It’s that wonderful time of year. The time where you grab on to someone special, look deep into their eyes… and STAB THEM WITH A MACHETE!!! Wait, you thought I meant Valentine’s Day? No, No, No, it’s Friday the 13th today! Actually, this is an extra special year for Friday the 13th fans, as we get a double dose of sex, summer camp, and all-out slaughter again in March!
It all started back on a seemingly calm summer in 1980, when producer/director Sean Cunningham began filming Friday the 13th, what would become the first of 12 (!!!) films in the most prolific horror franchise of all time. There’s a 13th film planned for next year (a reboot of the remake?!). There are also two documentaries (Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History Of Friday The 13; His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th) and an all-encompassing book about the series called Crystal Lake Memories. The original would set a bar that each sequel aimed to overdo, raising the levels of nudity and gory violence. The franchise would also introduce one of the biggest icons of horror, a killer who is firmly entrenched on the Mt. Rushmore of Slashers, Jason Voorhees. In the 12 films in the series, Jason would drown, get shot, stabbed, axed, hanged, chainsawed, blown up, frozen, electrocuted, sent to Hell, blasted to outer space, and sent to battle Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). But none of that could stop him, prompting an hilarious meme, touting “I don’t always die, but when I do, I don’t!” Jason tops all modern movie killers in, well, kills. Part of what makes the Friday the 13th franchise a favorite amongst horror-philes is the ever-growing body count, which according to several internet sites is now at 158!!! That tops Halloween’s Michael Myers and Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy combined!
But I bet you want more… more blood, more bodies, more weapons. Well, hopefully I can enlighten you. Here are 13 things you might not have known about one of horror’s greatest franchises…ummm…spoiler alert…
13 Things You Didn’t Know About Friday the 13th
1) If you’ve seen Scream this won’t come as a surprise, but Jason is NOT the killer in the original 1980 film. In fact, it’s his mother Pamela (Betsy Palmer) out for revenge as Jason as a little boy was left to drown by horny camp counselors. Jason doesn’t make an appearance until the final seconds of the film leaping from the waters of Camp Crystal Lake to grab final girl Alice.
2) Jason doesn’t don his trademark hockey mask until midway through 1982’s Friday The 13th Part III (released in theaters in eye-popping 3D). He spends all of Friday The 13th Part 2 wearing a burlap sack, which may have paid homage to 1976’s The Town that Dreaded Sundown.
3) Perhaps more iconic than Jason’s mask is Harry Manfredini’s score. The ever so simple “CH CH CH, AH AH AH.” You hear it, you know what’s coming. Except it’s really “KI KI KI, MA MA MA.” Manfredini took the first syllables of Betsy Palmer’s Mrs. Voorhees dialogue “Kill her Mommy” and kept the KI and MA and looped them.
4) Like other famous horror franchises, Friday the 13th has had its share of young talented stars that went on to become famous. Halloween had Jamie Lee Curtis, and Nightmare On Elm Street had a young Johnny Depp. Before he was a dancing rebel in Footloose or the star of his own game (6 degrees of…), Kevin Bacon gets stabbed through the throat from under the bed in Part I. Also, before he was Marty’s nerdy dad George McFly in the 1985 smash hit, Back to the Future, Crispin Glover starred in 1984’s Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Part IV). He performs one of the great movie dances ever and even gets to have sex with one of the twins before succumbing to the epic combo of corkscrew to the hand and cleaver to the face. Corey Feldman also starred in this fourth installent, before making 80s hits The Goonies, Stand by Me, and Lost Boys. Ever wonder what Tony Goldwyn, the President of the United States on ABC’s guilty pleasure Scandal was doing back in 1986? Well, he was being speared by Jason in the opening few minutes of Friday the 13th Jason Lives (Part VI).
5) Ten men have played Jason Voorhees, from Ari Lehman as the boy in the lake to Derek Mears in the remake, but only ONE man played the role more than once: Kane Hodder, who portrayed Jason in Parts 7 – 10.
6) Remember the ridiculous number of kills Jason had? 158! Well, consider this: Jason shows up in one scene in Part 1 and only appears in dream sequences in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (Part V). Therefore, math dictates that Jason killed the 158 victims in only 10 movies, meaning his kill-per-film average is a crazy 15.8.
7) Speaking of kills, Jason’s favorite tool of the trade is the machete. Like Freddy’s glove, Michael’s butcher knife, and Leatherface’s chainsaw, the machete has become synonymous as Jason’s go-to weapon. But he does NOT discriminate. Jason has committed murders with an axe, spear, butcher knife, spear gun, medical equipment, broken glass, gardening tools, fireplace pokers, guitars, scythe, spa rocks, arrows, fireworks, tent pegs, sleeping bags, and liquid nitrogen. And I know I’m definitely missing a few. His favorite weapon may actually be his bare hands. Some of his best kills involves him twisting necks, crushing skulls, suffocating, bending people in half, and of course punching a kid’s head clean off.
8) Speaking of not discriminating. Jason has killed several people usual considered off limits, even in the world of slasher horror. He has killed several elderly people, usually crazy ones ranting and raving about him, but he’s also killed a man in a wheelchair (Part 2), and a pregnant woman (Part 3).
9) Of the many sequels, the most beloved are usually Parts 6-7. 6 is the first appearance of “Franken-Jason” as his rotting corpse is reanimated by a well-timed lightning strike. It also features a James Bond opening credits scene, and had rock star Alice Cooper perform a song for the soundtrack, “The Man Behind the Mask”. Part 7 was when the ideas for Freddy vs. Jason started rolling around, but when that idea fell through a “Jason vs. Carrie” idea was pitched. Lar Park Lincoln’s Tina fights Jason with telekinesis, making for some of the most unique scenes in the series.
10) Jason Takes Manhattan (part 8) maybe the least truthful title in horror history, as the films spends all of 10 minutes in actual New York City. The majority of the film is set on a cruise ship and British Columbia is a substitute NYC. Kane Hodder does say that the coolest scenes he ever shot were those few in Times Square. The movie may have been terrible, but the ads were great!
11) In the horrible, Jason Goes to Hell (part 9) an entire mythology is created for Jason (IN PART 9!), involving a demon that possess any human body it wants, and magic knife that only a true Voorhees can use to kill him. That knife is the exact same one from Evil Dead 2. In fact in the climactic basement scene, there’s not only the knife, but the Necronomicon (also ED2) and the crate from Creepshow. Coincidentally, Jason’s black heart would later be re-used in From Dusk Till Dawn.
12) Kane Hodder has the distinct honor of being the only actor to play BOTH Jason and Freddy. At the end of Jason Goes to Hell, Freddy’s glove drags Jason’s mask down to hell. It was Hodder wearing the glove.
13) Despite memes telling you that he CANT die, Jason actually does die quite literally on at least 2 separate occasions. Corey Feldman’s Tommy kills him with a machete blow to the face and then hacks him up pretty good to end Part 4. In fact, Part 5 was supposed to set up the Tommy Jarvis character to become the new villain of the series. Roy’s copycat Jason would make Tommy go completely insane, but alas, like Halloween 3, people demanded their favorite killer back and thus got the aptly titled Jason Lives. He’s brought back by electricity again in Part 8 and in the space adventure Jason X, he is shot to pieces, until nanobites reanimate him as Uber Jason.
There, now instead of hearts and chocolates you can give your significant other some cool facts about the most prolific slasher in horror history. Better yet, what better way to warm up together, than to share a blanket and turn on Netflix for a romantic movie night? Currently Parts 1-4 and 6-8 are there. Stay tuned for more cool Friday the 13th celebrations here, including the top 13 Kills, and movie reviews.