It’s hard to believe that it’s been over ten years since Freddy vs. Jason first made its way into theaters; since we got to see Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees finally battling on the big-screen. It’s no secret that the two are probably the most iconic villains of the entire horror genre, and for good reason. While Jason butchers camp counselors and horny teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake, Blairstown, NJ (yes, that’s a real place). Freddy takes another route, attacking unsuspecting teenagers in their dreams on Elm Street in Springwood, Ohio.
Today, for no reason other than feeling like it we decided to make a list where we combine the two franchises and count them down from worst to best. So pick a side and let’s get started.
20. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
Director: Samuel Bayer
Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz
Picture the original horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street. Now picture that film if it were produced by the always over-the-top Michael Bay, director of Pearl Harbor and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Now picture all of the worst possible outcomes of that marriage. Well, you don’t have to do that. All you have to do is take an hour or two out of your day and watch this ultra lame remake/reboot.
On paper it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. The film brings the series back to its horror roots (leaving the horror/comedy at the door). And Freddy Krueger is played by Jackie Earle Haley, an Oscar-nominated actor who proved just how creepy he could be as Rorschach in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. How bad could it be? The answer to that question is really bad… extraordinarily bad.
19. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Director: Rob Hedden
Cast: Kane Hodder, Jensen Daggett, Scott Reeves, Barbara Bingham, Peter Mark Richman, Martin Cummins, Gordon Currie, V. C. Dupree, Kelly Hu, Saffron Henderson, Sharlene Martin
After years of mindless repetition, the eighth entry of the Friday the 13th series finally gave us a new twist on the franchise. Too bad it wasn’t a twist that anybody was interested in seeing. This time around we find Jason Voorhees stalking a group of high school graduates on a ship en route to, and later in, New York City.
Every movie series has its ups and downs. This was definitely Friday the 13th’s “down”. There are simply too many flaws to keep track of, from ridiculous plot elements, an uneven pace to a lack of chills and incompatible attempts at humor. Though, we must admit that watching Jason literally knock a guy’s head off with a single punch is always fun to watch.
18. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Director: Adam Marcus
Cast: Kane Hodder, John D. LeMay, Kari Keegan, Steven Williams, Allison Smith, Steven Culp, Billy Green Bush, Erin Gray, Rusty Schwimmer, Leslie Jordan, Michelle Clunie, Kathryn Atwood, Michael B. Silver
If longtime fans of the Friday the 13th saga had anything to say about it, the people behind this movie would burn in the same place as its hockey-masked star. However, the film admittedly deserves credit for its boldness. This time around Jason Voorhees’ supernatural origins are revealed. Apparently, Jason isn’t really the person we thought he was, he’s more or less an evil spirit that can be transferred from body to body at will.
One big problem with this film that is rarely addressed is its insistence on mocking the series. At one point, one of the characters sarcastically asks a trio of teens headed for Camp Crystal Lake whether they plan to smoke dope, engage in premarital sex and then get slaughtered. It’s supposed to be a funny meta moment but it just comes across as awkward.
The Final Friday also lacks a certain charm that the other movies had. Probably because this was made on a higher budget and the filmmakers were actually trying to accomplish things that weren’t accomplished in the previous movies (which wasn’t necessarily a good thing). Fans of the series who aren’t too picky about the content in the film, go ahead and enjoy. All others, seek caution.
17. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Kelly Jo Minter, Joe Seely, Whit Hertford, Beatrice Boepple, Danny Hassel, Erika Anderson, Nicholas Mele
After having survived the previous film, Alice (Lisa Wilcow) starts to have weird dreams again until she ultimately realizes that Freddy is attempting to be reborn through the dreams of her as-yet unborn baby. Now, this movie isn’t as terrible as a lot of people claim it to be. However, if you say it’s one of the better films of the series, shame on you!
The film does get points for its generally darker tone. The dream sequences are more gothic than the previous films of the series; with a blue filter lighting technique is used in most of the scenes. The black and white sequence is also a highlight. The dream sequences throw up random images and events, which certainly captures the surrealism of dream logic but doesn’t make for a coherent film. Most of the acting is poor, the effects are unconvincing and it is all, of course, familiar stuff.
16. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
Director: Rachel Talalay
Cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Shon Greenblatt, Lezlie Deane, Breckin Meyer, Ricky Dean Logan, Yaphet Kotto, Tom Arnold, Roseanne Barr
In part six of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Freddy Krueger has finally killed all the children of his hometown, and seeks to escape its confines to hunt fresh prey. To this end, he recruits the aid of his (previously unmentioned) daughter.
