"You see, Jason was my son, and today is his birthday..."
When audiences heard Mrs. Voorhees utter those now iconic words for the very first time 9th May 1980, I don't think anyone would've said this film would kickstart such an incredible franchise. The films combined have grossed over $468 million worldwide, which until 2018's Halloween released, made this the most successful horror franchise of all time.
I figured we'd commemorate that deranged hockey masked slasher in all his glory today by celebrating all 12 of his films as well as his video games with a Fun Fact Friday Special complete with behind the scenes shots, a few videos and some amazing artwork. Enjoy folks!
Friday the 13th (1980)
Art by Nathan Chesshir
- Victor Miller and Sean S. Cunningham never intended to make this the launching pad for the series that followed. According to Victor Miller, Jason was only meant as a plot device, and not intended to continue on his mother's grisly work. Cunningham actually turned down the chance to direct the sequel, because he did not like the Jason-comes-back-from-the-dead storyline that the studio was pushing on him. He said that was too stupid, and wouldn't work. He now admits how wrong he was, as the series flourished afterward, with Jason as the villain, and Jason has become one of the icons of horror films.
- Sean S. Cunningham was so sure the title Friday the 13th would sell the movie alone he took out a full page Variety ad over the Fourth of July Weekend of 1979. It worked, as the financiers behind Together and The Last House on the Left contacted him, and offered to cover the entire cost of the proposed 500,000 dollar budget. Cunningham initially turned them down, as the actual long term part of the deal was going to royally screw him, but nobody else was offering to put up the entire budget like that. He changed his mind the next morning.
Tom Savini adjusts Ari Lehman's Jason Voorhees make-up
- While most of the cast and crew stayed at local hotels during filming, some of the most dedicated, including Tom Savini and Taso N. Stavrakis, stayed at the actual camp site. They had Savini's Betamax VCR and only a couple of movies, such as Barbarella and Marathon Man, on videotape to keep themselves entertained so each night they would watch one. To this day Savini says he can recite those movies by heart.
- The movie was filmed at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in New Jersey. The camp is still in operation, and it has a wall of Friday the 13th memorabilia to honour that the movie was set there. Because the camp was closed during filming, and situated in the deep New Jersey woods, the cast and crew didn't see much outside interference, but it turned out they had a very famous neighbour: rock star Lou Reed, who owned a farm nearby. "We got to watch Lou Reed play for free, right in front of us, while we were making the film," Soundman Richard Murphy said. "He came by the set, and we hung around with each other, and he was just a really great guy."
- For his death scene, Kevin Bacon had to crouch under the bed and insert his head through a hole in the mattress. Then, a latex neck and chest appliance were attached to give the appearance that he was actually lying down. Getting the set-up right took several hours, and Bacon had to stay in that uncomfortable position the entire time. For the bloody final moment, Tom Savini- also under the bed- would plunge the arrow up and through the fake neck, while his assistant- also under the bed- operated a pump that would make the fake blood flow up through the appliance. To further complicate things, the crew needed someone to stand in for the killer's hand as it held Bacon's head down, and they settled on still photographer Richard Feury.
So, after several hours of set-up, and latex building and planning, it was finally time to shoot the scene, and when the moment of truth came, the hose for the blood pump disconnected. Knowing that he basically only had one take (otherwise they'd have to build a new latex appliance and set everything up again), Taso N. Stavrakis grabbed the hose and blew into it until blood flowed out, saving the scene. "I had to think quickly, so I just grabbed the hose and blew like crazy which, thankfully, caused a serendipitous arterial blood spray," Stavrakis said. "The blood didn't taste that bad either."
Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981)
Art by Justin Osbourne
- The film makers wanted Alice to return and become a re-occuring character, however following the release of Friday the 13th, Adrienne King had numerous encounters with an obsessive fan. When asked to reprise her role she said that she wanted to be on screen for a short period of time because there was an obsessive fan who was stalking her, broke into her apartment, and she feared for her life. The situation escalated into a stalker case, and she decided to avoid any further acting opportunities. She has not done any on-screen film work since, but has done voice over work on several films more than 15 years later. Unfortunately, shooting her death scene wasn't great either after a failed prop ended up injuring her during the first take.
"It was a "retractable" ice pick that was not tested before use...the first time the ice pick did NOT retract. Second take..the lazy propsman (not Jason) had to aim for the hole in my face!"
- In the scene when Jason crashes into the window and grabs Ginny, the actor playing Voorhees (Warrington Gillette) was actually hurt. As scripted he attempted to break through the window to grab Ginny, only it didn't break. Gillette ended up just hitting his head really hard on the glass. Although credited as playing Jason Voorhees, Gillette only plays the unmasked Jason in the sequence where he bursts through a window. Steve Dash is Jason throughout the majority of the film.
