Jason Voorhees is a fictional character from the Friday the 13th series of slasher films. He first appeared in Friday the 13th (1980), as the son of camp cook-turned-murderer Pamela Voorhees, in which he was portrayed by Ari Lehman. Created in combination by Victor Miller, Ron Kurz, Sean S. Cunningham and Tom Savini, he was not originally intended to carry the series as the main villain. Jason Voorhees has also been represented in numerous novels, comic books, and a cross-over film with another horror legend, Freddy Krueger.
The character has primarily been an antagonist in the films, whether by stalking and killing the characters, or acting as a psychological threat to the lead character, as is the case in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Since Lehman's portrayal, the character has been represented by numerous actors and stuntmen, sometimes by more than one at a time; this has caused some controversy as to who should receive credit for the portrayal. Kane Hodder is the most well known of the stuntmen to portray Jason Voorhees, having played the character in four consecutive films.
The character's physical appearance has gone through many transformations, with various special makeup effects artists making their mark on the character's design, including makeup artist Stan Winston. Tom Savini's initial design has been the basis for many of the later incarnations. The trademark hockey mask did not appear until Friday the 13th Part III. He has been seen as a sympathetic character, albeit one whose motivation for killing has been cited as driven by the immoral actions of his victims. Jason Voorhees has been featured in various humor magazines, referenced in feature films, parodied in television shows, and been the inspiration for a horror punk band. Several toy lines have been released based on various versions of the character from the Friday the 13th films. Jason Voorhees's hockey mask is one of the most recognizable images in popular culture.
Jason first appears as a hallucination of the main character Alice in the original Friday the 13th; he would go on to become the main antagonist of the series in the succeeding sequels. Only in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning does Jason reappear as a hallucination. The silver screen is not the only place Jason has appeared; there have been literary sources that have either expanded the universe of Jason, or been based on a minor aspect of him. He onced changed to a modified version of himself known as Uber Jason.
Jason made his first appearance in the original Friday the 13th, not as the film's killer, but as a memory of his mother, Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), and a hallucination of Alice's (Adrienne King). Though the character is never truly seen, he propels the film's plot, as Mrs. Voorhees, the cook at Camp Crystal Lake, seeks revenge for his death, for which she blames the camp counselors. Jason's second appearance was in the sequel, Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981). Jason's death as a boy is retconned in this film, and he exacts revenge on the girl who decapitated his mother. Jason (Steve Daskewisz) returns to Crystal Lake, guarding it from all intruders. Five years later, a group of teenagers arrive to set up a new camp, only to be murdered one by one by Jason. Ginny Field (Amy Steel), the lone survivor, finds a cabin in the woods with a shrine built around the severed head of Mrs. Voorhees, and surrounded by mutilated corpses. Ginny fights back, and slams a machete through Jason's shoulder. Jason is left for dead as Ginny is taken away in an ambulance. In Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Jason (Richard Brooker) escapes to a nearby lake resort, Higgins Haven, to rest from his wounds. At the same time, Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell) returns to the property with some friends. An unmasked and reclusive Jason kills anyone who wanders into the barn where he is hiding. Taking a hockey mask from a victim to hide his face, he leaves the barn to kill the rest of the group. Chris fends off Jason by slamming an axe into his head, but the night's events have driven her into hysteria as the police take her away.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) continues the story, with a presumed-dead Jason (Ted White) found by the police and taken to the morgue. Once delivered to the Wessex County morgue, Jason awakens and kills an attendant and a nurse, and makes his way back to Crystal Lake. A group of friends renting a house there fall victim to Jason's rampage. Jason then seeks out Trish and Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) next door. While Trish distracts Jason, Tommy evidently kills him. His appearance in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) was short lived. Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd) was committed to a mental hospital after the events of The Final Chapter, and has grown up constantly afraid that Jason (Tom Morga) will return. Jason's body was supposedly cremated after Tommy killed him. Roy Burns (Dick Wieand) uses Jason's persona to become a copycat killer at the halfway home to which Tommy was moved. The only moments of Jason's appearance are through Tommy's dreams and hallucinations. In Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), Tommy (Thom Mathews), released from a mental institution, visits Jason's grave, and learns Jason's body was never actually cremated, but buried in Forest Green cemetery (formerly Crystal Lake cemetery). Tommy inadvertently resurrects Jason (C. J. Graham) via a piece of cemetery fence that acts as a lightning rod. Jason returns to Forest Green, still believing it is Crystal Lake. Tommy eventually lures Jason back to the lake that supposedly caused his death as a boy. Chained to a boulder on the lake floor, Jason is left to die.
