Crystal Lake Lifer: The Evolution of Jason Voorhees [Infographic]

by |October 6, 2015

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You can't mention Friday the 13th without thinking of Jason Voorhees, the legendary killer whose origins began at Camp Crystal Lake 35 years ago. The first film in the franchise opened on May 9th, 1980 and told the story of a group of camp counselors who were being stalked and killed during the re-opening of Camp Crystal Lake. Of course, the killer turned out to be Pamela Voorhees (sorry, statute of limitations on spoilers expired for this film), who was seeking revenge after her son, Jason, drowned at camp years earlier. Once Pamela was killed, Jason emerged from the lake to pick up right where she left off at Camp Crystal Lake. Through the years, Jason Voorhees has been to many other places like Manhattan, outer space, and even hell. While his heart will always be at Camp, let's take a look through all 12 Friday the 13th films to learn more about the machete-wielding killer. 

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The Evolution of Jason Voorhees

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Crystal Lake Lifer: The Evolution of Jason Vorhees

Friday the 13th (1980)

Directed by Sean S. Gunningham

Starring Ari Lehman as Jason Vorhees

Kill Count: 9 (by Pamela Voorhees)

Details:

  • The working title for the film was A Long Night at Camp Blood.
  • Jason appearing at the end of the film was not in the original script, but was suggested by makeup designer Tom Savini as a final "chair jumper".
  • Ari Lehman has gone on to front a Jason Voorhees-centric metal band called First Jason. 

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Directed by Steve Miner

Warrington Gilette stars as Jason Voorhees

Kill Count: 9 Confirmed

Details:

  • After the first film's success, a sequel was pitched as the first of an anthology series with no direct continuity. When masked,
  • Jason is portrayed by stuntman Steve Daskawisz.
  • Pursued by a stalker, Adrienne was reluctant to reprise her role as Alice, survivor of the first film. She was also injured during the first take of her death scene when the prop icepick didn't retract. 

Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)

Directed by Steve Miner

Richard Brooker stars as Jason Vorhees

Kill Count: 12

Details:

  • For the first time in the series, Jason dons his iconic hockey mask.
  • This was the first 3D film Paramount had released in 28 years. 
  • 5 death scenes were cut or changed to avoid an X-rating from the MPAA.

Friday the 13th The Final Chapter (1984)

Directed by Joseph Zito

Starring Ted White and Tom Savini as Jason Vorhees

Kill Count: 13

Details:

  • The Final Chapter was released on Friday the 13th, April 1984.
  • This was the first film in the franchise to have two surviving protagonists.
  • Ted White refused to be credited as he had reservations about being in a slasher film.
  • Working on less than half the budget of Part 3, actors were encouraged to do their own stunts. 

Friday the 13th Part V A New Begining (1985)

Directed by Danny Steinmann

Starring Tom Morgan as Jason Vorhees 

Starring Dick Wieand as Roy Burns

Kill Count: 18 (by Roy), 3 in dream sequences

Details:

  • Briefly returning from The Final Chapter as young Tommy Jarvis, Corey Feldman filmed his scenes in his own backyard.
  • To prepare for his role as an older Tommy, John Shepherd worked at a state mental hospital.
  • This is the second film in the series to not feature Jason as the killer. In his place is Roy Burns, a paramedic seeking revenge for his son's death. 

Jason Lives Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)

Directed by Tom Mcloughlin

Starring C.J. Graham as Jason Vorhees

Kill count: 18 Confirmed

Details:

  • Director Tom Mcloughlin kept Jason's tombstone and casket props and has the tombstone on display in his front yard. 
  • This is the only film in the franchise to feature no nudity, explicitly make reference to God, and have children at the summer camp. Mcloughlin was encouraged by producers to add more violence and gore.
  • Jason's revival by electricity is an homage to Frankenstein's Monster

Friday the 13th Part VII The New Blood (1988)

Directed by John Carl Buechler

Starring Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees

Kill Count: 15

Details:

  • Part VIII began its life as the first attempt to make Freddy Vs. Jason
  • The working title was Birthday Bash. 
  • The most heavily censored film in the franchise, it was submitted to the MPAA nine times before receiving an R rating. Some scenes were cut down before down further for the home video release. Most of the outtake footage was destroyed. 

