Filmmaker Sean S. Cunningham took John Carpenter’s Halloween, ripped it off and helped further a bloody new sub-genre of horror movies: the slasher film. There are so many memorable flicks in the Friday the 13th film series, which are loaded with splatter and suspense. Pound for pound, there are more beautiful women and devilishly creative fatalities than most other Silver Screen series – a bloody legacy. With 12 installments, boasting a body count of nearly 200 victims, there are so many unforgettable moments.
And with that in mind here is Dread Central’s Fearsome Fates: Top 10 Deaths From the Friday the 13th Franchise.
10. Friday the 13th Part III (Vera)
There are sexy casts and then there are the alluring women of Friday the 13th: Part III (1982). They have to be one of the best-looking groups of actresses ever assembled during what was the height of the slasher films. Poor Vera (Catherine Parks) has the dubious honor of being Jason’s (Richard Brooker) first victim when he first dons the now trademark hockey mask.
After stealing the new facial guise from camp pariah Shelly (Larry Zerner), Jason uses a harpoon gun to fire a spear into lovely Vera’s eye. This is one the most memorable deaths, of the franchise, and the cherry on top is the fact that it’s in 3-D. Yes, it’s bad 3-D, by today’s standards, but die-hard audiences love it.
9. Friday the 13th Part 2 (Mark)
Will Jason attack a man in a wheelchair? Unfortunately, Friday fanatics know the answer to be yes. All these years later, fans continue to feel horrible for the handicapped Mark, portrayed by the late actor Tom McBride. Mark is waiting patiently for Vickie (Lauren-Marie Taylor) to return to him, because after all their flirting they are finally ready to have sex together.
Jason (Warrington Gillette) surprises the crippled boy, while he waits outside, and smacks Mark with a machete to the face. Mark rolls backwards in his wheelchair down a steep staircase. It’s a brutal kill, and it is too bad Mark didn’t get the chance to get laid in the first Friday sequel.
8. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (Deborah)
Now, despite being the worst of the series, there is one spectacular kill. Luke (Michael B. Silver) is having sex with Deborah (Michelle Clunie) in the woods. Jason sneaks up to their tent, even stepping on the condom the pair should have been using, as he approaches.
After Deborah climbs on stop of Luke, Jason impales Deborah with an old sign post through the tent in which the couple occupies. In one violent motion, Jason rips the post upward and splits her beautiful body in half. This is a waste of an attractive woman, but still one of the most satisfying kills ever.
7. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (Hawes)
This is such an important entry in the series, because Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986) is the film that made Jason (C.J. Graham) supernatural, and the first kill really sets the beautifully violent tone. After inadvertently bringing Jason back to life, Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) watches in horror as his friend Hawes (Ron Palillo) is brutally murdered. In an awesome display of brute strength, Jason punches a hole in Hawes’ chest.
His arm extends through Hawes’ back and the youngster’s heart is clutched in Jason’s demonic grasp. Side note, it may also be satisfying to those who recognized Palillo from his annoying character Horshack on the television show Welcome Back, Kotter. It seems that Jason felt the same way about that show as many others did when he ripped Horshack’s, I mean Hawes’ heart out of his chest.
6. Jason X (Adrienne)
After the disaster that was Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)—and the fact that there were eight years between these films—it was a stunner that somewhere a room full of executives actually green lit the idea of sending Jason (Kane Hodder) into space. Unfortunately, the film had a rather short theatrical run.
As bad as it turned out to be, there is a very memorable kill. While Adrienne (Kristi Angus) examines Jason, our masked menace slowly comes back to life. As she inspects the killer’s tissue under her microscope, Jason sneaks up behind her.
Jason drags Adrienne across the room, forces her head into a sink of icy coolant (freezing her face) and then slams her head into the counter, causing Adrienne’s head to explode on impact. It’s the high point of the film, unfortunately.
