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20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Friday The 13th Movies

Halloween is upon us, and people are more than likely sitting down to watch some scary movies to get into the spooky season.

Legendary filmmaker Georges Méliès is often credited with making the first ever horror movie, which was called Le Manoir du Diable and was translated to The Haunted Castle.  Horror movies have no doubt evolved since the early days with many filmmakers now relying on cheap scares and gore to horrify audiences. The ‘80s were a great time for horror fans, with series like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Friday the 13th all getting a number of sequels in the decade.

Jason Voorhees was the masked maniac that has terrorized audiences since 1980. He is known for wielding a machete and donning a hockey mask, but the character has evolved over the years. Due to Jason having eight films in the ‘80s alone, he had a dominating presence at the box office and became one of the many faces of horror.

When people think of horror movies, many people think of Jason right along with Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Leatherface. In total, there have been twelve Friday the 13th movies, including a remake and a crossover film with Freddy. Friday the 13th even got a TV series in the late ‘80s, but it didn’t feature Jason Voorhees and was more of an anthology type series.

With the mass amount of Friday the 13th media out there, there are some things about the making of the movies that even the biggest fans might not know. Here are the 20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Friday The 13th Movies.

20 His Name Was Almost Joshua Voorhees

Anybody familiar with the first movie knows the famous line, “His name was Jason,” when Mrs. Vorhees is telling Alice the story of how her son drowned. It’s a chilling monologue, but the line was almost, “His name was Josh.

Though it doesn’t have the same ring to it we know, the writer on the first movie, Victor Miller, actually wanted Jason to be named Joshua.

Miller’s son’s name was Joshua, but ultimately he didn’t want his son to have to grow up with the name of a fictional maniac, so the name was changed to Jason. It also helped that Miller had always found the name Jason creepy for some reason. 

19 Jason Has The Highest Body Count In The Horror Genre

A common trait among ‘80s horror movies is the slaying of teenagers. Almost all of the ‘80s slashers rack up a high body count, but none are quite like Jason. Jason is known for ending his victims lives with an array of weapons that include - but are not limited to - an ice pick, a speargun, and a sleeping bag. Much like his co-maniacs, Jason racks up a high body count in each of his movies, but according to a number of horror websites, Jason has the most.

While it is hard to get an exact number for Jason’s body count, many claim that Jason now has around 158 victims. This beats Michael Myers, who sits at the number two spot with 111 victims, and Freddy Krueger, who has 43.

18 Freddy Vs. Jason Was In Development For Over 10 Years

With the popularity of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, fans had been wanting a crossover movie for a while. That being said, the likeliness of a crossover was pretty unlikely, since Friday the 13th was previously owned by Paramount and New Line Cinema owned A Nightmare on Elm Street. It became much easier to combine the two series, however, when New Line Cinema got the rights to Jason in 1989.

At the end of Jason Goes to Hell in 1993, Freddy’s glove can be seen coming from the ground to grab Jason’s mask, teasing a future crossover. At that point, Freddy vs. Jason was still ten years away, since the filmmakers wanted to find the perfect story to tie the movies together. 

17 Props From Creepshow And Evil Dead 2 Made It Into Jason Goes To Hell

It’s fair to say that filmmakers often inspire other filmmakers. This happens quite often in the horror genre. Wes Craven and Sam Raimi often included references to each other's films in their own movies.

Craven even included a scene from Evil Dead in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Sam Raimi returned the favor by having Freddy’s glove show up in Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn.

That being said, props from a couple different movie showed up in Jason Goes to Hell. The Book of the Dead and Kandarian Dagger from Evil Dead 2 both make appearances in Jason Goes to Hell, along with the Arctic expedition crate from the first Creepshow movie.

16 Adrienne King Was Stalked And Threatened After Part 2 Was Released

Adrienne King played the role of Alice Hardy in Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th: Part 2. She was the sole survivor from Pamela Voorhees’ wrath, but she wasn’t so lucky in Part 2. In the sequel, Jason tracks Alice down and takes his revenge by putting his mother’s severed head in Alice’s refrigerator and then ending her life. It turns out that Jason wasn’t the only one who tracked down Adrienne King, though.

After the sequel was released, King was the victim of stalking and received threats on her life. Someone even followed her all the way to London to threaten her, but the police didn’t take her seriously. At the time, celebrity stalkers were thought of as a joke and King never got the protection she needed. 

15 Sally Field Almost Played Alice

Actress Sally Field has made quite the name for herself in Hollywood. The actress began acting in the ‘60s and, since then, has starred in a number of movies, such as Forrest Gump, Lincoln, and both of The Amazing Spider-Man movies. Field has even won two Oscars in her career for the films Places in the Heart and Norma Rae. As it turns out, the filmmakers behind the original Friday the 13th really wanted Sally Field to play the role of Alice Hardy.

