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Shocktoberfest #16: Jason Vorhees


Welcome back to another installment of Shocktoberfest, and since yesterday was Freddy’s day, it only seems appropriate that we feature his new rival, Jason Vorhees.

Unlike Freddy Krueger, Jason (created by writer Victor Miller) has undergone much more development over the years and is more believable as a tragic villain since he is introduced to us as a mentally-disabled boy with a physical deformity who drowned at Camp Crystal Lake due to the negligence of the camp counselors sneaking off to have sex–according to Jason’s mother, Pamela.

Jason wasn't even the killer in the first film; it was her.
Jason wasn’t even the killer in the first film; it was her.

But it turns out that he didn’t die after all, so Jason doesn’t become the killer until the first sequel, and his motivation for killing is out of revenge for the murder of his mother, though at first he only kills those who come near Camp Crystal Lake.  While he does wear a mask throughout most of the film, it’s even cheaper than the one for which he’s known.

The hockey mask wasn't used until Friday the 13th Part III.
The hockey mask wasn’t used until Friday the 13th Part III.

Besides being very large, strong and able to fight through immense pain, there isn’t really anything supernatural about Jason in the first few films.  He doesn’t even seem to enjoy killing.  He only does it to people he believes should die–especially to teenagers who have sex–out of the belief that it would please his mother.  When his sheer strength isn’t enough to kill someone, his machete usually does the trick.  He doesn’t really go beyond the scope of believability until Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.  In that film, Jason is resurrected from the grave and continues to go on a killing spree until he’s temporarily put down again, but he never really stays dead anymore since the series decided to bestow unearthly powers to him.

With ten movies, a crossover with Freddy Krueger in Freddy vs. Jason, and a 2009 reboot with the same name as the original film–both the Jason and Freddy reboots were produced by Michael Bay, which should explain a lot–Jason has never been too terribly consistent.  Every film he’s in only expands upon making him an even more unstoppable force of brutality.  But there is one thing about Jason that has been consistent.  Much like the Predator, he doesn’t kill indiscriminately.  As previously mentioned, he only kills people who his mother would probably insist deserve to die.  That’s why Jason never harms animals or children.  If there is any sympathy in him, it’s for the defenseless and innocent.  Everyone else, however, is screwed if they come across him.

As a quick aside, there are actually two films in the series in which Jason is not the killer.  The original 1980 film is the one already mentioned, but in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning–the fifth film in the series–the masked killer is actually a man named Roy Burns.  Like Pamela, he also had a son die, and his son’s death drove him to such insanity that he took upon himself to dress up like Jason and murder people in the same fashion.

I guess the writers had been watching Scooby-Doo at the time.
I guess the writers had been watching Scooby-Doo at the time.

Just like his eventual rival, Freddy, Jason has also gone on to be featured in novelizations of the movies, video games, action figures, comic books, cartoons, and he was even given MTV’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992–one of three fictional characters to ever be awarded.  Actor Ari Lehman–the first actor to play Jason–also started a horror punk band called First Jason and draws influence from bands like the Dead Kennedys and The Misfits to bring Jason to life in musical form.

This is what Lehman looks like today.
This is what Lehman looks like today.

While Jason can’t attack you in your dreams like Freddy, he won’t let that stop him.  So if you’ve been bad in one way or another, he will find you and he will end you.  He’s one mama’s boy you don’t mess with.

“Mother” – Danzig

(I was tempted to have “Friday” by Rebecca Black be the bumper music, but that would’ve been too scary.)

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