5. Friday the 13th Part III (Rick)
This might be the best/worst example of what happens to a lovelorn character in a horror film. Rick (Paul Kratka) desperately tries to reconnect with his old flame, Chris (Dana Kimmell), during their time at Camp Crystal Lake. Unfortunately, Jason (Richard Brooker) gets his hands on Rick before Chris has a chance to see what a great guy she has.
While checking the exterior of their cabin, Jason grabs Rick and gags him with his hand, blocking Chris from hearing Rick’s screams for help. When she returns to the interior of the cabin, Jason hoists Rick into the air, squeezes his head, and pops it like a zit.
The result is Rick’s eye squirting out of his skull, in all its 3-D glory. It was the cheesy 3-D effects of the early 1980s, and you can see the eyeball traveling down the wire toward the camera, but it’s still one of the best “Oh my God!” moments in the series.
4. Freddy vs. Jason (Trey)
Jason (Ken Kirzinger) doesn’t waste any time, as he quickly dispatches Gibb’s (Katharine Isabelle) obnoxious boyfriend, Trey (Jesse Hutch), during the opening moments of the film. After an off-screen sex romp with Gibb, Trey lies in bed with a beer when Jason strikes.
Voorhees repeatedly plunges his machete into Trey’s back and then folds the youth up in the bed like a taco shell. It’s an awesome display of Jason’s power and director Ronny Yu’s obsession with loads of blood and gore. Audiences that had any qualms about whether or not Freddy vs. Jason (2003) would live up to their own respective franchises should have been alleviated right then.
This is one of the most memorable deaths in either series, and the film is one of the best Freddy and Friday films made – a great monster movie melee.
3. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Judy)
The only actor to play the character of Jason Voorhees more than once is fan favorite, Kane Hodder. This was his first appearance as the man behind the hockey mask, and his favorite kill as the character is in this film. While waiting for her boyfriend to return to their tent, Judy (Deborah Kessler) gets comfortable in her sleeping bag. Jason cuts his way into the tent and scoops up Judy in the sleeping bag.
Jason drags her, kicking and screaming, to a tree. Jason then hoists the sleeping bag into the air and slams Judy’s head into the tall timber in one hellacious motion, which cracks her skull. It’s so simplistic and yet diabolically creative.
2. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (Sheriff Garris)
Sheriff Garris (David Kagen) is hiding at the campgrounds after an unsuccessful first encounter with Jason Voorhees (C.J. Graham). But, when the sheriff hears his daughter Megan (Jennifer Cooke) screaming for help, he rushes to confront Jason in order to protect his girl.
Garris attacks Jason and begins beating him with a tree branch, forces him to the ground, and climbs on top of him, as he repeatedly smashes a rock into Jason’s skull. But, Voorhees gets the upper hand and forces Garris backwards in the wrong direction – folding the sheriff up like a lawn chair. The sound of Garris’ back breaking is what makes this death so effective, and it is one of the most chilling and creative deaths in the Friday films.
1. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Jason)
This is truly a case of saving the best for last, and it’s the only kill on our list that wasn’t carried out by the man behind the hockey mask. In what was supposed to be the final Friday the 13th movie, Jason (Ted White) squares off against siblings Trish (Kimberly Beck) and Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) at the film’s climax. Jason is fixing to murder Trish when Tommy takes him by surprise by revealing himself on the staircase with a bald head.
Jason is confused, as he stares at the young boy who has shaved his own head to look like a young Jason Voorhees. Trish grabs the machete and swipes at Jason’s head, which only knocks off his hockey mask. Trish drops the machete and screams, as Jason closes in for the kill, but Tommy picks up the weapon and slams it into Jason’s head. With the machete caught in his left eye socket, Jason drops to his knees and then headfirst toward the floor.
The flooring shoves the machete upward, as Jason’s head slides down the weapon. And, here’s your cliché of the day: Jason got an eyeful. This is by far and away the very best kill in the franchise. Plus, this film is one of the best of the series. You can’t go wrong with the Final Chapter; it is classic horror cinema.
Which deaths were your favorites? Were there some that didn’t make the list you can’t believe the author omitted? Kevin Bacon and Mrs. Voorhees? Sound off on social media!