Actor/Stuntman Steve Dash receives medical treatment in full Jason make-up.
- Gillette's head injury wasn't the only injury during production. During the scene where Jason is chasing Ginny and she jumps out of the woods. Steve Dash ended up falling on the pick-axe breaking his ribs. Another time he was knocked out, and another time he actually ended up taking a trip to hospital. In one scene Amy Steel (Ginny) swings a machete at him, with Jason blocking the subsequent swing with his pick-axe...only the one take Dash wasn't quick enough and their timings were off. Dash's finger was severely cut resulting in a trip to the emergency room for stitches. After his finger was stitched up, he returned to set that night and insisted they complete the scene. Steel said they simply put a rubber cot on his finger, and applied make-up to make it look dirty
- With Tom Savini unavailable, they turned to Stan Winston to deliver the gore for Part 2. Unfortunately, Winston was forced to leave due to scheduling conflicts, making way for Carl Fullerton. Within 5 years, Winston won an Oscar for his work on James Cameron's Aliens, and his Stan Winston Studios would go on to be responsible for the design work on The Terminator, Alien, Jurassic Park, and Predator series. After a decade in gore, Fullerton ascended to the A-List of Hollywood make-up artists with Glory, The Godfather Part III, Silence of the Lambs, and Philadelphia.
Carl Fullerton in action behind the scenes of Friday the 13th: Part 2. It took him one complete day to plan and create the make-up for Jason Voorhees.
- Originally it had been intended for Amy Steel's character Ginny to die, but producers decided someone needed to survive. They loved Steel's performance, and wanted to sign her up for part three. Her agent told her not to, stating she'd get better roles, and she chose to listen. Years later she shared that she regretted that decision. While she did get a few other roles here and there, she largely left acting and instead became a marriage and family therapist.
Friday the 13th: Part III (1982)
Art by Jason Edmiston
- The original plan for Friday the 13th: Part III involved Ginny (Amy Steel) from the previous film being confined to a psychiatric hospital. Suffering from the trauma inflicted on her during the ordeal with Jason, she eventually finds that, intent on revenge, he has tracked her down, and he begins to murder the staff and other patients at the hospital. As specified above, Steel ultimately declined the offer to return to the series as she was busy with other projects, but has since said that she thinks she should have accepted.
- For Part 3, they moved production from Connecticut to California where they could be closer to the Hollywood experts needed for a film that was attempting to revitalise 3D. This was the first production to use the Marks 3-D system, and it was a constant learning process. The earliest scenes they filmed, such as the opening tracking shot and Shelly and the bikers at the convenience store, had to be completely re-shot due to difficulties with the 3D camera. Plus, they had to be careful about which colours to include in costumes, and everything had to be lit far brighter than normal. It took hours to set-up individual shots meaning the actors on the film spent most of their time simply sitting around waiting for the next shot to be set-up, a common on-set experience for actors but just far longer than normal this time. This focus on 3D spilled over to the actors. Initially, they were asked to learn how to use a paddle ball for a planned 3D sequence. When that was scrapped, they looked for any way the actors could do something that would play well in 3D, like Larry Zerner's juggling or throwing a wallet straight at the camera, or another actor dropping a yo-yo down toward a camera. Indeed, many of the actors now recall that there was far more focus on finding cool 3D things for them to do than acting
Behind the scenes of Rick's 3-D eye popping death.
- By some estimates, Paramount was forced to spend between $8 and $10 million to actually get Part 3 into cinemas. That's because they ended up making, supplying, and installing the individual lenses and silver screens required to project Part 3 in all 1,079 cinemas which showed the film opening weekend, August 1982. They also had to train the projectionists at cinemas, and establish a 24-hour hotline for all of the cinemas encountering problems with the 3D.
- This was the first of the Friday the 13th films to use the iconic hockey mask, which has been in every sequel since. Martin Jay Sadoff, the film's 3-D effects supervisor, is responsible for coming up with Jason's trademark hockey mask. Sadoff always kept a bag with him full of hockey gear on set because he was an avid hockey fan. While testing potential masks to use for Jason, he pulled out a Detroit Red Wings goalie mask for the test. Director Steve Miner loved the look and, after making some modifications to the mask, decided to use it in the film. Two different masks were actually used in the film. One hero mask and one stunt mask. The hero was lost to time nailed to Marty Becker's shop door after the movie whereas the stunt mask went on to feature as the hero in part IV The Final Chapter and part V A New Beginning.
