(All this month we'll be bringing back some of our favorite Halloween-themed posts, as well as digging up some brand new stuff from beyond the grave. Enjoy!)
By: Eric D. Snider
A few years ago, I decided a good way to spend my time would be to watch all 10 Friday the 13th movies and keep track of the statistics: how many kills, how many heroines taking showers, how many people falling down while trying to run away, etc. I was fond of the Scream series' deconstruction of the slasher genre, and it occurred to me that the Friday the 13th films -- most of which I had not seen at that point -- were probably the source of some of the oldest, ripest clichés.
So I watched them, I took notes, I wrote snarky reviews. And I also compiled the data. Now, years later, in conjunction with Cinematical's October festivities, that data is finally useful! My life's work has not been in vain!
The 10 Friday the 13th movies (I did not include Freddy vs. Jason) are fairly bursting at the seams with death and mayhem. I counted 153 deaths over the course of the decalogue, and that's out of 246 speaking parts. In other words, 62 percent of the series' cast is murdered at some point. Given that the 10 movies total 909 minutes in length (including credits), that's an average of one death every 5.94 minutes.
Parts 5, 9, and 10 have the most murders with 20 each. Parts 1 and 2, on the other hand, are almost puritan in their restraint, having just nine murders apiece.
Part 7 is noteworthy because it has 15 murders and only 21 credited actors. That means if you were in that movie, there was a 71 percent chance you would be killed. One reliable element in slasher films is that someone will warn others of dangers but those warnings will go unheeded. Six Friday the 13th movies feature such a character. At the other end of the spectrum, eight of the 10 films include at least one incompetent and ineffectual police officer.
Every film except for Part 6 has onscreen nudity.
Sometimes slasher movies cheat in order to give the killer more opportunities to get close to his victims. Someone falls while running away in four of the films (fewer than I'd have thought), and there are a total of 10 cars that won't start. Even given that Jason might disable some potential getaway vehicles, this seems like an awful lot of unreliable automobiles. Then again, it's usually teenagers we're talking about, and the car I drove in high school didn't start half the time either, even when I wasn't being pursued by a maniac.
This series liked the Killer-Cam, too, where we see the action from Jason's point of view. All but two of the films use that technique.
Some other stereotypical slasher devices that Friday the 13th employs:
- Number of couples killed during or just after sex: 11 (two couples in Part 1)
- Number of times someone says the exact words "I'll be right back": 5
- Number of times that person actually comes back: 1 (in Part 5)
- Number of scenes where someone takes a shower: 6
- Number of times a victim turns out not to be dead after all, usually reappearing just in time to distract Jason from killing someone else: 8
And what's up with Friday the 13th and windows? Ten people are thrown through windows in the series: seven dead bodies, two live bodies, and Jason himself (twice).
Half of the films end with Jason dying. Three of them begin with him being brought back to life -- four if you count the dream sequence that begins Part 5. Which you shouldn't, since it was only a dream.
Two of the films' titles contain the word "Final"; in neither case did it prove to be true. And while you may have thought otherwise, only four of the movies were actually released on a Friday the 13th.
Finally, and most disturbingly, four of the 10 films feature men wearing Daisy Duke shorts. Was this acceptable in the 1980s? I don't want to say anyone deserves to be murdered by Jason Voorhees, but if you're going to indulge in a killing spree, men in tiny shorts are a good place to start.
Note: Does the series' inconsistent titling throw you off? Having trouble remembering where Friday the 13th: A New Beginning fits into the chronology? Here's a handy list of the films' actual onscreen titles and release dates.
- Friday the 13th (5/10/80)
- Friday the 13th Part 2 (5/1/81)
- Friday the 13th Part III (8/13/82)
- Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (4/13/84)
- Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (3/22/85)
- Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (8/1/86)
- Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (5/13/88)
- Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (7/28/89)
- Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (8/13/93)
- Jason X (4/26/02)