Friday the 13th one of Hollywood's premiere horror franchises takes centre stage today, the day it was named after. Boasting 12 slasher films, a television show, comic books, novels and several tie-in merchandise, the name has become synonymous with classic horror films. The first film riding on the trend of Hollywood horror films of the 80s it made its mark on the genre.
The entire film series is based on Jason Voorhees, a young boy who drowned at Camp Crystal Lake due to the negligence of the camp counselors. Jason is featured in all the films, originally as the motivation for the killing, and later on he becomes the primary antagonist. The films often depicted teenage insolence, destructive behaviour, sex, alcohol and were often gruesome and blood filled. Jason Voorhees is a pop culture icon today, being easily recognised with either his machete or chainsaw. Jason's hockey mask has become one of the most recognisable images in popular culture. His likeness has been parodied in a wide range of projects across different media platforms.
The films, although not all got excellent critical reception, have become a cult phenomenon with devoted fans re-enacting scenes from the movies and producing their own fan made films. The franchise itself has creeped into almost all avenues of media, and Jason's likeness is often used as a stereotype for a mass murderer with some of the more devoted fans even getting tattoos with Friday the 13th artwork and have grossed over $465 million worldwide, making it one of the most successful.
Here is a little bit about the 12 films that catapulted the franchise to the world wide spotlight.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Widely considered the first "true" slasher film, the first film introduces the camp, Jason Voorhees and his tragic end and revolves around camp counsellors getting killed by someone at the camp. Fun fact, this was one of Kevin Bacon's first prominent roles.
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
This is the first film that features Jason Voorhees as the primary antagonist, a plot point that carries on for the rest of the series. After Mrs. Voorhees is killed by Alice in the first film, we find out that Jason never drowned in the lake and is alive and kicking, and ready for revenge.
Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
This film shows Jason surviving what should have been a fatal wound from the last movie. As some kids come out to party in the woods near Camp Crystal Lake, they find soon find out they are not alone. This film introduces the hockey mask Jason will wear through the rest of the series.
Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter (1984)
Once again Jason survives a near fatal injury and comes back to the camp to continue his murderous rampage. But this time, he might have met his match in young Tommy Jarvis.
Friday the 13th - A New Beginning (1985)
This movie opens 10 years later, showing us how Tommy Jarvis has been in and out of mental hospitals not being able to get over the events of the previous film. Tommy moves into a home for disturbed teenagers and another hockey masked killer begins to killing off the people there. Has Tommy completely lost his grip on reality and taken over Jason's role, or has Jason somehow cheated death once more.
Friday the 13th - Jason Lives (1986)
This is the first film since the original to receive a positive reaction from fans and critics alike. Resurrecting Jason by electricity, thereby making him more of a zombie supernatural like killer rather than a mortal psychopath; the film continues its murderous theme.
Friday the 13th - The New Blood (1988)
Years after Tommy Jarvis chained Jason underwater at his old stomping grounds, the killer returns after he is accedently released by a teenager exhibiting psychic powers.
Friday the 13th - Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Intended to be the last film of the series, it again shows Jason being resurrected by electricity and this time he's taking his murder spree to New York.
Jason Goes To Hell - The Final Friday (1993)
Meant to be the last film of the Friday the 13th franchise, and a set up for Freddy Vs. Jason; hence the name of the movie and the final scene. However due to financial and production problems, Jason X was first produced and then Freddy Vs. Jason was released. The film shows how Jason needs to possess different people in order to stay alive. He eventually is defeated and sent to hell. However a final surprise scene may change things.
Jason X (2001)
Jason X is an interim film so that kinks could be worked out for Freddy Vs Jason. The film takes place in the future so it doesn't mess up the continuity. It sees Jason still alive and menacing people in the future.
Freddy Vs Jason (2003)
The movie explains how Freddy has lost the power to hurt his victims through their dreams, so he resurrects Jason to wreak havoc. However when Jason starts killing Freddy's potential victims, the inevitable clash between the two murderers begins.
Friday The 13th (2009)
Acting as a part reboot or part continuation of the original movies, the movie maintains the canon of the previous films. It shows the gruesome murders at the hands of Mrs. Voorhees and Jason's rampage thereafter as well as Jason's return to his old ways.