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Over the past thirty years there have been twelve Friday the 13th films. They stopped counting at the eighth film in the series, when Jason took Toronto, er, Manhattan–a film that Nitehawk will be screening with commentary from The Raspberry Brothers on Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14 at Midnight. After that, they simply became “Jason” movies (this was due to a rights dispute between New Line Cinema, who released the later movies, and Paramount, who released the first eight)

Oddly enough, though, the first eight Friday the 13th films all share a surprising continuity; impressive considering 95% of the cast gets killed in every movie–including Jason. Things get a little complicated; there are Jason imposters, a psychic girl and some debate on when or if Jason actually kicks the bucket.

So to catch you up for our Friday the 13th screening of Jason Takes Manhattan , we’re going to go movie by movie to show how Jason made the trip from Crystal Lake to New York City. 

Friday the 13th (1980) – The One Where Jason’s Mom Did It

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Location: Camp Crystal Lake

In a move more akin to Italian giallo than slasher flicks, the first Friday the 13th is played as a mystery. After a spree of murders and unexplained accidents shuts down Camp Crystal Lake, a new batch of counselors move in to re-open the cursed camp only to find themselves meeting similar grizzly fates.

The murderer turns out to be the be-sweatered Pamela Voorhees, a women driven mad by the death of her deformed son, Jason, who drowned while the pair of horny counselors were off doing what horny counselors do best. The last girl gets chased around and Mrs. Voorhees loses her head.

On to part 2.

Jason’s Death: Apparently drowned some years prior

Famous People Killed: Kevin Bacon gets an arrow shoved through his throat

Is It Good?: Sure! It has some gnarly Tom Savini make-up effects and pretty classy camera work.

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Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) – The One Where Jason Wears A Bag on His Head

Location: Camp Crystal Lake, Five Years Later

Two months pass and the lone survivor of the last film is still reeling from the trauma she experienced at Camp Crystal Lake. One night, while walking around her apartment, the girl winds up with an ice pick in her temple delivered by one Jason Voorhees.  It turns out, Jason didn’t drown all those years ago, but had been living in the woods surrounding Camp Crystal Lake, living off of wild animals and stolen goods. He witnessed the death of his mother at the hands of those pesky horny, stoned teenagers and now he’s pissed.

Five years pass and another group of counselors are looking to set up a new camp on Crystal Lake, and Jason is having none of it. Jason—who covers his misshapen face with a burlap bag—swoops in and takes care of all but two of the kids, the last of which firmly plants a machete into the psyhco’s shoulder.

The last girl gets taken away in an ambulance and Jason is left for dead.

Jason’s Death: Machete to the shoulder

Is It Good?: Not really! The movie fails to capture the spooky lakeside atmosphere of the first film and also doesn’t deliver some of the cheap thrills of the later movies.

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Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982) – The One Where Jason Gets His Mask–Also,  3D!!!

Location: A Crystal Lake rental property, the next day

Part 3 opens with Jason removing the machete from his shoulder and stealing some new digs from a local store before heading back out into the woods to hunt for someone to kill. He  stumbles upon a nearby lake house where, ironically enough, one of his former victims is shacked up with her horny, stoned teenager friends. Jason picks each of them off in ways that take advantage of the film being shot in 3D (lots of eyes popping out and stabs towards the camera, also an extended yo-yo towards the camera scene) and eventually steals his trademark hockey mask from a nerd whose throat he later slits. The film ends with Jason’s former victim bashing him in the head with an axe.

Jason’s Death: Axe to the head

Is It Good?: Yes and No. No in that it’s where the series sheds all sense of credibility and becomes a goofy 3D slaughterfest, and Yes in that it’s where the series sheds all sense of credibility and becomes a goofy 3D slaughterfest.

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Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) – The One Where Jason Gets Killed by Corey Feldman

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Location: Another Crystal Lake rental property, the next day

Jason gets carted away to the morgue after his head meets with the business end of an axe. He wakes up, saws off the mortician’s head and marches himself back to the woods. Jason comes upon a pair of houses: one full of horny, stoned teenagers; the other a mother and her two kids (one of which is a special effects obsessed Tommy Jarvis [Corey Feldman]). A lone hitchhiker is also in the mix, who is a a vengeful brother of one of the characters from Part 2.

Jason kills all of the teenagers in the second house, before going after young Tommy and his older sister. Feldman shaves his head to look like Jason did when he was a boy, which distracts the killer long enough for the little tyke to cleave Jason’s skull in half with a machete. Jason may be gone, but will little Tommy start killing people now? (Spoiler: No. Well, kind of. But, no.)