Jason takes a break behind the scenes of Friday the 13th: Part III
- Several deaths in the film had to be cut to avoid an X rating from the MPAA, which include the following: Andy's death, which showed his leg being cut off and his stomach being ripped open, Vera's death for too much gore and looking too real, Edna's death was cut because of excessive blood flow, Chili's impalement was cut because of a shot showing steaming blood hitting the floor, Debbie's death scene was also trimmed, which originally showed blood running down her chest and splattering on her face.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Art by Devon Whitehead
- Corey Feldman was legitimately terrified during the window shot. As per series tradition, Jason was played by yet another stuntman in 'The Final Chapter,' this time Ted White, a seasoned veteran of 40 years who had doubled for Clark Gable and John Wayne. He did not like Feldman, calling him the "meanest goddamn little kid" he'd ever dealt with. White said Feldman maintained a bratty attitude on set. Feldman maintains that this was due to poor treatment by director Joseph Zito and that during filming of the scene in which he attacks Jason with the machete he was pretending that the sandbags he struck were Zito.
Anyway, when it came time to film the famous scene near the end when Jason reaches through a broken window to pull Tommy out of a house, White got to act out his frustration. They had worked out the timing of when White would grab Feldman beforehand, but during filming White waited a couple of beats to the point that Feldman assumed the stunt had gone wrong. So, just as he let his guard down White grabbed him exactly as you see in the film, meaning Feldman's screams of horror were completely authentic.
- Jason actor Ted White and special effects artist Tom Savini were initially confrontational with one another. However, once White found out that Savini had a lot experience with stunts the two became good friends.
- Due to the production's low budget, several actors had to perform uncomfortable or dangerous stunts themselves including Judie Aronson, who was required to remain submerged in a lake in near-freezing temperatures and Peter Barton, who was actually slammed into the shower wall when Jason attacks him. Ted White, who portrays Jason, advocated for several of the actors, requesting that Barton be allowed to use a crash pad and threatening to quit when director Joseph Zito refused to allow Aronson to get out of the lake between takes, which was so cold that she started crying and got hypothermia. White and Zito ultimately developed a combative relationship on set which resulted in White demanding his name be removed from the credits, calling the film "a piece of shit."
Corey Feldman & Ted White take a break on the set of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
- The strange dance which Jimbo performs at the party was contributed by actor Crispin Glover and was based on the eccentric way he actually danced in clubs. On the set he was dancing to "Back in Black" by AC/DC as the scene was filmed. In the film however an edited version of "Love Is a Lie" by Lion was dubbed into the scene.
- Tracy Jarvis' fate and death would have been explained further in a deleted scene that had been cut from the film. An alternate ending to the film, included in the 2009 Deluxe Edition DVD, shows a dream sequence where Trish and Tommy wake up the next morning after killing Jason to the sound of police sirens. Trish sends Tommy to summon the police who have arrived next door. At that point she notices water dripping from the ceiling and goes to investigate. She enters the upstairs bathroom, and finds the body of her mother floating in a tub full of bloody water. Trish lifts her mother out of the tub, prompting Tracy's eyes to open, revealing them to be solid white and devoid of irises. Jason suddenly appears from behind the bathroom door and prepares to attack Trish. Trish then suddenly wakes up in the hospital in a scene reminiscent of the ending of the first movie.
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
Art by Masprine
- The film was originally written to have Corey Feldman as the star, reprising the role of Tommy Jarvis. However, he was already working on The Goonies, therefore the script was rewritten to have Feldman's appearance limited to a cameo. Feldman's scenes were shot in the backyard of his neighbour's house.
- Tommy Jarvis actor John Shepherd, who spent several months volunteering at a state mental hospital to prepare for the role and that he felt "really disappointed" to discover that Repetition was actually the fifth entry in the Friday the 13th series, Dick Wieand who played Roy Burns hated the movie by calling it a piece of trash and director Danny Steinmann who started out as a porn director stated that he "shot a fucking porno in the woods there. You wouldn't believe the nudity they cut out."
- During a 2013 interview, Deborah Voorhees revealed that her nudity in this film got her fired as a teacher at two schools years later. At one high school, some boys got hold of her topless images from the film and text messaged them around the school. That was three weeks before the end of the school year and she wasn't allowed to stay until graduation or sit with her students and fellow teachers at graduation. It devastated her. She went to the principal and said "Look, I understand people are worried about this nudity thing but it's not as if I'm going to go tell a young girl to go pose nude, not that there's anything wrong with it." She said she doesn't let what happened bother her, adding, "I think people worrying about nudity in a film is silly and ridiculous but that's just my personal opinion and my conflict of what's right and wrong. Theirs is different and that's okay! We can be different". Nowadays, she doesn't really get recognised, but some people freak out when they see her last name. She tells them Jason Voorhees is her husband and that it's a real bitch getting blood stains out of his laundry.
