A Long Boat Trip (Followed by New York)

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is perhaps the dumbest idea for a sequel in the entire franchise. Even the title sounds like Jason has quit killing to star on Broadway. Despite how stupid the movie sounded, it was still a sequels I looked the most forward to seeing. Jason is once again at the bottom of Camp Crystal Lake after the end of Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. He’s again revived by electricity, but this time he boards a boat full of occasionally nude semi-sex crazed teenagers on their way to New York City.

You’d think Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan would skip the boat trip and go straight to New York, but you’d be dead wrong. This entire movie is complete false advertising. The first and second act takes place almost exclusively on this boat. Oh yeah, that makes sense for a movie that literally has “Manhattan” in the title. When they finally get off the boat after several kills, things just get way more ridiculous and almost cartoonish. Like Jason punching off a teens head in a one sided boxing match.

Plus I realize New Yorkers are distracted, but seriously, nobody cares that there’s a machete wielding maniac walking around Times Square. SPOILER ALERT! Rennie is the final girl because she somehow encountered Jason when he drowned as a kid. What makes less sense is her seeing a ghost of his younger self. Don’t even get me started on Jason’s face and illogical “death” by sewage. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan should have been enough to kill the franchise for good.

8. Friday the 13th Part VIII Jason Takes Manhattan

Jason wanders New York

Preceded by: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood & Followed by: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

Telekinetic Terror

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood finally gave Jason a worthy opponent to fight. Even if that opponent is a girl with telekinetic powers. After Jason was chained to the bottom of the lake at the end of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, it seemed like that’s where he’d stay forever. In Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Jason is accidentally pulled to the surface by Tina. She’s the one with unexplained telekinetic powers who stays at Camp Crystal Lake with her friends (SPOILER ALERT! Tina is also the final girl).

Not that Tina’s powers need explanation since Jason is now basically a rotting corpse. I’d say his face is the best looking of the franchise. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood was actually meant to be a different movie entirely. A certain crossover with another horror icon that wouldn’t be released for 15 more years. That idea didn’t pan out right away, but they still wanted to give Jason a more powerful opponent to fight. So they instead went with a “Jason vs. Carrie” idea. It’s an interesting idea, but there’s no direct contact between the two.

Although the biggest highlight of this installment is that it’s the first movie to feature Kane Hodder as Jason. The most iconic actor to play the slasher. His imposing stature and stunt experience made him perfect for the role. He’s able to perform more deadly kills like the sleeping bag body slam. While also embracing other creative methods like using a buzzsaw. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is the last passable sequel for a while.

7. Friday the 13th Part VII The New Blood

Jason breaks out the buzzsaw

Preceded by: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives & Followed by: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Zombie Voorhees

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is usually considered to be the best movie in the series with Jason as the killer. Mostly because it did something that just about every long running horror franchise did eventually. It became self-aware. After the pointless Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, Tommy Jarvis returns to Camp Crystal Lake just to make sure Jason is still dead. He is, but he accidentally ends up resurrected when a metal post is struck by lightning.

At least now Jason’s unkillable nature has an explanation since he’s basically a walking zombie now. It’s one of the main reasons to like it so much. They’ve also injected it with more action and the meta humor that I mentioned. Specifically when a potential victim points out that she’s seen enough horror movies to know a masked killer when she sees one. Plus the opening parodies James Bond’s gun barrel scene with Jason slashing the camera.

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives made me realize how much this franchise needed to embrace its bloody stupidity. Along with a few genuinely creepy moments. This is the only time the camp has been attended by children. Jason’s walk though their cabin is actually pretty terrifying. The only thing I feel is missing is the nudity. Every Friday the 13th movie but this one has it for some reason. SPOILER ALERT! The sheriff’s daughter Megan is the final girl along with her now boyfriend Tommy Jarvis, who has an epic final confrontation with Jason. Thus ending the Tommy Jarvis trilogy. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives ends things where they began, in the water.

6. Friday the 13th Part VI Jason Lives

Jason comes back to life

Preceded by: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning & Followed by: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

The One without Jason

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning is a complete waste of time. At the end of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Jason Voorhees was killed by Tommy Jarvis. They clearly never intended it to be the last one since Friday the 13th: A New Beginning came out just one year after that movie. Despite that, the movie is actually set several years later with Tommy Jarvis as a teenager. He’s in a mental health facility as a new stream of murders start to surface.