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) begins an undisclosed amount of time after Jason Lives. Jason (Kane Hodder) is resurrected again, this time by the telekinetic Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln), who was attempting to resurrect her father. Jason begins killing those who occupy Crystal Lake (no longer named Forest Green), and after a battle with Tina, is again dispatched to the bottom of the lake. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) sees Jason return from the grave, brought back to life via an underwater electrical cable. He follows a group of students on their senior class trip to Manhattan, boarding the Lazarus to wreak havoc. Upon reaching Manhattan, Jason kills all the survivors but Rennie and Sean; he chases them into the sewers, where he is caught and melted away by toxic waste. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) marked the second time Jason was officially killed according to studio canon. Through unexplained resurrection, he returns to Crystal Lake, where he is hunted by the FBI. The FBI sets up a sting to kill Jason, which proves successful. Through mystical possession, however, Jason survives by passing his demon-infested heart from one being to the next. Though Jason is hardly seen throughout the film, we learn he has a sister and a niece, and that he needs them to retrieve and reinhabit his body. After resurrecting it, Jason is finally killed by his niece and dragged to Hell.
Jason X (2002) marked Kane Hodder's last performance as Jason as of 2009. The film takes place in the future, where Jason has again been resurrected, without explanation. He is being held and experimented upon in a research facility, where it has been determined that he has regenerative capabilities and that cryonic suspension is the only possible solution to stop him, since he cannot be killed. Jason escapes, killing all but one of his captors, and slices through the cryo-chamber, spilling cryonics fluid into the room, freezing himself and the only other survivor, Rowan (Lexa Doig). A team of students 445 years later discover Jason's body. On the team's spacecraft, Jason thaws from his cryonic suspension and begins killing the crew. Along the way, he is enhanced by a regenerative nanotechnology process, which gives him an impenetrable metal body. He is eventually blown into space, landing on Earth 2. Freddy vs. Jason (2003) is a crossover in which present-day Jason battles A Nightmare On Elm Street's villain Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a supernatural killer who murders people in their dreams. Krueger has grown weak, as people in Springwood, his home, have suppressed their fear of him. Freddy, who is impersonating Pamela Voorhees, sends Jason (Ken Kirzinger) to Springwood to cause panic and fear. Jason accomplishes this, but refuses to stop killing. A battle ensues in both the dream-world and Crystal Lake. The winner is left ambiguous, as Jason surfaces from the lake holding Freddy's severed head, which winks and laughs.
In the 2009 film, Jason witnesses his mother's beheading as a child and follows in her footsteps, killing anyone who comes to Crystal Lake. Jason kidnaps a girl who looks like his mother, and her brother comes to Crystal Lake searching for her. Eventually, Jason's devotion to his mother is used against him by the girl, who stabs him with his own machete while he is distracted.
Jason first appeared outside of film in the 1982 novelization of Friday the 13th Part 3 by Michael Avallone. Avallone chose to use an alternate ending, which was filmed for Part 3 but never used, as the ending for his 1982 adaptation. In the alternate film ending, Chris, who is in the canoe, hears Rick's voice and immediately rushes back to the house. When she opens the door, Jason is standing there with a machete, and he proceeds to decapitate her. Jason would not appear in literature again, until the 1986 novelization of Jason Lives by Simon Hawke, who also adapted the first three films in 1987 and 1988. Jason Lives specifically introduced Elias Voorhees, Jason's father, who was slated to appear in the film but was cut by the studio. In the novel, instead of being cremated, Elias has Jason buried after his death.
