Horror Icons: Jason Voorhees
By LaDale Anderson
Oct 6, 2013 - 6:00:54 AM

HOLLYWOOD—The entire month of Halloween we are paying homage to some of the most notorious villains that have made an impact on the horror genre and all things Halloween.  This week we pay tribute to a character that has made a living of turning a hockey mask into something terrifying. Yes, people I am referring to Camp Crystal Lake fiend Jason Voorhees. 


I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a fan of blood, guts and gore, which is notorious in the “Friday the 13th” movies.  I thought the first movie was horrible, even though it set the staple ground for all things horror in the 80s.  Its sequel, “Friday the 13th Part 2” introduced audiences to Jason Voorhees.  There is a big misconception that he was the killer in the first movie, but wrong, it was his mother. The second installment was quite terrifying to say the least, with the introduction of a villain that would eventually gain his stripes in “Friday the 13th Part 3D.” This was a movie I heard so much buzz about in the 80s, as it was 3D unlike any other. More importantly, Jason got his signature hockey mask which became iconic for the series hereafter.  Perhaps, Paramount will decide to release the picture in REAL 3D, no red and blue glasses thank you.

The fourth installment, “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” saw Jason Voorhees meet his match at the hands of Tommy Jarvis.  It was supposed to be the ”˜end,’ but as we all know with horror films some unimaginable idea is created to bring the villain back to life.  Let’s not even discuss the fifth installment, as it was a complete waste of time.  Writers would be tackled with a challenging idea to bring Jason Voorhees from beyond the grave, but “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives” accomplished it. 

Jason Voorhees


The idea of bringing a manic, machete wielding killer back to life through a bolt of lightening was genius at the time.  Hands down it is indeed one of the best entries of the entire franchise.  In my opinion, this is where Jason really became a menace and the story was unique in its own.  A title character haunted by his past revitalizes his foe, who goes on a killing rampage, kids are thrown in the mix and humor was injected.  There was a smart balance of suspense and comedy that worked on so many levels, the only downfall was the ending that could have been much better in my scope.


“Friday the 13th part VII: The New Blood” was a picture that always confused me.  What’s up with that title, now I know it was the introduction of a new story albeit the Tommy Jarvis saga.  It had a telekinetic backdrop to it that was interesting, but no characters worth rooting for at all.  Bodies dropped left and right and no one, I mean no one knew what was happening. 


My favorite in the entire bunch is “Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan.” Bare with me as, I know inquiring minds are saying, “What?”  This was the one picture I was banned from seeing as a child, so when I finally saw it I loved it that much more.  It’s more of a concept thing.  Finally, after seven films Jason gets to go to a major city to create chaos.  It was a fresh take, horror pictures where the action takes place in one setting are never clever to me, there has to be a mix of settings to create an interesting story in my opinion.  Yes, Jason was only in Manhattan for about 35 minutes of the movie, which sucked.  Just think of Jason in Manhattan today, that movie would be awesome.


There is not much reason to discuss “Jason Goes to Hell” as Jason barely showed up in the movie and “Jason X” does anyone even remember that picture.  Lastly we have the 2009 remake, “Friday the 13th” that looked quite promising, but never lived up to the hype.  So much could have been done with that movie.  If you plan to remake a classic, deliver things the audience has never seen before.  It was pretty much a copy and paste of the first four movies with new characters.


So just why is Jason Voorhees synonymous with horror? It’s because he was a menace to society.  He made it fearful to want to go to camp.  His slaughter of teens who even thought about drinking, smoking or sex instilled fear in a generation, more notably he is the reason much of the crap that is dished out in horror is prevalent. He ushered in the idea of over the top gore. It’s important to note that was a staple of the franchise.  It wasn’t done just to do it to define the horror genre; that was the franchise’s staple element.  The hockey mask is important though.  When you see a goalie nowadays, the first thing that comes to mind is Jason Voorhees.  The revelation of what was behind the mask was never scary in my opinion, but it kinda defined the idea of the reveal which is notorious in horror pictures nowadays; I’m talking to you “Scream.”


Jason Voorhees is indeed dead; the countless sequels have killed the character in a way that it seems almost impossible to reinvent the character where he is frightening to a new audience.  Younger generations find him laughable, whereas to my generation he delivered nightmares, but Jason Voorhees will never die, he is a legend that will live forever.

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