Friday the 13th’s man in the mask Jason Voorhees has come a long way. From a sackcloth and overalls to a cyborg, our favorite movie slasher has definitely evolved over the years, so I decided take a closer look at that evolution in semi-minimalist form.
Friday the 13th is my favorite horror franchise, and as a writer and graphic designer, I’ve written and designed many things related to Jason. So this is my love letter to Jason, of sorts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The Evolution of Jason Voorhees
Friday the 13th Part 2 — Also known as “Hillbilly Jason,” the killer makes his debut wearing overalls, a flannel shirt and a sack over his head. Stuntman/actor Steve Dash played Jason throughout the movie, but Warren Gillette has often gotten most of the credit as he is the Jason we see when he’s unmasked at the end.
Friday the 13th Part 3 — This was a crucial point in our favorite slasher’s career as it’s when he picked up the infamous hockey mask. Thanks to prankser-turned-victim Shelly, Jason was able to upgrade his face cover. Jason was played perfectly in this film by the late Richard Brooker. It’s unclear where Jason picked up his new outfit, but I’m guessing it was from Edna’s clothesline.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter — Nothing really changed for this Jason as this movie picked up just a day or so after Part 3. The actor did change, however. The part went to Ted White, who wasn’t thrilled with the movie and has even been quoted as saying he hated working with Corey Feldman (Tommy Jarvis). He has since embraced playing the famous masked killer.
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning — The fifth installment of the horror franchise brought us “imposter Jason.” Since Jason was technically dead, a copycat killed named Roy Burns (Dick Wieand) picks up Pamela Voorhees old MO when he seeks revenge for the brutal death of his son. The mask changed in this one as it had no skull gash and the mask decals went from red to blue. The actor behind the mask wasn’t WIeand, however, it was stuntman Tom Morga. He might not have been the real Jason, but he was just as brutal.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives — After moviegoers expressed their anger over imposter Jason, the studio insisted Jason be brought back to life. So Tommy Jarvis digs up Jason to make sure he’s really dead, and after a lightning strike, Jason is resurrected and the rest is history. Jason still mostly looks like he did in Part 4, now with some rotting flesh and maggots. This Jason is more powerful and fast, though, because a lighting jolt will do that do you. Jason in this movie was mostly played by CJ Graham, but the part originally went to Dan Bradley, whose scenes as Jason remain early in the film.
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood — Jason found himself at the bottom of Crystal Lake at the end of Part 6, so when he is mistakingly conjured up by telekinetic Tina in this movie, he’s more rotten and a little waterlogged. You can see actual bones in his chest, back and face in this one. It’s a pretty gory Jason. This also marks the introduction of Kane Hodder as Jason. Hodder is the most famous Jason and has a huge following. Though not everyone is a fan.
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan — Part 8 Jason had some continuity issues as he was a little less rotting and his suit was darker. I have no idea what happened with that. His mask also had a yellow tint to it, as he took that from his first victim in the movie Jim, who was playing a prank on his girlfriend. Hodder continued as Jason in this movie.
Jason Goes To Hell — Apparently we ignore Part 8 this time (and that’s OK with me) because Jason looks nothing like he should after the ending of that mess. Now Jason apparently has some brain swelling as his head is literally enveloping the hockey mask. It’s crazy. Of course Jason proper doesn’t appear in most of the movie (Jason’s soul is a body jumper in this one), when he does appear at the beginning and end (and sometimes in mirrors), it’s once again Kane Hodder behind the mask.
Jason X — This time around, Jason starts out looking his normal self. Having been cryogenically frozen for over 400 years, he’s thawed out before being annihilated by a fembot. He is then accidentally reanimated into cyborg since dubbed Uber Jason. His appearance changes drastically this time, but he’s still being portrayed by Kane Hodder.
Freddy vs. Jason — This is arguably the strangest Jason because he’s kind of a stand- alone Jason as far as his look and personality go. Who knows why his mask is so intact and since when does Jason wear a jacket? And let’s not even get into why Kane Hodder is no longer playing Jason when he clearly wanted to be in the movie. Ken Kirzinger took over the mask and machete to battle Freddy Krueger.
There are two other versions of Jason that I’ll go ahead and mention. Boy Jason was shown in the original movie in drowning flashbacks and the ending and was played by actor Ari Lehman. And we also have reboot Jason from the Friday the 13th remake in 2009. I didn’t include him because I’m a purist. He was played very adequately by Derek Mears.
Check out the full-sized savable graphic below (click to view larger)