As a kid, there were a handful of dates I would always circle on the calendar each year. There were the obvious ones, like the last day of school, Halloween, and Christmas; however, there was also another, more random date that you had to scour the calendar for: Friday the 13th. It was a day that always promised an orgy of boobs and blood, courtesy of the Friday the 13th series. Sure, the movies were there to rent just about any time you wanted them, but it was always just a little bit more fun to watch them on their titular date. Plus, you could always count on a marathon showing up on a TV channel or two. The movies might have been edited, but Rhonda Shear and Joe Bob Briggs added a little bit of spice when the films would air on USA Up All Night and TNT Monstervision, respectively. If the date happened to fall during the school year, it made for an agonizingly long day because I just couldn’t wait to get home, let the sun set, and watch Jason do his thing. Indeed, it never got old seeing a bunch of horny, degenerate batch of teens have a romp in the woods before getting slaughtered. For this Friday the 13th, I thought it appropriate to pay tribute to what the series does best by presenting the most 13 unluckiest victims of the series:
13. No Boating Accident (Friday the 13th, 2009)
Jason’s return to glory wouldn’t be complete without one bona-fide awesome kill, and he didn’t disappoint when he decided to show off his archery skills. Poor Nolan was his target, and, in classic Friday form, he never saw it coming. What was once an innocent romp on the lake (complete with topless water-skiing) turns deadly in the blink of an eye, which is why this one makes the list. It’s also a nifty little gore effect that improves on previous “arrow in the head” gags in the series, and it helps Jason kill two birds with one stone, as it set up the topless Chelsea’s demise as well (it probably didn’t help that she just sat there in the water and let the boat ram right into her first).
Quite possibly the most mean-spirited of Jason’s kills, this one showed that no one is safe from the mongoloid’s wrath. Showing no sympathy for this handicapped fellow, Jason planted a machete right into his face, which sent him careening down a flight of steps to boot. Friday the 13th has always been a series that conflated sex with death, and this is the first kill on our list that features someone who was either getting some, about to get some, or just got some. In Mark’s case, he was just about to show Vickie that some of his lower parts were still in working order; that is, until Jason introduced the best form of contraceptive ever.
Axel, the sex-obsessed coroner, almost got some, until Nurse Morgan realized he was trying to bag her next to Jason’s body bag. Not the least bit dejected, Axel finds comfort in the aerobics girls on the TV, until Jason decided that was enough. Maybe it was the off color comment Axel made about still finding one of Jason’s victims cute even though she was dead. At any rate, one of the franchise’s biggest horn dogs gets it in radically gruesome fashion: a hacksaw, neck snap double tap that’s among Tom Savini’s best gore effects.
You’ve got to hand it to Jason imitator Roy Burns: he might not have been the real deal, but he certainly racked up a staggering body count (17, which remained the high point until Jason X). He makes the list here for his creativity, as his diabolical use of a leather strap to crush poor Eddie’s eyes is quite inventive. And to think, just minutes earlier, those eyes were beholding Debisue Voorhees’s (no relation) rack, which still remains the most impressive of the series to date (do I smell another list there?). I can still remember my mom chastising me when I would talk about how cool this death is. Who would have thought I’d still be doing the same thing 20 years later?
Crazy Ralph spent two movies warning people that they were all doomed for trespassing onto Crystal Lake, and he must have thought himself exempt from the rules. Jason gave him a harsh, barb-wired reminder when he caught the old man snooping around camp, spying on Ginny and Paul just as they were about to get down (script convenience must have been the only thing that spared those two for the moment). It’s another awesome gag that comes out of nowhere, and though it’s relatively bloodless, there’s just something nasty about it.
This particular kill is completely bloodless, but it’s no less impressive. Sheriff Garris spent most of the film as a grade-A prick, but you couldn’t help but root for him a bit in his attempt to take the big man down. Bullets and stones to the face couldn’t do the trick though, and Jason quickly dispatched of Garris by giving him an extreme back realignment, which saw the sheriff’s upper body get folded completely backwards. Despite the lack of obvious gore, this one is still realized by a great effects trick.
