Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Quick, think of your favourite film franchise. How big a fan are you? If you’re anything like me you probably have your favourites on DVD, or maybe you go the extra mile and you also collect memorabilia like posters (signed if you’re lucky), t-shirts, action figures, not to mention you’ve watched the movies so many times you can quote lines by heart.
Cosplay, conventions, cosplay at conventions, there are so many ways to show your fandom. And horror fans are some of the most die-hard fans out there with some so dedicated in their love of a franchise, they won’t wait to see what movie comes next, they’ll make their own!
In this particular case I’m talking about fans of my favourite hockey mask-wearing, sleeping bag swinging, mama’s boy Jason Voorhees and the Friday the 13th movies that made him a household name. There are more than 40 fan made films showing love for this franchise and I picked through most of them to bring you my Top 5 Favourite Friday the 13th Fan-Made Films.
So if you’re a major fan of the series and you’re bummed it’s stuck in litigation hell and wondering when we’ll get to see another one, these fans are here to keep us all entertained. Enjoy!
While the majority of fan films centre around a bunch of campers who were unlucky enough to stumble into Jason’s home turf, Voorhees gets points for adding a bit of a fresh spin to their tale. After a group of thieves pull off a heist they decide to hide out in the long deserted Camp Crystal Lake because it’s not marked on any maps (for good reason) and the cops won’t be able to find them. Of course we know this place isn’t as deserted as they think and Jason has no patience for interlopers. He’s like the old dude who gets pissed when kids walk on his lawn, except this old dude tends to swing a machete instead of a cane.
The acting here isn’t the best and they do take a long time setting things up. But I have to give them points for good camera work, a memorable score, solid sound design and a very intimidating Jason Voorhees in the form of Jordan Blanco, who must be a fan of Kane Hodder as a lot of his movements reminded me of Hodder’s work as the undead killer. It could benefit from being shorter, but there’s no denying a lot of heart went into making this one.
#4 J’s Night
A group of friends go camping for the weekend on the edge of Camp Crystal Lake.
When it comes to Friday the 13th, this is pretty much all the plot you need. J’s Night may not have the best title of the bunch or much of a story to be explored, but what it does have is loads of gore and a very effective sound design. The kills are also inventive and they even throw in a few callbacks to some of Jason’s more memorable ones, such as death by sleeping bag.
Of all the practical effects I’ve seen in Friday the 13th fan films, J’s Night might just be the best of the bunch. I also love the fact this was created by French filmmakers Antonio Rosse and Sebastien Rovere, showing just how much worldwide appeal the franchise has had since its inception.
#3 Friday the 13th: Rose Blood
Right off the bat Rose Blood gets points from me as a follow up to my personal favourite of the franchise, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. I know a lot of fans out there think Part VII is ridiculous but as a kid watching this Tina was the only final girl I wanted to be in these movies, simply because she had superpowers (telekinesis) which meant Jason couldn’t get close enough to land a killing blow.
Rose Blood also went the extra mile by bringing back actors Lar Park-Lincoln and Kevin Spirtas to continue their roles as Tina and Nick respectively. This added a sense of continuity most fan films don’t have. The story is set both in the present and the past, with the latter half taking place 13 months (I see what they did there) after the events of Part VII. Tina is being held captive in a military facility where her powers are being studied to weaponise them. Tired of Tina’s lack of progress, General Brackbower (Peter Anthony) introduces new blood (get it?) in the form of a young girl named Rose (Sanae Loutsis) who seems far more powerful than Tina herself. The ultimate goal of the facility? Capture Jason Voorhees and study what makes him capable of endlessly regenerating. We all know where this is going, don’t we?
I don’t know if this was meant to be as funny as it was, but I laughed a lot at the ridiculous characters found here, mainly those who made up the batch of “elite” soldiers. Like the fan-made film Voorhees you have to sit through a lot before they introduce Jason, but the final act is worth it as Jason is not the only famous killer they throw into the mix. It’s one of those movies where the last half makes up for the drudgery that came before and the carnage and kills won’t fail to put a smile on your face.
So if you’ve ever wanted to know what happened to the survivors of Jason once they make it out of Crystal Lake, in this case Tina Shepard, Rose Blood is definitely the movie you’ve been waiting to see.
#2 Never Hike in the Snow
A prequel that takes place three months before the events of Never Hike Alone, we follow the disappearance of a young man named Mark Hill, a new resident to Crystal Lake who went hiking in the dead of winter and never came home.
Rose Blood wasn’t the only Friday the 13th fan film that brought back a famous face. And when it comes to this franchise there’s no face and no name more memorable (besides the big man himself) than Final Guy Tommy Jarvis, played by Thom Mathews (the Tommy from Part VI). He’s to Jason Voorhees what Laurie Strode is to Michael Myers in the Halloween franchise and director/writer Vincent DiSanti as a true fan of this franchise knows what fans want. That is to see Tommy Jarvis finally get the chance to take out Jason.
From the opening scene of Jason hunting a would-be victim, we can tell DiSanti has thought out every moment of his movie. He presents Jason as not just a relentless killer but as a smart and efficient one as well, something I think even the franchise that birthed him tended to overlook. The gore is perfectly done (not too much, not too little) and as the story unfolds and we’re introduced to another F13 alum in the form of Vincent Guastaferro as Sheriff Rick Cologne, you just know this wasn’t a hastily thrown together idea; no, this man has a proper story to tell. It is also one that would fit perfectly into the franchise and delivers in ways not even the most hardcore of fans could imagine.
#1 Never Hike Alone
Of all the fan films out there, none stands as tall as Vincente DiSanti’s Never Hike Alone. Released in 2017 and co-written by the man behind the creation of the franchise itself, Sean Cunningham, Never Hike Alone took fans of the series by storm with a simple premise of a lone hiker who unknowingly stumbles into the remains of Camp Crystal Lake and ends up in a fight for survival against Jason himself.
The cinematography, the sound design, the absolute attention to every little detail (which I won’t spoil here, you’ll just have to see it and find every Easter egg yourself), Never Hike Alone is widely regarded as the best Friday the 13th fan-made film and after watching at least ten of them, I whole-heartedly agree.
If Sean Cunningham ever wins his multiple lawsuits that have frustratingly tied this franchise up in knots for the foreseeable future, he doesn’t have to look far to find someone who not only understands what made this series of films as impactful as they are, but also what needs to change, to grow and to evolve to take it to the next level.
Until then, let’s be grateful to the talented and dedicated fans out there who keep making Friday the 13th inspired films, ensuring that audiences both old and new alike will never forget the films that helped make the slasher genre what it is today.
So have you seen any of these fan films? Below are links to check each of them out for free on YouTube:
And you can check our more Friday the 13th content from RMR below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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