Friday the 13th: Top 13 WTF Moments

As much as I love it, the Friday the 13th series isn’t bound by strong continuity. Jason’s look fluctuates like the weather, people flock to Camp Crystal Lake in droves, and WHY does the camp look like it’s in a different state in every film (don’t answer that)?

That’s not to begin trying to piece together a strict sense of passing time through the Paramount-era films. Ever try? If you date everything out the best you can do is place Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood in the year 1999 or 2000. This is amazingly problematic to say the least considering Kevin Blair runs around in denim the entire movie.

Along the way there have been many WTF moments. Characters disappear, others reappear. People stumble in out of nowhere just to be killed and then forgotten. Having different creative teams behind each production often results in hilarious lapses in logic that cannot easily be explained, while some stylistic choices are just bizarre. There’s obviously no way for a “top ten” (or top 13, as it were) to cover them all, but this list references some obvious choices along with a few genuine oddities. Their common ground? All of them make the viewer say, ”what the fuck?”

Friday the 13th:  Top 13 WTF Moments

13. Jason’s overnight growth spurt between 2 & 3.

We’ll start with an easy one. It’s such a puzzling choice because, in the span of one night, Mr. Voorhees springs up several inches, sheds his ginger locks and decides his backwoods-y wardrobe has gone out of style. Or something.

So yeah, from this:

Friday the 13th:  Top 13 WTF Moments
To this:

Friday the 13th:  Top 13 WTF Moments
How? Why? Doesn’t matter. One assumes director Steve Miner wanted a bigger, more imposing presence for his second sequel, but hey, at least they cared enough to keep him in his overalls for the flashback attack on Chris later in the movie (more on that later).

12. Yeah, I’m afraid of water now… (Freddy vs. Jason)

There’s a lot wrong with Freddy vs. Jason, but the biggest WTF moment comes when it’s revealed that Jason is deathly afraid of water. Never mind all of Jason’s prior traipses into Crystal Lake, FvJ stages an 11th hour retcon in a desperate attempt to make the character more “sympathetic.” It sucks.

Friday the 13th:  Top 13 WTF Moments
But Jason didn’t have these issues while waiting for a late-night skinny dipper in The Final Chapter, nor did he mind wading into fiery waters for a final confrontation with nemesis Tommy Jarvis in Jason Lives. He spent a decade chained to a rock at the bottom of the lake and that didn’t seem to bother him either! Maybe he’s just timid in his undead age? It had to be something other than ”the filmmakers simply didn’t give a shit”, right?

11. Zombie Dad (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood)

Apparently Jason wasn’t the only corpse rotting beneath Crystal Lake. John Shepard, the raging alcoholic who goes to his watery grave in the prologue, apparently was left to rot after the collapsed dock was cleared away and then rebuit.

It’s unlikely that his corpse wasn’t tangled up in the debris, though. And how deep is Crystal Lake where the body couldn’t have been recovered (this is true for Jason, too)? Did the police even LOOK? Knowing their success rate, it’s probably safe to assume they did not (more on them later).

Of course, this doesn’t excuse how lame Shepard looks when he comes flying out of the water just in time to drag Jason back down into the raging shallows of Crystal Lake. I know director John Carl Buechler fought for a cooler-looking Shep zombie, but the idea was nixed by one of the producers.

Well, producer, this is the impression your film leaves:

Friday the 13th:  Top 13 WTF Moments

MORE WTF moments on the NEXT page!

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Matt Serafini

Author (Under the Blade, Feral), slasher movie enthusiast, N7 Operative. Plays games, watches movies, reads books. Occasionally writes about them.

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  • cinnamonunicorn

    Can you state your reasoning behind how you came to the conclusion that “New Blood” would be set in 99/2000? I am not doubting you at all, I just never caught that and I find it really interesting to talk about timelines in horror films.

    • Masked Slasher

      Sure. So if The Final Chapter is set in 1984, A New Beginning and Jason Lives have to be several years later. At the EARLIEST you would be able to set it around 1989/1990 – Tommy would have to be 17/18 years old.

      So if you look at the beginning of THE NEW BLOOD, it opens with Jason at the bottom of the lake, so it’s set after JASON LIVES. After the prologue, there’s about a ten year time jump (so Tina can be a teenager) – placing the film around 1999/2000.

  • Cinemascribe

    There are some terrific examples listed in this thread. Let me add that perhaps the greatest F13 WTF of them all has to be when Tommy inexplicably goes from wielding a knife while wearing the hockey mask to being just..Tommy.

    When we leave Tommy at the conclusion of A New Beginning, he’s lost his battle for sanity and is approaching the blond from the behind, knife raised for the kill, eyes blazing with psychosis, poised literally on the cusp of picking up where Jason left off. Hell,there’s a even a legitimate dark and stormy night going on the other side of the broken hospital room window to add to the atmosphere of doom.

    But in the pre-title sequence of the next film, Jason Lives, he’s now out of the institution and driving through the night , on the hunt for Jason’s corpse with…. Horseshack?