I’m not the biggest fan of the original film in the series as a whole, but it’s hard to deny the effectiveness of the final fifteen minutes. It’s a pretty rousing sequence, and it all climaxes with Alice taking Mrs. Voorhees to the chopping block with one of the genre’s most famous decapitations. It’s an effect that still stands today (somewhat cheesy slow motion Betsy Palmer reaction shot notwithstanding), especially in its uncut form, which features an extra few seconds of the decapitated body writhing and falling to the ground.
Speaking of grade-A pricks, Trey had just managed to nail Gibb before he kicked her out of the bed for “smelling like menthols” (might as well tell her to clean the bathroom while you’re at it, bud). I guess this put a huge bullseye on him, as he became Jason’s first victim after returning from hell. It was a kill that showed just how mightily pissed Jason was, as he stabbed Trey not once, but about a half dozen times. As if that weren’t enough, he tucked him away into the bed by folding it up on him. This was the moment that I was pretty sure Freddy vs. Jason was going to be an awesome ride, and the carnage was just getting started.
Compared to our previous victim, good old Jimbo was a bit more of a lady’s man. Pumped over the fact that he was not, in fact, a “dead fuck” (she said he was great!), Jimbo heads downstairs to celebrate with a bottle of wine. He’s got to find the corkscrew first though, and Jason is more than happy to provide it. For good measure, Jason throws in a meat cleaver to the face as well, but I don’t think Jimbo was asking for that one. The second of three Final Chapter deaths on our list, this one also features a hellaciously brutal effect from Savini that cleaves Crispin Glover’s face. Guess he was a “dead fuck” after all…"the computer don’t lie!"
This selection takes us into the nitty-gritty, the iconic deaths that the series is generally known for. Usually cited as a fan favorite, this kill reverses trends a bit, as this time it was the girl (Judy) expecting to get some action. She made the fatal mistake of assuming the undead, rotting corpse walking around outside her tent is her boyfriend Dan, who was actually laying in the woods dead with a broken neck at this point. Once Jason finally came bursting through the tent, Judy did the only sensible thing: retreat into her sleeping bag. Even Jason seemed a tad bit irritated by such stupidity, so he subsequently dragged her outside and bashed her against a tree. Like all of the death scenes in The New Blood, this one was eviscerated by the MPAA, as the scene originally had Jason bash Judy against the tree multiple times. The edited version is still pretty brutal stuff, as Judy’s body makes a sickening thud. The death scene was so infamous among fans that Jason X lampooned it, to not-so-great effect.
Fear not, however: Jason X wasn’t all bad, and it managed to feature one of the series’ best death scenes. This was Jason’s first kill after being reawakened from a 400+ year nap, and he seemed to be especially pissed that he was stuck in space (and, to be fair, who wasn’t?). Poor Adrienne was in the wrong place at the wrong time, as there was a conveniently-placed batch of liquid nitrogen for Jason to freeze her face in before shattering it to pieces, scattering bits of blood and grue all over the place. Like Freddy vs. Jason, this was the moment where I convinced myself this could be a hell of a ride; alas, it was but a brief moment because everything went downhill from here.
Not one to be outdone (least of all by his own mother), Jason makes the list himself with one of the best send-offs in the series. After a three film rampage, Jason finally met his match in the form of Trish Jarvis and a young Feldog. After enduring tons of punishment during the last ten minutes, Jason was finally vanquished by his own machete when Feldog planted it right in his face. As he fell to the floor, his head slowly slid down the blade in one of horror’s great effects. Savini said he returned to kill off the monster he created, and he did so in great fashion: the combination of Jason’s deformed visage and the machete gag itself sent Jason off in a gloriously gruesome manner (for a couple of years at least).
A no-brainer pick for the top spot on the list, this was the scene that everyone fast-forwarded to and kept rewinding back when Jason Goes to Hell finally made it to VHS. This one sort of had a mythic quality before I ever saw it, as one of my friends hyped it up as being a “real sex scene” unlike any other in the series. It didn’t disappoint, and it was pretty much my introduction to soft-core porn at the age of ten. Of course, no other scene in the series better encapsulates the series’ “sex equals death” equation, as Jason (in the guise of Richard Gant’s coroner) barely let poor Debbie climax before ripping her in half right in the middle of the deed. And to think, this one almost never happened, as this was one of the pick-up scenes that were inserted after test audiences wanted to see more idiot campers having sex and getting killed. Sometimes, you’ve just got to give the people what they want.
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