Jason made his comic book debut in the 1993 adaptation of Jason Goes to Hell, written by Andy Mangels. The three-issue series was a condensed version of the film, with a few added scenes that were never shot. Jason also made his first appearance outside of the direct adaptations in Satan's Six #4, published in 1993, which is a continuation of the events of Jason Goes to Hell. In 1995, Nancy A. Collins wrote a 3 issue, non-canonical miniseries involving a crossover between Jason and Leatherface. The story involves Jason stowing away aboard a train, after being released from Crystal Lake when the area is drained due to heavy toxic waste dumping. Jason meets Leatherface, who adopts him into his family after the two become friends. Eventually, they turn on each other. In 1994, four young adult novels were released under the title of Friday the 13th. They did not feature Jason explicitly, but revolve around people becoming possessed by Jason once they put on his mask.
In 2003 and 2005, Black Flame published novelizations of Freddy vs. Jason and Jason X respectively. In 2005, they began publishing a new series of novels; one set was published under the Jason X title, while the second set utilized the Friday the 13th title. The Jason X series consisted of four sequels to the novelization of the film. Jason X: The Experiment was the first published. In this novel, Jason is being used by the government, who are trying to use his indestructibility to create their own army of "super soldiers". Planet of the Beast follows the efforts of Dr. Bardox and his crew as they try to clone the body of a comatose Jason, and their efforts to stay alive when Jason wakes from his coma. Death Moon revolves around Jason crash-landing at Moon Camp Americana. A clone of Jason is discovered below a prison site, and unknowingly awakened in To The Third Power. Jason also has a son in this book, conceived through a form of artificial insemination.
On May 13, 2005, Avatar Press began releasing new Friday the 13th comics. The first, titled Friday the 13th, was written by Brian Pulido and illustrated by Mike Wolfer and Greg Waller. The story takes place after the events of Freddy vs. Jason, where siblings Miles and Laura Upland have inherited Camp Crystal Lake. Knowing that Jason caused the recent destruction, Laura, unknown to her brother, sets out to kill Jason using a paramilitary group, so that she and her brother can sell the property. A three-issue mini series titled Friday the 13th: Bloodbath was released in September 2005. Written by Brian Pulido and illustrated by Mike Wolfer and Andrew Dalhouse. the story involves a group of teenagers who come from Camp Tomorrow, a camp that sits on Crystal Lake, for work and a "party-filled weekend". The teenagers begin to discover they share common family backgrounds, and soon awaken Jason who proceeds to hunt them. Brian Pulido returned for a third time in October 2005 to write Jason X. Picking up after the events of the Jason X film, Über-Jason is now on Earth II where a bioengineer, Kristen, attempts to subdue Jason, in hopes that she can use his regenerative tissue to save her own life and the life of those she loves. In February 2006, Avatar published Friday the 13th: Jason vs. Jason X. Written and illustrated by Mike Wolfer, the story takes place after the events of the film Jason X, where a salvage team discovers the spaceship Grendel and awakens a regenerated Jason Voorhees. The "original" Jason and Über-Jason are drawn to each other resulting in a battle to the death. In June 2006, a one-shot comic entitled Friday the 13th: Fearbook was released, written by Mike Wolfer with art by Sebastian Fiumara. The comic has Jason being captured and experimented upon by the Trent Organization; Jason escapes and seeks out Violet, the survivor of Friday the 13th: Bloodbath, who is being contained by the Trent Organization in their Crystal Lake headquarters.
