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Top 10 Friday the 13th Kills

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

There are few characters more iconic than the hockey mask-wearing Jason Voorhees. It's been 13 years since his last official appearance and he’s just as popular as ever. I knew who Jason was even as an elementary school kid in the 90’s who was afraid of his own shadow and never watched horror movies. I came to love the horror genre in college, but I still hadn’t watched any Friday the 13th movies as Jason had been embedded into my mind as the king of horror and terror.

I’ve since watched (again and again) all of the Friday films and have come to love them as some of the most fun horror movies out there. There is a reason why when many people think of horror, they picture a hockey mask and machete. The Friday movies never broke a lot of new ground in horror, even being pitched initially as a rip off of John Carpenter’s original Halloween, but the series as a whole is a celebration of horror, special effects, and an entire industry of movie makers and actors who don’t always get recognized for the amazing work they do.

With this in mind I wanted to look at the nearly 300 kills spanning all 13 movies and decide what are the best kills in this franchise, which seems to have a death curse considering the series has the highest body count of any slasher out there. Narrowing down so many great kills was extremely difficult. I couldn’t decide if I should choose kills that were influential to the story or horror as a whole, if it should be on how bloody they are, or even how creative the kills can be. In the end I created this list based somewhat on the above, but I also just had to go with what were the most awesome kills to me. So, if you disagree with any of my choices or have your own list, sound off in the comments with your thoughts!

10. Jack – Friday the 13th (1980)

Starting off our list is Jack (Kevin Bacon) from the series original outing. The arrow head being stabbed through a mattress and Jack’s neck, and the spurting blood is iconic and one of the signature kills of the series. Being able to watch the expressions on Bacon’s face as he’s dying really brings home the special effect work which may not be up to today’s standards, still looks good. Even though, yes (42-year-old spoiler??), Pamela Voorhees was the killer in the original film – though you’d be forgiven for not suspecting her given the masculine hands reaching out for Jack and others through the movie – the fact that no one really mentions her, the feats of strength (i.e. tossing a grown woman through a window) that there is no way she would have been capable of, and that she’s not seen until the very end of the movie, it’s a memorable kill nonetheless and a great one to kickstart our list.

9. Mark – Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Mark (Tom McBride) may not be the most memorable character, but his death was one of the most stand out kills of Part 2. Representation matters, so it was cool to see a character in a wheelchair in this summer camp setting. The sudden hack into his face with the machete followed by the wheelchair’s descent down the stairs with the dying Mark along for the ride was a high point in a movie that featured country bumpkin baghead Jason and left the audience with a lot of questions. Did I love the way the kill ended in a freeze frame? No. But does watching it make me yell, “Oh shit!” at the screen and squirm at the thought of going backwards down the stairs in a wheelchair? Every time.

8. Julius Gaw – Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

I remember the first time I saw this movie, I felt cheated. I wanted Jason cutting a bloody path through the Big Apple and to see what he could do in an urban setting, but no, instead I got Jason on a boat. I’m not opposed to this in principle, but damn it it’s not what I was promised! Considering that the majority of this movie does take place on a boat and that the entire ending hinges on the New York sewers getting flushed out with toxic waste each night, I can’t help but wonder if the writers knew more about boats than New York and just hoped no one would notice. (Note: I did.) Regardless, this mess of a movie did at least give us not only the iconic moment of Jason in Times Square (technically fulfilling the promise of the movie), but also one of the coolest kills of the series. Julius (V.C. Dupree) was one of the stand out characters of a mostly forgettable or underutilized cast. It’s not often in the Friday series that we see people actually fight Jason with more than a desperate swing of whatever’s handy, but Julius goes down swinging! I find it hard to root for a lot of characters in the Friday series mostly because they are either unlikeable or are just really dumb, but this is one of the scenes in the series that draws out the fight long enough to root for Julius as he gives everything he has laying down vicious hit after hit, only to lose his head. The effect itself doesn’t look all that great, but the movie plays it straight, making this bonkers kill one of the all time greats.

7. Trey – Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)

Of everyone on this list, this is the only one where I thoroughly rooted for them to die. Trey (Jesse Hutch) is a disgusting human who mistreats and dehumanizes his girlfriend both before and after sex. The best thing I can say about Trey is that he is killed off quickly in this stunning scene where Jason stabs Trey repeatedly in the back with his machete as Trey lays face down on a bed before folding the bed (and Trey) in half. Trey’s death is elevated not only because of my dislike for him, but also because the kill occurs early in the film and uses some fantastic special effects work to sell the brutality of the kill. It really is a standout moment in an uneven movie.

