When it comes to the very wide world of high fashion, a fiberglass mask, tattered boiler suit, and pair of industrial boots might not meet standard criteria. In the horror genre, that particular costume is not only the regular uniform for one of its most iconic figures, but it is also the basis for that villain’s various looks that spans decades within one franchise. The Friday The 13th series and its respective slasher, Jason Voorhees, have seen a collective evolution in many factors including its narrative, but most importantly in killer look. Ranging from a horrifying little boy to an unsuspecting middle-age woman to one of the recognizable villains in film, the slasher of Crystal Lake is a stand-out star of creepy fashion that changes almost as often as the victims undress.
There is a lot of camp ground to cover, so let’s dive in…
The Fibrosport style Detroit Red Wings goaltender mask was probably made with safety and functionality in mind, but once it was pulled out of 3D supervisor Martin Jay Sadoff’s hockey gear the mask took on a whole new meaning. Improvisation quickly turned to intimidation and the pissed-off-goalie took the grounds. However, before the mold was set, Jason Voorhees looked much different than the sportsman we admire today.
Waiting to reveal the actual Jason Voorhees for the very final act, Friday the 13th gives viewers a shocking surprise look at young Jason as he pops out of the water. Thanks to the haunting, magical visual effects work of Tom Savini, the boy’s face is grotesquely deformed with unequal, bulging eyes, gaping teeth, and a bald, disproportionate head. Moving from Jason as a boy to Jason as a man, Part II makes the initial move to hide the killer’s face completely. Donning a burlap sack over his head with a single eerie eyehole, the sequel’s Sackhead Jason is beloved among fans even though it is one of the more odd looks over the years.
“…Jason has the unique ability to turn any surrounding object into a lethal accessory at any time, making him one of horror’s most resourceful designers.“
Jason Voorhees lovers can credit jokester Shelly Finklestein with the trademark hockey mask that makes its first and everlasting appearance in Friday The 13th Part III. Molded off of the Fibrosport and fit to be larger, the white mask is brandished with a sharp red arrowhead above the brow and a matching chevron mark on each side of the nose, pointed side up. Complete with a few necessary breathing holes and Jason’s blank stare, and a crack above the eye left by Chris Higgins and the notorious goalie mask emerges.
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter, far from the last actual chapter, keeps the goalie mask intact and introduces some appropriate color fading and reasonable wear and tear to the aesthetic. The only noticeable visual deviation made to the mask, aside from Jason X, comes in Friday The 13th: A New Beginning, ridding the mask of the arrowhead completely and replacing the red chevrons with blue ones. Being that it is not truly Jason Voorhees, the different color and rounder shape of the mask immediately alerts viewers to this obvious imposter slasher. Friday The 13th: Jason Lives revives the original mask sans chevrons with a more pronounced, deep red triangular arrowhead above Jason’s brow line.
While the mask undergoes some additional changes following the sixth installment, Friday The 13th: The New Blood gives Jason a more morphed look to his skin with his gruesome mouth exposed due to a shard crack on the side from a boat propeller. At the end of New Blood, Jason’s mask is destroyed only to be duplicated for prankster Jim Miller and taken by the killer for himself in Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan.
Matching its modern city, this mask brings back the classic red markings although they are slimmer, giving the marks a sleek and striking shape. One can imagine that the mask used in Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday would be rough and it is, charred at the sides with callbacks to the cracks permanently scarred from Part III and The New Blood. Here Jason’s actual head appears tumorous, bulging around the mask to create a really creepy ensemble.
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“Jason Voorhees’ clothing alternates between various takes on worn work pants, dark clunky boots, and a thick green jacket“
As Jason transcends to the future, quietly literally, we see his look make an extreme change before resuming his well-known feature. Jason Voorhees enters space in Jason X and his mask obviously transforms to match the futuristic feel as the goalie face is substituted with a metallic alloy finish that is defined and confirmed to his face still cleverly keeping his tradition cracks. The Camp Blood killer is brought back into the ring with Freddy Vs. Jason, reanimating his classic hockey game face free of historical cracks but drawing out the original red arrowhead and chevron marks.
