In 1980, Sean S. Cunningham released a low budget slasher movie that would become one of the cornerstones of the slasher sub genre. What stared out life as a script which one its actresses called “a piece of sh*t”, became a global phenomenon that would create a slasher movie icon – the hockey mask wearing psychopath Jason Voorhees.
As with any good slasher movie, the moments people remember are the deaths – and Friday the 13th isn’t short on that. During a marathon of all 12 movies last year, we counted a grand total of 196 kills from all of the movie’s killers.
So, with it being Friday the 13th, let’s look at The Top 13 Kills from the Friday the 13th Franchise…
13. Trey – Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
There have been many horror movies stuck in Development Hell over the last few decades but none more so famous that Freddy vs. Jason – a film that went through dozens of writers, dozens of drafts and even more directors. What we eventually got was 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason – a movie that is a lot of fun, but can picked apart by fans of each respective franchise for the plethora of character errors. But, if you take it at face value, then there is a lot to enjoy. Unless you’re Kane Hodder of course.
However if you think back to the movie, the majority of the deaths are very forgettable. This is mostly down to Ronny Yu’s focus being on the monsters fighting each other and the teens being nothing more than cannon fodder, but also comes across as lazy script writing from Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. That is of course apart from Trey’s death which is fantastic.
Trey is a horribly unlikeable character; he’s really mean to his girlfriend Gibb and just acts like a complete repugnant git. So seeing him stabbed to death repeatedly by Jason Voorhees after treating his girlfriend like dirt and then bent in half by the bed being folded upwards is incredibly satisfying. It’s sad to say, but the movie peaked far too soon with this death.
12. Jack– Friday the 13th (1980)
Before he was the face of a mobile network or the punchline of an Internet Meme, Kevin Bacon was best known for his role in the original Friday the 13th. I say best known for his role, he was more known for his death really.
After having sex with Marcie who then leaves to use the bathroom, Bacon lights up a joint only to have a hand come from under the bed and pin his down. Slowly, an arrow pierces through his throat and blood starts to pour from the open wound, leaving nothing but a gurgling mess of a man.
The reason why Bacon’s death has stood the test of time with Friday the 13th and horror fans alike is because it’s one of the only deaths in the movie that isn’t cut away from. Marcie’s axe to the head is a brilliant make-up job, but the death is actually never really shown – only implied. Make-up and special effects maestro Tom Savini shows just how creative he can be as the camera never cuts away from the arrow piercing Bacon’s neck, or from the blood spurting out. Because of this, it’s one of the most remembered deaths from the whole series. They tried to recreate it a couple of times like in Friday the 13th Part III, but they never quite topped this one.
11. Rick – Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Speaking of Friday the 13th Part III, the movie used a 3D gimmick and as such they needed to make the use of ‘things poking out to the camera’ shots. There are shots of people moving TV aerials or washing line poles so they point towards the camera in order to make the crowd go, “oooh” and indeed, “ahhh”.
But what’s the point in just doing simple ‘poke things towards the camera’ tricks when you can use this gimmick to make Jason’s kills all the more creative?
Unbeknownst to poor old Rick, Jason creeps up behind him and places his hands on his head. Using his super strength (?), he squeezes so much that Rick’s eye comes popping out of his head – causing the audience to scream with “oooh”s and “ahhhh”s.
It should be noted that Rick’s death, while creative, is an incredibly cheap effect. The prosthetic head is very obviously fake and it’s not helped by having the camera linger on it. Furthermore, the wire that pulls the eye out is clearly in shot which cheapens the effect even more.
Which actually makes it one of the funnier ones…
10. Hitchhiker with a Banana – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
One of the firm favourites among Friday fans, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is now looked upon as the ironically named entry. However at the time of release, this was intended to be the final Friday the 13th movie. But the demand for more Jason was still high so Paramount put a fifth movie into production shortly after – we’ll come on to that later.
While the film features some classic deaths, the crowing glory comes in the form of the random hitchhiker who gets stabbed in the neck by Jason. It’s not the most adventurous of kills by any stretch of the imagination, but what makes this death stand out from the rest is director Joseph Zito’s decision to include a shot of her squeezing the banana she was eating out of its skin. Slowly.
You didn’t give us much Banana Girl, but you left an impression.
9. Andy – Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Back to the 3D brilliance of Friday the 13th Part III once again – only this time the death has nothing to do with the movie’s gimmick.