SPOILER ALERT! Jason isn’t even the killer. Some boring copycat killer named Roy Burns is the killer. You can tell because his hockey mask is blue instead of red. The biggest question is, why should we care if Jason isn’t the killer? Well one thing they do to keep fans on board is amp up the violence and nudity. Almost every female teenager is naked for an extended period of time. Which is totally fine by me. Aside from that, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning feels like a run of the mill horror movie without Jason.

This Roy guy isn’t interesting and his motive for avenging his child has been done much better before. Camp Crystal Lake isn’t even the location for the first time in the series. Pam is the final girl along with a kid named Reggie. Pam probably survived because of her connection to Tommy. Only the final moments make it look she doesn’t survive for long.  In the end, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning is just a pointless detour in the Jason mythos.

5. Friday the 13th A New Beginning

Roy breaks out the machete

Preceded by: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter & Followed by: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

Not Even Close to the Final Chapter

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter may claim to be the final chapter, but believe me, this franchise is far from over. Which is why successful franchises should stop making movies that claim to be the last one. We all know you can’t keep a determined slasher down. But since they intended it to be the last one, Jason claims more victims than ever before. One night after Friday the 13th Part III, Jason’s presumably dead body has been taken to a morgue.

Of course he’s not dead and he heads back to Camp Crystal Lake. Killing anyone who stands in his way. More sex-crazed mostly nude teenagers arrive to vacation there along with the Jarvis family that lives nearby. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is just as bad as the other sequels, but it does have more redeeming qualities. By this point in the franchise, Jason actually looks like the icon we all know today. A large silent deformed killer with a hockey mask who primarily uses a machete for a weapon. It only took him four movies to start looking like this.

Another high point is that there are more recognizable actors in the movie. Specifically a young Crispin Glover and child actor Corey Feldman. SPOILER ALERT! Trish is the final girl along with her younger brother Tommy Jarvis. Tommy ended up being very important since he’s the one who finally kills Jason in gory fashion. By shaving his head to resemble a young Jason and butchering him with a machete. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter could have ended the franchise, but it’s probably best it didn’t.

4. Friday the 13th The Final Chapter

Jason gets stabbed

Preceded by: Friday the 13th Part III & Followed by: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3D

Friday the 13th Part III is the third movie in the Friday the 13th franchise. So of course it had to be shot in 3D. Back before 3D movies were common, they were mostly just done with primitive red and blue colors. Despite the gimmick, just about every part of the last two installments is reused in some way. Set immediately after Friday the 13th Part 2, Jason is badly injured but still bloodthirsty. Unlike the previous movies, the sex-crazed teenagers actually don’t seem to know about Jason.

They instead vacation in a house near Camp Crystal Lake. Nudity is kept to a minimum. While Jason seems to only be killing them out of obligation now. The most notable thing about Friday the 13th Part III is Jason’s hockey mask. Which he gets from a prankster named Shelly. This was the first movie in the franchise to feature the trademark mask. Little did they know they were creating an icon. Aside from that, the practical effects in the movie are pretty ridiculous and the 3D is the obnoxious kind. Like how Jason crushes a guyโ€™s head and his eyeball pops out.

SPOILER ALERT! Chris is the final girl only because she was attacked by Jason a few years back. Not quite as personal, but I guess it’s something. The final confrontation they have only adds to Jason’s defining characteristics. Since she slashes his mask, giving it a crack that (along with his now bald head) is prominently featured from here on out. Friday the 13th Part III proved that sometimes horror and 3D don’t mix.

3. Friday the 13th Part III

Jason takes a machete to the head

Preceded by: Friday the 13th Part II & Followed by: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Like Mother, Like Son

Friday the 13th Part 2 is the movie everybody is thinking about when they say Jason Voorhees is the killer in the Friday the 13th franchise (sort of). After final girl Alice decapitated Mrs. Voorhees at the end of the first movie, Jason decides to take revenge. The initial underwater jumpscare was likely a hallucination. Unfortunately Alice could escape the mother, but not the son. Five years later, a new fresh batch of sex-crazed teenagers comes to Camp Crystal Lake. Looking to start up the camp again for some reason.

Friday the 13th Part 2 uses pretty much the same formula that the first movie did. By having the killer concealed for a large majority of the movie. Killing teens who are a bit more bloody and naked. We obviously know Jason is the killer, so the shock value isn’t really there. Aside from what Jason ends up looking like. He’s big, burly, and sporting a plaid shirt with overalls and a burlap sack over his face. His weapons vary, but he mostly carries a pickaxe. Not exactly the icon we all know today, but he’s getting there.

