In 1980, Friday the 13th hit cinema screens. It was bold, it was blood thirsty, and it was the beginning of a new horror franchise.

From that initial entry, a series of horror movies was created. Some of them were enjoyable, some less so, but all have taken their place in the pantheon of horror. 

But what are they and more importantly, in what order should they be watched? 

Fear not, I have answers. Lots of answers.

Today I’m going to talk about the viewing order(s) of the Friday the 13th movies. I’ll discuss the best order to watch the films, the connection they share with another iconic horror franchise, and I’ll highlight everything in between.

The aim of this post is to guide you through the series. So if you’re a newbie to the Friday movies, or you simply want a refresher course, this post is for you!

Let’s get started.

The original order

Image: ©New Line Cinema

The first collection of films begin with 1980’s Friday the 13th. The movie establishes the basic premise of the series – teenagers get bumped off by a killer – and sets the savage tone for the sequels. 

As the sequels arrive, Jason Voorhees – the franchise’s signature killer – becomes the star of the movies. And with each appearance he is presented with new challenges, including 3D, a boat trip to Manhattan, and even a journey into space (and the future).

At times the movies are very odd, yet they also kind of work. Yes, even the journey into space.

Hey, I never said these movies were particularly grounded.

If you want to watch the original run of Friday films, the viewing order is: 

  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
  • Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
  • Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
  • Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
  • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
  • Jason X (2002)

Now you’ll note from the above list that two movies claim to be ‘final’ entries in the series. Yeah, well they’re not.

The fourth film – The Final Chapter – was envisioned as an end to Jason’s story, but that didn’t play out as intended. The same can be said of film number nine – The Final Friday – which also wasn’t the final Friday

If you watch the series in the above order you will follow Jason’s story, his subsequent deaths and resurrections, and his fondness for killing teenagers. You’ll also get to watch Jason Goes to Hell, one of the most divisive entries in the whole series and the lead in for the Jason Voorhees/Freddy Krueger crossover.

Speaking of which…

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The shared universe order

Image: ©New Line Cinema

In addition to the ten entries in the original series, Jason Voorhees went head-to-head with Freddy Krueger for the crossover movie, Freddy vs. Jason. The film saw the two horror icons share the spotlight in an entry that brought together the long-running franchises.

So, how did this crossover originate? 

I’ve spoken about this in my guide to the Nightmare on Elm Street films, but for those who haven’t read that post (yet)….

Following the financial failure of Jason Takes Manhattan, Paramount Pictures sold the rights to the Friday series to New Line Cinema – the studio that owned A Nightmare on Elm Street. With two titanic horror franchises in its arsenal, New Line set to work on a team-up project. The plan was to tease the crossover at the end of Jason Goes to Hell, then follow this up with Freddy vs. Jason.

Bringing the two characters together proved to be a bigger challenge than expected and it took ten years for the film to materialise. In the intervening decade, the Nightmare series produced Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, while the Friday franchise delivered Jason X

Anyway, by producing a crossover movie, New Line Cinema effectively created a shared universe for the two characters. If you want to watch the Friday films as part of a shared universe, then view them as follows:

  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
  • Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
  • Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
  • Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
  • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
  • Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
  • Jason X (2002)

This viewing order alternates between the two horror franchises, largely adhering to production order. The two exceptions are Jason X and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.

Chronologically, Jason X is the final entry in this viewing order, as it is set at the end of the timeline. You’ll note, I’ve not included Wes Craven’s New Nightmare in this list because it doesn’t fit comfortably into this shared universe.

I’ve also not included the 1987 Friday the 13th TV series (see below) or the 2009 remake (also below). Neither have anything to do with the original run of movies, so they would simply be out of place.

If you do work your way through all of the entries in the Nightmare/Friday shared universe, I highly recommend you also watch two documentaries: 

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (2013) and Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010). Both are highly informative pieces of film that provide a detailed insight into their respective franchises.

A Never Sleep Again and Crystal Lake Memories is available as a Region A Blu-ray double feature. You can check out prices on Amazon UK or Amazon US.

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Friday the 13th: The Series

Time for a quick info blast:

In 1987, Friday the 13th was turned into a TV series which ran for three seasons. However, despite the name the show had nothing to do with the film franchise and did not feature Jason Voorhees.

And now you know.

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The remake order 

Image: ©New Line Cinema/Paramount Pictures

After 11 movies (including that Freddy crossover) the decision was made to reboot the Friday franchise. The result was 2009’s Friday the 13th, which reworked elements from the first four Friday films, while updating the story for a modern era. 

Upon release, Friday the 13th was met with mixed reviews. As such, it remains the only entry in this particular series.

The viewing order for this one is simple:

  • Friday the 13th (2009)

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And finally, should you want to watch all of the Friday the 13th movies in production order then follow one of these two lists:

Production order without A Nightmare on Elm Street

Image: ©New Line Cinema
  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
  • Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
  • Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
  • Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
  • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
  • Jason X (2002)
  • Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
  • Friday the 13th (2009)

Or…

Production order with A Nightmare on Elm Street

Image: ©New Line Cinema
  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
  • Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
  • Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
  • Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
  • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
  • Jason X (2002)
  • Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
  • Friday the 13th (2009)

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So, what is your favourite Friday movie? Are you a fan of Jason and if so, which do you believe is the best entry? The Final Chapter? The New Blood? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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