One of the most recognizable characters in modern filmmaking is unarguably Jason Voorhees. With his debut as a child in the original 1980 Friday the 13th, his presence is nearly synonymous with the horror genre. The hockey mask and machete have thrilled teens to adults for 37 years now, so to celebrate the un-dead athlete with mommy issues, let’s dive into some ‘behind the scenes’ knowledge about Friday the 13th!
1. Make Room for Mommy
In the original Friday the 13th Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees, is the primary antagonist. The big reveal of the first film is that the knife-wielding killer is, in fact, Mrs. Voorhees, taking revenge against the camp counselors that ignored her poor child while he was being bullied. Over the multitude of sequels, this idea was replaced. Original screenwriter Victor Miller has professed that he’s not a fan of the sequels because of this shift.
“To be honest, I have not seen any of the sequels, but I have a major problem with all of them because they made Jason the villain…I still believe that the best part of my screenplay was the fact that a mother figure was the serial killer—working from a horribly twisted desire to avenge the senseless death of her son, Jason. Jason was dead from the very beginning. He was a victim, not a villain. But I took motherhood and turned it on its head and I think that was great fun. Mrs. Voorhees was the mother I’d always wanted—a mother who would have killed for her kids.” – Victor Miller
2. Would You Like Some Blood On That Pizza?
Makeup FX legend Tom Savini who is known largely at the time for his work in Dawn of the Dead (1978), it was no wonder why he was brought on to help create Friday the 13th. With Savini’s tact and makeup know-how, he altered the camp’s pizza oven on set to create most of the latex prosthetics that were used in the first film. Savini earned the nickname “The Sultan of Splatter” for reason.
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“Tom Savini’s effects were essential for those films” -David Everitt, Fangoria
3. Jason Takes Statistics
You’d imagine that every Friday the 13th film would premiere on said date but contrary to the title of the franchise, only five out of the eleven films have been released on Friday the 13th. The five happen to be Friday the 13th Part III, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, and Friday the 13th (2009).
4. Before Friday the 13th
The process of making the original 1980, now cult classic film was surely a difficult one. At inception, Friday the 13th barely had a budget along with an undetermined name. The film’s screenwriter Victor Miller originally titled the later beloved franchise, “Long Night at Camp Blood”. Catchy, am I right? It didn’t take long though for Director Sean Cunningham to grow fond of Friday the 13th.
5. Corey Feldman: The Final Chapter
During the production of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Ted White who was acting as Jason in this film was annoyed by Corey Feldman so much that he “actually wanted to kill him”. When it came time for Jason to grab Feldman’s character Tommy through a window, he didn’t hold back. Feldman was under the impression that the stunt wouldn’t work and had his guard down during the scene which provided an authentic scream.
6. Camp Crystal Lake is Still Open
The North Bergen Boy Scouts camp or No-Be-Bo-Sco has been operational since 1927 and is where the original Camp Crystal Lake filming was located. The first film was shot in 1979 when campers and counselors left for summer. You can tour the camp and see all of your favorite kill zones from the series, buy a piece of wood from one of the original cabins, and even buy a bottled glass of water from the camp’s lake (I wouldn’t drink it).
7. Origin of Jason’s Classic Calling Card
Jason Voorhees signature sound “Ch-ch-ch-ah-ah-ah” was originally created by composer Harry Manfredini. Director Sean Cunningham wanted an audible cue as to when Jason would strike, so Manfredini utilized Mrs. Voorhees line from the first film-“Kill Her Mommy”. He applied heavy reverb to his own voice and the rest was history.
“So I got the idea of taking the ‘ki’ from ‘kill’ and the ‘ma’ from ‘mommy,’ but spoke them very harshly, distinctly, and rhythmically into a microphone and run them through this ’70s echo thing. It came up as you hear it today! So every time there was the perspective of the stalker, I put that into the score” – Manfredini
Going from a simple deformed camper to coming back from hell, then being turned into a nanobot infused space killer takes a lot of time, which means we probably missed out on your favorite Friday the 13th fact. Let us know by commenting below!