Friday The 13th Vs Paranormal Activity – The Greatest Horror Franchise Ever [Round 7]

Welcome to the Tournament of Terrors, a /Film bracket where we argue about the greatest horror franchise of all time, and you, the readers, get to decide the winners. The rules are simple: two iconic horror movie series enter the ring, each represented by a /Film writer ready to champion them. And you — yes, you, the person reading this right now — will vote on which one gets to move forward.

You can find all the details, including a schedule for all the showdowns, right here. And here is the complete bracket, so you know where things stand.

Last week ended with the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" family facing off against the cenobites of "Hellraiser." Now, we're picking things up with two horror franchises that could not be more different. In one corner, we have one of the most famous horror icons of all time: Jason Voorhees, the undead redneck serial killer with a penchant for wearing sports gear and a general distaste for teenagers who are, you know, alive. And in the other, we have the devil himself, who tends to get caught on camera as he infiltrates the homes of unsuspecting families to wreak havoc. Yep, it's "Friday the 13th" (11 movies and one remake) versus "Paranormal Activity" (six movies, with a seventh arriving soon), in a battle of the old school and the new school.

Which one wins? That's up to you. First, the arguments. And then, you vote!

Friday the 13th

"Friday the 13th" is, in many ways, the quintessential slasher franchise, and slashers are arguably the quintessential subgenre in the horror landscape. While "Halloween" is arguably the best slasher movie we have, what has been accomplished in the "Friday the 13th" movies is truly unique and, above all else, wholly entertaining for those who enjoy these sorts of cinematic pleasures. 

The fact of the matter is "Friday the 13th" started out in 1980 as a kind of by the numbers slasher flick with a twist that had nearly none of the signature elements that casual movie fans would come to associate with it down the road. Jason doesn't show up until the very end, and even when he arrives in the sequel, it is without his hockey mask. Financial success allowed this series to evolve year-to-year, but unlike so many other franchises out there, it is almost as though continuity hardly mattered every time Jason came back. New characters to kill. New, bizarre elements are thrown into the mix. Like essentially pitting Jason against an X-Men-esque mutant in "The New Blood," or (and this one is all in the title folks) "Jason Goes to Hell." And let us not forget "Jason X," which brought the killer to space in the far future, a true North Star for those who worship at the altar of misguided cinema. Even at its "worst," these movies are always entertaining. The same can't be said for so many other franchises. A bad "Paranormal Activity" movie leaves much to be desired. A lesser "Friday the 13th" movie still provides a good time. 

Let's leave it at this; try to imagine a horror movie world without Jason Voorhees. Then try to imagine one without the demons-of-the-week from "Paranormal Activity." The choice is clear. We need that hockey mask and machete, damn it. (Ryan Scott)

Paranormal Activity

To understand why "Paranormal Activity" trounces "Friday The 13th," let's dial back to beginnings. Did both invigorate their respective subgenres to produce countless copycats? Indeed. Does "Paranormal Activity" shine from its original found footage inception while "Friday The 13th" doesn't even draw its most considerable cultural implications until "Friday The 13th Part III?" "Paranormal Activity" was so influential it shooed away torture-porn stranglehold of "Saw" in 2007 for an onslaught of handicam imitators and paved the fast lane to success for Jason Blum's now dominant budget controlled business model.

"Friday The 13th" doesn't even get interesting until that lawyer inadvertently gifts Jason Voorhees his hockey mask look, forgetting mother and baghead because they're just that in comparison — forgettable.

There's nothing inspiringly scary about Jason Voorhees — a brute with a machete who continually defies his nonsensical continuity logic. "Paranormal Activity" understands the most intimate mechanics of fear through first-person perspectives while exploiting organic frightfulness inherent in the unknown supernatural realm. Each entry strives to evolve its technical executions to ensure fans are treated to something fresh in each sequel. We're trapped within suburban purgatories alongside Katie's overlord Toby — what's so scary about Camp Crystal Lake's speedwalking champion when you can just run the other direction?

Go ahead and try your rebuttal that pegs "Paranormal Activity 4" and "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension" as disappointments — two out of six (to date). So you're telling me "Friday The 13th" has a better success rate between the telekinetic dud, or Jason as an insectoid demon, or the one where Jason doesn't even bother to show up? "Paranormal Activity" redefined deliverable modes of fear that are expanding even to this millisecond — "Friday The 13th" hacked some horny teens to bits and called it a day. (Matt Donato)

And Now It's Time to Vote

So there you have it. The arguments have been made. The defenses have been mounted. The attacks have concluded. The ball is now in your court, folks. Using the Twitter poll below (which will close 12 hours after publication of this article), vote for which movie franchise you want to see advance. Will it be "Friday the 13th" or "Paranormal Activity"? Whoever wins will return for the quarterfinals this week, facing off against the winner of the "Night of the Living Dad" and "Conjuring" showdown.