Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Voorhees a Jolly Good Fellow - Part 1

Jason Voorhees has seen many screen incarnations during his illustrious career, from fucked-up retard kid to fucked-up zombie mutant. In the next few posts I'll be taking a look at some of the ways everyone's favourite slasher has been realised on the silver screen.

Friday the 13th (1980)

As any fan of Friday the 13th knows (or if you've seen Scream), Jason wasn't the killer in the first film. It was revealed to be Pamela Voorhees, Jason's mother, seeking revenge on the fornicating camp counsellors whom she blamed for her son's death. It still might be useful to look at Pamela Voorhees's outfit as a basis for comparison: She opts for a baggy, light-coloured cable-knit jumper with dark pants. Always good to wear loose, comfortable clothing when you're on a killing rampage. Jason does make a brief appearance at the end, dragging Alice to a watery grave. In a dream sequence anyway. In this incarnation Jason is still a little boy, a retard mutant with a fucked up swollen head. He's in bad shape, but he's been in the water for over 20 years so give him a break. Not sure about his outfit. He is either naked or still wearing his swimming trunks.

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Whoops, turns out Jason didn't die after all, which makes Pamela's rampage kind of pointless. If only Pamela could have stumbled across his backwoods shack this whole tragedy could have been averted. He does build a little shrine around her severed head though, which is kind of sweet. Anyway, Jason gets his revenge against the heroine of the first film before returning to Camp Crystal Lake and killing a bunch of teenagers with pitchforks, knives, etc. Bag-head Jason is probably my favourite Jason of all time. I think it's the fact that he's the most recognisably human plus there's just something creepy about a burlap sack with a single eye hole. He goes for the classic working-class ensemble of a checked shirt, denim overalls and workboots. Without his mask we see Jason is a lumpy mutant and while later Jasons were mostly bald, this one has some patchy hair and even a beard. Never trust men with beards, I say. They have something to hide.

Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Friday the 13th Part III takes place immediately after the conclusion of Part 2. Jason mindlessly kills a whole bunch of people... but this time in 3-D! The technology is put to use in possibly it's best application ever when Jason squeezes a dude's head until his eyeball pops out and flies towards the screen. It's in this sequel that Jason gains his iconic hockey mask, possibly recognising it's benefits of depth perception over his single-eyed sack. Early in the film he kills a couple of store owners and changes outfits. This time he chooses the simple look of a dark blue shirt and some faded jeans, a look that would stick around for some time. Wouldn't it have been funny if he'd picked an "I'm with stupid" t-shirt or something? Sans mask he's still a lumpy mutant, but somewhere between Part 2 and Part 3 he found the time to shave his face/head. Some guys can rock the shaved head like nobody's business, but I don't think Jason pulls it off. Plus he shaved off the eyebrows and that's just fruity.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

The rather inaccurately titled Friday the 13th: The Final Friday once again takes place immediately after Part III. After Jason's corpse is taken to the morgue, it leaps off the slab, kills a couple of nurses and heads out to the woods to continue his rampage. I can understand why you would want to start a horror sequel this way, it avoids a lot of tricky continuity issues. However, Jason's rampage has been going on for around four days by now, and groups of horny holidaymakers are still arriving by the carload. Set up some roadblocks or something. Anyway, they did a decent job of maintaining the continuity of the previous film. He bears the bloody axe-wound that supposedly killed him in the previous film, but his mask is slightly different, no longer bearing the red markings on the cheeks. He's also no longer wearing a white t-shirt underneath his blue shirt and his pants look a little different. However, this is probably my favourite maskless incarnation of Jason. He is still recognisably human, but his skin is grey and wrinkly and his teeth are crooked. He also looks wet and slimy, as he should. Tom Savini did the effects, saying he wanted to give Jason the send off he deserved, and he certainly succeeded. Jason gets a machete to the face and then sli-i-ides down the blade and is furiously stabbed to death by Corey Feldman (as weirdo kid Tommy Jarvis). What a way to go.

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