Behind the scenes of Roy's death in A New Beginning
- Three different hockey masks are featured in the film. The first is the one which the Jason impostor, Roy, wears, which has two blue stripes on either side of the mouth. The second is the one the real Jason wears when Tommy sees him in the hospital room at the end, which has one red triangle above the eyes. The third is featured on the poster, and is an entirely different hockey mask, with more breathing holes on it. This one is never used in the film. The opening credits sequence for Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter was originally supposed to feature the hockey mask exploding into the title of the movie, however, due to a time crunch and pressure from director Joseph Zito to release the film by Friday the 13th, work on this opening sequence remained incomplete. The hockey mask, however, is shown exploding through the title of A New Beginning,
- One month prior to the film's release in the United States, the MPAA demanded that sixteen scenes featuring sex or graphic violence be edited in order to merit an "R" rating instead of an "X". The film ultimately required nine trips to the MPAA before finally being granted an "R" rating.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Art by Nathan Thomas Milliner
- Director Tom McLoughlin took home some props from the film, including Jason's tombstone - which sits outside his house, made to look like Jason is buried in his yard - and his casket, which sits in his garage. The DVD box set includes a scene in which he shows off these props at his home and tells of how a city employee refused to enter his yard to read the meter because he thought a body was really buried there.
- The original script contained material that alluded to Jason's father, which, to date, remains the closest the series has ever come to shedding some light on the mysterious character. In the script, Pamela's headstone is next to Jason's, a reference to the fact that someone paid to have Jason buried, explaining why he was not cremated as the Mayor said in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. As well as this, there is a final scene in which Jason's father visits his son's grave, seemingly aware of the fact that Jason is not inside it. These scenes were never filmed, but made it into the film's novelisation. The 2009 Deluxe Edition DVD uses storyboard art and voiceover work to complete the scene.
- The climactic scene in which Megan attacks Jason with the outboard motor was actually filmed in 3 different locations: the underwater shots were filmed in a temperature-controlled tank in Los Angeles, the above water shots were filmed in a murky Georgia lake, and the shots of the motor actually cutting Jason's mask/neck were filmed in Tom McLaughlin's father's swimming pool, actually ruining the pool filter in the process.
Behind the scenes of the climax of Jason Lives
- The shot of the R.V tipping over and skidding to a stop was the last thing shot for the movie, as the producers were worried that stuntman C.J. Graham may get severely injured performing the stunt, although, again, it remains unclear why Graham would be in the van when it flips over, as his character is not seen until after it flips and comes to a stop. (Possibly because he was driving the van, although why they didn't have a stunt driver is also unclear)
- When Jason lunges at Nancy McLoughlin's Lizbeth with a spear through the car's windshield, the stuntman was supposed to aim at the opposite side, but due to the impact from the windshield, the trajectory of the real and very sharp spear was redirected toward McLoughlin, who narrowly avoided impalement.
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
Art by Steven Luros Holliday
- During filming, Kane Hodder's dressing room was a quarter of a mile down a dirt road. One night filming ended at 2 a.m. and while still in the Jason costume he decided to walk through the woods on a path to his dressing room. As he was walking someone approached him and asked if he was with the movie. He didn't reply, because he thought it was a pretty stupid question to ask, as he was standing there in full Jason costume. When the man asked again, Kane took a little lunge at him and grunted. The guy took off, tripping and running. The next day director John Carl Buechler told Kane that the local sheriff was supposed to stop by, but he never showed.
- Kane Hodder did all his own Jason stunts in this film, including falling through the stairway, and having the porch roof fall on his head. In fact, this film set a record for longest uninterrupted on-screen controlled burn in Hollywood history. To accomplish this effect, they used a rigged apparatus to actually capture the ignition on film. In that moment, you are actually watching Kane Hodder truly being set on fire, an effect which normally accomplished at the time via trick photography. Hodder stayed on fire for a record-setting 40 seconds.
Director John Carl Buechlar & Kane Hodder in full Jason make-up behind the scenes of Friday the 13th Part VI: The New Blood
- Director John Carl Buechler stated that he clashed with associate producer Barbara Sachs continuously over many ideas that he had for the film. This included showing Jason unmasked for quite a bit of the movie. She vetoed the idea, but he ended up going behind her back and filming it anyway. He also stated that the final sequence of Tina's father coming out of the water was to be more elaborate and feature full prosthetics and a life size dummy. That sequence was completely over ruled and he ended up filming what he considers an inferior version of the idea.