6. Eddie – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)

I wanted to hate this movie, but I can’t! It’s them damn enchiladas! Either way A New Beginning is one of the strangest Friday films and has some of the most interesting (even if not necessarily likeable) characters. Eddie (John Robert Dixon) is a horned up teen at a home for troubled kids and not long after some winky blinky in the woods, we are treated to one of the most memorable kills in the franchise. A leather strap is tied around Eddie’s eyes and a tree, and is tightened with a stick until his head is crushed. The effect is just brilliantly done and looks phenomenal, even with the Motion Pictures Association (“MPA”) cutting it down so they could secure an R rating.

5. Andy – Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Friday the 13th Part III is a vitally important entry in the series not only because it is the first appearance of Jason in his signature hockey mask, but also it’s in 3D!! If you can ignore the stupid 3D stunts so cheesy even this Wisconsinite groans, you will be treated to one of the all time best kills of the series. In a scene where Andy (Jeffrey Rogers) is doing a handstand and walks out of the bathroom, Jason comes out of nowhere and brutally chops down between his legs with the machete, cutting Andy in half. This kill even gets a bonus round when the body is later revealed stuffed in the rafters. The incredible special effects work is really on display here though good use of camera angles to heighten the effect.

4. Jason Voorhees – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Did you think I was limiting this list to only Jason’s victims? Think again my friends! While the series features many stunning kills by Jason, there are also a fair number of great kills of Jason himself (whether or not it sticks is another matter). The first and greatest Jason kill is from the series’ fourth installment. This kill is iconic not only because it’s between Jason (Ted White) and Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) and it’s the official end of human Jason (paving the way for zombie Jason in Part VI), but because of amazing makeup work allowing us to see Jason’s face move and react as it slides down the blade. Couple this with Tommy’s manic hacking with the machete and it truly was a great kill worthy of Jason!

3. Sheriff Garris – Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

There are few kills in the Friday series that bring out an emotional response. Most characters as I’ve discussed are fairly one dimensional, forgettable, or just unlikeable. Sheriff Garris (David Kagen) is not one of those characters. This manis portrayed as being a good sheriff, a loving father, and good person (even if he is understandably a dick to Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews)). He dies in the film defending not only a camp full of children, but also his own daughter. After doing his best to put down Jason with multiple gunshots, Jason eventually overpowers him and snaps him in half in a great bit of special effects that is really sold on the excellent sound work. This kill has always stuck with me and when the series does continue, I would love to see some sort of nod to the Sheriff that kicked so much ass.

2. Deborah – Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

The Friday the 13th series has never been one to shy away from controversy. Since the start of the series they have been under extreme scrutiny by the MPA, forcing the filmmakers to cut back on kills that were ok, but could have been amazing. And where Jason Goes to Hell may be one of the most out of place entries in the series, they did do one thing right, which was releasing an unrated version of the movie. The MPA gave Deborah (Michelle Clunie) and the rest of this film the shaft, but free from restraints, Deborah’s kill goes from great in the theatrical cut, to spectacular in the unrated version. While getting steamy with her boyfriend, Deborah is impaled through the torso by a pole, which is then yanked upwards vertically cutting her in half. Just… wow. I remember watching this kill for the first time with my jaw hanging open. This, my friends, was no simple throat slit or an off camera kill. This was a kill done by a special effects team that knows their work!

And now before I reveal my number one pick for best kill, here are three honorable mentions for kills that just almost made the list!

Honorable Mention: 1. Doug – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Normally you see a woman getting killed in the shower after sex in horror movies rather than the man (especially in the eighties), but with a bone crunching slam that just sticks with you, Jason gives us an equal opportunity kill with Doug (Peter Barton).

Honorable Mention: 2. Judy – Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

In another kill cut down by the MPA, Judy (Debora Kessler) may be an entirely forgettable character, but Jason bashing her body against a tree while she’s trapped in her sleeping bag is so iconic it is repeated in Jason X (albeit virtually).

Honorable Mention: 3. Mrs. Voorhees – Friday the 13th (1980)

Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) may have lost her head when her son Jason died all those years ago, but at least with this iconic scene where final girl Alice (Adrienne King) decapitates her, Mrs. Voorhees was immortalized in horror history even though the fame may have gone to her head.

1. Adrienne – Jason X (2002)

I mean you had to have seen this coming. In a movie that on paper (or with common sense) shouldn’t have worked and been terrible, Jason X stands out as an excellent addition to the series and provides several great kills, but none better than Adrienne (Kristi Angus). In a kill so awesome they covered it in an episode of Mythbusters, Jason kills Adrienne by drowning her in an open vat of liquid nitrogen (OSHA violation??) and then smashes her frozen face into thousands of tiny meat popsicles. This kill has everything you could ask for! It’s sudden, bloody, creative, and allows for the actor to fully emote and express her character’s horror. This is honestly not only the best kill of the Friday series, but one of the all time greatest kills in horror.

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