|Jason, star of the show|
Finally a Month of Horror coincides with a Friday the Thirteenth. What better way to continue 2017's Month of Horror but by looking at one of the most famous horror movie franchises of all time. Jason Voorhees is easily one of the icons of not only the horror genre but also 1980s popular culture. Only perhaps Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street manages to have the same standing. Several years ago I did a piece of trivia for each entry in the film series, (here it is if you're interested), so today we're going to look at general trivia for the entire Friday the 13th franchise, 13 in fact. So let's look at the man behind the mask...
Warning- May contain spoilers
1- Alice Cooper made a song for the series
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is by far my favorite entry in the series and had a song made for it by one of my favorite artists. Alice Cooper is quintessential 1980s campy rock which made him perfect for Part VI. This entry was the first to stop taking itself seriously and just embraced the absurdity of a man giant zombie in a hockey mask hacking people to death. It made sense that the two should come together. Cooper recorded The Man Behind the Mask which featured in the movie. It was not even the only Alice Cooper song to be featured in the film. A further two songs were featured! One was Teenage Frankenstein which is a nod to how the Universal Frankenstein movies helped influence Part VI. The Man Behind the Mask also made a second appearance in the series. In a novel tie-in to the series released in 2005 characters are listening to the song.
2-There were going to be 13 entries into the series
As of writing there are twelve Friday the 13th movies. There are the ten original movies, the 2003 crossover where he fights Freddy Krueger and finally the 2009 remake. There were plans to make a sequel to the remake but poor reception, lackluster box office returns, and producer Michael Bay's anger over the remake caused plans for a sequel to be dropped. However, Paramount Pictures announced that they planned to make a new remake which would have been released on this exact day that I am writing this, (13 October 2017). It was going to be written by Aaron Guzikowski and it was going to be a quasi-origin story with it filling in the blanks of Jason's origins. Recently video game series have been having guest characters for cross promotion and Netherrealm studios had been very big on this. In Mortal Kombat X Jason, the Alien, the Predator and Leatherface (from Texas Chainsaw Massacre) all appeared and all have new movies, (Alien Covenant, Leatherface and a new Predator to be released in 2018). After the both financial and critical failure of Rings earlier this year it is likely that this is why the remake was cancelled before shooting began. The thirteenth Friday the 13th movie won't be happening for the foreseeable future.
3- Friday the 13th TV series
Although we don't have a thirteenth movie we have a TV series. Despite having several people who worked or appeared in the movies working on the series, sharing the name, and the same font of the title it has nothing to do with the movies. Allegedly when it was released in the UK it went under the name Friday's Curse. Instead it revolved around some owners of an antique store hunting down cursed objects. There was a decision to have Jason's hockey mask to appear in the series but it was scrapped so the series could be independent. Also, there is a rumor that the final episode before the series was cut short was to focus around Jason's mask and possibly even confronting Jason. Despite being cut short people have spotted how it may have inspired Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, The X-Files and the show Warehouse 13 has even been accused of plagiarizing this series!
4- Jason isn't the killer in every movie
Despite being one of the most famous horror movie character from the 1980s Jason is not the killer in two entries of the series. In the first movie it is actually his mother, Pamela Voorhees played by Betsy Palmer, who is the killer. Sent mad by her son drowning at Camp Crystal Lake when two camp counselors were busy having sex she decided to go on a killing spree when the camp reopened. Jason only appears at the end as a corpse, (in a possible dream sequence), dragging the last survivor underwater. The other entry is Part V. After being killed by Tommy Jarvis, (Corey Feldman), at the end of Part IV it is a copycat killer pretending to be Jason in perhaps the weakest entry in the series. Something which brings us to fact five...
5- Tommy Jarvis was supposed to be the new Jason
|Tommy at the end|
The fifth entry was entitled Friday the 13th: A New Beginning as that was the intention of it. Throughout the movie it had been hinting that after the events of Part IV that Tommy Jarvis had been driven to madness by Jason's murders and was now the copycat killer. However, we find out that instead a character who had about five minutes of screentime with no dialogue was actually the killer. At the end Tommy dons the infamous hockey mask and armed with a knife goes to attack one of the other survivors, (pictured above). Thanks to Jason coming back to life in Part VI this scene has been assumed to be a dream sequence but originally this was meant to make Tommy the new Jason. Tommy was meant to be the new murderer and the original opening was supposed to reaffirm this. Originally it was going to open with Tommy attacking hospital staff immediately after the events of the previous movie, fighting his way to the morgue where Jason wakes up, and then Tommy wakes up from a dream. Through poor reception from both fans and critics it is likely that Tommy becoming the new murderer was dropped in favor of resurrecting Jason.
6- Tom Savini made the first iconic effects
|Savini working on Jason in the first movie|
Tom Savini is well known among fans of horror movies as he is a special effects artist and actor. He became well renowned for his effects, as well as acting, in Dawn of the Dead which led him to being nominated for a Saturn Award for make-up. Although Dawn is by far his best work he has managed to create groundbreaking effects in everything that he has worked on. He has worked on two movies in the franchise: the first and the fourth. It is no coincidence that these two have some of the most graphic kills in the series. Savini is extremely good in creating realistic gore and he went full out on Friday the 13th. Not only making the gory kills he also made Jason himself. Above you can see the first steps in creating the rotting corpse of Jason which jumps from the lake at the end of the movie.