- This film was originally intended to bring Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger together onscreen for the first time. However, when Paramount Pictures (at the time held the rights to the "Friday the 13th" series) and New Line Cinema (holds the rights to the "Nightmare On Elm Street" series) couldn't agree behind the scenes. After the Freddy vs Jason film failed to materialise at the time, Paramount was still so high on the "Jason vs. Blank" marketing angle that they substituted Freddy Krueger for a Stephen King inspired character, a telekinetic and troubled teenager named Tina Shepherd, based on Carrie White. According to New Blood's screenwriter Daryl Haney, this concept more or less came about due to a last-second idea thrown out during a story pitch. An actual crossover wouldn't have been possible as Metro-Goldwyn Mayer owned the film rights to King's novel Carrie.
John Carl Buechlar & Lar- Park Lincoln on set of The New Blood
- John Carl Buechler was so impressed with Kane Hodder when he ate live worms on the set of Prison, that he pushed for Paramount Pictures to let him cast Hodder in the role of Jason. If it had not been for Buechler's persistence, the role of Jason Voorhees would have been reprised by C.J. Graham.
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Art by Anthony Petrie
- Lar Park-Lincoln originally wanted to sign on to reprise her role as Tina Shepard in Part 8, but she wanted a higher salary than what she was paid in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. Paramount told her that their budget could not afford to pay her anymore than what she bargained for and because of this she turned down the part. Thus, Paramount decided to re-write the entire script for Part 8 to take the movie to a whole new direction, which later completely excluded the character of Tina as they decided they did not want anyone from Part 7 to return.
- Rob Hedden originally wrote more of the movie to be set in New York. He had written scenes at Madison Square Garden, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building. But Paramount told him that budget would not allow him to spend that much time in New York so he was forced to rewrite the film and spend more time on the cruise ship. Hedden says he agrees with fans who complain that not enough time is spent in New York, given the title. Due to negative feedback from fans and Hedden himself, as the film wasn't what he wanted it to be, he has repeatedly apologised to any fans who were disappointed by the film, such as in the Blu-ray and DVD audio commentary, and has since disowned the film.
Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees behind the scenes of Jason Takes Manhattan
- Sharlene Martin initially expressed discomfort at being filmed nude for a shower scene. To put her at ease, Rob Hedden borrowed a page from theater and film lore and stripped down fully nude and walked into the shower himself to illustrate how easy it all was. Unfortunately, he didn't realise the camera was rolling the whole time. When the producers watched the dailies the next morning they were very, very confused as to why their director was standing completely nude in a shower talking to one of his young actresses.
- In promotion for the film, Kane Hodder appeared as Jason Vorhees on The Arsenio Hall Show. He completed the entire interview without speaking and remained in character. You can watch that segment on YouTube below.
- Despite the nature of the film and adverse filming conditions, Kane Hodder provided several moments of levity which were appreciated by the cast. Following several death scenes, for example, once director Rob Hedden called "cut," Hodder would do a brief disco dance in full Jason costume and make-up making the cast laugh. Hodder says that one of the most fun parts of his tenure as Jason were the scenes they shot in Times Square. He says that spectators were lined up and down the block watching the filming and he didn't want to take off the mask to destroy their illusion of Jason. He said that every once in awhile he'd turn his head and look at them and watch them all go crazy.
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Art by Matthew Therrien
- The jungle gym that resides in front of the Voorhees house in this film was also used in Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic The Birds. In another interesting turn of events Jason Voorhee's prop heart from this film was later used in Robert Rodriguez's 1996 vampire flick From Dusk Till Dawn.
- Following in the footsteps of the previous film Jason Takes Manhattan, an early concept for this movie was "Jason Goes To L.A" in which two rival gangs would be fighting. When Jason shows up and begins slaughtering member from both gangs, they put their rivalries aside and band together to stop Jason.
- The only person who actually viewed any of the footage during their initial 28-day shoot was editor David Handman, meaning no one was viewing the dailies as per normal procedure. They were all too focused on moving to the next thing to stop and make sure that what they got was usable. A lot of it wasn't. Adam Marcus had made as many first director mistakes as you'd expect. For example, he originally had an 8-minute sequence in non-stop slow-motion (the diner massacre), and the various conversation scenes dragged on so long not even Mystery Science Theater 3000 could make them funny/interesting. They were only able to salvage around 45-50 minutes of Marcus' original work.
