Halloween may have opened the door to the slasher films of the ’80s, but it was Friday the 13th that set the table upon which these ripoff films would feast. It took some time for the franchise to find its voice, and when it did it devolved into self parody over the span of only a few movies. There is a sweet spot in the series, and it is noticeable.

Here, now, is the definitive ranking of the Friday the 13th franchise, scrutinized and analyzed and… who am I kidding, I just watched these things and ranked them based on what I liked. And along the way, I added a few tidbits of information where it was warranted. Enjoy… or get mad. It’s up to you.

12Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

New Line Cinema finally got their paws on Jason Voorhees for this ninth entry into the franchise – certainly to bring Voorhees and Freddy Krueger together – only to spend the majority of this film’s run time with other characters doing the killing. They are possessed by the spirit of Jason, which is pretty much the worst idea I could imagine for a movie where the audience’s primary objective is to see the hockey-masked killer causing mayhem. He does reappear eventually, but the first two acts are too much of a buzzkill and the impact is flaccid.

Instead, we have Richard Gant slicing up campers for a while, then a sheriff, then some other people, and there’s the cowboy bounty hunter Creighton Duke (Steven Williams) grimacing as he tries to track down Jason’s… soul? The rules of this game are incredibly murky, and they might be explained later on in the movie but by that time who really cares about an of it?

This was original supposed to be Jason going to Los Angeles and wiping out gang members, who are then forced to band together – a timely and surprisingly intelligent sociopolitical angle – but things like that would definitely cost more money than cheap sets and Crystal Lake retreads.