The filmmakers settled on Adrienne King only after Field turned down the role, which allowed King to appear in the first two movies as a camp counselor. While King does a fine job in the role, many people would have rather seen Field in the ‘80s slasher flick. 

14 Betsy Palmer Thought The Movie Would Flop

While Jason Voorhees quickly became the face of the Friday the 13th series, he wasn’t the original maniac. Anybody who has seen the first Friday the 13th movie knows that Jason is barely in the movie and that his mother Pamela was the first one to terrorize the camp counselors. Mrs. Voorhees was played by Betsy Palmer, an actress who had started her acting career in 1951.

When the actress read the script for the horror movie, she thought the movie was going to flop and only took the job so that she could pay for a new car.

Well, as we all know, the movie didn’t flop and actually made almost $6 million during its opening weekend.

13 Not All Movies Take Place on Friday The 13th

Even though all of the Friday the 13th movies have the date in front of the subtitle - except for Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X - not all of the movies actually take place on Friday the 13th. While the first Friday the 13th takes place on Friday, June 13th, 1979 (which was actually a Wednesday in the real world), the second film takes place on Wednesday, July 11, 1984.

After this, the only movies that can be confirmed to take place on a Friday the 13th are Part 3, Jason Lives, and the remake Friday the 13th. Even though almost all of the movies have the date, Friday the 13th isn’t really that important to each movie. 

12 The Original Title Was A Long Night at Camp Blood

The one thing from the Friday the 13th series that might be more iconic than Jason is the title itself. Even in the real world, people consider Fridays that land on the 13th to be bad luck, and even for those who aren’t superstitious, it’s hard to go through a Friday the 13th without thinking of Jason Voorhees.

The title of the movie has caused the main villain to become ingrained in people’s head, but the title was almost completely different. Screenwriter Victor Miller originally titled the movie A Long Night at Camp Blood, but director Sean S. Cunningham preferred the title Friday the 13th. A logo was created to test out the Friday the 13th title and it stuck. 

11 Carrie Inspired The Ending Of The First Movie And The New Blood

Even though he had nothing to do with the Friday the 13th series, Stephen King is still a horror legend. He has worked on dozens of horror novels, a lot of which have been adapted to movies and TV shows. One of his books, Carrie, was adapted in 1976 by director Brian De Palma and starred Sissy Spacek. In the final moments of Carrie, the character Sue can be seen visiting the grave of Carrie as a hand pops out of the ground and Sue wakes up in bed.

According to Victor Miller, this twist ending was actually borrowed for the ending of Friday the 13th when Jason pops out of the water.

It’s also widely known that The New Blood was thought of as Jason vs. Carrie during filming since the movie has Jason battle a girl with psychokinetic abilities.

10 Jason Gets Taller As The Series Goes On

Anybody who has seen all of the Friday the 13th movies, or even had a marathon of all twelve films, will probably notice that Jason gets taller as the movies go on. In Friday the 13th: Part 2, Jason is played by Warrington Gillette, who stands at 6ft 1in. Jason grew two inches when Richard Brooker took over for Part III, and the most recent person to play Jason, Derek Mears, is 6ft 5in.

While it’s possibly just a coincidence that Jason Voorhees has gotten progressively taller, it actually makes sense since research shows that humans have actually gotten taller as a species in the last 150 years. Who knew a slasher series could be so scientific with their maniac?

9 Jason Was Originally Supposed To Spend More Time In New York

Most people will agree that the eighth movie in the series, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, is not the strongest entry in the series. The entire premise of the movie seemed silly, but it was made anyway. That being said, one of the reasons why it can be considered silly is due to the fact that Jason didn’t really spend that much time in Manhattan.

Most of the movie took place on a boat, because it is really expensive to film in New York. Director Rob Hedden even confessed, “There was going to be a tremendous scene on the Brooklyn Bridge, a boxing match in Madison Square Garden, Jason would go through department stores, Broadway plays.  He’d even crawl onto the top of the Statue of Liberty and dive off.” Unfortunately, none of this happened and most of the movie was filmed in Vancouver. 

8 Director Steve Miner Thought Of The Hockey Mask Idea

Much like Jason has become an icon for the Friday the 13th series, and the horror genre in general, the hockey mask has become a staple for Jason himself. As most fans know, the hockey mask didn’t even show up until Friday the 13th Part III. In the first movie, Jason was the deformed child that popped out of the water and, in Part 2, he simply had a sack for a mask. In Part III, however, director Steve Miner thought of using a hockey mask for Jason.