Re-applying Jason's make-up on the set of Jason Goes to Hell
So, as much as 43 minutes of the final film came via re-shoots and re-purposed footage. During this process, storylines were completely dropped (e.g., Erin Gray character and the sheriff being engaged and planning their honeymoon) while others were added via creative editing (e.g., Kari Keegan and Steven Culp's characters having been a couple). They also compressed some vital scenes, such as Creighton Duke explaining "the rules." Even after all that, Sean S. Cunningham still found the finished film beyond embarrassing, saying:
"Adam came to me and said, 'The last thing the fans want is to see Jason going through Camp Crystal Lake chopping up teenagers again.' Of course, it was the only thing they wanted to see, and Adam delivered this movie that was so not good."
- Conceptually, the notion of Jason's essence being transferable came from Adam Marcus' original story treatment. Ignoring Jason Takes Manhattan, he picked up where Part VII: The New Blood left off, i.e., Jason neutralized and trapped at the bottom of Crystal Lake. The film would open with a mystery man dredging up Jason's body, so that an autopsy could be performed in a nearby cabin converted into a science lab. We were supposed to expect Jason to wake up and go berserk. However, as a surprise, Jason would awake only to watch his own black heart torn out by the the mystery man. This would instantly render him powerless, and the mystery man would consume the heart, thereby absorbing Jason's "powers." The big reveal would be the identity of the man: Elias Voorhees, Jason's never seen, never mentioned father. It's not clear where the story would have gone from there, but they dropped all of it except the idea of someone eating Jason's heart, thereby taking his powers. Jason's body-hopping via mouth-ingested parasite from that point forward, was likely ripped off from The Hidden (1987), a science fiction flick from New Line's archive.
The closest fans got to seeing the two horror icons on screen together until 2003.
- At the end, when Freddy's glove grabs Jason's mask, was meant to be an inside joke, referencing the fact that a screenplay putting Jason and Freddy against each other had been in the works since 1987, and had been intended to be Friday the 13th part VII. However, it took too long to come up with a good script for that film, so another film (Jason X) was produced in the interval. Because New Line owned both properties, a joint project should have been easier to develop, but Freddy vs. Jason took several years (and sat untouched after several false starts) to come to fruition.
Jason X (2001)
Art by Brett Weldele
- While this film was a critical and financial failure in its initial release in theaters, it made more than triple the cost of production in DVD and post-theater sales. Statistically, Jason X is one of the most successful 'Friday the 13th' films.
- During Jason X's development process, director Jim Isaac, producer Noel Cunningham (Sean's son), and screenwriter Todd Farmer kicked around any scenario they could think of it, typically "Jason in [insert blank] (the hood, snow, underwater, the arctic, in L.A. fighting gangs, on safari)." They even considered something involving the NASCAR circuit. Farmer suggested "in space" because he knew Freddy Vs. Jason was on the way, and it'd be best if Jason X was set after the events of that epic battle. So, they needed to jump into the future, and going into space certainly did that. They were a little scared of doing a horror sequel in space, but they thought it could be fun to do a mash-up of Ridley Scott's Alien and James Cameron's Aliens with not one but two strong Ripley-type females on a ship of bad-ass space marines hunted by Jason instead of Xenomorphs.
- The "virtual '80s" simulation scene included in the third act as a distraction for Jason, was originally meant to be much more detailed, including a number of topless women playing volleyball. One idea even included the appearance of Pamela Voorhees, Jason's mother, and even went so far as to have Jason attack her, showing the extent of just how evil he had become. The latter idea was regretfully dropped when Betsy Palmer turned down the role.
Kane Hodder takes a break on the set of Jason X
- The ending, where Jason's mask lands in a lake on Earth 2, was left open for a possible sequel. The critical and financial failure of the film however, along with the upcoming Freddy vs. Jason, led to any possibility of a sequel being abandoned. It's highly likely that he died for good anyway, though this question will likely never be answered properly, as we don't see Jason's final state in this movie. It is highly possible though that he disintegrated completely on re-entering Earth II's atmosphere, leaving only his mask, and the remake means that there will likely be no future film to fill in the gaps. The original script has someone pulling Jason's mask out of the water at the end but it doesn't specify if it is Jason. In terms of the movies however, this is the last one in the original storyline so he is very likely finally dead.
- The original script featured a scene where two space truckers would find the chamber before their comrades did. Jason would awaken, escape and have them take Rowan aboard where he follows them. Another idea coming from this was to have a party in zero gravity to celebrate saving her.
Freddy vs Jason (2003)
Art By Tom Pollock Jr
- In several early drafts of the script, two twists were considered that would have connected the pasts of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. One considered twist was that Freddy either raped or had a consensual sexual encounter with Jason's mother, and as a result, had unknowingly fathered Jason. Another twist considered, was that Freddy had worked at Camp Crystal Lake in the past, and had either molested Jason as a child, or was somehow connected to his drowning, being a child murderer, and potential sexual offender, thus giving Jason a motivation to track down and kill Freddy. Both ideas were eventually dropped, as producers felt they were too contrived, and too dark for the film.
