A few years ago, I decided a good way to spend my time would be to watch all the 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. This seemed like important work that our nation's film scholars had not yet undertaken.
So I watched them, I took notes, I wrote snarky reviews. And I compiled the data. We published my findings back in 2007, but now I have updated the statistics to include last year's Friday the 13th remake. (Freddy vs. Jason is not included because it is a cross-franchise anomaly.) Since today is, in actual fact, Friday the 13th, what better occasion to present the latest data?
The 11 Friday the 13th movies are fairly bursting at the seams with death and mayhem. I counted 166 deaths over the course of the series, and that's out of 269 speaking parts. In other words, 62 percent of the series' cast is murdered at some point. Given that the 11 movies total 1,006 minutes in length (average running time: 91.5 minutes), that's an average of one death every 6 minutes and 4 seconds.
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. Last year's remake had 13 murders, out of 23 speaking parts.
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. Seven of the 11 Friday the 13th movies feature such a character. At the other end of the spectrum, nine of the 11 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 immediately after sex: 12 (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? Eleven people are thrown through windows in the series (including a windshield in the remake): eight dead bodies, two live bodies, and Jason himself (twice).
Six 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 five of the movies (including the 2009 one) were actually released on a Friday the 13th.
Most disturbingly, four of the 11 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. The remake avoided the clichés of cars not starting and girls taking showers; I am pleased that it also declined to resurrect the Daisy Duke motif.
Finally, 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. The shortest gap between films -- 343 days -- was between The Final Chapter and A New Beginning. They barely even gave us a chance to think they were serious about it being the final chapter.
- 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)
- Friday the 13th (2/13/09)