Happy Friday the 13th, horror fiends! Hopefully you’ll get a chance to re-visit one of the Friday the 13th films to celebrate. If you’re pressed for time, I’ve put together a list of 13 of the franchise’s best death scenes for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
13. Chelsea Uses Her Head in Friday the 13th (2009)
Despite a huge opening box office weekend, most fans consider the Friday the 13th remake to be a disappointment. While the remake failed to re-boot the franchise, director Marcus Nispel managed to get in a couple of memorable kills. Willa Ford’s death scene has the best elements of the franchise’s ‘stalk-and-kill” formula. The audience knows Ford’s Chelsea is not going to be the film’s ‘final girl’ but the speargun to the head through the dock still manages to get you to jump.
12. Sheriff Mike Garris Would Bend Over Backwards for His Daughter in Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives marked the point in the franchise where Paramount Studios said ‘f*ck it’ and just went ‘all in’ with the crazy. It’s certainly one of the more fun sequels in the franchise. Jason bending Sheriff Mike Garris literally in half is a great example of this sequel’s more self-aware humor. Just the sound of the breaking bones is enough to prompt gleeful screams from the audience.
11. Rick is Popping Off in Friday the 13th: Part III
Paul Kratka’s Rick in Part III started a Friday the 13th trend – the male protagonist initially presented as a potential hero who ultimately proves to be useless. Unfortunately, Part III‘s gimmicky 3D effects keep this kill lower on the list. Nevertheless, Jason crushing Rick’s head with the eyes popping out of the screen is still one of the more fun deaths in the franchise.
10. Jason Packs a Punch in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Jason doesn’t actually take Manhattan; the film was shot in Vancouver. In addition, most of the film takes place on a cruise ship. Nevertheless, Jason Takes Manhattan has one truly fun kill. Collegiate boxer Julius gives it the ‘old college try’ and hits Jason with his best shots. He dares Jason to take his best shot and the goalie-masked killer obliges, punching Julius‘ head clean off his shoulders with one punch. The scene ends with Julius‘ head cascading into a dumpster.
9. Trey Gets Put to Bed in Freddy vs Jason
Trey is an obnoxious character in Freddy vs. Jason, which in part makes his death that much more satisfying. In this scene, Jason really vents his frustrations with that machete. It’s really hard to pick a highlight. On the one hand, Trey’s muscle-spasm crushing of his beer can as he dies is a nice touch. Conversely, Jason folding him in half in the pull-out couch is pretty brilliant, too.
8. Amanda’s Death in Friday the 13th (2009)
In the opening 10 to 15 minutes, the Friday the 13th remake showed so much potential. Amanda’s death gives a hint of the direction the remake could have taken. There’s no humour anywhere to found as poor Amanda is hung above a campfire from a tree in her sleeping bag. Derek Mear’s Jason is a primal and ruthless killer in this scene, calling back to earlier portrayals in the franchise.
7. Adrienne Faces off With Jason in Jason X
Jason X is a much better film than some fans will admit. While not as self-aware or fun as Jason Lives, this Jason-in-space sequel delivers a few creative kills. Among its best death scenes, Jason plunging lab technician Adrienne’s face into liquid nitrogen before smashing her frozen head onto the counter is a sight to behold. It may be the most creative kill scene in the entire franchise.
6. Mrs. Voorhees Get Her Comeuppance in Friday the 13th
Not surprisingly, as we move higher up the list, we start getting more of Tom Savini’s work in the franchise. The original film’s reveal of its killer was admittedly a little cheap, but Pamela Voorhees’s decapitation on screen still stands out as masterful effect nearly 30 years later.
5. Another Sleeping Bag Death in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
How many of us as kids hid under our blankets or zipped ourselves into a sleeping bag when we thought we heard a scary sound? Unfortunately, Jason reminds us that a sleeping bag offers little safety in The New Blood. Much of the shock from this scene comes from how quick and perfunctory the death plays out. Jason proves he doesn’t need his machete to get the job done.
4. Mark’s Demise in Friday the 13th Part II
Wheelchair-bound Mark’s demise is one of the few deaths in the Friday the 13th franchise that elicits some sympathy. Unlike the over-the-top, humorous death scenes on this list, Mark’s death highlights Jason’s ruthlessness. Director Steve Miner does a great job misdirecting the audience in this scene. As a result, the machete to the face feels sudden and shocking.
3. Andy Goofs Around in Friday the 13th Part III
This death scene works so well because Steve Miner teases it for a few minutes. Any seasoned horror fan knows what’s coming. Yet it is so quick, brutal, and bloody that none of the shock value is hurt by the anticipation.
2. Jason Gets His In The Final Chapter
Tom Savini reportedly came back to work on Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter just to kill his own creation. Corey Feldman’s first blow to Jason’s head with the machete is gruesome enough, but Savini takes it a little further. The sight of the machete sliding through Jason’s head as he falls to the ground is one of the franchise’s most gruesome moments.
1. Kevin Bacon and Friday the 13th
It’s hard to top Jason’s climatic death from The Final Chapter. However, Kevin Bacon’s death scene from the original Friday the 13th is the perfect combination of shock and ingenuity. Like the best death scenes in the franchise, you know it’s coming but you’re still shocked when it finally happens. In addition, this is the type of horror film moment that leaves you asking, “How did they do that?”