Friday The 13th creator Sean S. Cunningham claims that Miner thought of using a hockey mask for Jason because he had previously worked on hockey documentaries.

No matter the exact reasoning, the hockey mask definitely worked for Jason.

7 The First Actor To Portray Jason Formed A Band Called First Jason

There have been many actors and stunt workers over the years who have played Jason in the Friday the 13th movies. The first actor, however, was named Ari Lehman and was fourteen years old when he portrayed the child version of Jason in the original Friday the 13th.

Since the second movie came out a year after the first, there was no way that Lehman could return to the role since Jason was now an adult. Even though he didn’t return to play Jason again, the actor formed a metal band called First Jason. The band has released a few albums, which feature awesome artwork like the image above, which is from the album “Heed My Warning”.

6 The Original Writer Hasn’t Seen Any Of The Sequels

It is pretty common for horror movie creators to step away from the series after the first film. For example, it is widely known that Wes Craven didn’t want his original A Nightmare on Elm Street to get sequels, but we all know how that went.

Craven might have returned for a few of the Nightmare sequels, but Friday the 13th writer Victor Miller never returned to the series after Part 1. He is, of course, credited as a writer in the sequels, but that is only because he created the characters for the original movie. In an interview back in 2007, Miller revealed that he hasn’t seen any of the sequels and even confessed that he thinks the sequels have turned Jason into a “stock villain.”

5 Part VII Was Supposed To Win An Academy Award

It is not very often that horror films are even considered for Oscars, but it does occasionally happen. Movies like Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and most recently, Get Out have all won Academy Awards, but ‘80s slashers were often left out of the Awards season.

That being said, the filmmakers behind Friday the 13th: The New Blood were going for that Oscar gold with the concept of a “Jason vs Carrie” movie.

With producer Barbara Sachs wanting the series to go in a different, more artful direction, director Daryl Haney said that Sachs was hoping the newest Friday the 13th would win an Academy Award. It seemed unlikely from the start, but a producer can’t help but dream. 

4 Jason Is Actually A Deadite

Jason has been seen as basically immortal since the end of the first movie. Much like other iconic slasher villains, Jason always seems to find a way to come back to life. The truth is that Jason is actually a Deadite, or at least he is in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Deadites was the term given to the creatures in Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead trilogy. Jason Goes to Hell director Adam Marcus revealed last November that he had always considered Jason to be one of the Evil Dead.

Marcus explained that he decided to include The Evil Dead mythos after discussing the story with Sam Raimi himself. Marcus elaborates that, “[Pamela Voorhees] makes a deal with the devil by reading from the Necronomicon to bring back her son.”

3 Corey Feldman Wanted A Bigger Role In Part 5

People who watch ‘80s flicks typically know or at least recognize the name Corey Feldman. Feldman has acted in movies like The Lost Boys, Gremlins, and The Goonies. Feldman had a big role in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter as Tommy Jarvis and came back for a very small role in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning.

Even though Part 5 revolves around an older version of Feldman’s character, Feldman would have returned for a bigger role if he hadn’t been filming The Goonies with Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner. The actor has also expressed interest in returning to the series in a fashion similar to Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween: H20 and the upcoming Halloween. 

2 The Production Crew For Jason Takes Manhattan Had To Import Potatoes Into Canada

Even though the previous Friday the 13th movies had turned a profit, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan didn’t have as big of a budget as the filmmakers had hoped. Many scenes couldn’t be filmed that had been planned, a lot of the movie took place on a boat, and the film had to be shot mainly in Vancouver.

Producer Randolph Cheveldale revealed that in order to get out of using the ships Canada had for filmmakers to rent and use the boat they already owned, they had to import potatoes into the country. 

While it might have been a huge pain for all parties involved, it ended up saving the crew money they could use for other elements of the movie. 

1 Jason Goes To Hell Was Almost Jason Takes L.A.

While Jason’s eighth outing sent him to Hell and teased a future connection to A Nightmare on Elm Street, the movie was almost about Jason taking over L.A. When Jason Goes To Hell Writer Dean Lorey was asked what he would do with Jason if he ever got the chance to work on the series again, Lorey responded, “Instead of JGTH, I wanted to do Jason Takes LA. This was fifteen years ago, when the Bloods and Crips were a big deal. I wanted to drop him into the middle of a war and have him [take down] everyone, forcing the gangs to team up to fight him.”

Seeing Jason being loosely connected to The Evil Dead was pretty interesting, but seeing him go up against the Bloods and Crips would have been something else.

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Are there any other secrets about the Friday the 13th series we missed? Sound off in the comments!

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