I'm a big fan of Friday the 13th movies, with the exception of Jason Goes To Hell, for me it's the best horror franchise, this is the 12th movie of the series, before I go on here's a quick re-cap of where we're up to:
Friday the 13th (1980) - Camp Crystal Lake is a newly re-opened summer camp for kids, the camp is staffed by horny teens who love nothing more than to have sex, smoke pot, and go skinny dipping. 30 years previously a young boy had drowned while the camp counsellors weren't paying attention and now someone is out for revenge. In this, the original movie, Mrs Voorhees is the killer and ends up being decapitated in the classic finale. This is one of the few Friday's which is available fully uncut on DVD.
Friday the 13th Part II and III (1981 - 2) Jason returns to avenge his mothers death in these two sequels. Part III is in 3D and sees Jason wear his trademark hockey mask for the first time.
Friday the 13th Part IV-VI (1984-6) These three form a kind of story-arc involving, Tommy Jarvis, who becomes a sort of nemesis of Jason's after he murders his entire family in Part IV, which carried the title The Final Chapter! He ends up in a sanatorium and then escapes in Part V, and a pretty similar thing happens in Part VI as I remember.
Friday the 13th Part VII - The New Blood (1988) was the last movie set at Camp Crystal Lake to date and attempted to make the movies a bit more psychological and introduced a new adversary in the form of Tina, a telekinetic teenager whose been brought back to the camp, where it just so happens her father also drowned.
Friday the 13th Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) was the final Friday produced by Paramount and is set mostly on a boat and in some subways, rather than Manhattan itself. This one often gets derided but I think it's one of the better movies in the series. The teens in this one are a bit more interesting and have characters, rather than just being fodder for Jason's machete.
Jason Goes to Hell - The Final Friday (1993) was utter crap really, Jason takes over the bodies of the inhabitants of a town and kills people, this was New Line Cinema's first attempt and at a Friday the 13th movie it sucks, although as a run of the mill horror flick it's okay. The deaths are quite inventive and the Region 1 DVD is unrated, which is pretty cool. New Line's Freddy Kruger appears at the end of the movie, but it would be more than 10 years before fans got to see the ultimate showdown between two of horrors greatest icons.
Jason X (2001) By this time New Line Cinema had owned the rights to make Friday the 13th movies for over 10 years. This is basically Friday the 13th - IN SPACE! I absolutely love this trash fest - and although in the UK it is just a 15 rated film, it is pretty effective and the effects are pretty good, you wouldn't know that it was actually made on a very small budget.
Freddy vs Jason (2004) I think this was well done, totally trashy, and a whole lot of fun. Kelly Rowland co-stars.
Friday the 13th (2009) is the latest in the series, a collaboration between Paramount and New Line, it basically re-tells the story of the first three Friday's, in 90 mins. Jason's mother (now played by Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9, Wildfire) is only in it for about 2 mins, and then Jason (now played by Jason Mears) comes into it. The new Jason can run! He's moderately intelligent, and he even captures people! What in the hell! Why does producer Michael Bay have to mess with everything, who could forget his complete butchering of Miami Vice a few years ago? Well this is nowhere near that bad, in fact it's not bad at all, but somehow it is overlong, even with two sets of annoying teems to slaughter - Jason really runs out of things to do, and the kills are not very inventive. Flop pop queen Willa Ford also features as one of the teens. Stalk and slash is an established genre, and while it has worked well to make zombies run around in the 00's, I don't think it fits well within the context of a slasher movie. There was no sense of doom in this one, and Jason should be dumb! That's the whole point! It was still quite enjoyable and has no doubt re-established Friday the 13th as a major horror franchise as it has topped the charts in the US, and has fared quite modestly in the UK, although it has to be said massively better than Jason X which was amongst the very least successful of 2001. To say it did badly just doesn't do it's magnificent underperformance justice. I think it took under £50,000, compared to the £1.2 million this one has raked in during it's first week alone.
I thoroughly recommend the coffee table book Crystal Lake Memories for more information on the series, including interviews with virtually everyone whose been involved and lots of glossy pictures and trivia.