Because it’s Friday the 13th, I couldn’t pass up a chance to talk about one of my favorite film characters of all time: Jason Voorhees.
Since the first Friday the 13th film in 1980, horror fans have been in love with a big, machete-wielding, child-like brute named Jason. Filmed on a shoestring budget, it went on to spawn nine sequels (although the last two don’t have “Friday the 13th” in their title because of a change in production companies), a fun little tag-team-turned rivalry called “Freddy Vs. Jason“, and a remake.
As a horror fan, Jason appeals to me on many levels. First off, he’s not a serial-killing mastermind; he’s just a mama’s boy with the mind of a child who died as the result of some negligent horny teenagers. That tugs at the old heartstrings even if he does like to chop people in half crotch-first.
Secondly, he doesn’t seem to have a preference when it comes to victims, although his choices are limited to new generations of horny teenagers who foolishly go back to Camp Crystal Lake, his home turf (except in “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan“, which is probably my least favorite in the series). I kind of like that he doesn’t have an agenda. He started off trying to avenge his mother’s murder (wearing a potato sack over his head, no less)–and got his revenge in the sequel–but after that he enjoyed it so much it became a hobby.
This is where I have to point out that I am the least violent person you’ll ever meet and don’t condone it in any way in real life; I just happen to enjoy watching this big silly dude in a hockey mask decimate pot-smoking teens. It tickles me, what can I say?
Actually, it’s not the creative killing I enjoy so much as the sheer amount of goofball humor included in these films. Cheesy jokes are just the tip of the iceberg. And the characters, including Tommy Jarvis–played in two of the films by Corey Feldman–are just written to a genius level of cringe-worthy cornball. (Look up “Jarvis sandwich” on Google. Do it. Now.)
Of course, I still remember being a child and seeing that hockey mask for the first time; it scared the ever-loving shite out of me. And while Jason has become less threatening to me over the years, I’ll always remember that rush of adrenaline he brought out just by walking that slow, lumbering gait through the woods. Though some of the sequels went more than a little astray with the plot line, the first five will always be in my favorite films list, and every Friday the 13th I’ll curl up on the couch to watch one of them in honor of my favorite maniac.