Originally opening on May 9, 1980, Friday the 13th introduced audiences to the terrible tale of what happens if you're a camp counselor who would rather have promiscuous sex and do drugs than watch children swimming. Almost 40 years later, Jason Voorhees has established himself as one of the most iconic figures in movie history. Known for his hockey mask and machete, many people don't realize how many changes he's gone through over the years.
Written by Victor Miller and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, the original film found investors based merely on the title and rough concept, earning their budget before a script was completely finished. Aiming to take advantage of the slasher success of 1978's Halloween, the filmmakers named their film after another ominous date in hopes that would be enough to get audiences to check out it, which ended up being a successful approach.
According to the original film, Jason Voorhees was born on June 13, 1946, which means he'd technically be turning 71 today, but considering everything he's been through, he looks pretty rough for his age.
To celebrate the machete-wielding killer's birthday, scroll down to see the changes the character has gone through over the years!
Friday the 13th (1980)
Despite Jason's iconic status and link to Friday the 13th, many horror fans know that he wasn't actually the killer in the first movie, as it was his mom that sought revenge on counselors at the camp where her son died. That bit of information vexes many who are unfamiliar with the franchise, with the film Scream famously reminding audiences of that important fact.
Jason's screentime in the film might have been minimal, but he definitely left an impact, as he was portrayed as a physically deformed 10-year-old, mostly seen in his mother, the murderer's, memories.
Although he appeared without a hockey mask or machete, the 10-year-old provided audiences with one of the biggest scares in the movie, as the lead character has a hallucination of him jumping out of Crystal Lake.prevnext
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
The previous film saw the violent beheading of Mrs. Voorhees, leaving the question of who the murderer in the second film could have been.
Five years after the events of the first film, Part 2 sees characters in the area surrounding Crystal Lake get picked off one-by-one by a killer who keeps their face covered with a pillowcase.
In the film's climax, the hero flees from the masked murderer and discovers an isolated cabin with a shrine surrounding the head of Mrs. Voorhees, which is when the audiences realize that Jason is still alive. The hero delivers a powerful blow to his shoulder, leaving him for dead, although we all know that wasn't the end of him.prevnext
Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
With Jason having survived his wounds from the previous film, he takes off into the woods in hopes of recuperation. He hides out in an isolated barn, killing anyone who might cross his path.
When Jason kills a victim who has a hockey mask, the murderer takes it from his victim to hide his disfigured face from anyone he meets, birthing the iconic look of the killer. Throughout the course of the film, one of the characters delivers a near-deadly blow to his head with an ax, resulting in a massive crack in the forehead of his mask.
Another notable thing about this installment in the series was that it was made in 3D, which was the first 3D film released by Paramount in nearly 30 years.
Jason, of course, once again survives the entire ordeal.prevnext
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
With interest in the series dwindling, the filmmakers aimed for this installment to be the actual final chapter in the legacy of Jason Voorhees, allowing everyone involved to pursue other projects.
As has become the trend, this film featured Jason murdering teens staying at a cabin near Crystal Lake, with Jason ultimately being defeated by a young child.
When hoping to distract Jason, a young boy shaves his head haphazardly to remind Jason what he looked like as a child, which was enough of a distraction to not only unmask Jason, but to bury a machete in his head. If that wasn't enough, the character then fell on the blade lodged in his head, driving it even further through his skull.
The film definitively ended Jason's life, but was such a financial success, it caused the creators to find new ways to make a sequel.prevnext
Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)
When Jason died in the fourth film, the sequel explored the mental toll murdering Jason took on the young boy and focused on an imposter killer who still donned a hockey mask.
With fans disappointed that Jason wasn't the killer, Jason Lives resuscitated the character much like Frankenstein's Monster, as a steel rod became embedded in the corpse and a bolt of lightning brought him back to life.
Going forward, Jason is no longer a mortal who can be wounded and slowed down, but is more of a zombie-like creature that is virtually unstoppable. This film also brought back the iconic mask, still cracked from the wound he received in Part III.prevnext
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
The filmmakers behind the franchise realized their mistake in Part V when they tried making changes to the core concept of "Jason Voorhees Kills Teens," so installments seven, eight, and nine all follow a pretty similar trajectory.
However, with the stakes being so high in this ninth film, Jason wears his traditional "tattered clothes" ensemble, but considering all the destruction he's lived through, his mask has now fused to his face. Previous installments made sure to address the iconic ax crack in the hockey mask, but this version of Jason could have definitely used a trip to the sporting goods store to get some new gear.
Long before shared universes became the norm, this film also set up a crossover between Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, as when Jason is defeated, Freddy Krueger's glove shoots out of the ground to grab hold of Jason's mask.prevnext
Jason X (2002)
What has grown to be a somewhat comical device of implying that any movie would get an upgrade by going to space, Jason Voorhees, well, went to space.
When a team of researchers recover Jason's body (ignoring that he seemingly went to Hell to fight Freddy Krueger), he is placed in a cryogenic freeze. As surprising as it may seem, Jason is awoken nearly 500 years in the future aboard a spaceship where he begins to hack, slash, and maim everyone in his path. Thanks to advances in technology, Jason runs across some type of cybernetic equipment that can help rebuild destroyed tissue, so considering how thoroughly maimed the character is, he becomes a sort of "Super Jason," now more of a cyborg than a zombie, including an updated mask and machete.
The film ended with Jason getting ejected into space and crashing on a planet called "Earth 2."prevnext
Friday the 13th (2009)
Following Jason X, fans finally got to see the death match they had been hoping for with 2003's Freddy vs. Jason, which reverted back to Jason's more signature look of a machete with a hockey mask, seemingly in much better condition than when he went to Hell.
Considering how much fans and critics despised the look of "Super Jason" in Jason X, the filmmakers of the 2009 reboot went back to basics, reverting back to the character's original history.
This version of Friday the 13th encapsulated all of the major developments of the character that were seen in the first four films, as Jason first began his killing spree while wearing a burlap sack and eventually got a fresh new mask without the ax crack.0comments
It's been eight years without a new Friday the 13th film, and with multiple starts and stops and delays in tentative productions, it's tough to say when we might see a new version of Jason Voorhees.
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