7- The series was meant to end several times
Friday the 13th was never intended to have so many sequels. Initially it was meant to be a trilogy with Part III ending with Jason dying and staying dead at the end of the movie. However, Paramount was not content in having Part III being Jason's last killing spree, mostly because it made a profit of over $34 million. It was decided that the series should end with the fourth movie. It was even entitled The Final Chapter to signify that this was to be the last entry of the series. Due to Tommy looking disturbed staring into the distance it was left up to the audience to decide what this meant. With it making over $19 million it was decided that the audience needed a new entry. In 1993 it was decided to end the series with the ninth entry: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. This movie literally ends with Jason going to Hell, (and another character dragging the last image of Jason with him), and that actually ended the series for six years until Jason X literally took Jason to space.
8- Horror Crossovers
|Freddy vs. Jason|
We already know that Jason has met other horror icons with 2003's Freddy vs. Jason where he battles Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street. This was not the first time that Freddy met Jason though. As mentioned in the previous point another character dragged Jason's last image to Hell at the end of the ninth entry. The movie ends with Jason's mask in the desert where Freddy Krueger's hand burst from the sand and drags it to Hell. Part VI was even intended to be a battle between the two but it was cancelled when Paramount could not obtain Freddy's rights. The ninth entry also contains a reference to another film series. Almost an hour into the movie you can very visibly see the Necronomicon prop from the Evil Dead franchise. Based off of the Necronomicon from H.P. Lovecraft's famous mythos the Necronomicon brings the zombie like Deadites to life. Due to this cameo we got the comic book Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash where Freddy tries to get back at Jason from Freddy vs. Jason by using the Necronomicon in Jason's hut. Then Ash from The Evil Dead finds out and tries to stop them. One last thing is that another horror icon was meant to appear in Freddy vs. Jason but it was cancelled due to how expensive the rights were. Freddy and Jason were meant to be dragged to Hell where they become shackled by chains. Then Pinhead from Hellraiser would come out and say 'Gentlemen, what seems to be the problem?'
9- Video Game Easter Eggs
Earlier this year a video game was released where you either play as a camp counselor trying to survive or play as Jason trying to massacre them. This game contains so many references to the movies. Many of the counselors are inspired by the characters from the movies, many of Jason's kills are directly from the movies, Jason's costumes are exactly like his film variants, and Jason even smashes through doors in a similar way to how he does it in Part VI. These are not the only references. The Higgins Haven map has a damaged bridge which is damaged in the exact same way in how the bridge was damaged in Part III. To kill Jason you have to combine several ways how Jason is killed in the movies. One of the female characters have to wear Pamela Voorhees' jumper and the Tommy Jarvis player has to deal the killing blow.
10- Many Actors
Ten people have played throughout the history of the movies. The first was Ari Lehman who portrayed Jason as a child in the first movie. Kane Hodder is the person to have played the character the most and is well regarded by fans. Hodder has played Jason in every entry of the series between Part VII and Jason X. There was a controversy with fans when Hodder wasn't cast as Jason in Freddy vs. Jason as director Ronny Yu wanted someone to tower over 5'10'' Robert Englund who was portraying Freddy Krueger. Yu wanted it to be a 'David v. Goliath' type match so Ken Kirzinger was cast instead. Recently Hodder has been recast as Jason with serving as the killer via motion capture with the new Friday the 13th Game.
11- Mortal Kombat Appearance
As earlier mentioned Jason has appeared in the hit fighting video game Mortal Kombat X, possibly as a way to advertise the now cancelled thirteenth movie. Jason was a DLC, (downloadable content), which the player would have to buy in order to play. There Jason would be able to fight Mortal Kombat's ninjas, gods and monsters. Or alternatively you could have Jason fight Jason. Jason was released at the same time as the Predator and later was joined by the Alien and Leatherface. Jason and Leatherface weren't the first horror characters to appear in Mortal Kombat. In the previous game, entitled Mortal Kombat but referred to as MK 9 by fans, Freddy Krueger was a possible playable character. Like with Jason his inclusion may have been a way to cross promote the then recent Nightmare on Elm Street remake.
12- The famous stalking noise
Those who have watched the movies will recognize the above noise. When Jason is stalking or about to murder someone this sound is played. There is actually some meaning behind it according to the original score composer Harry Manfredini. Normally people say that the sound is 'chi, chi. chi, ha, ha, ha' but instead it really is 'ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma'. Manfredini has said that in the first movie it is really representing Jason saying 'kill, kill, kill, mom, mom, mom' as Pamela believes that Jason is telling her to kill people. In the later films it is shown that Jason is killing seemingly on Pamela's orders. In Part V it is changed to 'ki, ki, ki, ta, ta, ta' if you listen carefully. This is a subtle nod to how it is now Jason telling Tommy to kill.
13- Possible fan theory
The original Friday the 13th is effectively a poor attempt to replicate the horror classic Halloween with a regular human committing the murders, and initially it was assumed that Jason dragging the last survivor into the lake was a dream. That is until Jason actually returns and kills the only two characters to survive the previous movie. Fans wondered how did Jason age up if he was a corpse child at the end of the first movie. Was he actually alive the entire time? A fan theory has cropped up based on the Necronomicon's cameo in Jason goes to Hell. There is a theory that Pamela Voorhees discovers the Necronomicon and decides to bring Jason back. The murders that she committed throughout the movie were then actually part of a blood ritual to bring Jason back which became complete when Pamela was beheaded. After his first appearance he rapidly ages to the age he would have been if he had not drowned.
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