- Seventeen scripts in total were submitted, which eventually turned into one script. The producers decided for some time to go ahead with this script, but changed their minds, as they could not agree with the ideas proposed. Eventually, Damian Shannon and Mark Swift came in and created their own script, which the producers felt were much closer to the Freddy and Jason backstories. Most of the earlier scripts dealt with cults that were attempting to resurrect Freddy and Jason to come back and fight.
- Several endings were originally considered for the film: Originally shot, was a scene in which Lori and Will begin to have sex for the first time. However, Will starts acting like a maniac and eventually sprouts a Freddy Krueger claw, then proceeds to slash at his girlfriend. This was cut, due to miserable test scores, in which the audience thought the acting was terrible, and asked, "Does this mean Freddy won? Where's Jason? Is this a dream? Is Will turning evil and is now some sort of Son-of-Freddy?"
Robert Englund & actor/stuntman Douglas Tait shooting the ending that was ultimately used
Another ending that was considered had Freddy and Jason battling to the death on the dock. After the explosion, they end up in the fiery lake, and then something strange starts to happen. The water begins to move, churning, and the lake begins to drain. Within the water, there is a hole that has opened at the bottom of the lake bed, glowing red. Freddy tries to swim away, but Jason puts a death lock on his ankle, and they're both dragged down. The next day, Crystal Lake is completely dry, and Lori is reunited with her father. Then they walk down into the dry lake. Dr. Campbell sees Freddy's claw on the ground and he picks it up, vowing to destroy it for good. Then a red and green striped arm bursts through the earth, grabs Dr. Campbell's leg and pulls him down. With one leg buried in the ground, he screams for Lori, but is yanked again, his other leg breaking against his chest at an impossible angle. Then he's gone. Lori claws at the dirt for him, screaming, and then there is a scene that takes place somewhere very dark. Freddy puts his claw back on his hand. He sees Jason near him, machete gleaming. They go at each other, but then, chains shoot out, slicing into both of them. They're separated, struggling to go at each other, when out from the darkness comes Pinhead and he says "Now, what seems to be the problem?" However, New Line Cinema didn't like the idea, because they didn't like the fact that they'd have to buy the rights to use the character, and they thought Pinhead was too low rent.
Then there was a similar ending considered in Hell that involved a shot of Satan sitting high atop a stone throne, only eyes and the tips of two horns visible in the darkness. Below it, Freddy and Jason battle in a Gladiator style pit, but that idea was also dropped. There was also another idea of a giant red hand coming out of Crystal Lake at the end of the film, grabbing Freddy and Jason in one enormous palm, and yanking them both down into Hell, but that too was dumped. In the script's final draft, the epilogue ended with Freddy and Jason battling in a dark pit, surrounded by the eyes of a thousand dark demons and a million tortured souls. The writers wanted to suggest that the fight would continue for all eternity, but that idea was also dropped.
Ken Kirzinger as Jason Voorhees behind the scenes of Freddy vs Jason
- Ken Kirzinger had to undergo some dental work during filming, but it would have taken too much time to remove his make-up and costume and reapply them. When he arrived at the dentist's office still dressed as Jason (without the hockey mask), people were afraid he was an escaped psychopath, and almost called the police.
- To help promote the movie, both Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger both appeared in character as Freddy and Jason respectively at Bally's Las Vegas casino hotel for a weigh-in (as though they were actual prize fighters) and a press conference. Naturally, Freddy did a lot of trash-talking while Jason remained silent. The full video of the event, Freddy Vs. Jason Weigh-in Las Vegas can be found as an extra on the film's DVD and Blu-ray. Alternatively it can be seen on YouTube (as seen below).
Friday the 13th (2009)
Art by Alejandro Fernandez
- According to co-writer Damian Shannon, the character of Jason Voorhees was re-envisioned as more territorial, like a hunter, someone who doesn't kill people at random but will defend his territory from anyone invading it, and this in the most horrible manner. Director Marcus Nispel similarly claims the film shows new aspects of Jason's personality. Derek Mears says his portrayal of Jason as a survivalist defending his territory is partially inspired by the character of John Rambo in First Blood. So unlike in the earlier films where Jason started to randomly appear out of thin air, the remake instead approached with the idea that he traveled via a series of underground tunnels. That concept was in Mark Wheaton's original script, but Mark Swift and Damian Shannon claimed to have never read Wheaton's script until the film was finished, having come up with the same idea about the tunnels on their own. As for the marijuana plant farm which Jason appears to use to lure teenagers into traps, apparently no writer can claim that as their own. According to Swift and Shannon, that was actually director Marcus Nispel's idea from early on in the development process, and it was their job to work it into the script.
