In honor of the first Friday the 13th of 2013, we took a poll among horror fans as to which Friday the 13th film was best and who wore the iconic hockey mask the best. While some answers were not surprising at all, some did knock me back a bit, after all, who would expect Jason X to get so many votes? So, without further ado, here are your results:
Best of Jason Voorhees
• Kane Hodder- Let’s be honest here, everyone saw this answer coming. After all, Kane did sport the mask more than any other actor, playing Jason in Friday the 13th parts 7, 8, 9, and 10. Let’s put aside that his films received the least amount of votes, if you have ever met the man and been put in one of his famous chokeholds, you can’t help but fall in love.
• C.J. Graham- Perhaps Mr. Graham takes the silver metal because he played a zombie Jason in Part 6: Jason Lives or perhaps it is because he played Jason after the horrible joke that was A New Beginning (we all try to forget about that one). No matter the reason, C.J. Graham fell behind Kane Hodder by only a handful of votes, making him the undeniable second best.
• Richard Brooker- Brooker played Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part 3, which was in 3-D, and also my favorite. Sadly we lost Richard Brooker in April of this year due to illness but if we have learned anything from the Friday the 13th films, it is that Jason never really dies.
• Warrington Gillette- Mr. Gillette is the only adult Jason to never wear the hockey mask. I like to think he received so many votes because he managed to off a big group of teenagers with no peripheral vision thanks to his burlap sack mask with one eye hole.
• Ted White- Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter is one of the better Friday the 13th films. If for no other reason, Ted White deserves to be high up on this list for killing Crispin Glover and sparing the world of his atrocious dancing. However, he should be a little ashamed that he was defeated by a bald 13 year old Corey Feldman…
• Ken Kirzinger- With one single vote, Kirzinger takes fifth place on our list for playing Jason in the 2003 Ronny Yu film Freddy vs. Jason. Why does Kirzinger get so much hate? Simply because Yu passed on Kane Hodder for the role to get someone bigger. He didn’t do a bad job; he just replaced the wrong man.
• Ari Lehman, Tom Morga, Derek Mears- There wasn’t a single vote for any of these three. It didn’t come as much of a surprise though considering that Ari Lehman played young Jason in the original Friday the 13th and his only task was to pop out of the water and pull Alice in.
Tom Morga wasn’t even technically Jason in Part 5: A New Beginning as he was an EMS worker whose son was murdered at a half way home and he donned the infamous mask in order to take his revenge while pinning on Crystal Lake’s well known psycho killer. It would’ve worked too if it weren’t for those meddling kids!
Derek Mears gets so much hate because the 2009 Friday the 13th was, well, not very good. That was the film itself though. Derek actually did an excellent job as Jason. The film was just so bad that no one really noticed. As with Kane, Derek Mears is one of the nicest guys you will meet at a convention. I spent an entire day with Tyler Mane laughing at Derek in the booth next to us. He even bought me a shot, which I quickly passed on to someone else. Don’t tell him that.
Best of Friday the 13th
• Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI: Part 6 was the hands down ultimate fan favorite, topping the other films by a ridiculous amount of votes. I’m going to assume that it was solely because of the scene where Nikki gets her face smashed into the wall of the RV and the wall is left looking like the lunch tray after Ernest takes one to the face in Ernest Goes to Camp. (Yes, I made that connection. Soak in it for a moment.)
• Friday the 13th Part II: I was surprised at how many votes this film got considering that this is the only Friday, with Jason as the killer (Remember Mrs. Voorhees was the original), where Jason doesn’t ever put on his iconic mask. In fact, he sports a burlap sack with an eye hole cut into it. Jason manages to kill the woman who killed his mother and take out a camp full of counselors, so mask or no mask, Jason gets it done.
• Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter– Jason, whom you shamefully thought was dead, wakes up in the morgue and returns to Crystal Lake to find more stupid teenagers. They never learn. As I said before, there is some absolutely embarrassing dancing from Crispin Glover, which inexplicably gets him laid before he takes a meat clever to the face. Then there is horror obsessed little Corey Feldman who manages to defeat Jason with mind games. Even a 12 year old can tell that Jason has mommy issues.
• Friday the 13th– I can’t say that I’m surprised that this film received so few votes, but this film is where it all started. Sure, Jason’s mom is the killer but let’s face it, she was a good one. Now, no, she didn’t have supernatural powers and she didn’t have super mongoloid strength like her son, but she was inventive and she got her point across. Let’s not forget, without her, there would be no reason for Jason to take his sweet, sweet revenge for our entertainment.
• Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood: The New Blood is where the series really started to get ridiculous. Tina, a teenager with telekinetic powers, releases Jason from his watery grave thinking it is her father, whom she accidently drowned in the lake as a child with those same powers. Tina’s daddy issues result in the deaths of several teens at a birthday party nearby. At one point, Tina uses her powers to bring a roof down on Jason which, of course, doesn’t kill him, and then she lights him on fire which, again, results in no death. So, Tina summons her dead father from the lake, who drags Jason down into the water. This is why there was never a Carrie vs. Jason.
• Friday the 13th Part III: Part III has some of the best kills and it’s in 3-D. This is the first film in the series where Jason sports the hockey mask, stolen from the obnoxious Shelley whom everyone was happy to see die. There is a great scene where Jason gets Vera through the eye with a spear gun and where he cuts Andy, whom is walking on his hands, in half down the middle.
Part III is my personal favorite because it’s the most memorable to me, thanks to the film Murphy’s Romance, in which Sally Field and Corey Haim go to the movies and it’s the scene where Debbie is on the hammock and blood drips from the ceiling onto the magazine she is reading, revealing Andy’s body in the rafters before Debbie is stabbed through the throat from under the hammock. That haunted my childhood, in the 3rd dimension.
• Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan– Jason somehow gets from a boat in Crystal Lake to the Atlantic Ocean, where he boards a ship containing a senior class and their teachers on a trip to New York. Now, you may be thinking to yourself that this sounds terrible, and you’re right, but it gets worse. The ones who manage to escape the ship make their way to Manhattan where Jason ends up and conveniently finds them everywhere they go in the city, including the sewers where Jason is defeated by toxic waste.
You can’t make these things up. How this film isn’t the last on this list, I will never know.
• Jason X: That part where I said I didn’t understand why Part VIII wasn’t last on the list, this film is why. I have three words for you that will explain everything: Jason in space. It was inevitable that Jason would end up on a space craft, Xenomorph style, picking off the crew members one by one, able to regenerate through a really stupid process of computerized ant looking things forming new limbs out of themselves. Of course there is a robot, as everyone in the future will obviously have, and Jason got himself a nifty new futuristic metal mask but that’s not enough to save this terrible film.
• Freddy vs. Jason: In my opinion, this film got as many votes as it did because it also had Freddy Krueger in it. Everyone likes Freddy Krueger. The idea behind the film is pretty cool. Freddy is the brains, Jason is the brawn. That’s how it was supposed to work out. When Jason cannot stop killing and taking the attention away from Freddy, Krueger has to help destroy Jason before there is no one left for him. Now, the fact that Freddy can inhabit anyone’s dreams makes thing interesting as Jason’s dreams reveal his weakness. While Freddy and Jason attempt to destroy each other, the towns teens attempt to kill them both. The awful acting and the lack of Kane Hodder ensured this film a low spot on this list.
• Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday– Jason Voorhees, who was melted down into a pile of slime and then magically regenerated in Jason Takes Manhattan, is now a supernatural being, able to jump from body to body like in Shocker and Fallen. He could be anyone at anytime, anywhere. For some reason, the coroner feels the need to eat Jason’s heart, enabling him to inhabit his body, starting the whole process. To make matters worse, they go all Curse of Michael Myers and give Jason this supernatural backstory. Because Jason was born to a Voorhees, he can be reborn through a Voorhees and only a Voorhees can kill him. Conveniently, Jason has a half-sister, whom he kills, but she has a daughter named Jessica, whom Jason attempts to be reborn through. But Jessica has a mystical dagger which she plunges into Jason’s chest, releasing the souls of all of his victims and sending Jason to Hell. Would it surprise you to know the same writer wrote Texas Chainsaw 3-D? Nah, didn’t shock me either.
• Friday the 13th (2009)– This film is at the bottom of the list simply because it is a reboot of the series without sticking to the story much at all. The film assumes you have seen the original series but ignores it at the same time. Jason does see his mother beheaded and there are legends of him killing counselors at the lake, but he doesn’t acquire the hockey mask until this film when he kills a farm hand that rips off his burlap sack mask. We already know Jason lost the sack in Part 3 in exchange for the mask. I guess we are to assume they expect we have forgotten about the seven other films after Part 3, though I am sure many would like to.
Derek Mears was actually a really good Jason but the film was bad. I imagine that if the 1980 Friday never existed, this wouldn’t have inspired nine sequels the way the original did.