The Friday the 13th novella storyline was not connected to the Jason X series, and did not continue the stories set forth by the films, but furthered the character of Jason in its own way. Friday the 13th: Church of the Divine Psychopath has Jason resurrected by a religious cult. Jason is stuck in Hell, when recently executed serial killer Wayne Sanchez persuades Jason to help him return to Earth in Friday the 13th: Hell Lake. In Hate-Kill-Repeat, two religious serial killers attempt to find Jason at Crystal Lake, believing that the three of them share the same contempt for those that break the moral code. The Jason Strain puts Jason on an island with a group of convicts, placed there by television executives running a reality game show. The character of Pamela Voorhees returns from the grave in Carnival of Maniacs. Pamela is in search of Jason, who is now part of a traveling sideshow and about to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
In December 2006, DC Comics imprint Wildstorm began publishing new comic books about Jason Voorhees under the Friday the 13th moniker. The first set was a six-issue miniseries. The miniseries involves Jason's return to Camp Crystal Lake, which is being renovated by a group teenagers in preparation for its reopening as a tourist attraction. The series depicts various paranormal phenomena occurring at Crystal Lake, and also states that Jason's actions are driven by the vengeful spirits of a Native American tribe wiped out on the lake by fur traders sometime in the 1800s. On July 11 and August 15, 2007, Wildstorm published a two part special entitled Friday the 13th: Pamela's Tale. The two issue comic book covers Pamela Voorhees' journey to Camp Crystal Lake and the story of her pregnancy with Jason as she recounts it to hitchhiker Annie, a camp counselor who was killed in the original film. Wildstorm released another two-part special, entitled Friday the 13th: How I Spent My Summer Vacation, that were released on September 12 and October 10, 2007. The comic book provides new insight into the psychology of Jason Voorhees, as he befriends a boy born with a skull deformity. Wildstorm has planned a six issue series called Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, starring the two killers and Ash from the Evil Dead series. The story focuses on Freddy using the Necronomicon, which is in the Voorhees' basement, to escape from Jason's subconscious and "gain powers unlike anything he’s had before". Freddy attempts to use Jason to retrieve the book, stating it will make him a real boy. Ash, who is working at the local S-Mart in Crystal Lake, learns of the books existence and sets out to destroy it once and for all. Wildstorm released another two-issue miniseries on January 9 and February 13, 2008, titled Friday the 13th: Bad Land, written and illustrated by Ron Marz and Mike Huddleston respectively. The miniseries features Jason stalking a trio of teenaged hikers taking shelter from a blizzard in Camp Crystal Lake.
In popular culture
Jason Voorhees has been established as one of the leading cultural icons of American popular culture.In 1992, Jason was awarded the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award. He was the first of only three completely fictional characters to be given the award, along with Godzilla in 1996, and Chewbacca in 1997. Jason was named #26 in Wizard magazine's 100 greatest villains of all time. Universal Studios Theme Parks, in collaboration with New Line Cinema, used the character for their Halloween Horror Nights event.
The character has been produced and marketed under various merchandizes over the years. In 1988, Screamin' toys produced a model kit where you could build your own Jason statuette. The kit required the owner to cut and paint various parts in order to assemble the figure. Six years later, Screamin' toys issued a new model kit for Jason Goes to Hell. Both kits are now out of production. McFarlane Toys released two toy lines, one in 1998 and the other in 2002. The first was a figure of Jason from Jason Goes to Hell, and the other was of Über-Jason from Jason X. Since McFarlane's last line in 2002, there has been a steady production of action figures, dolls, and statuettes. These include tie-ins with the film Freddy vs. Jason (2003).
Jason has made an appearance in two video games. His first appearance was in 1989, when LJN, an American game company known for its games based on popular movies in the 80s and early 90s, released Friday the 13th on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The premise involved the gamer, who picks one of six camp counselors as their player, trying to save the campers from Jason, while battling various enemies throughout the game. On October 13, 2006, a Friday the 13th game was released for mobile phones. The game puts the user in the persona of Jason as he battles the undead.