Friday the 13th Part VIII Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Directed by Rob Hedden

Kane Hodder stars as Jason Vorhees

Kill Count: 17 Confirmed, 3 Confirmed

Details:

  • Kane Hodder refused to take off his mask while filming in Times Square. He didn't want to ruin the illusion for spectators. 
  • The man Jason throws into the mirror in the diner, Ken Kirzinger, would go on to don the mask in Freddy vs. Jason.
  • Following the film's disappointing performance, Paramount sold the rights to New Line Cinema. 

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Directed by Adam Marcus

Starring Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees

Kill Count: 23

Details:

  • This was the first film in the franchise released by New Line Cinema; it was intended to be the last. 
  • The gloved hand of Freddy Krueger grabbing Jason's mask belongs to Kane Hodder. This would be the only instance where Jason and Freddy would be played by the same person. 

Jason X (2001)

Directed by Jim Isaac

Starring Kane Hodder as Jason Vorhees/ Uber-Jason

Details: 

  • Jason X was pitched as a holdover film while Freddy vs. Jason was still in development hell. 
  • Noted as the "least censored" film in the franchise, only a few seconds had to be cut to earn an R rating
  • This is the first film in the series to use digital blood effects.

Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)

Directed by Ronny Yu

Starring Ken Kirzinger as Jason Voorhees

Kill Count: 21

Details: 

  • Ken Kirzinger needed dental work done and went to the dentist in costume to save time. 
  • Kirzinger (6'.5") is the tallest actor to portray Jason. He was cast to create a "David vs. Goliath" feel between Freddy and himself. 
  • Several endings were considered, one of which involved Freddy and Jason encountering Pinhead from the Hellraiser franchise. 

Friday the 13th (2009)

Directed by Marcus Nispel

Starring Derek Mears as Jason Voorhees

Kill Count: 13 Jason kills, 1 Pamela Kills

Details:

  • This was the first Friday the 13th film co-produced by Paramount and New Line Cinema. 
  • The title card doesn't appear until 25 minutes into the film
  • A loose remake of both the films, Jason wears both a burlap sack and the hockey mask.
  • A sequel has been in various stages of development since 2010.

Sources: Fridaythe13th.wikia.com, campblood.net, fridaythe13thfilms.com, fridaythe13thfranchise.com, IMDb

Friday the 13th is a fascinating franchise for many reasons. For starters, the first film was made to capitalize on the success of fellow slasher film Halloween, and it did just that by raking in more than $39 million on a budget of $550,000. On top of that, the franchise has been one of the most censored in film history. In fact, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood required nine edits and resubmissions to the MPAA to avoid an X rating. And despite Jason being the focal point of the movies, there are two in the franchise where he isn't even the killer! As mentioned before, Pamela Voorhees was the killer in the first one and copycat killer, Roy, took on the Jason moniker in Friday the 13th Part V - A New Beginning

What's your favorite Friday the 13th movie? Where does Friday the 13th rank on your list of horror film franchises? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think. If you're looking for something scary to wear for Halloween, why not dress up in a Jason Voorhees costume or try looking through the other scary Halloween costumes available on our site if a Jason Halloween costume isn't up your alley.

Design Credit: Jacob Kuddes

Devin Rubink
Devin Rubink

Devin Rubink is an Inbound Marketing Specialist for HalloweenCostumes.com. He is a film fanatic who enjoys watching anything from action, to comedy, to horror, and even movies that are so bad, they’re entertaining. Devin also enjoys dressing up in costumes with his daughters, although he finds it difficult to fit into some of the princess dresses. He studies Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit, to buff up his knowledge and help him achieve his dream of being a game show contestant.


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