If you look at nearly any list ranking the Elm Street films you will almost always find this film listed as the worst. However, this just isn’t the case. It’s actually a lot of fun. It’s no longer trying to balance the line between comedy and horror and instead goes for pure entertainment. We have Freddy playing a NES, we have Johnny Depp making a cameo in a “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” commercial and the montage over the end credits is just kick-ass. If you can simply look at this film as a tribute to the franchise then you could find yourself enjoying it quite easily.
15. Jason X (2001)
Director: Jim Isaac
Cast: Kane Hodder, Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, Jonathan Potts, Peter Mensah, Melyssa Ade
For years the long awaited Freddy vs. Jason project was stuck in development hell. So for that reason, during the early 2000’s, the studio felt that they had to put out a new Friday the 13th film (ANY film apparently) to keep the franchise fresh in the minds of fans. And that’s how Jason X inevitably came to be.
Basic plot: It’s 2455 and Jason is loose on a spaceship killing a bunch of brainless, annoying 20 somethings. So is scary? No. Is it a good movie? No. Is it fun? VERY. If you can get past the fact that the film is technically not good and just sit back and enjoy the ridiculousness, then you’ll be fine.
There are sexy half-naked holograms who want to smoke pot and have sex. You have a female robot who kicks Jason’s ass all across the ship. And you even have horror icon David Cronenberg making an appearance. It’s not exactly 2001: A Space Odyssey, but what did you expect.
14. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
Director: Jack Sholder
Cast: Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Englund, Robert Rusler, Sydney Walsh, Marshall Bell
Freddy’s Revenge gets a lot of flack thrown its way that it doesn’t really deserve. Many fans look at this sequel as such a weird turn from the original NOES and ignoring a lot of the rules that were established previously. Oh, and that whole pesky homosexual subtext thing that the film has going on. If Sigmund Freud were alive today he would’ve had a field day trying to figure this one out.
And while many might not agree, this is a solid – indeed, far better than average – entry in the Freddy canon. However, we have to admit that the dance scene and the shower scene collectively still make up the two most cringe-worthy moments of the entire NOES franchise.
13. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
Director: John Carl Buechler
Cast: Kane Hodder, Lar Park Lincoln, Kevin Spirtas, Susan Blu, Terry Kiser, Susan Jennifer Sullivan, Elizabeth Kaitan, Jon Renfield, William Butler, Staci Greason, Heidi Kozak, Diane Almeida
While this isn’t technically the greatest Friday the 13th film it could probably be considered the “fan favorite” of the series. This was the first time Jason actually went up against someone who could actually stand their ground. Namely, a young lady named Tina Shepard aka Carrie White (played Lar Park Lincoln) who has telekinetic powers.
With her powers Tina strangles Jason with an electoral cord, flings deadly weapons at him and even sets him on fire. And the best part of all, she actually lives to tell the tale. So, not only does she go toe to toe with Jason Voorhees but she proves that the greatest horror slasher of all time was no match for her. If that’s not female empowerment, we don’t know what is.
12. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
Director: Danny Steinmann
Cast: John Shepherd, Shavar Ross, Richard Young, Marco St. John, Juliette Cummins, Carol Locatell, Vernon Washington, John Robert Dixon, Tiffany Helm, Debi Sue Voorhees, Dick Wieand, Jere Fields, Miguel A. Núñez, Jr.
Okay, put your pitchforks down! Yes, we are well aware of the general consensus of this film. For some reason people always seem to have nothing but bad things to say about this fifth entry of the franchise. And we can certainly understand why. For one, it doesn’t actually feature Jason as the actual killer. The killer is actually just some guy named Roy who is upset that his son got killed over a candy bar. Point number two… well, we don’t know what point number two is.
Indeed, if you can get beyond the fact that Jason is nowhere to be found then you might find yourself enjoying this film immensely. The kills are just as impressive as its predecessors. It’s actually pretty hilarious (Miguel A. Núñez, Jr. as Demon in particular). Tiffany Helm as Violet gives us the best version of the robot dance ever put to film. It’s the last film of the franchise that was still realistic and didn’t feature its killer as an unstoppable killing machine. And on top of it all, Debi Sue Voorhees as Tina is still the hottest female character of the entire F13 franchise. Enough said.
11. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Director: Renny Harlin
Cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Danny Hassel, Brooke Theiss, Andras Jones, Tuesday Knight, Toy Newkirk
The Dream Master was the first Elm Street film where Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger got top billing. In other words, Freddy was no longer the man lurking in the shadows, he was front and center. This is also the film where the franchise shed any scariness it still had and focused more on gags and one-liners.
