Jason Voorhees has done it all. He’s been alive. He’s been dead. He’s been to Manhattan. And Hell. And space. He’s fought Freddy and Corey Feldman. He somehow survived Crispin Glover’s dancing. With 2009’s release of New Line’s Friday the 13th reboot, and with the Halloween season drawing ever nigh, the time has come to reflect on Jason Voorhees and his occupational craft over a long and storied history.
Not one to shirk his duty, this particular staff member, compelled by nostalgia and curiosity, viewed all 11 (yes, eleven) pre-2009 installments of Friday the 13th with an eye for the quality of Jason’s countless dispatchings. Thus, I submit to you a very carefully selected list featuring my Top 13 Kills by Jason Voorhees. (Note: for the purposes of this list, “Jason” will be credited as the killer in the case of certain installments with annoying, nonsensical plot twists)
13) Stabbed Through Raft (Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter):
Jason pops up out of the lake, interrupting a late-night float on Crystal Lake by stabbing a young lady through the bottom of the raft. Offhand, this might not seem like the most creative or worthy kill to include on this list, but a brief review of the look on the victim’s face suggests otherwise to me.
12) Frozen Face Shatter (Jason X):
Jason in space. In the future. Awkward might be the best word to describe this bizarre 2002 feature, the lowest-grossing of the bunch at the box office. But it did feature a few highlights, including this moment in which Jason gives his victim a liquid nitrogen whitewashing then shatters her visage on a nearby desk. I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of this film’s effects budget went into the shot of her submerged face icing over.
11) Jason Hammers Trespasser (Friday the 13th Part II):
An oldie but a goodie, and another great victim reaction. After foolishly wandering into Jason’s forest shack and inspecting its contents (including a shrine to his dear mother and a needlessly gruesome latrine), the doomed Sheriff is taught a lesson in teeth-gnashing. Get a warrant next time, Sheriff!
10) Sludge Barrel Swirly (Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan):
Horny teenagers aren’t the only ones on Jason’s list. He has eliminated a host of characters just for being generally annoying, ranging from irritating stereotypes to aggressively cruel parents. This gentleman fell into the latter category, and paid the price for it, violently drowned by Jason in a Manhattan alley. Note the late 1980’s movie version of New York, in which the streets are lined with what appears to be toxic waste.
9) Jason’s New Mask (Friday the 13th Part III):
Many people forget that iconic Jason Hockey Mask didn’t even appear until the third film, when he swiped it off a victim (in the 2nd film, he wore a pillow case). This particular kill, featuring a harpoon being fired into a woman’s eye, was his first with the mask, making it an instant classic. That’s without even factoring in the amazing victim response, makeup, and hilarity of Jason fruitlessly attempting to hide behind the pictured pillar.
8) Boxer Decapitated on Rooftop (Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan):
As a character in a Friday the 13th movie, one of the worst things one can do is display any sort of fighting ability. Any character doing so will be terminated, probably humiliatingly. This particular character, a boxer, attempted to fend off Jason with a barrage of failed punches while on a rooftop in Manhattan. Jason responded by punching his head clean off and watching it cascade down the side of the building and land in a dumpster (which promptly closed itself).
7) Flare Stuffed into Mouth (Friday the 13th: A New Beginning):
This is probably the only memorable moment of this entire film. It shows an exciting new level of inventiveness and a willingness to experiment, as there are surely more efficient ways to kill someone than putting a lit flare into their mouth. Beyond this, though, “A New Beginning”, the 5th installment, has little to offer other than one of the most despicable endings ever.
6) Bone Saw & Twist (Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter):
After waking up in the logal morgue, Jason interrupts a sleazy doctor watching softcoreporn by cutting his head half off with a bone saw, then twisting the remaining portions of his neck around for good measure. I’d be curious to know whether Jason planned on doing that elaborate of a killing when he approached the doctor, or if the bone saw simply wasn’t to his liking. Either way…creative, gory, classic.
5) Sheriff Folded in Half (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives):
In this film, after having his corpse reanimated by lightning, Jason goes on one of his trademark killing sprees and offers up some very memorable and bizarre methods along the way. In this scene, after ignoring cries of “Jason!” the entire film, the local Sheriff wises up and takes his stab at redemption, only to be literally folded in half by Jason. Folded. In. Half.
4) Sleeping Bag Swing (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood):
We are getting to the real classics. In this oft-discussed moment, Jason drags a victim from her tent while still in her sleeping bag and bludgeons her against the side of a tree. There’s not much more to say about this. It just looks amazing.
3) Exploding Head (Friday the 13th Part III):
This has to be one of the more ambitious effects shots of the entire series. In it, Jason sneaks up on a guy wearing an ugly sweater and crushes his skull with his bare hands. As if that weren’t enough, a 2nd shot reveals the victim’s eyeball jetting out. If anything, the shot is too ambitious, as the awkwardness of the eyeball sliding along an obvious string makes it simultaneously laughable and endearingly memorable.
2) RV Faceplant (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives):
Another one from Part VI, this kill defies all logic. Jason attacks a woman in the back of a moving RV (being driven by one of the more aggressively irritating characters of the entire series) and somehow smashes her skull into the wall of the RV so hard that it leaves an imprint of her face. Nevermind the laws of science or the structural subtleties of the human face against steel. It’s sheer mad genius, and it’s only amplified shortly after when Jason causes the RV to crash and stands atop it triumphantly.
1) Machete in Parapalegic’s Face (Friday the 13th Part II):
When this character is introduced, his overall likability and appallingly uplifting attitude make him nothing but a victim waiting to happen. After going to the porch to check on a suspicious sound (a classic premise), Jason’s machete is soon found embedded in his face. He rolls back, his wheelchair racing down the steps where it feeds into a larger flight of stairs. The camera lingers as he crashes all the way down. The classic premise as well as greusome nature and dedication to humiliating the victim make this my #1 choice.
For more information on Jason Voorhees, go to Friday the 13th Films.