"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.