VHS Revival looks back at some of Jason’s more memorable slayings.
10: Friday the 13 Part V: A New Beginning – Junior Son of Ethel Hubbard
The first kill I have opted for is that of the mentally challenged Junior, whose screen time, sparse as it is, is limited to the kind of nonsensical yammering that could drive a person crazy. Under the rule of his redneck mother Ethel, Junior revels in taunting the unhinged residents of Pinehurst Halfway House, his eccentricities too volatile for any of them to bear.
Unfortunately – or fortunately in our case – he hadn’t banked on one resident fighting back, and after succumbing to a severe beating at the hands of franchise mainstay Tommy Jarvis, an enraged Junior hops on his bike and returns home to the insufferable Ethel, doing everything in his power to see that our patience with him wears even thinner.
Luckily for us, so does Jason’s, as our killer appears from behind a tree and chops Junior’s head clean off with a meat cleaver, the audience rejoicing as it bounces mercifully into the distance. In a film marred by plot holes, spotty characters and dodgy Mexican cooking, this stands out as the single most enjoyable moment, and proves one of the most satisfying kills in the entire series.
9. Friday the 13th Part II – Mark
As a kid this instalment was my favourite. A seminal entry, it was the first to introduce Jason as a relentless killing machine, and the first to truly capture my imagination. The fact is, I wanted to be Jason, and would even stalk imaginary victims with an old pillowcase pulled down over my head, my macabre enthusiasm knowing no bounds. In truth, it’s a pretty tame affair, and I guess it’s only down to my affinity with the movie that I felt compelled to include at least one kill. Luckily, there is one in particular that stands out in terms of both drama and gore.
You have to feel sorry for poor paraplegic Mark. Wheelchair-bound after a motorcycle accident, you never truly get the feeling that he has the capacity to survive Jason’s original massacre. Even when it appears his luck has changed after the promise of an awkward bunk-up with the sultry Vicky, you get the impression that something terrible is on the Camp Crystal horizon.
That something comes in the form of a machete in the face, just when the poor lad had wheeled himself out onto the porch, invigorated by the sense of clarity his prospective sexual encounter had promised. If that wasn’t bad enough, Mark then careens backwards down some steps as thunder disguises his screams, bringing a premature end to his bubbling libido.
This is a prime example of our killer’s tendency for efficient violence, and also serves to highlight the fact that, when it comes to choosing his victims, Jason does not discriminate.
8. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason takes Manhattan – Julius
Steering the series away from the confines of Camp Crystal Lake, Part VIII sees Jason resurrected once more as he boards a ship bound for New York and butchers another flock of vacuous teens. Though the premise was very much the same, the unfamiliar surroundings gave the franchise a new dimension, and although there is plenty to sink your machete into, it isn’t until they actually arrive in Manhattan that the movie’s stellar moment occurs.
Lost along the smoke-strewn alleyways of The Big Apple, all-American pugilist Julius finds himself stranded on the rooftop of an apartment block in downtown Manhattan, and decides to confront Jason head-on, unleashing a flurry of punches and catching our antagonist off guard. Landing combo after combo, Julius forces Jason towards the roof’s edge, allowing us the faintest hope that the brute might finally be defeated, before ultimately punching himself into exhaustion. In a foolish show of sportsmanship, he then wills Jason to return the favour, with predictably gruesome consequences.
Julius is perhaps the most dignified of all of Jason’s victims. Even as his head flies clean off his shoulders, you’ve got to hand it to a man who gave our irrepressible killer all he had before graciously accepting the fury of his inhuman capacities.
7. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives – Sheriff Garris
It is a recurring theme of the franchise: inept law officials dismissing far-fetched claims that a murderer is on the loose, while the same masked killer wreaks havoc for the fifth year running, but without the obligatory lawman ignoring those desperate pleas for help, the movie probably wouldn’t last very long.
By the time Sheriff Garris comes to terms with his own incompetence, there is barely a soul left alive within the camp’s grounds, and it is up to him to seek retribution by sneakily ambushing Jason and beating him around the head with a boulder like a cavemen trying to strike fire.
In the end, it is all in vein however, because in spite of appearing to have the upper hand, Jason – as is so often the case throughout the series – summons his superhuman strength and bends the unfortunate sheriff in half, brutally snapping his spine in the process.
6. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives – Cort and Nikki
It is worth noting that for such a relentless and imposing figure, Jason can be surprisingly surreptitious. The nimbleness with which he sometimes stalks his prey suggests that there is much more to his arsenal than sheer brutality, a fact that is highlighted by the methodical approach he adopts in the build up to Cort and Nikki’s demise.
As his prey partake in a bit of senseless, no strings bonking, Jason cuts the power to their RV in a devious attempt to lure them into the wilderness. Predictably, the two of them take the bait, stepping outside to investigate whilst Jason sneaks aboard. Upon discovering that the cable was literally torn from its socket, the couple soon decide to head back however, fearing that somebody is out there lurking.
Unfortunately, Nikki hadn’t counted on our killer’s cunning. Nor was she prepared for Cort’s haphazard handling of their vehicle, as the partying idiot excitedly jerks it into reverse, sending her tumbling past the bathroom where Jason lies in wait. The radio blaring, our killer then duly appears, the lyrics to Young Frankenstein drowning out her pleas as he plants her face into the RV so forcibly that it causes the metal to protrude. ‘Hey Nikki, what are you doing back there? Taking a dump?’ Cort gracefully enquires. Moments later, Jason plunges a blade into his temple and sends the RV tumbling, bringing a welcome end to the movie’s most infuriating douchebag.
If all that wasn’t enough to please Voorhees appreciators, the sight of Jason then emerging from the wreckage unblemished is the stuff of franchise legend.