Jason Voorhees is one of cinema’s rare entities that managed to gradually transform from standard supernatural serial killer to cult hero. Yeah, he’s the focal antagonist of the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise, but his measured, concise killing methods actually make him something of a different breed, as his tendencies seem more akin to someone who hates what they’re doing as opposed to relishing it.
Jason very rarely stops to admire his handy work. He kills, then he moves on until he kills again. There’s a goal that the man moves toward, and he doesn’t spend much time dawdling while he works toward that goal.
Some love that about the franchise and some hate it. It’s a strange yet endearing strength of the brand that helps to separate Jason from his contemporaries, even if it is only by the thinnest of hairs.
Now, having said all that, it is important to remember that every once in a while, Voorhees does create a fascinating scene. We tend to see the elaborate murders as a result of circumstance, so there’s no guarantee when one of the mega money shots will pop up. When they do, we pay attention…and make lists like this.
Sleeping Bag Brutality (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII)
The sleeping bag slaughter is one of the most unsettling means of execution that Jason employs. He’s capable of getting creative, as this death helps to prove, and when he gets creative… well, let’s just say the future is a little limited for the poor sap caught in Jason’s sights. The unsuspecting lass who meets her end inside of a sleeping bag during FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD never has a chance to do anything other than let out a blood curdling scream. Good thing the crunch of bone on bark drowns out those background sounds.
If you’re as big a fan of the sleeping bag scene, keep in mind that Jason repeats the tactic in JASON X while the fake hologram provides the ship a false outdoorsy feel. And yes, it’s every bit as cool in JASON X as FRIDAY VII!
Julius Gets Boxed Up (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII)
There were extremely few redeeming qualities to FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. It’s an uninspired affair from the first minute to the last, but if you’re going to look to the film and attempt to isolate at least one genuinely slick moment, it’s got to be the savage destruction of the token tough guy, Julius.
Now, Julius deserves a wealth of respect because he does something that very, very few would have the gall to attempt: he stands toe to toe with Jason and proceeds to deck him in the grill about 20 times. It doesn’t faze Jason, unfortunately, and it does lead to outright exhaustion. But that’s when it gets really good. Jason takes just a single shot on Julius, but it’s enough to completely separate his head from his body in one of the franchise’s brightest moments.
Girl’s Got a Busted Face (JASON X)
Adrienne doesn’t enjoy the greatest of FRIDAY runs. She’s the first to be killed on the new transport ship in JASON X.She dies a horrible death, and we never have the chance to even contemplate whether we care about her or not. But good god… that’s a vicious death scene! It’s super graphic, and better yet super creative. Jason has always been a pretty straight forward killer. A blade has always sufficed. But this time around Jason gets inventive and freezes Adrienne’s face in liquid nitrogen before slamming that fucker down on a table hard enough to shatter it into countless pieces. It doesn’t get much more ruthless than this.
A Fiery Massacre at the Rave (FREDDY VS JASON)
Don’t be surprised to see FREDDY VS JASON earn more than a single nod on this list. For my buck, the long-discussed and “better late than never” crossover film is a nutty ride through cinematic heaven. It’s kooky, it’s cheesy, but it’s nonstop thrills, and it feels designed to cater to those who adore these two franchises more than any others. Freddy and Jason split time handling murder duties in the pic, but Jason ultimately gets the best of the carnage. Included in the earlier murders is a visit to a cornfield rave where youngsters are pumping alcohol, weed and lord-knows-what-else into their systems. It looks like good until Jason pops up, spins a guy’s head around 180 degrees, impales a fellow with a flaming machete, and then proceeds to hack through a small sea of teens breaking all the rules. Yeah, just try and convince me that is anything other than amazing.
Shears to One Final Ride (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V)
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V features one awfully disgusting murder sequence that unravels on the heels of a sex sequence, which, when coupled together just seems very unnerving. Those two opposing realities should never meet, but do, and in this instance they come colliding together when a stark-naked Tina rolls onto her back just in time to see a pair of garden shears soar through the air and come down abruptly in Tina’s eye sockets with a sickly plop. It’s primitive, supremely disturbing, and probably looked even more outrageous before the MPAA made the inevitable sweep of the flick leaving it a neutered mess. Even though the moment the blades enter Tina’s skull isn’t revealed, the very thought of this death is shocking, so the image of a nude Tina gazing at nothing through now gaping and bloody holes in her face can be really distressing.
Bloody Bacon (FRIDAY THE 13TH)
37 years ago Kevin Bacon was just a kid in a low budget horror flick. Fast forward half a lifetime, and Bacon is a loved and respected boss of the business with a résumé to die for. Those of us addicted to genre fare still likely hold that image of a baby-faced Bacon having his throat penetrated by an arrow close to our heart. It’s a great scene, simple in scope but gruesome in execution. It’s hard to imagine Bacon ever exiting a film this fast again, but it was a good time back in 1980. Tom Savini’s special effects are both stomach turning and absolutely mind bogglingly beautiful. It also just so happens to outshine every other onscreen murder inside the first two franchise films.
Human Contortionist (FREDDY VS JASON)
Trey was everything a fan could want in a douche bag boyfriend. He was selfish, self-centered, rude, demanding and abusive. That means we all absolutely adored the moment that Jason turned him into bleeding, distorted human contortionist. It was absolutely glorious, and it helps to set the mood to this absurdly enjoyable crossover flick. While some will have you believe FREDDY VS JASON is something of a lazy film, I’ll ensure you that if you head into this viewing experience in a good mood with little of consequence on your mind, you’ll have a hell of a time… and you’ll love this scene!
Here’s Lookin’ at You (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III)
Technically speaking, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III was a messy affair. It also plays host to some of the worst acting you’ll find in the franchise, and that’s a powerful statement. However, whether ugly or refined, PART III was an important film, as it brought Jason and the infamous Hockey Mask together for the first time, and we got our very first look at a bulked up Voorhees. It’s not a franchise standout, by any means, but it was an important picture and the bulk of fans out there respect the picture even if they don’t love it.
I’ve long been a detractor of the third FRIDAY film, but I’ll also be first in line to tell you it has a few great things going for it. Beyond the discovery of the hockey mask and the introduction to a muscle-bound freak of a Jason, there’s also this amazing kill. It’s gruesome, but it’s also a relevant offing as the Vera character feels as though it was developed with the idea of fooling viewers into believing she was our final girl. Her character gets the treatment you’d expect to see extended to the final girl, but Steve Miner yanks the rug out from under the viewer and exposes the looker for exactly what she is: a gorgeous red herring.
Heads Will Roll (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V)
Some may see this pick and figure I’m out of my mind. Sure, Jason’s taken more than a single head over the years, and yes, some of those decapitations are mighty cool. But this one stuck with me the moment I glimpsed it, and it remains a strangely magnetic death sequence.
Junior is driving around on his motorcycle, speeding in small stretches and swerving recklessly, no concerns with his own well-being. But he should have been concerned, because Jason was observing the whole time just waiting to uncork a mean swing of the machete just as Junior drives by. The end result sees the man’s head come crashing to the muddy earth, his obnoxious screams ending abruptly.
Super-Powered Showdown (JASON X)
Every second of the extended battle between JASON X’s Jason and KM-14 is riveting. It’s extremely violent, extremely graphic and loaded with endearing impossibilities and exploding extremities (and a head). For those who thought the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise was crazy pre-2001, this is the installment you need to get a look at, and this is the death scene that’s going to steal your heart… especially when Jason goes full-cyborg and cranks the violence up to about 15 after being upgraded by some nifty medical machinery on the ship.