Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th is best known for wearing a hockey mask to hide his deformed face, but how did he get it? Friday the 13th has become one of the most successful franchises, not only because of the 12 films that make up the film series, but also because it has expanded to other media, such as novels, comic books, and video games, making the franchise a very successful (and still active) one.
Friday the 13th focuses on slasher serial killer Jason Voorhees, the son of Pamela Voorhees, a cook at Camp Crystal Lake. Jason was born with hydrocephalus and mental disabilities, which prompted Pamela to keep him isolated from the world. In the summer of 1957, Pamela took Jason with her to the camp, where other kids bullied him and threw him to the lake - Jason drowned as the counselors were not paying attention. Jason didn’t appear - as the slasher viewers now know - until Friday the 13th Part 2 (his mother played the part in the first film) and he didn’t wear his iconic mask until later.
Jason Voorhees covered his face with a bag most of the time during the killings in Friday the 13th Part 2 and the first part of Friday the 13th Part III, where he later got the mask he is most known for. When prankster Shelly goes back to the barn after pulling a joke on Vera and she tells him off, he’s attacked by Jason (off-screen), who steals his hockey mask and speargun - and that’s how he got the mask in the original timeline. Behind the scenes, the mask came to be thanks to 3D effects supervisor Martin Jay Sadoff, who was a hockey fan and had some hockey gear with him on set. He pulled out a Detroit Red Wings hockey mask for a lighting test, which director Steve Miner loved. The mask was later revamped and molded for Richard Brooker, who played Jason in Part III.
The 2009 Friday the 13th reboot didn’t change the origin of the mask too much. When the group gets to Trent’s lake house, Donnie hears noises in the attic and decides to investigate. Armed with a golf club, he goes to the attic and believes Jason is hiding behind a curtain, but it’s actually a mannequin - Jason was hiding somewhere else and attacks Donnie, who rips off the burlap sack covering his head. Jason then takes a hockey mask from the attic to cover his face and continues with his killing spree.
It’s fun that something as simple as a hockey mask, that made it to the film by pure coincidence, has become such an iconic object not only in the horror genre but in cinema in general. Although the Friday the 13th reboot wasn’t well received by critics (although it did very good in the box office), it’s nice that they didn’t change the origin of the mask and that they actually showed Jason taking it, unlike the original timeline which did it all off-screen.