If you’re planning to celebrate Friday the 13th by watching the marathon on Spike this weekend, check out these fun facts about Jason Voorhees to enhance your appreciation of horror’s favorite mama’s boy. Jason’s come quite a long way since he drowned in Crystal Lake as a youth, and these details aptly illustrate his evolution. With the next chapter of the Friday franchise is supposedly in the works (with a 2017 targeted release date) there’s no telling how he’ll continue to develop.
Before He was Jason, His Name was Josh
In the first draft of Friday the 13th, written by Victor Miller, Jason’s name was Josh. No one knows exactly why the change was made, but some hypothesize that “Josh” just didn’t sound tough enough (a theory I personally find offensive!). It’s also been suggested that “Jason” is a combination Miller’s son’s names, a hybrid of Josh and Ian. One thing I noticed: There are exactly 13 letters in “Jason Voorhees”.
Jason was Never Meant to Be an Icon
In the definitive Friday the 13th documentary, Crystal Lake Memories, Miller insists that Jason was never meant to be anything beyond a plot motivator. As for his appearance at the end of 1980’s original (which happens to be one of the best jump-scares of all time): “It’s [Alice’s] nightmare. That’s it. Jason was dead from the very beginning; he was a victim, not a villain.”
Jason Wasn’t Always Deformed
Beneath his signature hockey mask, Jason is hideously deformed (as well as significantly decayed in later chapters), but this wasn’t always the case. He was a normal kid in every respect until make-up FX guru Tom Savini got his claws into him. Now, the threat of seeing Jason’s hideous face is an important aspect of the character and a constant source of tension.
Young Jason was Molested by Freddy Krueger (Almost)
Bringing the crossover Freddy vs. Jason to fruition was an excruciating process that took over 15 years to complete. During that time, New Line Cinema spent over $6 million on a total of 18 scripts before settling on the version penned by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. There had been many suggestions regarding a backstory to unite the horror icons, including one that revealed Freddy Krueger had been a counselor at “Camp Blood” before his death—and that he had molested young Jason before he drowned.
Jason Battled Ash from Evil Dead—In Comics
After the success of Jason vs. Freddy, screenwriter Jeff Katz created a film treatment for a sequel that would pit the dastardly duo against Ash (played by Bruce Campbell) from the Evil Dead franchise. When the studios were unable to come to a consensus regarding character rights, Katz’s treatment was developed into a comic, Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, written by James Kuhoric and illustrated by Jason Craig. In it, Jason attempts to use the Necronomicon to resurrect himself as a normal boy. All of this suggests, therefore, that Jason is actually a deadite.
Jason was Supposed to Have a Female “Ahab”
When the franchise potential of Friday the 13th first became apparent, screenwriter Ron Kurz planned to bring Alice (played by Adrienne King) back as a reoccurring hero throughout multiple installments. After being stalked by an obsessed fan, however, King decided to take an indefinite hiatus from acting, so her participation ended with her character’s death during the introduction of Part 2.
Jason Didn’t Get His Hockey Mask Until Part 3
While it’s almost impossible to imagine Jason in anything else, he didn’t don his signature hockey mask until Part 3 (after stealing it from consummate prankster Shelly, played by Larry Zerner). It’s worth noting, however, that the script called for Jason to wear an umpire’s mask, but the difficulties in sculpting a deformed face beneath it proved challenging. The hockey mask, on the other hand, covered the villain’s entire face.
Jason Packs Heat (Kind of)
The scene where Jason kills the paintballers in Jason Lives is widely ridiculed, but it wasn’t what director/screenwriter Tom McLoughlin first envisioned. A couple years back, he told ChillerTV that his original script had Jason slaughtering a quartet of deer hunters before stealing their gear—including an Uzi! “The next time we see Jason, he’s wearing an ammunition belt, straps with knives and other guerrilla war weapons. Jason has become a One Man Army.” That certainly puts the paintball scene to shame!
Jason Battled Michael Myers—In a Fan Film
A year ago, Movie Pilot released an April Fool’s Day post purporting a Jason vs. Michael Myers movie was in the works. Those who didn’t read the entire article may still be waiting for this fictitious film to materialize! Luckily, horror aficionado and filmmaker Trent Duncan gave fans what they’ve been craving in an amazing short film. Check it out above.
Jason’s Mask was Almost Stolen
While discussing Jason Takes Manhattan, Kane Hodder (the first actor to play Jason in more than one movie) recounts an incident with a would-be thief: “I was outside alone getting ready for the shot, sitting on a bench, with the mask off. Just then, this stranger comes by and tries to steal it! I don’t know if he knew the value of it, but he tried to make a getaway with my prized possession. I grabbed him, and he took a swing at me! So I punched him on the side of the head, and he went down so hard he hit his head on the curb.” Damn, Kane!
Jason Almost Reunited with His Mother—In Space
An early version of the oft-panned 10th chapter in the franchise, Jason X, had the masked-one reuniting with mother in outer space—kind of. At the end of the second act, crewmembers aboard the spaceship Apache created a virtual mama Voorhees on their holodeck in the hopes of cooling Jason’s white hot rage. The scene was axed, however, when the studio was unable to come to an agreement with Betsy Palmer for her return.
Jason is a Pot Farmer (Maybe)
In the Friday the 13th reboot, released in 2009, Jason kills a couple of pot-heads after they stumble into a ganga field on the outskirts of Crystal Lake. While some fans theorized that Jason used the plants as a way of luring unsuspecting victims into the darkness, others suggest that Jason was just protecting his property. It makes sense, in a way, when you consider that Jason needed funds to have constructed his labyrinthine, underground lair.
Jason’s Father is Named Elias
While everyone knows the scoop on Jason’s mother, Pamela (made famous by Betsy Palmer’s infamous performance), most are completely unaware that his deadbeat-dad has a backstory as well. While never appearing on film, Elias Voorhees is part of the novelization of Jason Lives; he also pops up in a few comic books. He’s described as stoic and intimidating and, while not exceptionally intelligent, he hated his son with a passion. It has also been suggested that Jason inherited his supernatural abilities from Elias.