Fearsome Fates: The Best Kills of the 'Friday' Franchise
Filmmaker Sean S. Cunningham took John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), ripped it off and helped further a bloody new sub-genre of horror movies: the slasher film.
There are so many memorable flicks in the Friday the 13th film series, which are loaded with splatter and suspense. Pound for pound, there are more beautiful women and devilishly creative fatalities than most other Silver Screen series. "Friday" clearly secures its bloody legacy in the annals of horror history. With 12 installments, boasting a body count of nearly 200 victims, there are so many unforgettable moments.
With that in mind, here are the 10 Best Kills of the Friday Franchise.
10. Friday the 13th: Part III (1982): Jason kills Vera
There are sexy casts and then there are the alluring women of Friday the 13th: Part III (1982). They have to be one of the best-looking groups of actresses ever assembled during what was the height of the slasher films. Poor Vera (Catherine Parks) has the dubious honor of being Jason’s (Richard Brooker) first victim when he first dons the now trademark hockey mask.
After stealing the new facial guise from camp pariah Shelly (Larry Zerner), Jason uses a harpoon gun to fire a spear into lovely Vera’s eye. This is one the most memorable deaths, of the franchise, and the cherry on top is the fact that it’s presented in 3D. Yes, it’s bad 3D, by today’s standards, but diehard audiences love it.
9. Friday the 13th: Part II (1981): Jason kills Mark
Will Jason attack a man in a wheelchair? Unfortunately, Friday fanatics know the answer is yes. All these years later, fans continue to feel horrible for the handicapped Mark who is portrayed by the late actor Tom McBride. Mark is waiting patiently for Vickie (Lauren-Marie Taylor) to return to him because after all their flirting they are finally ready to make love.
However, Jason (Warrington Gillette) ruins their evening. Jason surprises the crippled boy, while he waits outside, and smacks Mark with a machete right in the face! The force of the blow sends Mark rolling backwards in his wheelchair down a steep staircase! It’s a brutal kill, and Mark and Vickie's romance is cut tragically short.
8. Jason Goes to the Hell: The Final Friday (1993): Jason kills Deborah
This is by far and away the worst Friday the 13th film ever made, and that’s saying something since Jason Voorhees spends other chapters of the saga killing people in New York City and outer space. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) is a gross slap in the face to the fans, as the filmmakers Adam Marcus, Dean Lorey and Jay Huguely decided to show Jason (Kane Hodder) killing his victims via possession.
Yes, instead of seeing Jason in his cool, new makeup for the duration of the film, fans must watch and cringe as Voorhees' sprit possesses a number of normal humans to do his bloody bidding. The filmmakers' choice to only show Jason for a few minutes of screen time is one of the tragic flaws with The Final Friday.
Now, despite being the worst installment of the series, there is one spectacular kill. Luke (Michael B. Silver) is having sex with Deborah (Michelle Clunie) in the woods. Jason sneaks up to their tent, even stepping on the condom the pair should have been using, as he approaches.
After Deborah climbs on stop of Luke, Jason impales Deborah with an old sign post through the tent in which the couple occupies. In one violent motion, Jason rips the post upward and splits her beautiful body in half! This is a waste of an attractive woman, but still one of the most satisfying kills ever.
7. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986): Jason kills Allen
This is such an important entry in the series because Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986) is the film that made Jason (C.J. Graham) supernatural, and the first kill really sets the beautifully violent tone. After inadvertently bringing Jason back to life, in an homage to the original Frankenstein (1931), Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) watches in horror as his friend Hawes (Ron Palillo) is brutally murdered.
In an awesome display of brute strength, Jason punches a hole in Hawes’ chest!
Jason's arm extends through Hawes’ back, and the youngster’s heart is clutched in Jason’s demonic grasp! The death may be even more satisfying to those who recognized Palillo as the actor who portrayed annoying character Horshack on the television show Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979). It seems that Jason felt the same way about that '70s show as many others did when he ripped Hawes’ heart out of his chest.
6. Jason X (2001): Jason kills Adrienne
After the disaster which was Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), and the fact there were eight years between these films, it was a stunner that somewhere a room full of executives actually green lit the idea of sending Jason (Kane Hodder) into space. Mercifully, the film had a rather short theatrical run.
As bad as it turned out to be, there is a very memorable kill. While Adrienne (Kristi Angus) examines an apparently dead Jason, the masked menace slowly comes back to life. As she more closely inspects the killer’s tissue under her microscope, Jason sneaks up behind her.
Jason grabs her, drags Adrienne across the room, forces her head into a sink of icy coolant (freezing her face) and then slams her head into the counter! The ferocity of Jason's attack causes Adrienne’s head to explode on impact! Sadly, it’s the high point of the film, and it happens in the first act.
5. Friday the 13th: Part III (1982): Jason kills Rick
This might be the best/worst example of what happens to a lovelorn character in a horror film. Rick (Paul Kratka) desperately tries to reconnect with his old flame, Chris (Dana Kimmell), during their time at Camp Crystal Lake. Unfortunately, Jason (Richard Brooker) gets his hands on Rick before Chris has a chance to see what a great guy she has.