Jason’s Death: Machete to the skull, hacked to bits. Definitely fatal.

Dead Famous People: Crispin Glover gets a corkscrew in the hand and a meat cleaver to the face

Is It Good?: Not at all. The cast of meat that occupies the second house is unnecessary to the point of tedium. Then again, Crispin Glover dances like a total weirdo, so it’s not a total wash.

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Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) – The One With The Fake Jason

Location: A secluded mental institution, 5 or 6 years later

A teenaged Tommy gets carted off to a home for troubled children out in nowheresville where he’s still plagued by dreams of Jason coming after him. After one of the patients snaps and hacks up another with an axe, other kids at the camp start falling victim to a hockey masked killer. Is it Jason reborn? Is it a deranged Tommy? No, it’s the dead kid’s father, driven mad by the grizzly sight of his son’s death. It ends with Tommy wearing Jason’s mask, moving in to kill a friend. But… let’s just ignore that.

Jason’s Death: Jason’s not in it, but Imposter Jason gets impaled on some farm equipment

Is It Good?: Kind of? Part V is the black sheep of the Friday series—the one that fans don’t even like. Its plot is asinine and it was mostly retconned with the next movie. Be that as it may, though, it has the series’ highest death toll and is extremely silly.

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Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) – The Awesome One

Location: The woods surrounding Crystal Lake, 3 or 4 years later

Out of the loony bin and convinced that Jason isn’t dead, Adult Tommy heads back to Jason’s burial site (who, exactly, buried him?) where the dumb, dumb, dumbdumb teen digs up Jason’s worm eaten corpse and stabs him with a large iron rod in the middle of a lightning storm. When lightning strikes the rod, Jason wakes up as a hulking, super-powered kill-machine, and continues his quest to smash faces and hack up teenagers. Jason spends the movie stomping around Crystal Lake taking out everyone that he comes across: fornicating camp counselors, nerdy paint ballers, policemen, lost motorists—it’s great.

The film ends with Tommy taking a boat out into the middle of the lake, goading Jason out to get him. When Jason complies, Tommy smashes Jason in the face with the boat’s propeller and straps him to a massive boulder, letting him sink to the bottom of the lake.

Jason’s Death: Resting on the bottom of Crystal Lake, apparently dormant

Dead Famous People: Ron Palillo, Horshack of Welcome Back, Kotter, gets punched through the chest

Is It Good?: YES! Jason Lives is the most blissfully self-aware of the Friday the 13th films, with plenty of ridiculous kills and self-effacing humor. It has a higher production value than most of the Friday films, and concentrates on delivering a lot kinetic gags and cornball violence. There’s no nudity, though–the only one in the series without it.

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Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) – The One Where Jason Fights A Psychic Girl

Location: A Crystal Lake rental property, some time later

As if things weren’t weird enough in this series, The New Blood introduces Tina, a troubled girl with Carrie-like telekinetic powers into the mix. As a child, Tina accidentally kills her father at Crystal Lake with her uncontrolled power. Now a teenager, Tina has been ridden with guilt ever since, and her mother and therapist take the girl back to Crystal Lake to face her trauma. Tina attempts to resurrect her father, whose body was never recovered from the lake, but, instead, accidentally wakes up Jason, who’s still strapped to that boulder resting on the lakebed.

After taking out—another—lake house full of stoned, horny teenagers, Jason faces off against Tina in a psycho versus psychic showdown, ending with Jason getting pulled back into the lake by the girl’s resurrected father.

Jason’s Death: Dragged to the briny depths of Crystal Lake by Tina’s undead father. (Winner for weirdest Jason death)

Is It Good?: Surprisingly, yes. The heap of abuse that he’s taken over the course of six movies, and a good amount of time spent at the bottom of a lake has really taken its toll on ol’ Jason. His mask is broken from the propeller in Part VI, revealing the decomposed cheek beneath, and he’s rotted to the point where his bones poke out from beneath his tattered clothes. That and the film marks the first time that actor Kane Hodder donned the hockey mask—a hulk of a man who manages imbibe the faceless killer with a great deal of raging personality. Between that and it’s wacky Jason vs. Carrie premise, what’s not to like?

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So there you have it. You’re all caught up for our screening of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, the one where a boat somehow gets from a lake in New Jersey to the Hudson River and where Jason can teleport and kills people with guitars and sauna rocks.