In honor of the Friday the 13th at the end of this week and inspired by the abysmal yet still endearing 1987 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game as well as THIS killer shirt at Mini Cassette Tees we here at Jack’s Attic decided to commemorate the occasion by putting together an art piece we’ve been calling “The 8-Bit Jason Project”.
We always thought it was odd and a bit irritating that in the game Jason was running around in a purple jumpsuit and a blue hockey mask. But what would have happened if the game designers had created 8-bit character sprites for Jason as he appeared in Fridays 3-8? Well, we think it might have looked a little something like this:
It’s hard to believe that it took three movies before it happened but Friday the 13th part 3 is where Jason first donned his iconic hockey mask. The mask was introduced into the movie by lovable loser and resident prankster, Shelly. He uses the mask to put the scare on Vera but after he gets his throat sliced by Jason the mask becomes Jason’s new digs and one of the most recognizable icons of not only horror but pop culture is born.
Part four is one of the better and some would argue best sequel in the F13 series. This is where Jason really starts to pick up steam and come into his own as a bonafide slasher, killing a young Crispin Glover in the process. Part four also introduces Jason’s mightiest protagonist to date (if you don’t count Freddy), Tommy Jarvis. Played memorably here by a young Corey Feldman, Tommy seemingly kills the unstoppable Jason at the end of “The Final Chapter”, but we all know how that story plays out.
“A New Beginning” indeed. For the entire running time of this movie we are lead to believe that the clod running around in the jumpsuit and hockey mask is Jason Voorhees. However, in the closing minutes we are shown the truth of the matter, the man slicing and dicing nubile young teens is actually, wait for it, wait for it…….Roy Burns! Ahhhhhhhh! Wait a minute. Who? Exactly. You know the ambulance driver at the beginning of the movie? The one who carts away the chopped up remains of the fat candy bar kid? Yup, that’s our Jason for “A New Beginning”. This one left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of F13 fans. However, after this derailment, part six, “Jason Lives” sets the train back on the tracks and proceeds full steam ahead. On a side note, we here at Jack’s Attic totally dig the mask in “A New Beginning”. Even though the movie itself is pretty low on our list of sequels, the aging and blue chevrons make this mask stand out amongst the others and it remains a favorite around here.
A strong entry in the series “Jason Lives” begins the “zombie” era of the franchise. Prior to this film Jason was a living and breathing human being. He was murderous, disfigured and nearly unstoppable but still very much human. In this installment an errant lightning bolt resurrects Jason ala Frankenstein and gives him seemingly supernatural properties. In an odd wardrobe decision however, Jason wears yellow work gloves and a belt pouch/knife holster throughout the movie. If you’re going to be killing large groups of teenagers you don’t want to lose grip on your knife and when your done you gotta have a place to store it right?
The pitch: How about we have Jason go up against a teenage girl with telekinetic powers? Yup, that pretty much sums it up. All in all “The New Blood” is a fun movie which diverged from the tired formula and actually put Jason up against a protagonist that had done something no one else had done before that: kicked his ass. In this entry Jason is throttled by young telekinetic, Tina Shepard who uses a whole bag of creative tricks to keep the big man down. In one of the coolest scenes in the entire franchise, Tina uses her telekinetic abilities to tighten Jason’s mask on his face so much that it actually splits in two and slingshots off from his head revealing his new zombified visage. This sequel is also the first film to have fan favorite, Kane Hodder don the legendary hockey mask. Hodder, having a background in stunt work brought an almost gleeful level of brutality to the part that helped to define the character from that point on.
Friday the 13th Part VIII: “Jason Takes Manhattan” is the final installment of the series to be distributed by Paramount Pictures. Early teasers posters for the film featured Jason slashing through an “I Heart (Love) NY” poster. An awesome piece of pop culture Americana the posters were eventually banned due to complaints by the New York Tourist Commission. And other than a very cool scene of Jason standing in the middle of Times Square, there really isn’t anything good about this movie. Considered to be the weakest entry in the series, “Jason Takes Manhattan” promised a novel approach to the franchise by taking Jason out of Crystal Lake but falls short by not setting more of the movie in New York. Plus it has one of the the most absurd endings of not only the F13 series but of maybe any horror movie made. It’s seriously that stupid.
Well, we hope you enjoyed our little art piece/retrospective on Fridays 3-8. While flawed and sometimes downright dumb the franchise has entered the collective conscious of horror fans the world over, helped to define a genre, put Jason on a first name basis with film fans everywhere and a made the hockey mask a true piece horror iconography.