It’s established quite early on in the movie that Rick is quite the acrobat and one of his main gifts is the ability to walk on his hands. Well, it works fine for the most part, until Jason decides to chop him in half vertically while he’s doing a handstand.
This death also comes with the bonus of getting a second look at his corpse later on – although for a person chopped vertically, he appears to have split horizontally…
8. Jeff and Sandra – Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
What’s better than Jason killing someone who has just finished having sex? Killing a couple during sex.
Poor old Jeff and Sandra – they thought they were off to have a grand old time of underage fornication, only to have a crazy bag wearing psychopath stab both of them at once with a spear in the middle of their awkward looking sexual encounter.
This was another death scene that was “trimmed” and edited differently to avoid the X rating in the States, but ironically the still (just to your right) was on the back of the box art. Good going censors.
7. Amanda – Friday the 13th (2009)
Unlike A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween, the remake of Friday the 13th didn’t stray too far from what made the series popular. Both the Nightmare and Halloween remakes attempted to go back to the source of their antagonists to discover what made them so evil, essentially “re-imagining” the character for a modern day audience. They both failed miserably at it, but that’s a different story. The Friday the 13th remake essentially takes elements from the first three movies and crams them into one giant body fest that isn’t exactly brilliant, but isn’t horrendous either. It’s just sort of there. But because it’s so average, it’s far and away the best of the slasher remakes. However, it did create one of the more uncomfortable kills from the Friday the 13th back catalogue.
Amanda is tied up in her sleeping bag, hung up over a fire and then left to burn to death. That’s not just brutal, it’s sadistic. This was obviously the movie’s attempt to show that this Jason is “better” than the old one by upping the ante, but from a visual aspect this is so hard to watch – making it one of the most effective kills of the franchise.
6. Vera – Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Our third (and final) appearance from this film brings us another death that panders to the 3D gimmick, but does it better than Rick’s.
One of the movie’s central plot points is the role of Shelley – a fat and rather unfunny man who loves playing pranks on his friends. The plot of the movie states that Shelley has been brought on to this trip in order to be set up with the particularly unimpressed Vera. Later in the movie, Vera is walking along the docks when she spies a man in a hockey mask holding a harpoon gun. Thinking it’s Shelley, she doesn’t scream or run away – that is until a harpoon gets shot towards camera (cue 3D effect “ooh”s and “ahh”s) and lands squarely in her eye.
The 3D effect here is better than the other attempts and, at the time, would have been a great scare for the audience. But this kill is really noteworthy as it’s the first by Jason in the now iconic hockey mask. Plus, the make-up work is awesome.
5. Junior – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985
Despite Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter supposedly bringing a close to the series, Paramount brought us back to the franchise the following year with a movie that is rather hated by Friday the 13th fans. To cut a long story short, the audience was promised Jason and instead was given an impostor (spoilers).
But aside from the bait-and-switch ending, the other thing people hate about the movie is the duo of Ethal Hubbard and her idiot son Junior. These two hicks have one job in the movie – be annoying while trying to be comedy relief. Suffice to say, it doesn’t quite work.
With that said, Junior does have one of the more memorable deaths in the movie as he rides around their trailer screaming at the top of his lungs about Tommy only to ride into the machete of “Jason” – leaving his head to bounce on the floor. Never has the death of a character of an annoying character been celebrated more.
4. Adrienne – Jason X (2001)
While Freddy vs. Jason was stuck in Development Hell, New Line Cinemas figured they needed to make some sort of capital off the franchise they’d paid a lot of money for. What we got was 2001’s Jason X – Friday the 13th in space.
Because it worked so well for Leprechaun didn’t it.
Ignoring the ridiculous plot of this movie, it does feature one of the all-time great deaths of the franchise. In fact, Adrienne’s death is probably the only thing (other than the idiotic plot) that people do remember about Jason X.
Jason’s seemingly dead body is brought up into the spaceship so that Adrienne can perform an autopsy on him. After attempting to remove his mask, she turns her back on the monster to look at something through a microscope. Jason suddenly rises from his slumber, grabs the back of Adrienne’s head and dives it into liquid nitrogen, instantly freezing her face. But that’s not all, he then takes it out and smashes her face against the side into little bloody crystals.
The movie is asinine, but that kill is awesome.
3. Deborah – Jason Goes to Hell (1991)
Another movie that is mostly hated by the fanbase, Jason Goes To Hell was the first movie produced by New Line Cinemas after acquiring the rights from Paramount and was made to serve as a teaser trailer for their upcoming Freddy vs Jason (which would come out 12 years later).
