Friday, the 13th is almost here and with the arrival of the ominous day comes a re-imagining of the seminal slasher series,
Nightmare on Elm Street Friday the 13th. Let's take a look back together at the top five best of the many men to don the hockey mask and cut a swath through cinema history, like a Ginsu knife through a chain link fence.
Kane Hodder (Various Films) - Kane Hodder is Jason! Do you hear me, Hollywood? Kane Hodder is Jason! I, unlike some horror fans, was never against the franchise relaunch. I was, however always against the idea of someone else, other than Mr. Hodder, playing the role of Jason Voorhees. A stunt man, an actor and a hell of a guy (and I'm not just saying that because he's also a juggalo), the dude was born to play the part of Jason and I am deeply saddened that director, Marcus Nispel chose to exclude him from the latest outing (but, who am I to argue with a guy whose credits include The Very Best of Cher: The Video Hits Collection). Jason X, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Jason Takes Manhattan, The Arsenio Hall Show, he's done it all and always done the character justice. Kane, if I may call you Kane, none before you, and I believe, none after will be able to do what you did for Mr. Voorhees. Thank you.
Spencer Stump (as Young Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs. Jason) - If you saw the long awaited, yet disappointing showdown between the two biggest slashers in the history of cinema, then you caught a glimpse of a young Jason as played by Spencer Stump. You've seen young Jason before in several flashbacks throughout the franchise's life, so what makes Stump's performance so special? The appearance of that psychopath, Freddy Krueger. Even though Voorhees drowned because of negligence in his mortal childhood, he's killed so many camp counselors and police officers since then, it's hard to sympathize with him. However, when you see his helpless inner-child get tortured in Freddy's nightmare realm, it's hard not to feel sorry for the poor sap. Stump really expresses the pathos that a mostly silent Jason has been unable to all these years.
Warrington Gillette (Friday the 13th Part II) - For my money, there are few things scarier than a pitchfork-wielding redneck in a potato sack mask. Plus, he only had one eye hole cut out of the sack. What the hell was that all about? I still don't know, but it made the very first appearance of an adult Jason (his mother was the slasher in the first film if you'll remember) extra creepy.
Richard Brooker (Friday the 13th Part III) - You can give the credit to the director, the producers or the costume designer, but I'm tipping the cap to the star, Richard Brooker who forever cemented the current image of Jason in the minds of horror fans by being the first to wear the infamous hockey mask. If it weren't for this change in the second sequel, you'd have over ten movies about a murderer in a gunny sack mask and blue overalls... or maybe you wouldn't. No one leaves a theater saying, "Man, those overalls were so cool! I want to wear that getup for Halloween." A pitchfork and overalls don't make you a slasher, they make you a farmer and other than their willingness, nay, eagerness, to take government subsidies to not grow crops, there's nothing scary about farmers. Anyway, the continuation of the series is definitely due in part to Brooker and that eerie goalie facade.
Derek Mears (Friday the 13th Remake) - Okay, I haven't actually seen it yet. but I think Gene Unyons has and word on the grapevine is, he thinks Derek Mears kicks ass as a less supernatural, faster moving, more pissed off Jason. I can't wait to see him slaughter the innocent first hand!
If word about the film remake is indeed true, this Friday, the 13th spells good luck for me and all the fans of the unyielding, machete wielding slasher, Jason Alawiscious (not his real name) Voorhees. If not, there are a lot of classics to enjoy and we're sure there's a Blu-ray collection coming or something. There has to be.