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.

11Friday the 13th, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Now for a personal anecdote: Jason Takes Manhattan was the first Friday the 13th where I was aware of the film’s theatrical release beforehand, and I was pumped up to see Voorhees slice and dice the Big Apple. Of course I was too young to go to the theater, but I did see it on VHS once it was released and was subsequently beyond disappointed when damn near the whole movie takes place on the worst cruise ship of all time. Only a few scenes occur in Times Square, and the rest was shot in Vancouver to save money.

Also… does Crystal LAKE run directly into the Atlantic Ocean?

Anywho, Kane Hodder is back in the role and doing yeoman’s work with a terrible story and probably the worst collection of horny teens in the entire franchise. His death is a terrific late-80s staple, the old toxic waste demise, but beyond that the other 95 minutes of the film are drab. The film stock looks washed out and blurry, and the kills are mostly uninspired.