While checking the exterior of their cabin, Jason grabs Rick and gags him with his hand! This prevents Chris from hearing Rick’s screams for help, and when she returns to the interior of the cabin Jason hoists Rick into the air, squeezes his head and pops it like a zit!
The result is Rick’s eye squirting out of his skull in all its 3D glory! It is one of the cheesiest, 3D effects of the early 1980s, and you can see the fake eyeball traveling down the wire toward the camera. Regardless, Rick's eye-popping death is still one of the best “Oh my God!” moments in the series.
4. Freddy vs. Jason (2003): Jason kills Trey
Jason (Ken Kirzinger) doesn’t waste any time as he quickly dispatches Gibb’s (Katharine Isabelle) obnoxious boyfriend, Trey (Jesse Hutch), during the opening moments of the film. After an off-screen sex romp with Gibb, Trey lies in bed with a beer when Jason strikes.
Voorhees repeatedly plunges his machete into Trey’s back, and then he folds the youth up in the bed like a taco shell! It’s an awesome display of Jason’s power, and director Ronny Yu’s obsession with loads of blood and gore is on full display. Audiences who had any qualms about whether or not Freddy vs. Jason (2003) would live up to their own respective franchises were immediately delighted with Yu's violent creativity.
This is one of the most memorable deaths in either series, and the film is one of the best Freddy and Friday installments ever made. FvJ is the epitome of Monster Movie melees.
3. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988): Jason kills Judy
The only actor to play the character of Jason Voorhees more than once is fan favorite, Kane Hodder. This was his first appearance as the man behind the hockey mask, and this is Kane's favorite kill of the franchise. While waiting for her boyfriend to return to their tent, which is deep in the woods of Crystal Lake, Judy (Deborah Kessler) gets comfortable in her sleeping bag.
Suddenly, Jason cuts his way into the tent and scoops up Judy in the sleeping bag!
Jason drags Judy kicking and screaming to a nearby tree. Jason then hoists the sleeping bag into the air and slams Judy’s head into the tall timber in one hellacious motion! Judy cracks her skull, and it’s so simplistic and yet diabolically creative at the same time. It's not only a memorable Kane kill, it's a high point for the character of Jason in the franchise.
2. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th: Part VI (1986): Jason kills Sheriff Garris
Sheriff Garris (David Kagen) is hiding at the campgrounds after an unsuccessful first encounter with Jason Voorhees (C.J. Graham). But, when the sheriff hears his daughter Megan (Jennifer Cooke) screaming for help, he rushes to confront Jason in order to protect her.
Garris attacks Jason and begins beating him with a tree branch, and then he forces Jason to the ground! Garris climbs on top of him, and he repeatedly smashes a rock into Jason’s skull, but Voorhees gets the upper hand! Jason forces Garris backwards in the wrong direction and folds the sheriff up like a lawn chair!
The cracking sound of Garris’ back breaking is what makes this death so effective, and it is one of the most chilling and creative deaths in the Friday films.
1. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984): Tommy kills Jason
This is truly a case of saving the best for last, and it’s the only kill on our list that wasn’t carried out by the man behind the hockey mask. In what was supposed to be the final Friday the 13th movie, Jason (Ted White) squares off against siblings Trish (Kimberly Beck) and Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) at the film’s climax.
Jason is fixing to murder Trish when Tommy takes him by surprise by, and he reveals himself to Voorhees from the staircase sporting a bald head. Tommy looks quite similar to a young Jason Voorhees!
Jason is confused, as he stares at the young boy who has shaved his own head to look like him. In Jason's moment of hesitation, Trish grabs the machete and swipes at Jason’s head, but the attack only knocks off Jason's hockey mask.
Jason's hideously deformed face is revealed, and the revelation send Trish into a panic!
Trish drops the machete and screams, and Jason closes in for the kill, but Tommy picks up the weapon and slams it into Jason’s head! Tommy's attack is lethal, and with the machete caught in his left eye socket Jason drops to his knees and then headfirst toward the floor!
The flooring shoves the machete upward, and Jason’s head slides down the weapon! And, here’s your cliché of the day: Jason got an eyeful. This is by far and away the best kill in the franchise, and it is executed masterfully by special effects' wizard Tom Savini. Plus, this film is one of the best of the series. You can’t go wrong with the Final Chapter: It is classic horror cinema.
Honorable Mention: Friday the 13th: Part II (1981): Jason kills Jeff and Sandra
Fans are probably saying, “How can this kill not have made the list?”
It’s great Jason (Warrington Gillette) uses his staff like a skewer to make human shish kabobs out of poor Jeff (Bill Randolph) and Sandra (Marta Kober), but fans have to look at this kill as it appeared on film. It’s just Jason plunging the spear toward the couple, Sandra reacting and a shot of the bloody weapon emerging under the bed.
At the end of the day, the scene is yet another unfortunate victim of MPAA censoring, so, while it’s an interesting concept audiences don’t get the payoff they deserve.
Naturally, everyone has their own favorite moments and kills from the film series, but we can all agree the Friday the 13th saga is one of the most memorable and enduring horror film franchises ever to grace the Silver Screen. In conclusion, we leave you with the sage words of Deputy Rick Cologne (Vincent Guastaferro) from Jason Lives, “Happy Friday the 13th.”