- Mark Wheaton's original pitch to New Line was to reboot the series with "a new Part V," ignoring the original "New Beginning" and everything that happened after while featuring a prologue showing Jason Voorhees witnessing the murder of his mother. The characters who come to Crystal Lake then know of Jason as they did in Friday the 13th Parts 2, 3-D, and IV, but Voorhees is not yet supernatural as he is beginning with Part VI (or is a demon worm, or has gone to space, etc.). To further suit the needs of a reboot, Wheaton had Voorhees in first the canvas bag as he was in Part 2 only to replace it with the hockey mask halfway through the film.
Special effects make-up artist Scott Stoddard took to Instagram to show fans a closer look at what lurked underneath the mask in the 2009 film.
- Effects artist Scott Stoddard created Jason's look, and describes Jason's face as a combination of Carl Fullerton's design for Friday the 13th Part 2 and Tom Savini's design for Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. Stoddard's vision of Jason included hair loss, skin rashes, and the traditional deformities in his face. Stoddard tried to craft Jason's look so it would allow more human side of the character to be seen. Mears was required to wear full body make-up from the chest upwards while performing as Jason. The actor wore a chest plate with fake skin that would adjust to his muscle movements. He wore a hump on his back to give the impression that Jason had scoliosis. A prosthetic eye was glued to Mears' face to show realistic eye movements. Stoddard initially spent 3 and 1/2 hours applying the make-up to Mears' head and torso. He was eventually able to reduce the required time to just over an hour for scenes in which Mears wore the hockey mask. For scenes in which Jason's face is revealed, it took approximately 4 hours to apply the make-up.
Stoddard's final design for Voorhees in action.
- Asylum created CGI weapons for various death scenes. In the scene in which Nolan is killed suddenly by a shot in the head from Jason's arrow, Asylum created the arrow in post-production. Another scene involved Jason hurling a hatchet at Lawrence as he runs away, striking him in the back. The shot of a hatchet flying through the air--in one instance appearing in the same frame as the actor--would be too difficult to achieve practically. Asylum rendered a complete 3D model of the hatchet then inserted the model into the frames leading up to the frame in which it hits the character in the back. One of the final images added by Asylum was for Trent's death scene. Here, Asylum digitally created a metal spike that bursts through Trent's chest as Jason slams him onto the back of a tow truck.
- Producer Michael Bay mandated that the film be shot in Panavision anamorphic. This is the first and only film in the franchise to be shot in the format. He then walked out on the film during it's premiere, stating that the movie featured too much sex.
Friday the 13th (Video Game)
- Each copy of the original Domark 1985 computer game contained two capsules with fake blood, which originally was red sugared water.
Friday the 13th: The Game
- All 10 playable levels in challenge mode are based on a scenario from a movie in one way or another:
Broken Down - Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Power Struggle - Friday the 13th: Part III
Lights Out - Friday the 13th
Stargazing - Friday the 13th: Part III
Packanack Party - Friday the 13th: Part 2
Snuggle by the Fire - Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
Strip Poker - Friday the 13th
Escaping - Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
JASON IS HERE - Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Vacation Party - Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
- The game features 3 people who worked on the Friday the 13th films. Sultan of Splatter & make-up effects legend Tom Savini, who did the make-up and designed the kills for the original Friday the 13th, designed the kills used in the game, Harry Manfredini, the composer for Friday the 13th, did the music for the game and lastly Kane Hodder, who portrayed Voorhees in films seven through to ten, returned to do the motion capture for Jason throughout the game. You can see Hodder in action in a 'behind the scenes look' video below.
- There are a total of 14 'counselors' to play as, with Tommy Jarvis from Part VI in the game as a 'hero'. Every counselor comes labelled with a trope/stereotype seen within the series. Rob Dier from The Final Chapter makes a cameo as the victim in the opening cut scene
- In early June, barely a year after the games release, a lawsuit filed for creative rights forced future DLC to be cancelled indefinitely. This included Uber Jason and the Grendel map from Jason X, pictures of Pamela when she was young, a pajama clothing pack, a specially designed Jason Voorhees from Tom Savini, Ghost Jason from fan film Never Hike Alone and much more. Hopefully, these will become available once the lawsuit comes to an end.
Tom Savini's playable Jason Voorhees for Friday the 13th: The Game. The lawsuit prevented this being added.
Stay tuned for more fun facts, artwork and behind the scenes photos from Friday the 13th for the rest of today. You can check out my list of the 'Best Friday the 13th Fan Films' if you're looking for some new entertainment from Mr. Voorhees. Hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it.