SPOILER ALERT! Ginny is the final girl, because she outsmarts Jason by dressing up as his mother.  Her use of psychology is what makes her one of the strongest final girls in the franchise. A last minute jump scare is used once again when Jason lunges at Ginny through a window. He’s a lot hairier than later installments. As a whole, Friday the 13th Part 2 is a less than original, but still decent follow up that is at least worthy for introducing Jason Voorhees as a horror movie slasher.

2. Friday the 13th Part II

Jason breaks out the pickaxe

Preceded by: Friday the 13th & Followed by: Friday the 13th Part III

Welcome to Camp Crystal Lake

Friday the 13th established the 1980’s horror credibility. What better date to set a horror movie then the unluckiest day of the year. Friday the 13th became so popular that most people always look back on the franchise every Friday the 13th. I’ve only seen the movie twice, but it’s a story I know better than even the most dedicated fan. One of the most common misconceptions in horror history is that Jason Voorhees is the killer in Friday the 13th. That isn’t true at all.

SPOILER ALERT! the killer is actually Jason’s mother Mrs. Voorhees. Her son, who has facial deformities, drowned at Camp Crystal Lake. So she takes revenge on the teenage counselors (because they were too busy having sex) and anyone else who runs the camp. Twenty one years later on Friday the 13th, the camp is reopened with the reputation of being called Camp Blood. What made Friday the 13th especially creepy is the fact that you don’t see the killer until the very end. They actually used male hands just to throw people off. It also has that chilling theme to go along with it. As a killer, Mrs. Voorhees is precise and uses a variety of weapons.

Her motivation as a mother who will do anything for her son is very believable. Although she does kind of lose her threatening nature at the end. Alice is the final girl, I guess because she was the last one left. She decapitates Mrs. Voorhees and has a terrifying encounter with Jason himself. Before he was famous Kevin Bacon also appears as one of the victims. But the most surprising thing about Friday the 13th is how much people didn’t like it at first. It was even nominated for Worst Picture. Well (un)luckily now Friday the 13th is recognized for the horror classic it is.

1. Friday the 13th

Jason lunges at Alice

Followed by: Friday the 13th Part II

Hellblazer

Constantine fights a battle that puts him in direct conflict with Heaven and Hell. Since DC seemed to only care about their darker stuff in the 2000’s, John Constantine was the next “superhero” to get his own unnecessary movie. As part of DC’s Vertigo imprint that was of course written by Alan Moore. Constantine first made his debut in a Swamp Thing comic. Before getting his own graphic novel series with Hellblazer.

John Constantine is a chain smoking British occult detective with blonde hair who always wears a brown trench coat and tie. So they cast the very American dark haired Keanu Reeves for the part. It’s like the character leapt off the page! But seriously, how hard is it to get a character with such a basic appearance looking the way they’re supposed to? They couldn’t even give him a brown trench coat. As if anything other than black would make the film less edgy. Constantine is R and full of demons as well as angels. Specifically another androgynous performance by Tilda Swinton. This time playing the Archangel Gabriel.

Constantine attempts to save his eternally damned soul by doing good for those in need. The effects don’t quite make it convincing and this is a mid-2000’s Keanu performance. So don’t expect his comeback just yet, because he couldn’t be more miscast in the part. At least Djimon Hounsou played his first of many comic book roles as villain Papa Midnite. Despite the gothic material that I prefer to stay away from, Constantine is bad enough for it to become bland. At least Matt Ryan managed to save the character.

1. Constantine

Constantine escapes Hell

Best Picture Nominee?

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is considered to be the worst movie ever nominated for Best Picture. As of 2019, it’s the only nominee with a rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes prior to its nomination. So were the critics right? Well in my opinion, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close had every ingredient for an Oscar film. Yet it wound up being more pretentious than anything.

It stars Oscar darlings Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, the story centers around an uncomfortable period in history (9/11 in this case), it’s way longer than it should be, and it came out in late December. The Academy Awards love movies like this. Practically guaranteeing its Oscar nomination whether the movie was good or not. Leaving far more acclaimed genre movies like Bridesmaids or Deathly Hallowsย – Part 2 without the same recognition.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is about an autistic kid who lost his father in the 9/11 attacks. He finds a key that his father left and searches the entire city for the person that has the lock. Yes, the 9 year old boy actually walks around New York visiting strangers. Well he is later joined by a mute old man who might be his grandfather. Max Von Sydow’s performance is the only one worthy of Awards recognition. I frankly found the kid to be a little annoying. The mystery wasn’t all that satisfying either. Sure it looks polished on the outside, but Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is just more Oscar bait that the Academy just keeps falling for.

ELAIC

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