After Freddy is bought back to life (via a dog pissing fire in a salvage yard) he once again goes on his quest to kill the Elm Street children. After killing off the last of the kids from the previous films he focuses his attention on Alice Johnson, a young, bright girl and a frequent daydreamer; Sheila Kopecky, a brainy, quiet girl with asthma; Debbie Stevens, a tough girl who hates bugs; and Rick, a martial arts enthusiast who is also Alice’s brother. The film features memorable characters, imaginative kills, and Englund, as usual, devours the scenery as Freddy.
10. Friday the 13th (2009)
Director: Marcus Nispel
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Derek Mears, Julianna Guill, Travis Van Winkle, Amanda Righetti, Aaron Yoo, Willa Ford, Arlen Escarpeta, Jonathan Sadowski, America Olivo
When it was first announced that Michael Bay would be producing a new Friday the 13th reboot, fans of the franchise let out a simultaneous groan. When the film was finally released, it made a ton of money, but their seemed to be this string of unfounded disapproval for the film. However, we’d argue that this film is one of the more stronger entries of a franchise that completely fell off the tracks years before.
Over the years Jason went from a simple deranged psychopath, to a zombie, to a parody of himself. However, most horror fans will always remember him for the beast that he originally was. And that is what makes this remake/reimagining of Friday the 13th such a success (for the most part). Sure, he runs now, but he is a hulking beast again. There is a bit of added development in the relationship Jason has with his mother, but the story remains the same. He is still taking revenge on sex-crazed teenagers stupid enough to venture to camp on Crystal Lake. Plus, it has the best sex scene of the entire franchise, so take that!
9. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Director: Ronny Yu
Cast: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland, Katharine Isabelle
It took over a decade (longer than that actually) for it to finally happen but in 2003 we finally got to see horror’s two biggest icons – Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees – duke it out on-screen. Prior to the film being released it felt like a Presidential campaign, who were you going to vote for.
In the film, Freddy has become unable to haunt people’s dreams as the citizens of Springwood, Ohio have generally forgotten about Freddy with the passage of time. In order to regain his power, Freddy manipulates Jason, into resurrecting himself and traveling to Springwood to cause panic and fear, leading to rumors that Freddy has returned. A murderous rivalry ensues.
With the amount of excitement leading up to this event it was next to impossible for the film to meet anyone’s expectations. However, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a strong entry for both of the respective franchises. Aside from the final battle you get the usual dose of sex, nudity, drugs, violence and rock & roll. The only letdown is the ending. SPOILER ALERT! Nobody really wins.
8. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Director: Tom McLoughlin
Cast: Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke, C. J. Graham, David Kagen, Renee Jones, Darcy DeMoss, Tom Fridley, Kerry Noonan, Ann Ryerson, Nancy McLoughlin, Courtney Vickery
By the time this sixth entry of the series came around, the filmmakers were pretty much out of ideas as to how to have Jason come back and kill some more. He had been hit by a car, stabbed and even taken an ax to the head and he just kept on coming back. The solution? Well, this is the film where Jason became a certified zombie, literally rising from the dead out of the grave to cause havoc.
After A New Beginning it was just nice to have the actual Jason back in the mix, zombie or not. Overall, this is one of the better installments of the F13 series. We should also mention that there is a little girl in the film whose name is Nancy. Could this have been an homage to Nightmare on Elm Street? Probably not, but whatever.
7. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Director: Steve Miner
Cast: Amy Steel, John Furey, Kirsten Baker, Stu Charno, Marta Kober, Bill Randolph, Russell Todd,
Lauren-Marie Taylor, Tom McBride, Walt Gorney, Adrienne King
Many fans remember this film the most for being the debut of Jason Voorhees, or at least the debut of adult Jason Voorhees. It’s also memorable because it’s the only film where Jason is the killer and he isn’t wearing his iconic hockey mask. Instead he’s wearing a homemade sack mask with one eye hole cut out of it (which is far more scary if you ask us).
Jason proves he can live up to his mother’s legacy by mercilessly killing a new group of teenagers in new inventive ways. This is also, by the way, the last time that any sympathy can be felt for anyone dumb enough to go up to Camp Crystal Lake. The rest of the sequels are filled with people who deserve to die anyway for being so naive.
6. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Miko Hughes, John Saxon, Tracy Middendorf, Fran Bennett
Freddy Krueger began as a genuinely frightening character who scared the hell out of everyone. As the movies went on, Freddy lost his edge and looked liked a bad stand up comedian with horrible one liners. The character seemed dead in the water with the sixth film of the series, but Wes Craven brought him back from his rut and made him someone to fear again. This of course helps prove the theory that a truly great NOES movie cannot be made without Craven.
