‘Friday the 13th’: The Best Jason Voorhees Movies to Watch

For the superstitious, Friday the 13th may be bad luck. For Hollywood, Friday the 13th is lucrative. The date first became Paramount’s answer to Halloween in 1980. The franchise has been so successful, there are 12 Friday the 13th movies, all of them featuring Jason Voorhees in some way (even if only an epilogue in the first movie). 

Jason Voorhees
Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan | Paramount/Getty Images

There’s no way you’ll have time for a marathon of all 12 Jason Voorhees movies on Friday the 13th, so Showbiz Cheat Sheet is here to help. Here are the best movies to watch to celebrate Jason Voorhees on his special day.

Jason Voorhees is funny in ‘Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives’

By part six, you’d think it would be pretty clear that Jason Voorhees wasn’t going anywhere, no matter how many times he died. However, Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning suggested that someone else was taking over for Jason, so Part VI had to remind fans that you couldn’t replace the original Jason Voorhees.

Jason Lives has a good sense of humor too. It’s not quite as overt as later entries in the series, but he does do the James Bond opening. This was comic relief before Scream made it popular.

Jason Voorhees becomes the star in ‘Friday the 13th Part 2’

Scream made this bit of trivia famous to people who’d never seen the original Friday the 13th. Jason Voorhees was not the killer in the first movie. His mother was, avenging her son’s death due to negligent camp counselors. The original did introduce Jason, coming out of the lake at the very end.

Ginny Field battles Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part 2 | Paramount/Getty Images

Friday the 13th Part 2 was really the first movie to establish the Jason Voorhees formula. Jason would come back to life and stalk the new counselors at Camp Crystal Lake, killing them one by one in creative ways. He would not find his signature hockey mask until the next movie though. 

‘Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter’ was the first false alarm

Every franchise that declares a final chapter ends up making more sequels after that. Friday the 13th has the distinction of being the only franchise with two final chapters, neither of which were the last one. Part four was the first false alarm in Friday the 13th.

The Final Chapter introduces Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) who would become the hero of the next two Jason Voorhees movies too. You also get Crispin Glover dancing as one of the ill fated counselors. Even though you know Jason Voorhees lived again, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter remains one of the most solid entries in the formula.

Jason Voorhees went to outer space in ‘Jason X’ 

Hellraiser’s Pinhead, Leprechaun and the Critters all went to space in sequels. Not to be outdone, Jason Voorhees did a sequel in space too. The 10th film embraces the absurdity of that premise and is the funniest entry in the series.

A shuttle crew ends up in possession of the cryogenically frozen body of Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder in his fourth performance as Jason). When Jason thaws, he stalks the crew. Set in the future, there are many jokes about future society, Jason taking out an entire space station, and a virtual reality finale that pokes fun at all of Jason’s greatest hits, but Jason X still has some of Jason’s most brutal kills.