One of the reasons we return to characters of a series is comfort. We know how our old friends will respond to any given situation, and take great solace in the knowledge that we can depend on our literary or cinematic friends. Think of Chaplin’s Little Tramp. Or Woody Allen in all of his different roles (where, let’s be honest, he was ALWAYS playing Woody Allen). Even Sherlock Holmes could be depended upon to always solve the crime, play his violin, and snort some cocaine- not always in that order.
Or Jason Voorhees. OK, so maybe he isn’t as refined a character as the ones mentioned above, but he did have some character traits that recurred over the course of the series. For instance, Jason really liked to scare his victims by shaking the structures they were in before he closed in on the kill. To be even more specific, he really likes to sneak up on you in an outhouse. This happened in Chapters III and V, and I suppose you have to respect a psycho who knows when you feel at your most vulnerable. Additionally, he shook a van in Chapter VII to rile up the two humping teens inside.
Another thing Jason likes to do? Squeeze victim’s heads until they burst. He does this no less than three times (Chapters III, IV, and VI), although his killing of Rick in III is most definitely the most iconic of Jason’s head squeezes. I actually had the chance to watch this in 3D once, and that added dimension puts Rick’s eyeball over the top. And in your lap. Check out this next clip at the 1:22 mark:
We also get a chance to observe Jason’s knife throwing skills- he’s pretty accurate, on par with those gay circus twins from Octopussy. He throws knives in Chapters III, IV, VI, and VII (although to be fair, in Chapter IV he only threw a hammer). Finally, aside from his use of a machete (the equivalent of James Bond’s Walther PPK), Jason really, really likes to throw victims through windows. Sometimes the people are alive, other times he just lugs them to the window and chucks them through it to scare new prey. This can be seen in Chapters II, III, IV, VI, and VII.
The most iconic of the recurring images is, of course, the hockey mask. It is the image that is now shorthand for Friday the 13th– can anyone look at a hockey mask now and not think of Jason Voorhees? That mask has become so linked with the character and pop culture in general that a spot at the Smithsonian, right next to Archie Bunker’s chair, Mr. Rogers’ sweater, and Indiana Jones’ hat, wouldn’t be out of the question.
But there were a series of different hockey masks worn by Jason throughout the series, although they all looked fairly similar. We know that the first mask didn’t make its appearance until Chapter III, courtesy of Shelly the prankster. Jason wore that one through the back half of Chapter III and all of Chapter IV.
In Chapter V, the imposter Jason got a different mask- one with blue stripes and no axe crack. While Chapter V ends with Tommy wearing the blue mask, Chapter VI opens with Tommy somehow having gotten a hold of the original mask, which Jason wears through all of VI and VII.
By the end of VII, the mask has been destroyed in Jason’s battle with Tina. So for Chapter VIII, Jason needs a new one. Luckily, the very boat he climbs onto has an exact replica of the mask on board! Because every boat carries a spare hockey mask, right?
For the last entry tomorrow, I will review the remake of Friday the 13th. Stay tuned…