The character has been referenced, or made cameo appearances in various entertainment mediums. Outside of literature sources based on the character, Jason has been featured in a variety of magazines and comic strips. Cracked magazine has released several issues featuring parodies of Jason, as well as being featured on two of their covers. Mad magazine has featured the character in almost a dozen stories. He's appeared twice in the comic strip Mother Goose and Grimm. Inspired by his own experience, Ari Lehman founded a band called FIRSTJASON. Lehman's band is classified as horror punk, being influenced by the sounds of the Dead Kennedys and The Misfits. The band's name pays homage to Lehman's portrayal of Jason Voorhees in the original Friday the 13th. One of the band's songs is entitled, "Jason is watching".
In 1986, coinciding with the release of Jason Lives, Alice Cooper released "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)" from his album Constrictor. The song was written to "signal Jason's big return" to the cinema, having been almost entirely absent in the previous film. Rapper Eminem has referenced Jason in several of his songs. The song "Criminal", from the album The Marshall Mathers LP, mentions Jason specifically, while songs "Amityville" and "Off the Wall"—the latter featured fellow rapper Redman—contain Harry Manfredini's music "ki,ki,ki...ma,ma,ma" from the film series. Eminem will sometimes wear a hockey mask during concerts. Other rap artists that have referenced Jason include Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, and LL Cool J. VH1 issued an advertisement for their Vogue Fashion Awards which was labeled "Friday the 20th", and featured Jason's mask created out of rhinestone.
Jason has been referenced or parodied in films and television shows. In the film Scream, directed by Freddy Krueger creator Wes Craven, actress Drew Barrymore's character is being stalked by a killer, who calls her on her home phone. In order to survive, she must answer the man's trivia questions. One question is, "name the killer in Friday the 13th." She incorrectly guesses Jason, who did not become the killer for the franchise until Part 2. Writer Kevin Williamson claimed his inspiration for this scene came when he asked this question in a bar while a group was playing a movie trivia quiz game. He received a free drink, because nobody could get the answer right. In another Wes Craven film, Cursed, a wax sculpture of Jason, from Jason Goes to Hell, can be seen in a wax museum.
The stop motion animated television show Robot Chicken features Jason in three of its comedy sketches. In episode seventeen, "Operation: Rich in Spirit", the mystery-solving teenagers from Scooby-Doo arrive at Camp Crystal Lake to investigate the Jason Voorhees murders, and are killed off one by one. Velma is the only survivor, and in typical Scooby-Doo fashion, rips off Jason's mask to reveal his true identity: Old Man Phillips. In episode nineteen, "That Hurts Me", Jason reappears, this time a housemate of Horror Movie Big Brother, alongside other famous slasher movie killers such as Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Leatherface, Pinhead and Ghostface. Three years later, in episode sixty-two, Jason is shown on the days before and after a typical Friday the 13th.
Jason is spoofed in the season five episode of Family Guy entitled "It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One". The so-called "Mr. Voorhees" explains to Asian reporter Trisha Takanawa how happy he is to see local wildlife return following the cleanup and rejuvenation of Lake Quahog. He reappears later in the episode as the manager of the "Britches and Hose" clothing store. As opposed to his monstrous personality in the films, Jason is depicted here as polite and articulate, albeit still a psychopath; he murders random swimmers and threatens to kill his employee if she screws up. In an episode of The Simpsons, Jason is sitting on the couch with Freddy Krueger waiting for the family to arrive. After being asked where they are by Freddy, Jason responds, "Ehh, whaddya gonna do?" and turns the TV on. He also appears in The Simpsons episode "Stop, or My Dog Will Shoot!", alongside Pinhead, menacing Bart in a fantasy sequence. The South Park episodes "Imaginationland Episode II" and "III" feature Jason among an assortment of other villains and monsters as an inhabitant of the "bad side" of Imaginationland, a world populated by fictional characters. This version of Jason has an effeminate voice and describes the removal of Strawberry Shortcake's eyeball as "super hardcore".