When you really look at it, New Nightmare was way ahead of its time. Two years before Wes Craven gave the horror genre a facelift with 1996′ Scream the director released this gem of a movie. As far as the film’s plot goes, in a nutshell: Freddy Krueger is a fictional movie villain who invades the real world and haunts the cast and crew responsible for his films. Very meta, quite genius.
5. Friday the 13th (1980)
Director: Sean S. Cunningham
Cast: Adrienne King, Betsy Palmer, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan, Kevin Bacon, Laurie Bartram, Harry Crosby, Mark Nelson, Peter Brouwer, Ari Lehman
This is it, the movie that started it all. The little slasher movie that could. The film about a mother could just couldn’t stand the fact that a few camp counselors were “making love” while her son drowned so she decided to kill a bunch of teens who had nothing to do with it.
Not exactly a masterpiece, but certainly not a waste of time either. This film is basically a starters set for the film-buffs who start watching horror films. Friday the 13th may play as a clichéd slasher, a story of sex equalling butchery, but it plays so effectively well and is a horror movie that is too important to simply be dismissed. It collects everything appealing about the horror genre and wraps it up neatly into this fantastic package. A true classic in it’s genre.
4. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Director: Steve Miner
Cast: Richard Brooker, Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, Catherine Parks, Larry Zerner, David Katims, Rachel Howard, Nick Savage, Gloria Charles, Kevin O’Brien
As classic as the original Friday the 13th is nobody can really deny that a few of it sequels are far superior. The first film was a surprise hit, the second film tried its best to top it and it wasn’t until the third film that the franchise started to find its swagger.
Everybody has their favorite moment. Whether it’s watching a kid take a machete to the crotch or the moment where Jason dons his infamous hockey mask for the very first time. As far as Friday’s go, you can’t go wrong this film. Third time was indeed the charm.
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Director: Chuck Russell
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Patricia Arquette, Craig Wasson, Jennifer Rubin, Ken Sagoes, Rodney Eastman, Bradley Gregg, Ira Heiden, Penelope Sudrow, Laurence Fishburne, John Saxon, Stacey Alden
Hands down, the greatest Nightmare on Elm Street sequel, Dream Warriors was like a breath of fresh air after the relatively disappointing Freddy’s Revenge. Co-written by original creator Wes Craven the film follows Freddy as he takes his deadly crusade away from Elm Street to a psychiatric hospital for troubled teens.
This movie has so many wonderful qualities but let’s start with the kills. Dream Warriors offers some of the best death scenes of the franchise; from Freddy turning a kid into a human puppet using his own veins and tendons to Freddy posing as a topless nurse only to reveal his true self. Another thing to point out is the fact that none of the kid characters in the film are annoying. In a horror film such as this, that is a true rarity. When each one of the kids get killed you genuinely feel bad about it, you want them to succeed. It’s no wonder that this is the third entry of the series. As we said before, third time is definitely the charm.
2. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Director: Joseph Zito
Cast: Ted White, Corey Feldman, Kimberly Beck, Erich Anderson, Crispin Glover, Peter Barton, Clyde Hayes, Barbara Howard, Lawrence Monoson, Judie Aronson, Camilla More, Carey More, Joan Freeman
If Friday the 13th part 3 is where the franchise first found its swagger than part four is where it perfected it. The Final Chapter is like a “best-of” compilation of the entire Friday the 13th franchise. You have Jason, you have brutal kills, you have excessive nudity and drug use, you have skinny-dipping. What more could you ask for?
If you believe like we believe; that horror movies should be judged as horror movies, and not compared to films such as The Godfather then ,as far as horror films go, this could easily be the Godfather of the series. Don’t let Roger Ebert tell you otherwise.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia, Johnny Depp, Ronee Blakley, John Saxon
How did you expect this list to conclude? During the early ‘80s the slasher movie market was oversaturated beyond belief. With the success of the original Friday The 13th we were bombard with endless knockoffs and horror films that weren’t up to the challenge of trying something new. Then came New Line Cinema and Wes Craven to create one of the greatest horror movie villains in the form of the burnt-face Freddy Krueger.
We all know the story, Freddy Krueger was a child murderer, the parents of his victims burn him alive and about a decade later he comes back and starts killing those parents kids in their dreams. This was Johnny’s Depp’s first movie, playing Glenn, a standard boyfriend character who has a not so standard death, getting sucked into his bed and basically turning into a bloody heap of… blood. Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson, is still the quintessential horror movie heroine. She’s brave, clever and actually turns her back on Freddy Krueger and lives to speak about it. It doesn’t matter how goofy and silly Freddy would later become, the original Night on Elm Street should still be regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever made.
Agree or disagree with our ranking? Let us know in the comment section below.