually in this one. It’s an imposter, just a normal serial killer copycatting him which to me was maybe the worst choice they could have ever made in the franchise even if it is only a one-movie issue. It was also a real fucking weird choice to make almost every killing victim be a mentally disabled person just trying to get help at essentially a halfway house for retards, which at the VERY least makes me glad it wasn’t really Jason because nothing about his character has ever been shown to be unsympathetic. Even in 4 he never actually hurts Tommy as a kid nor at any point shows any interest in attacking him aside one arguable moment of “hesitation” between picking to chase him or his sister (he picks the teen sister, of course which is the only reason he even finds Tommy as she runs to him to begin with) so having him go around slaughtering the mentally ill would feel kind of out of character.
Not only does this make for another movie without Jason in it, but it also doesn’t make any sense. This guy is a fucking tank while he pretends to be Jason, he even survives having his gut cut open by a tractor and a chainsaw tearing his arm half off and he barely slows down. There is absolutely no explanation for how this guy is able to take the damage he does or do the things he can when he’s just a regular guy.
Unlike 4, where I disagree in many ways with the majority, this one I am totally in tune with the common feelings of it being pretty bad. Oh right, this is also the first time they changed from numbers to roman numerals…because.
Part VI: Jason Lives
I’m amazed this isn’t everyone’s favorite, yet somehow 4 is. This is actual, genuinely, the first real full actual fucking Jason appearance. He is literally completely dead, a zombie reanimated form of himself, and so he is finally completely invincible. More importantly he never once goes faster than a power walk. This might seem like a silly thing to focus on, but seeing him awkwardly jog after people or away from fights he’s losing was always really fucking stupid and made him seem like a joke every time. Now he does not give a single shit ever, not once. In 4 and ‘5’ he was close, but he still did his weird jog at times.
Also, this one proves fully that the only good thing about 5 is that it’s not really him because the obsession of the paramedic with killing the little black kid. Jason never even comes close to harming a child in any of the movies nor shows any intention of doing so – not even to Tommy Jarvis when he was a child. Here it’s shoved in your face how much he has no interest in hurting, let alone killing, any. He’s presented with a billion opportunities, including a time where there are a bunch of kids screaming huddled in a corner while he blows through the front door of the cabin…and he just blows through the back door without a second to even notice they exist. Jason is a good boy. Deal with it.
Easily my favorite of the Pre-X films, but I mean X is impossible to beat.
Part VII: The New Blood
Surprisingly good for having the FUCKING STUPIDEST possible thing in it – a telekinetic girl with literal magical powers! Don’t worry, Jason doesn’t give a shit and tries to kill her like everyone else. Probably the third best of the series somehow, maybe because it gave in to the stupidity and also had Jason fighting against someone with some way to actually even try to do that. It kind of gave him a light foil while providing a stupid but interesting twist to the ‘character development’ and setup period of the movie instead of the same boring setup being reused a billionth time. My biggest issue, if I’m remembering right (I wrote most of the rest when I watched them, this one I kinda forgot to) is that in this one Jason loses his mask for quite awhile and that kinda isn’t something I’m a big fan of. Jason’s mask is not only iconic and a great visual, but without it he’s literally just an ugly deformed person and in this case extra bad from decomposing in a lake. He just kinda looks stupid when they do that every single time they do and this time he’s that way the longest. Jason is the mask, much like Shinpachi is his glasses. You just can’t take it away like that.
Part X: Jason In Space
This movie defines what it is to be absolutely kino. Seriously, I love this movie, it’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life with a piece of cinema and none of it was ironic fun. This is not a so-bad-it’s-good movie, nor is it a bad movie, it’s an amazing, fun, “fuck it, we’ve gone too far lets just go even fucking futher” hard to believe it even exists thing that was done perfectly entirely on purpose and is stupid in smart ways. I did a slightly long mini-review of it already in this post from last year’s movies I watched, and I still love it to bits. It is seriously one of the most purely fun rides in film and Jason is at his absolute fucking best in it.
And that’s all I’ve seen so far. I hear all the ones I have left are ABSOLUTE garbage but I still plan to see them at some point, but watching all of these LITERALLY ONE A DAY EVERY DAY kind of drained me on watching more too soon. Fucking great time doing it though, what a fun and stupid series of films, and Jason has done nothing but prove he’s worthy of his fame. A great sympathetic antagonist who doesn’t speak or do much of anything but walk and kill things and yet he’s got so much to him. Recommend the whole series for sure, but especially those 3 I mentioned as my favorites.
I got this done with exactly 11 seconds left before the time changed to midnight. I got it in before Halloween was over – closer than my AOTY post for 2014 that I got in 15 minutes before the year changed! A new record!
I take umbrage with your statement that 80s horror is worse than modern horror! Some of the best horror movies are from the 80s, like The Shining, The Thing, Scream and-
Okay so actually most 80s horror movies are silly and honestly most of them are good for other reasons than being scary nevermind you’re right.
I still need to get around to seeing part 6. You should totally see part 8, it is really bad but there’s a lot of pretty funny moments in it too. Part 9 has very little jason in it cuz he’s dead for most of it so don’t make yourself check it out til you want to.