  • shape350

    I always thought vinny and pete in part 5 were very odd, so its great you pointed this out. to the way they were dressed to him taking a shit in the woods before seeing ladies, to saying “ra-ta-ta-tooee” (which when that animated movie about the rat with the similar sounding name came out, I immediately thought of this). although, part 5 is great and I was actually writing an “interqual” in high school between parts 5 & 6 which wouldve tied them together (and delved more into the psyche of tommy jarvis’ psyche with jason, and would also explain how he has his mask in part 6, right down to axe cut). couple of WTF moments I would like to add here:

    1. why didn’t axel in part 4 put jason into the icebox the second they got him? it seems weird that he would leave a deformed psychopath, presumably dead, in the open, especially when trying to have sex with a nurse?

    2. At the end of part 8, Jason is turned back into a child by coming into contact with toxic waste. YET, in JGTH, he is a fully grown adult again. now director rob hedden explains this more in his interview on the DVD of why Jason is a child, but like I said in regards to Jason horniest kills….the only good thing to come out of JGTH was the sex scene.

    3. Also, in Part 8, where the fuck did Jason get gloves after being underwater for about a year, and having the gloves he had in part 6 deteriorate within the 10 years between part 7?

    4. Jason killed a cop who saw him running across the road in part 2, yet the police department doesn’t seem to question this, nor is his car in the middle of the road when the counslers go to drink that night? Also, you did reference how retarded the cops are.

    5. After getting Rick’s windshield bashed in, Shelly doesn’t even apologize, nor is Rick pissed at this idiot…..

    6. Why would a halfway house for troubled teens give the job of chopping wood to a psycho like VIctor Hadden?

    7. One last thing….what about those “damn enchilladas”!

    Overall, terrific! I may have to use some of this on my website blog once its up and running!

  • DavidFullam

    That’s why I have a soft spot for the series. Whether by accident or design, the makers said “Fuck it, let’s do our own thing.” Although the aqua phobia in F vs. J was annoying.

  • Sirand

    For me, the biggest WTF moment came in Part 2 where they try to explain the Jason mythology. “So he survived drowning…and then he hid in the woods for decades and then randomly saw his Mom getting murdered by the lake…and vowed revenge…”


    The whole Friday the 13th mythos make NO SENSE whatsoever. That’s why I didn’t care when they suddenly said he was afraid of water in FvJ. It’s not like they took any care into the writing to begin with.

  • JB Demented

    Cool list. Theres so many WTF moments in the Ft13th series. Theres a WTF moment Ive always wondered about The Final Chapter. When Robs in His tent hearing Paul scream in agony across the woods (due to the spear to the groin…ouch) Rob has both a rifle and a machete at His disposal to take with Him to investagate. So what does he choose? Jasons all time favorite weapon the machete. And as Hes searching, Rob hears a snapping sound, turns around and notices someone is walking away from His tent. And then we come to find that Robs rifle was broken. Now My question is why the hell didnt He take the rifle instead? Jason never took any gunfire until Part 6. Maybe in parts 2-4 a gunshot may have done Jason some serious damage, but I guess well never know.

    • shape350

      good call JB, i am close going to point out how Jason went from underneath the dock to speargunning paul in the groin to robs tent in 10 seconds flat?

  • Genrewriter

    Good stuff, Matt. I think the ending of Part 8 was essentially an excuse for Kane Hodder to do his “vomiting water on command” party trick. Makes the scene worth it in my book.

  • kiddcapone

    Let’s take a look at the beginning of part 2. How exactly did Jason find out where Alice lived? Is he part bloodhound? Did she leave her purse behind and he found her name and address? No one noticed a giant mongoloid wearing a potato sack asking for directions or hitchhiking?

    Or part 4. Why the fuck did Gordon the dog randomly jump through the upstairs window? I always just assumed Jason threw the dog out, but when you watch it, Jason is no where near the upstairs window. I believe he was in the basement at the time. Did Gordon commit Doggie Suicide?

    • shape350

      its explained in the comic book tie in or novel of how jason knew…when she came back to visit the camp he memorized her license plate…although how would he know this by memorizing it? im thinking possibly he looked at her IDs when she came back to visit but i dont think he can even read

  • Cinemascribe

    This is a spot on list but I’m actually surprised by your choice for the first entry. Even more of a WTF moment than the shift in Jason’s appearance between the 2cnd and 3rd films is the bizarre nature of his development between the end of the original and part 2 when, apparently, this particular reanimated corpse of a drowned boy grew to adulthood in two months (according to head counselor Paul, Alice disappeared two months after the events of the original film – yet the figure stalking her in the pre title sequence of Part 2 is clearly fully grown).

    • Masked Slasher

      I think it has more to do with the fact that the ending of F13 was intended to be a dream.

      I always have that in the back of my head now.

      But if you do take it literally, I agree, it’s completely baffling.

  • Terminal

    Somehow I saw this list coming a mile away. I find the inconsistencies part of the series’ charms. Gotta love F13.

  • LSD Zombie

    Really funny stuff Matt! That scene in Part 8 where Rennie sees a hallucination of both a white and asian Jason was also hilarious. Part 5 and 8 are without a doubt the worst of the series, but they’re still charming to me in a very oddball sort of way. Although they are still better than the remake.