The main reason the movie is hated (aside from the fact it makes no sense) is that, like Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, it doesn’t feature Jason. Instead he passes his soul to various people and treats them like avatars to get back to his house so he can be reborn through a Voorhees or something stupid. This didn’t really go down well with the focus groups who basically said that the movie needed more Crystal Lake killings because it doesn’t feel like a Friday the 13th movie.
So with that, we got the death of Deborah.
What a lot of non-fans don’t realise about the Friday the 13th series is that, for the most part, it was never very gory. Mostly due to budget constraints, deaths were quick with simple practical effects and often were accomplished through editing. Deborah in Jason Goes To Hell on the other hand, gets stabbed in the stomach during sex and then have the sharp object dragged up her, cutting her in half – all of which is done in one-shot so we can see the gory effects.
2. Mark – Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Mark’s death in Friday the 13th Part 2 is harsh, cruel and mean – but absolutely hilarious.
When you first watch the movie and see this poor chap in a wheelchair, your reaction is to assume that he will survive. Not only is he in a wheelchair, but he’s also about to get laid by one of the prettiest girls at the counsellor training camp. And really, what movie could be so cruel as to kill a nice guy in a wheelchair?
Friday the 13th Part 2 it seems.
Not only does Mark get a machete right in the face, his wheelchair is pushed down a long flight of stairs, something which director Steve Miner focuses on as we watch this wheelchair bound man with a machete in his face bounce down some stairs in the rain. It’s harsh, but it’s also kind of funny.
1. Julius – Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Like Mark in Friday the 13th Part 2, our number one spot is taken by a death that isn’t exactly brutal, but is hilariously funny. Sometimes, these movies just go to that edge and produce genius like the death of Julius in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan.
Once again, this is a movie that isn’t liked by the majority of Friday the 13th fans but, unlike Jason Goes To Hell or Jason X, it’s not because of the movie’s stupid plot (although that doesn’t help). Director Rob Hedden did have a plan in mind when making this movie to have Jason in New York killing people in famous landmarks. But when his budget kept getting slashed (no pun intended), he ended up setting the first 3/4 of the movie on the boat ride to Manhatten – leaving us with a pretty boring film with a couple of scenes shot in New York which looks suspiciously like Vancouver.
And while the film is insanely dull, the crowning moment of the movie is Julius’ death. Thinking himself to be quite the boxer, he takes Jason on in a punching contest. Every hit he lands rocks Jason but never takes him off his feet – and the more punches he throws, the more tied he gets. Before he knows it, he’s out of breath and can’t even land a punch anymore. Realising he’s been beaten, he taunts Jason with “give me your best shot”, leading to Jason literally punching his head clean off his shoulders.
But it gets better – Hedden films the head falling off the building, even giving us a “POV” perspective before the head bounces into a dumpster. It’s not only the most ridiculous death in the movie, but probably the whole series. But it never fails to bring a laugh from its audience and that is why it’s the number one kill from Friday the 13th.
Crazy Ralph – Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
“You’re all doomed” Ralph warned the new counsellors of Crystal Lake back in the first Friday the 13th, but none of them listened to his warnings. He even points this out to the new counsellors in the sequel Friday the 13th Part 2, re-iterating their “doom” and that “Camp Blood” has a “death curse”. But for some crazy reason, Ralph visits the camp and ends up getting killed by Jason.
Ralph is a fantastic character and he only gets an honourable mention here because, although his death isn’t that great, it’s such a shame to see him die.
Sheriff Michael Garris – Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)
Well Garris, this is what you get when you don’t believe the crazy sounding Jarvis kid when he tells you that Jason is alive and killing people. You get bent in half so far back that you literally fold over. Sucks to be you.
Freddy Krueger – Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Only in the honourable mention section because he doesn’t technically get killed, but Freddy’s “death” is one of the movie’s greatest visuals. The one armed Kruger is about to take out Lori and Will with Jason’s machete only to have Jason jump out of the water and with his last once of strength, stab Freddy through the chest with his own arm and glove. It’s a fitting end to their battle and is shot expertly by Ronny Yu. Granted, it was Lori that really finished him off by lopping his head clean off his shoulders – but it Jason that did all the leg (or arm) work…
Plus, it was a better death for him than Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.
So, there you have it – the Top 13 Deaths from the Friday the 13th Franchise. Did we miss your favourite? Let us know on our social channels @flickeringmyth…
Happy Friday the 13th!