It’s hard to believe that today one of the most beloved films in horror history turns forty. May 9, 1980, saw the release of Friday the 13th, an independent film that admittedly was made as a quick cash grab after the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) a couple of years earlier. Who knew that at that exact moment cinematic horror history was about to change.
The stars in the skies over Camp Crystal Lake aligned and one film quickly turned into two, then three and four, and before long forty years had passed and Friday the 13th went from a one-off slasher film to a massive franchise complete with an iconic killer and ultimate anti-hero with eleven movies under his paintball utility belt.
The Crystal Lake Chronicles are steeped deeply with mythology so bloody and storied, fans have frenzied and philosophied for decades over the most diminutive details. They have theorized everything from the logical to the downright insane… like Mrs. Voorhees insane. So in honor of Jason Voorhees’ birthday, we have compiled a Top Ten Friday the 13th Fan Theories list that is sure to put the ki-ki-ki in your ma-ma-ma.
10. Jason Was The Killer in The Original Friday The 13th
Yeah, I know what you’re screaming right now, (SPOILER ALERT!) Mrs. Voorhees was the killer in Friday the 13th. In a fan theories Subreddit forum, user s2artjm pontificates the notion that Jason was indeed the one responsible for all of the deaths in the 1980 classic.
First, the user points out the masculine nature of all of the POV (point of view) shots deducing that this is the first indicator that this might not be Mrs. Voorhees after all. s2artjm goes on to theorize that they believe Mrs. Voorhees tried to save Jason when he was drowning in Crystal Lake. She was successful, ultimately saving her son’s life but not before losing her own. Jason then grows up and in a very Norman Bates kind of way, became his mother, taking on her personality and maybe even her appearance, going on to butcher the counselors in her guise.
9. Every Sequel After A New Beginning Are Written Stories by Tommy Jarvis
By now, everyone knows the rather tragic story of Tommy Jarvis, the young Crystal Lake boy who survived a night of attacks from the diabolical Jason Voorhees only to end up in psychiatric wards and halfway houses, doomed to a lifetime of panic attacks and murderous rage. But I’m willing to bet that you have never looked at Tommy’s story in this way.
Every sequel after Friday The 13th: A New Beginning are figments of Tommy’s imagination and are works of fiction he has written. Basing their theory on the juxtaposition of the probable and impossible, Reddit user, grathungar notes that everything leading up to the events in Part V most likely have happened but as we jump from that installment to Part VI, the probably quickly becomes impossible because, well, as far as anyone knows, you can’t bring a rotting corpse back to life with a bolt of lightning. Therefore, grathungar’s argument about the rest of the sequel being works of fiction slips easily into probable speculation.
8. Jason and His Mom Were Trying To Protect Children
Despite both Mama Voorhees and her boy Jason being psychotic mass murders, it seems one fan on a wiki fan theory page thinks that the deadly duo had a soft spot for the kiddies. The writer, who is unknown, goes on the explain their foundation for their reasoning by stating that the only victims both Voorhees’ dispatch are naughty teenagers, adults who got in the way, and cops who try to stop them.
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In fact, there isn’t one instance in the entire eleven movies where either Jason or his mother attack a child. Sure, ol’ hockey mask scared a few of them in Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, but he never laid a machete on any of them. Nor did his mother in the first Friday the 13th as she stalked through cabins of sleeping kids, searching for the counselors she would ultimately slaughter in a loft just minutes later. The children remained unharmed. The writer claims this is all because they didn’t want any youngsters to suffer the same fate that Jason did.
7. Jason Voorhees is A Deadite
Jason has always been an enigma in that here is a guy who drowned as a kid but somehow survived. Then he went on to murder a bunch of people and sustain several fatal injuries but he kept on trucking from sequel to sequel until he finally meets his waterloo only to come back as an unstoppable zombie-like machine. I mean, how does he do that!?
Easy, he’s a demon. Ranker writer Jacob Shelton reveals the possibility that Voorhees could very well be a creature of the underworld, saying that the killer is actually a Deadite… like from the Evil Dead (1981) films. These theories come from Reddit user Bacxaber who explains that the Necronomicon is seen in Jason Goes to Hell (1993) and Freddy vs Jason vs Ash comics (2007-2008), eluding to the possibility that he was summoned through the same vessel and is undoubtedly linked to the Evil Dead universe. Fun Fact: This was also a theory put forward by Jason Goes to Hell director Adam Marcus on HorrorGeekLife.com and likely where the Reddit theories came from.
6. Tommy Jarvis Resurrected Roy Burns in Part VI
Okay, let’s take a look at the set pieces here. In A New Beginning, Mayor Cobb says that Voorhees was cremated into “a handful of ash.” How could Tommy bring back someone that’s been reduced to coffee grounds? Well, Fansided writer Jeremy Dick raises the point that it may have been Roy Burns that Tommy digs up in Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Live instead of Jason. Here’s his theory.
When Roy was buried, its quite possible that his gravestone could have been marked as Jason Voorhees since the caretakers in the Wessex County area don’t seem to be the brightest and given his close ties to the Voorhees name. Roy would have just as much agro feels towards Jarvis (and everyone else) as Jason would. Tommy cut Roy’s revenge rampage short and he’s gotta be more than a little pissed about that. Also, take a look at the intelligence that the newly animated corpse has. He knows and can do things that country bumpkin Voorhees couldn’t possibly have known when he was alive. All things the Burns could have easily known. What do you think? Is Roy Burns really the one stalking throughout the rest of the Friday The 13th franchise?
5. Friday The 13th is an Anti-Abortion Film
This is one that is sure to stir the proverbial pot. This Reddit post from a deleted user states that horror movies in the 1980s were all about the destruction of the normal heterosexual family unit and how monsters threaten that normality. Friday the 13th does this when a couple of counselors decide to have sex instead of watching poor little Jason as he drowned in the waters of Crystal Lake. This was ultimately the destruction of Mrs. Voorhees’ normal causing her to go on a murderous rampage, which was mostly on those exhibiting promiscuity, a no-no in her conservative 1950’s mentality. This was the activity that took her world away and she was out to stop it.
While Mrs. Voorhees is desperately trying to hang onto her son, she was more broadly trying to hang onto the morals of yesteryear, before the rise of the feminist movement, before Roe vs Wade, to the post-war era when family values meant everything and kids weren’t haphazardly screwing around with each other without any regard for the lives they may affect in doing so.
4. Jason Could Have Saved The Lives of Hundreds…But Didn’t
Okay, there’s a timeline for this one from Reddit user Dontreadthis98 so bear with me. In 1957 Jason drowns in Crystal Lake. Or did he? According to this theory, he didn’t. Fast forward to 1980 where Pamela Voorhees is slaughtering the counselors of Camp Crystal Lake and Jason watches from the woods where he even sees her death. The question is why didn’t he reunite with her before all of the bloodshed? Why didn’t he seek her out after his accident? If he loved her so much, why did he not try and save her before Alice knocked her block off?
While this concept leaves a lot of questions, it does leave an interesting what if. Had he simply found his mother again, after the accident, think of all of the lives that would have been saved, including his own mother’s.
3. Brenda From Friday The 13th (1980) Might be Gay
This is another controversial one in that homosexuality hasn’t really been explored in the Friday the 13th world. In fact, the whole franchise has a decidedly ultra-hetero slant but based on this writer’s own perspective, the point has been raised and it was in the very first movie. The character of Brenda (the late Laurie Bartram) seems to have lesbian tendencies. That is if you think about the stereotypes of lesbianism in the early 80s.
Brenda is a vegetarian. Lesbian stereotype from back in the day number one. She is not paired up with a man. Lesbian stereotype from back in the day number two. Further to the point, Ned makes a couple of vague passes at her and she rejects each one. In the strip Monopoly scene, just before she leaves, she mentions that the game is “just getting interesting” while looking at and making eyes with Alice and completely ignoring Bill. Also, prior to the door blowing open and ending the game, Alice was about to take her shirt off which, if you watch closely enough, really capture’s Brenda’s attention. Could it be that writer Victor Miller intended for a more in-depth character for Brenda? Were those characteristics played down because of cultural intolerances?
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2. Friday The 13th (2009) is Just an Episode of Supernatural
Let’s start with the obvious. Jared Padalecki, who plays Clay in the 2009 Platinum Dunes reboot of Friday the 13th, but he also plays Sam Winchester in the CW’s hit show Supernatural (2005-present). That is the glaring similarity, but Reddit user Melbourne Australia clearly believes there are a whole bunch more.
Aside from the Padalecki connection, the user goes on the connect other continuities. For instance, there was a period during the tv show’s fifth or sixth season where the Winchester boys went their separate ways. It’s during this time that Sam could have traveled to Crystal Lake. Also in order to find cases, the Brothers Winchester would often use newspapers, and it’s entirely within reason that once in Crystal Lake, Sam picked up the local rag and read about the missing Whitney Miller. The user also believes that Sam went by a different identity, Clay Miller, possing as Whitney’s brother so he could hunt down the legendary Jason Voorhees. My only problem with this train of thought is that Sam would have fought Jason off a lot better than Clay did, but its a fun theory nonetheless.
1. Jason is A Feminist
Who would have thought that the Friday the 13th films could have been so politically and socially conscious? But here we are deducing a deleted Reddit user’s thoughts on a serial killer being pro-women. I know what you’re thinking, Jason Voorhees a woman’s libber? Inconceivable! Perhaps not, as the theory seems kinda on point.
First of all, they point out his affection for his mother. It’s a clear fact. Jason literally came back from the dead to avenge her. Secondly, he does not have a bias towards who he kills. Man or woman, Jason is an equal opportunist in this department. Finally, he keeps an eye out for creeps that prey on vulnerable women. Yes, I know that he himself did just that in Friday the 13th Part 3 but I think his intentions were purely based on the intent to kill and not in a sexual way. So as we get into the later films, specifically, Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) and Freddy vs Jason (2003), he actually looks out for those defenseless women by taking out the jerks that think that kind of behavior is okay. This theory gives the killer a strangely endearing quality and it seems safe to say that Jason would likely hang out with Gloria Steinem given the right circumstance.
And that brings us to the conclusion of our Top Ten Friday the 13th Fan Theories. This was a fun one to research! It’s clear to see that fans have incredibly varied and wildly imaginative thoughts on this franchise. What do you think? Do any of them make sense to you? Have you a few of your own? Let us know on our NOFS Twitter, Subreddit, and Facebook Fiend pages, and let’s see if we can find a few more to go along with these creepy crazy theories.