The 2009 remake, Friday The 13th, pays homage to Sackhead Jason for the first part of the film, but ultimately lands on the classic goaltender fit keeping the look fresh and contemporary, but satisfyingly close to what fans perceive as the original Jason look. As interesting as the diversity in Jason Voorhees’ masks is, there is no denying that a singular image is invoked when the ominous chant Ki, Ki, Ki, Ma, Ma, Ma is heard. The poor, unfortunate-looking boy turned angry hockey mask slasher has many faces and one in the same.
One might not think that the actor hiding behind a full face mask and filling the very heavy shoes of Jason Voorhees would make a difference, but the killer’s swagger plays a pretty big role in his overall effect. Over the course of twelve installments, filmmakers took a few liberties when it came to the man behind the mask creating some of the most divisive discussion in the genre around the role. More than a handful of men brought Jason to life, but only one woman birthed the series to begin with: Betsy Palmer (Mister Roberts).
Acting as Pamela Voorhees, Jason’s sweet, but vengeful mother, Palmer served as the real murderer behind the mask (so to speak, as there was no mask in Friday The 13th) and later as the one behind the murderer behind the mask. Her ability to go from kind and comforting to unhinged and deadly in an instant added a new level of psychological fear to the typical slasher and surprises first time viewers still to this day. She may not channel Jason’s hulking power physically, but Palmer sure held her own and opened the series with her unexpected, maternal demeanor.
Once Jason Voorhees was truly introduced, following Ari Lehman’s (The Barn) initial childlike role in Friday the 13th, the man himself grew literally. Warrington Gillette (Time Walker) took on the role for Part II giving Sackhead Jason a more muscular, backwoods grown structure that would eventually stick as the killer’s lurching constitution. Richard Brooker (Deathstalker), Ted White (Starman), Tom Morga (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) and CJ Graham (Vengeance) all followed.
Brooker as Jason in Part III really stands as the one we all recognize, setting up the ultimate form for Voorhees. White, a veteran Marine soldier, brought a scary strength to Jason beginning his evolution as a force to be reckoned with. Morga takes over for Friday The 13th: A New Beginning, but never really has an opportunity to expand on his portrayal of Jason since his character is Roy Burns impersonating the slasher. Graham continues to carry Jason’s relentless strength, but adds a bit of expression to the character’s body language giving the character a strange appeal while maintaining terror in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.
After a few transfers of the mask, Jason Voorhees found a fixed, but temporary host in actor and stuntman Kane Hodder (Hatchet). Brandishing the mask for Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, and Jason X consecutively, Hodder not only played Jason, but he became Jason in a way. As a fan favorite, Hodder is praised for giving Jason Voorhees a menacing confidence, his signature stalker swagger, and his unsettling deep breathing. Though many of these actors have contributed to the physical behaviors of Jason, it’s Hodder that is most synonymous with the role despite starring in some of the more hokey installments of the franchise.
Ken Kirzinger (Joy Ride) had the biggest boots to fill following Hodder in Freddy Vs. Jason and that may have ultimately been the one stand-out quality of his performance. While he is able to keep all of Jason’s previous characteristics balanced, as does Derek Mears (Swamp Thing 2019) in 2009’s Friday The 13th remake, there is nothing new to observe. Taking over after Hodder is hard work, but the two hold up the end of the franchise with abnormal strength. Looking back at such a lengthy series, all of these stuntmen did not just stand and stalk and slash their way across the screen, they helped transform the concept of Jason Voorhees into one of cinema’s most recognizable horror icons of all time.
No fashion analysis is complete until the actual clothing our subject is wearing comes into play. We might not see Jason Voorhees strut his stuff down the runways of Paris anytime soon, but that does not mean his thick apparel is not functional or aesthetically pleasing… that is only if you’re looking for the perfect blood, fire, and water resistant outfit. The slasher might even give a whole new meaning to the term ‘glamping.’ Before looking at Jason’s choice wardrobe, it’s necessary to make a note of Pamela Voorhees’ carefully selected day wear in Friday The 13th.
Driving home that motherly feel, Mrs. Voorhees is mostly remembered for her soft cornflower blue cable knit sweater. It’s not the standard top we would expect to see from a murderous mad woman, but it most certainly is the one an overly loving mom would wear and possibly even stitched herself. The welcoming knotted material and calming color really shout “His name is Jason and today is his birthday” and “You killed him!” at the same time. Pamela is a true fashion innovator.
“We might not see Jason Voorhees strut his stuff down the runways of Paris anytime soon, but that does not mean his thick apparel is not functional or aesthetically pleasing…”
Moving from warm and fuzzy to a little more minimalist and uniform, Jason Voorhees goes through a few outfit changes throughout the Friday The 13th franchise starting with Sackhead Jason’s farming inspired getup in Part II. His denim overalls and dark plaid shirt pay tribute to his wholesome, but deadly upbringing. Transitioning to his more familiar, uniform attire throughout the series, again aside from his black cyber suit in Jason X, Jason can be found roaming the woods of Camp Crystal Lake in a more utilitarian ensemble. Jason Voorhees’ clothing alternates between various takes on worn work pants, dark clunky boots, and a thick green jacket furnished with double front-flap pockets and a standing collar.
Customarily mustard yellow or black, Jason keeps his hands safe in a hefty pair of work gloves throughout the series, bringing his outfit together to create a safe and dangerous fashion statement. Later franchise entries show Jason stepping up his uniform to incorporate a grey boiler suit, covered by his indicative jacket to emphasize his giant build and hulking size. The tattered and torn Voorhees vogue might not necessarily be haute couture, but it’s a scary classic that certainly makes a comeback time and time again.
No skilled, experienced killer would be caught dead without their essentials, and Jason Voorhees really loves to accessorize. Brandishing his weapon of choice, a machete, Voorhees is not afraid to wield his phallic blade through the trees and campers that stand in his way. Though the first weapon we see Jason himself use to kill Alice Hardy is an ice pick, his preference for more blunt objects like the machete and an axe has become a niche selection through the franchise. Sackhead Jason utilizes a handy pitchfork while we see Voorhees get creative with liquid nitrogen in Jason X.
Often found with a vintage Marines utility belt strapped to his waist, Jason is always ready to harness his hazardous goods and make his way around the camp with an effortless stride. From harpoon guns to a trusty sleeping bag, Jason has the unique ability to turn any surrounding object into a lethal accessory at any time, making him one of horror’s most resourceful designers.
Honorable Mention: Retro Jason, also referred to as 8-Bit Jason of the NES Friday The 13th video game places Jason Voorhees in the digital realm of gaming with a snazzy color scheme. Looking at the fashions of Jason, it would be remiss not to highlight the aqua blue mask, purple clothes, and his white-bladed, orange-handled machete. It’s a fun, vibrant scheme that contrasts with every palette we’ve seen the slasher flaunt, but suits him well.
It’s obvious that there is more than a mask when it comes to an ultimate genre heavyweight like Jason Voorhees. His style may be common among slashers, but when we break down the physical pieces it’s easy to navigate our way through a lengthy franchise that has generated countless instances of influence since a cruel camp prank turned into everlasting disaster. Fans fear the hockey mask and even incorporate it into their own fashionable items, promising continuous worship and Camp Crystal Lake membership for life.
“Often found with a vintage Marines utility belt strapped to his waist, Jason is always ready to harness his hazardous goods and make his way around the camp with an effortless stride.”
Which Friday The 13th film is your favorite? Which mask do you prefer? What do you think of the Voorhees’ outfits? Is Jason hot or not? Let us know your thoughts over on Twitter, Reddit, or in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook!