Friday the 13th is an American horror franchise that consists of twelve slasher films, a television show, novels, comic books, and tie-in merchandise. The franchise mainly focuses on the fictional character of Jason Voorhees, who drowned at Camp Crystal Lake as a boy due to the negligence of the camp staff. Decades later, the lake is rumored to be "cursed" and is the setting for a series of mass murders. Jason is featured in all of the films, either as the killer or the motivation for the killings. The original film was written by Victor Miller, and was produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham; neither returned to write or direct any of the sequels.
The first film was created to cash in on the success of Halloween (1978), and its own success led Paramount Pictures to purchase the full licensing rights to the Friday the 13th franchise. Frank Mancuso, Jr., who produced the films, also developed the television show Friday the 13th: The Series after Paramount released Jason Lives. The television series was not connected to the franchise by any character or setting, but was created based on the idea of "bad luck and curses", which the film series symbolized. While the franchise was owned by Paramount, four films were adapted into novels, with Friday the 13th Part III adapted by two separate authors. When the franchise was sold to New Line Cinema, Cunningham returned as a producer to oversee two additional films, as well as the crossover film with Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street film series. Under New Line, thirteen novellas and various comic book series were published featuring Jason.
Although the films were not popular with critics, Friday the 13th is considered one of the most successful media franchises in America—not only for the success of the films, but also because of the extensive merchandising and repeated references to the series in popular culture. The franchise's popularity has generated a fanbase who have created their own Friday the 13th films, replica Jason Voorhees costumes, and tattooed their bodies with Friday the 13th artwork. Jason’s hockey mask has even become one of the most recognizable images in popular culture.
In the original Friday the 13th (1980), Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) stalks and murders the teenagers who are preparing Camp Crystal Lake for re-opening. She is determined to make sure the camp does not reopen after her son Jason (Ari Lehman) drowned in the lake, because two staff members, who were supposed to be watching him, were having sex. The last counselor, Alice (Adrienne King), fends off Mrs. Voorhees long enough to grab a machete to decapitate her. In Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Jason (Steve Daskewisz/Warrington Gillette) is revealed to be alive and fully grown. After killing the counselor who decapitated his mother, Jason returns to Crystal Lake to guard it from all intruders. Five years later, a group of teenagers arrive at Crystal Lake to set up a new camp, only to have Jason murder them. Ginny Field (Amy Steel), the last counselor Jason attempts to kill, finds a cabin in the woods with a shrine built around the severed head of Mrs. Voorhees. Ginny fights back, and slams a machete through Jason's shoulder. Jason is left for dead as Ginny is taken away in an ambulance. During the events of Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Jason (Richard Brooker) removes the machete from his shoulder and finds his way to a local family homestead, owned by Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell). Chris returns to the property with some friends, where Jason kills anyone who wanders into the barn where he is hiding. Taking a hockey mask from a victim to hide his face, Jason leaves the barn to kill the rest of the group. Chris seemingly kills Jason with an axe to his head, but the night's events drive her into hysteria as the police take her away.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) continues where Part III leaves off, with Jason (Ted White) found by the police and taken to the local morgue. Once delivered, Jason, who is still alive, kills the coroner and a nurse before he travels back to Crystal Lake. A group of friends rent a house on Crystal Lake and fall victim to Jason's rampage. After killing the teens, Jason seeks out Trish (Kimberly Beck) and Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman), who live next door. While distracted by Trish, Jason is attacked and killed by Tommy. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) follows Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd), who was committed to a mental health institution after the events of The Final Chapter and has grown up constantly afraid that Jason (Tom Morga) will return. Roy Burns (Dick Wieand) uses Jason's persona to become a copycat killer at the halfway home to which Tommy has moved. Tommy, supervisor Pam (Melanie Kinnaman), and a young boy named Reggie (Shavar Ross) manage to defeat Roy. They eventually learn that Roy had a son at the institution that was murdered by one of the patients, which caused Roy to take on Jason’s likeness and kill everyone at the institution. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) begins with Tommy (Thom Mathews) visiting Jason's grave after being released from another mental institution. Tommy inadvertently resurrects Jason (C. J. Graham) via a piece of the fence surrounding the cemetery, which acts as a lightning rod. Jason immediately heads back to Crystal Lake, and kills the people working at the new summer camp. Tommy eventually chains Jason to a boulder that he tosses into the lake, where he leaves Jason to die.
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) begins an indeterminate amount of time after Jason Lives. Jason (Kane Hodder) is resurrected again, this time by the telekinetic Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln), who is trying to resurrect her father who drowned in the lake when Tina was a child. Jason once again begins killing those who occupy Crystal Lake, and after a battle with Tina is returned to the bottom of the lake. Jason is resurrected again in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) by an underwater electrical cable. He follows a group of students on their senior class cruise to Manhattan, where he kills the ship’s crew and the majority of the students. Upon reaching Manhattan, Jason chases Rennie (Jensen Daggett) and Sean (Scott Reeves), the two remaining students, into the sewers. Eventually, Jason is melted away by the toxic waste that is flooded throughout the sewer. In Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Jason, through unexplained resurrection, is hunted by the FBI at Crystal Lake. The FBI sets up a sting to kill Jason, which proves successful. Through possession, Jason manages to survive by passing his black heart from one being to the next. It is revealed that he has a sister and a niece, and that he needs them to get his body back. Jason resurrects himself, but his niece, Jessica Kimble (Kari Keegan), stabs him with a mystical dagger and he is dragged to Hell.
Jason X (2002) takes place in the future, where Jason has again been inexplicably resurrected. A scientist, Rowan (Lexa Doig), decides that cryonic suspension is the only solution for stopping him, but Jason breaks free from captivity and kills the army personnel guarding him before he can be imprisoned. Rowan manages to lure Jason into the cryo-chamber, but he ruptures the tank and freezes himself and Rowan in the process. Over four hundred years later, Jason's body is discovered by a team of students studying Earth and taken into space. Upon being thawed by the team, he proceeds to murder everyone aboard the spacecraft; he is seemingly killed, but resurrected via nanotechnology as a cyborg version of himself before finally being ejected into space and landing on Earth 2. The next Friday the 13th film was a crossover with A Nightmare on Elm Street, titled Freddy vs. Jason (2003). Set in the contemporary period, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) resurrects Jason (Ken Kirzinger) and sends him to Springwood, in the hopes that Jason will create fear among the residents so that Freddy will be strong enough to invade their dreams. Jason accomplishes this, but refuses to stop killing. A battle ensues in both the dream-world and at Crystal Lake. The outcome is left ambiguous, as Jason surfaces from the lake holding Freddy's severed head, which winks and laughs.
In 2009, a new Friday the 13th was released, which restarts the film series continuity. In this film, after witnessing his mother being beheaded, Jason (Derek Mears) follows in her footsteps and kills anyone who comes to Crystal Lake. Almost thirty years later, Jason kidnaps a young woman who reminds him of his mother. Six weeks after her disappearance, her brother Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) comes to look for her. The pair reunite and work together to seemingly kill Jason.
The original Friday the 13th was produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, who had previously worked with filmmaker Wes Craven on The Last House on the Left (1972). Cunningham, inspired by the success of John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) wanted Friday the 13th to be shocking, visually stunning, and "[make] you jump out of your seat". Distancing himself from The Last House on the Left, Cunningham wanted Friday the 13th to be more of a "roller-coaster ride". The first film was meant to be "a real scary movie", and at the same time make audiences laugh. The concept for Friday the 13th began as nothing more than a title. "Long Night at Camp Blood" was the working title Victor Miller was using while he drafted a script, but Cunningham believed in his "Friday the 13th" moniker and rushed to place an advertisement in International Variety. Worried that someone else owned the rights to the title, and wanting to avoid potential lawsuits, Cunningham thought it would be best to find out immediately. Cunningham commissioned a New York advertising agency to develop his visual concept of the Friday the 13th logo, which consisted of big block letters bursting through a pane of glass. In the end, Cunningham believed there were "no problems" with the title, but distributor George Mansour contends that there was an issue: "There was a movie before ours called Friday the 13th: The Orphan. Moderately successful. But someone still threatened to sue. I don't know whether Phil [Scuderi] paid them off, but it was finally resolved."
Following the success of Friday the 13th in 1980, Paramount Pictures began plans to make a sequel and immediately acquired the worldwide distribution rights. According to Paramount Picture's Chairman and CEO Frank Mancuso, Sr., "We wanted it to be an event, where teenagers would flock to the theaters on that Friday night to see the latest episode." Initial ideas for a sequel involved the Friday the 13th title being used for a series of films, released once a year, which would not have direct continuity with each other, but would be a separate "scary movie" of their own right. Phil Scuderi—one of three owners of Esquire Theaters, along with Steve Minasian and Bob Barsamian, who produced the original film—insisted that the sequel have Jason Voorhees, Pamela's son, even though his appearance at the end of the original film was only meant to be a joke. Steve Miner, associate producer on the first film, believed in the idea, and he ultimately directed the first two sequels after Cunningham opted not to return to the director's chair.
The studio continued to generate sequels over the years, based on the financial success they produced compared to their relatively low budgets. With every film repeating the same basic premise, the filmmakers came up with subtle adjustments so the audience would return. Changes involved the addition of a subtitle—as opposed to just a number attached to the end—like "The Final Chapter" and "Jason Takes Manhattan", or filming the movie in 3-D, as Miner did for Friday the 13th Part III. The third film would also be the birthplace of one of the most recognizable images in popular culture, that of Jason's hockey mask. Producer Frank Mancuso, Jr. eventually decided to kill Jason for good, after he experienced problems finding new films to produce that were more than just horror movies, because his name brought constant association to the Friday the 13th film series.
Jason would not stay buried for long, as the success of The Final Chapter ensured another Friday the 13th film. Mancuso, Sr. stated, "Quite simply, the public still wanted to see these films. So until they really stopped coming, why not continue to make more?" A New Beginning shifted the focus of the story to the character of Tommy Jarvis, and how he battles his inner demons, hallucinations, and "rages to kill" after his ordeal with Jason in The Final Chapter. This premise was not repeated, as the very next installment brought Jason back from the dead. Jason Lives attempted to create a "funnier, faster and more action-packed […] Friday" than had previously been done. The limited financial success of Jason Lives provided enough incentive to create another sequel, The New Blood. The idea proposed by screenwriter Daryl Haney stemmed from his realization that the films always ended with Jason battling the "final girl". Haney decided that this final girl should have telekinetic powers, which led Producer Barbara Sachs to dub the film, Jason vs. Carrie.
|"Okay, we'll make Vancouver look like New York and we'll do it that way. But they came back again with, 'You can't do the Brooklyn Bridge in Vancouver. You can't do Madison Square Garden in Vancouver. You can't do the Statue of Liberty in Vancouver.' Pretty soon it was half New York, half on the boat. Then it was the last third in New York. It just kept getting whittled down and down."|
|— Rob Hedden (writer/director) on the deconstruction of Jason Takes Manhattan's story|
Plans were made to take Jason away from Crystal Lake and place him in a "broader" environment for the eighth film. New York City was selected as the main setting, with Jason spending approximately a third of the movie on a boat before reaching New York; the film was then subtitled Jason Takes Manhattan. Ultimately, the character spent the majority of the time on the cruise ship, as budget restrictions forced scenes of New York to be trimmed or downgraded. Vancouver had to substitute for the majority of the New York scenes.
When Jason Takes Manhattan failed to perform successfully at the box office, Sean Cunningham decided that he wanted to reacquire the rights to Friday the 13th and start working with New Line Cinema on Freddy vs. Jason, as New Line owned the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The concept of a fight between Freddy and Jason was not new; Paramount had approached New Line about filming a crossover years before the latter had gained the licensing rights to Friday the 13th. At that time, both companies wanted the license to the other's character so that they could control the making of the film. Negotiations on the project were never finalized, which led Paramount to make The New Blood. After Jason Takes Manhattan was released in 1989 the rights reverted back to Scuderi, Minasian and Barsamianto, who sold them to New Line. Before Cunningham could start working on Freddy vs. Jason, Wes Craven returned to New Line to make New Nightmare. This effectively put Freddy vs. Jason on hold, but allowed Cunningham the chance to bring Jason back into the spotlight with Jason Goes to Hell. The ninth installment "turned a healthy profit", though it was only intended to open the door for a crossover with Freddy Krueger, rather than start a new series for New Line. Ultimately, the film series would go through another sequel before that would happen. Cunningham's "frustration" with the delayed development of the Freddy vs. Jason project forced him to create another sequel in an effort to keep the franchise in the minds of audiences. Based on Jason Takes Manhattans' concept of taking Jason away from Crystal Lake, the tenth film would put the titular character in space. The film suffered from the loss of its biggest supporter, President of Production Michael De Luca, when he resigned from his position. Lack of support forced the finished film to sit for two years before finally being released on April 26, 2002; it would go on to become the lowest grossing film in the franchise at the domestic box office; it also held the distinction of having the largest budget of any of the previous films at that time.
After more than fifteen years of off-and-on development, and approximately $6 million spent in eighteen unused scripts from more than a dozen screenwriters, New Line finally produced Freddy and Jason crossover for 2003. One of the biggest hurdles for the film was developing a story that managed to bring the two horror icons together. Potential stories varied widely, from Freddy having molested and drowned Jason as a child, to a cult of Freddy worshipers called the "Fred Heads". In January 2007, Platinum Dunes producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller outlined their intended goal to bring a Friday the 13th reboot to life. Fuller and Form were approached by New Line to create a reboot, but because Paramount still owned certain copyrights to the first film the reboot would not be able to use anything from the original. Paramount, who wanted to be included in the development of a reboot, approached the producers and gave them license to use anything from the original films, including the title. With Paramount on board, Fuller and Form decided they wanted to use pieces from the early films. Fuller said, "I think there are moments we want to address, like how does the hockey mask happen." Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, writers of Freddy vs. Jason, were brought on to pen the script for the new film, with Marcus Nispel, director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake of 2003, hired in November 2007 to direct.
|1. Friday the 13th (1980)||Sean S. Cunningham||Victor Miller||Sean S. Cunningham|
|2. Friday the 13th Part 2||Steve Miner||Ron Kurz||Steve Miner|
|3. Friday the 13th Part III||Martin Kitrosser & Carol Watson||Frank Mancuso Jr.|
|4. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter||Joseph Zito||Barney Cohen|
|5. Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning||Danny Steinmann||Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen & Danny Steinmann||Timothy Silver|
|6. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives||Tom McLoughlin||Tom McLoughlin||Don Behrns|
|7. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood||John Carl Buechler||Manuel Fidello & Daryl Haney||Iain Paterson|
|8. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan||Rob Hedden||Rob Hedden||Randy Cheveldave|
|9. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday||Adam Marcus||Jay Huguely, Adam Marcus & Dean Lorey||Sean S. Cunningham|
|10. Jason X||James Isaac||Todd Farmer||Noel Cunningham|
|11. Freddy vs. Jason||Ronny Yu||Damian Shannon & Mark Swift||Sean S. Cunningham|
|12. Friday the 13th (2009)||Marcus Nispel||Michael Bay, Andrew Form & Brad Fuller|
When Harry Manfredini began working on the musical score for the 1980 film, the decision was made to only play the music alongside the killer, so as not to trick the audience into believing that the killer was around during moments that they were not supposed to be. Manfredini explains that the lack of music for certain scenes was deliberate: "There's a scene where one of the girls […] is setting up the archery area […] One of the guys shoots an arrow into the target and just misses her. It's a huge scare, but if you notice, there's no music. That was a choice." Manfredini also noted that when something was about to happen, the music would cut off so that the audience would relax a bit, which allowed the scare to become more effective.
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Since Mrs. Voorhees, the killer in the original Friday the 13th, does not show up until the final reel of the film, Manfredini had the job of creating a score that would represent the killer in her absence. Manfredini was inspired by the 1975 film Jaws, where the shark is not seen for the majority of the film but the motif created by John Williams cued the audience on when the shark was present during scenes when you could not see it. While listening to a piece of Krzysztof Penderecki music, which contained a chorus with "striking pronunciations", Manfredini was inspired to recreate a similar sound for Friday the 13th. He came up with the sound "ki ki ki, ma ma ma", based on the line "Kill her mommy!", which Mrs. Voorhees recites repeatedly in the final reel. The "ki" comes from "kill", and the "ma" from "mommy". To achieve the unique sound he wanted for the film, Manfredini spoke the two words "harshly, distinctly and rhythmically into a microphone" and ran them into an echo reverberation machine. Manfredini finished the original score after a few weeks and recorded it in a friend's basement. Victor Miller and assistant editor Jay Keuper have commented on how memorable the music is, with Keuper describing it as "iconographic". Manfredini makes note of the mispronunciation of the sounds: "Everybody thinks it's cha, cha, cha. I'm like, 'Cha, cha, cha? What are you talking about?"
When Manfredini returned for the first sequel; he had an easier time composing this time, as he only needed to perfect what he had already created on the first film. Over the course of the sequels, Manfredini loosened the philosophy that the theme should be reserved just for the killer. Manfredini describes the style of the sequels as more of a "setting 'em up and knocking 'em down" approach, which meant that there were more "McGuffins and red-herrings" that required the killer's theme music be played to try and trick the audience. Manfredini explains, "The original had the real myopic approach, and then we had to start thinking of the sequels as more conventional films." For Part 3, Manfredini only returned to score the first and last reels of the film, as he was busy with a Broadway production. Jack Tillar pieced together portions of the score from the first two films to fill the remaining time for Part 3, while Michael Zagar composed an opening and closing theme. Manfredini and Zagar met at the latter's apartment, where Zagar rescored the original opening theme using a disco beat. Manfredini returned for The Final Chapter, and although there were similar elements to the score, everything was newly recorded for the fourth Friday the 13th.
When he began work on the score for A New Beginning, Manfredini created a theme just for the character of Tommy Jarvis. The idea was to suggest that there was "madness afoot", which he believed helped to "'point the finger' at various characters [...] to suggest that things were not as you might expect". For Jason Lives, Tom McLoughlin instructed Manfredini to create a score that would not alert the audience to what was happening, or about to happen, "but instead allow the audience to do it to themselves". McLoughlin took this idea from John Carpenter's 1978 film Halloween, which would always follow any shock in the film with Carpenter's "Eeeeeeee!" sound. McLoughlin wanted something more subtle, with a "Gothic" resonance.
Manfredini did not score The New Blood and Jason Takes Manhattan because of prior film engagements, but his scores from previous films were reused. While Manfredini was working on Sean Cunningham's DeepStar Six, producer Iain Paterson hired Fred Mollin, who was scoring Friday the 13th: The Series, to finish composing the music to The New Blood; Manfredini's original music only filled half the film. Mollin returned to fully score Jason Takes Manhattan, as well as work with Steve Mizer to write an original song, reminiscent of Robert Plant, for the opening credits. Manfredini would score the next two entries in the series before being replaced on Freddy vs. Jason. The official reason for Manfredini's replacement was because New Line wanted to take the series in a "new direction", although Manfredini contends that the final cut of Freddy vs. Jason was "just the same thing".
The Friday the 13th films were never popular with the critics, in contrast to other slasher films like Halloween. Critics disliked how the series favored high body counts over plot and character development, and how each film was almost indistinguishable from the last. Nevertheless, the films were a financial success, prompting Paramount to release more sequels contingent on the box office appeal. When comparing Friday the 13th to the other top-grossing American horror franchises—A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child's Play, Halloween, the Hannibal Lecter series, Psycho, Saw, Scream, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—and adjusting for the 2009 inflation, Friday the 13th is the highest grossing horror franchise in the United States, with approximately $614 million. The Hannibal Lecter film series follows closely with $573 million, A Nightmare on Elm Street with $522 million, Halloween with $517 million, Scream with $400 million, Saw with $378 million, Psycho with $371 million, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with $315 million, and the Child's Play film series rounding out the list with approximately $200 million. The financial success has extended to home release, with more than five million DVDs sold by 2005.
|Film||Release date (US)||Budget||Box office revenue||Reference|
|1. Friday the 13th (1980)||May 9, 1980||$550,000||$39,754,601||$20,000,000||$59,754,601|||
|2. Friday the 13th Part 2||April 30, 1981||$1,250,000||$21,722,776||$21,722,776|||
|3. Friday the 13th Part III||August 13, 1982
May 13, 1983 (y)
|4. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter||April 13, 1984||$2,600,000||$32,980,880||$32,980,880|||
|5. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning||March 22, 1985||$2,200,000||$21,930,418||$21,930,418|||
|6. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives||August 1, 1986||$3,000,000||$19,472,057||$19,472,057|||
|7. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood||May 13, 1988||$2,800,000||$19,170,001||$19,170,001|||
|8. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan||July 28, 1989||$5,000,000||$14,343,976||$14,343,976|||
|9. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday||August 13, 1993||$3,000,000||$15,935,068||$15,935,068|||
|10. Jason X||April 26, 2002||$14,000,000||$13,121,555||$3,830,243||$16,951,798|||
|11. Freddy vs. Jason||August 15, 2003||$25,000,000||$82,622,655||$32,286,175||$114,908,830|||
|12. Friday the 13th (2009)||February 13, 2009||$19,000,000||$65,002,019||$26,377,032||$91,379,051|||
In an interview, producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form expressed an interest in doing a second Friday the 13th film, citing the enjoyment they had working on the 2009 reboot. On October 1, 2009, Warner Bros. announced that they plan to release the Friday the 13th sequel on August 13, 2010. Subsequently, Warner Bros. announced on December 10, 2009, that the sequel had been pulled from the August 13 release slot and is now listed as "TBD" (To Be Determined). Currently, Damian Shannon and Mark Swift are penning the sequel.
On September 28, 1987, Paramount began airing Friday the 13th: The Series, a television series that focuses on two cousins' attempts to recover cursed antiques that were sold from a shop they inherited from their uncle. The show starred John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion and Louise Robey as Michelle Foster. It was created by Frank Mancuso, Jr. and Larry B. Williams originally under the title of The 13th Hour; the series ran for 72 episodes. Mancuso, Jr. never intended to link the television show directly to the film series, but utilize "the idea of Friday the 13th, which is that it symbolizes bad luck and curses". The creators wanted to tie-in Jason's trademark hockey mask to the series, but the idea was discarded so that the show could have a chance to exist on its own. Mancuso, Jr. was afraid that mentioning any events from the films would take the audience away from "the new world that we were trying to create". The decision to name the show Friday the 13th, over the original title, was made because Mancuso, Jr. believed a "Friday the 13th" moniker would better help to sell the show to networks. Filming took place in Toronto, Canada. Friday the 13th: The Series aired in first-run syndication, initially in a late-night spot; the success of the series as a late-night show prompted some broadcasting stations to move it to primetime. Produced on a budget estimated below $500,000 per episode, the first season placed second in the male 18 to 49 year old demographic, just behind Paramount's Star Trek: The Next Generation. In addition, the first season placed fifth in the female 18 to 49 year old demographic.
In September 2003, during a panel session at the Maniafest convention, Sean S. Cunningham spoke about the possibility of bringing Friday the 13th to television, with the series focusing on a group of teenagers living in the Crystal Lake area. On October 22, 2005, Cunningham discussed the potential series further. He explained that the idea was to call the series Crystal Lake Chronicles, and "set [it] in a town with all this Jason history". The series would focus more on "coming-of-age issues", in a similar style to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson's Creek, and Smallville, with Jason as more of a recurring "background" character.
|"I couldn't believe it. He started writing this book with low expectations, but a few pages in, he was already enjoying himself. He'd found a way to tell the story in his own interesting way - with his own imprint - and he wrote the book in less than a week. Dad never wrote a book that he didn't like."|
|— David Avallone on his father's experience writing Friday the 13th Part 3|
Six of the eleven films have been adapted into novels—Friday the 13th 1 - 3, Jason Lives, Jason X and Freddy vs. Jason—with Friday the 13th Part 3 having been adapted twice. The first novel was Michael Avallone’s 1982 adaptation of Friday the 13th Part 3; Avallone had previously adapted Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Shock Treatment. The author chose to use an alternate ending, one that was filmed for Part 3 but never used, as the conclusion for his adaptation. In the alternate ending, Chris, who is in a canoe, hears her boyfriend Rick's voice and immediately runs back to the house. When she opens the door, Jason is standing there with a machete and proceeds to decapitate her. The next book was not published until 1986, when Simon Hawke adapted Jason Lives; Hawke would also adapt the first three films into novels. His adaptation of the original Friday the 13th was published in 1987, with novelizations of Part 2 & 3 both being published in 1988. Hawke’s first adaptation, Jason Lives, introduced the character of Elias Voorhees, Jason's father, who was supposed to appear in the film before being cut by the studio. The book explains how Elias has Jason’s body buried, instead of the planned cremation, after his death in The Final Chapter.
In 1994, four young adult novels were released under the title of Friday the 13th. These stories focused on different people finding Jason's mask and becoming possessed by his spirit, but the actual character did not appear in the novels. In 2003 and 2005, Black Flame published novelizations of Freddy vs. Jason and Jason X, respectively. After the release of the Jason X novel, Black Flame began publishing two series of novels; one set was published under the Jason X title, while the second set used the Friday the 13th moniker. The Jason X series consisted of four sequels to the 2005 adaptation. The first to be published was Jason X: The Experiment, which saw the government attempt to exploit Jason’s indestructibility to create an army of "super soldiers". The second novel, Planet of the Beast, follows the efforts of Dr. Bardox and his crew as they try to clone a comatose Jason, as well as their efforts to stay alive when Jason awakens. Death Moon revolves around Jason crash-landing at Moon Camp Americana, while the final novel, To The Third Power, is about the discovery of a Jason clone underneath a prison.
The Friday the 13th series of novels are not connected to the Jason X series, and do not continue any story set forth previously by the films. Instead, each novel developed the character of Jason in its own way. Friday the 13th: Church of the Divine Psychopath has Jason resurrected by a religious cult. In Friday the 13th: Hell Lake, a recently executed serial killer, Wayne Sanchez, persuades Jason to help him escape back to the real world. In Hate-Kill-Repeat, two religious serial killers attempt to find Jason at Crystal Lake, believing that the three of them share the same contempt for those that break the moral code. The Jason Strain places Jason on an island with a group of death row convicts—placed there by television executives running a reality game show—while a scientist attempts to create an age-retarding "super drug" from Jason's DNA. Instead, she creates a virus that reanimates the dead into zombies. The character of Pamela Voorhees returns from the grave in Carnival of Maniacs. Pamela searches for Jason, who is now part of a traveling sideshow and about to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Since New Line Cinema's acquisition of the franchise, several Friday the 13th comic books have been published by Topps Comics, Avatar Press, and DC Comics imprint Wildstorm. The first comic book release for the franchise was the 1993 Topps Comics adaptation of Jason Goes to Hell, which was written by Andy Mangels. The three-issue series was a condensed version of the film, with a few added scenes that were not originally part of Jason Goes to Hell. Topps Comics published another series in 1995, with Nancy A. Collins writing a 3 issue, non-canonical miniseries involving a crossover between Jason and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Leatherface. The story involves Jason stowing away aboard a train and eventually meeting Leatherface. The two initially become friends, with Leatherface adopting Jason into the former’s family. After a series of misunderstandings, Jason and Leatherface turn on each other.
On May 13, 2005, New Line exercised their rights to use the Friday the 13th moniker for the first time when they, along with Avatar comics, released a special issue of Friday the 13th. Written by Brian Pulido and illustrated by Mike Wolfer and Greg Waller, the story takes place after the events of Freddy vs. Jason, where siblings Miles and Laura Upland inherit Camp Crystal Lake. Knowing that Jason caused the recent destruction, Laura, unknown to her brother, sets out to kill Jason with a paramilitary group, so that she and her brother can sell the property. The issue pre-sold more than 17,500 copies. Avatar released a three-issue miniseries titled Friday the 13th: Bloodbath in September 2005. The series was written by Brian Pulido and illustrated by Mike Wolfer and Andrew Dalhouse, and revolves around a group of teenagers who come to Camp Tomorrow, a camp that sits on Crystal Lake, for work and a "party-filled weekend". The teenagers begin to discover they share common family backgrounds and soon awaken Jason who proceeds to kill them. Brian Pulido returned for a third time in October 2005 to write another special issue for Avatar, titled Jason X. Picking up after the events of the Jason X film, Jason is now on Earth 2 where a biological-engineer, Kristen, attempts to subdue him in hopes that she can use his regenerative tissue to save her own life and the life of those she loves. In February 2006, Avatar published their final Friday the 13th comic, a two-issue miniseries titled Friday the 13th: Jason vs. Jason X. The series was written and illustrated by Mike Wolfer. The story takes place after the events of the film Jason X, where a salvage team discovers the spaceship Grendel and awakens a regenerated Jason Voorhees. The "original" Jason and Über-Jason, a version of Jason with mechanical limbs, are drawn into a battle to the death. In June 2006, a one-shot comic titled Friday the 13th: Fearbook was released, written by Mike Wolfer with art by Sebastian Fiumara. In the comic, Jason is captured and experimented upon by the Trent Organization; Jason escapes and seeks out Violet, the survivor of Friday the 13th: Bloodbath, and whom the Trent Organization is holding in their Crystal Lake headquarters.
In December 2006, Wildstorm began publishing its own series of comic books under the Friday the 13th title. The first set was a six-issue miniseries that involves Jason's return to Crystal Lake, a lone survivor's tale of the murder of her friends by a monster, a new revelation about the evil surrounding Crystal Lake, and the truth of what Jason embodies. The miniseries pre-sold approximately 60,318 copies altogether, with each issues pre-selling 15,800, 9,600, 8,964, 8,637, 8,715, and 8,602 copies, respectively. On July 11 and August 15, 2007, Wildstorm published a two part special titled Friday the 13th: Pamela's Tale. The two issue comic book covers Pamela Voorhees' journey to Camp Crystal Lake and the story of her pregnancy with Jason as she recounts it to hitchhiker Annie, a camp counselor who is killed in the original film. The miniseries pre-sold a combined 16,051 copies.
|"I did about a thirty page treatment for the potential sequel, turned it in, and they all backed it. […] After some time passed and the Ash thing had gone away […] the New Line licensing guys started talking about doing it as a comic book. […] while I was at New Line […] I was trying to encourage it along as best I could, knowing [the comic] was the only way it was going to see the light of day."|
|— Jeff Katz on how the Freddy vs. Jason sequel became a comic|
Wildstorm released another comic book special, titled Friday the 13th: How I Spent My Summer Vacation, consisting of two issues that were released on September 12 and October 10, 2007. The comic book provides insight into the psychology of Jason Voorhees as he befriends a boy born with a skull deformity. The first issue of How I Spent My Summer Vacation pre-sold approximately 7,837 copies. Wildstorm released a six issue sequel to Freddy vs. Jason, titled Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, starring the two aforementioned killers and Ash from the Evil Dead film series. The story focuses on Freddy using the Necronomicon, which is in the basement of the Voorhees home, to escape from Jason's subconscious and "gain powers unlike anything he’s had before". Freddy attempts to use Jason to retrieve the book, but Ash, who is working at the local S-Mart in Crystal Lake, learns of the book's existence and sets out to destroy it once and for all. The story, by Jeff Katz, was a sequel to the Freddy vs. Jason film in development before the former film had been theatrically released. After meeting with executives the negotiations ended and the story was shelved. Following the success of Freddy vs. Jason the idea of including Ash was brought up again, but New Line ultimately decided they would put the story in comic book form, and bring in James Kuhoric and Jason Craig to write and do the artwork, respectively. On January 9 and February 13, 2008, Wildstorm released another two-issue miniseries, titled Friday the 13th: Bad Land, which was written and illustrated by Ron Marz and Mike Huddleston, respectively. The series explores the history of Crystal Lake before Pamela and Jason Voorhees arrived. Bad Land takes place in two time frames, the "present day" and 250 years before "present day". It follows three hikers in the present and three fur trappers in the past, each of whom is snowed in by a blizzard at Crystal Lake. Each group experiences similar events, suggesting that there is a connection between the two groups. A one-shot comic, titled Friday the 13th: Abuser and the Abused, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov with artwork by Andy B., was released on April 30, 2008. The story involves a teenager named Maggie tricking her abusive boyfriend into travelling Crystal Lake, where she plans to murder him, only to encounter Jason shortly after arriving at the camp. On June 24, 2009, the six-issue sequel to Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, subtitled The Nightmare Warriors, began. Written by Jeff Katz and James Kuhoric and illustrated by Jason Craig the miniseries has Ash and survivors of both Freddy and Jason banding together to defeat the two after Freddy is released from the world of the Deadites by government operatives who had discovered the Necronomicon.
There have been two documentary books released chronicling the making of the Friday the 13th films. In February 2005, FAB Press published their book containing interviews with the cast and crew of the Friday the 13th series of films. Making Friday the 13th: The Legend of Camp Blood is a comprehensive book detailing the creation of the Friday the 13th films. It was written by David Grove, a film journalist who has written for Fangoria, Cinefantastique, and various other British magazines. Grove interviewed over 100 "key personnel involved in making the films" to collect "detailed production histories of each of the eleven films", as well as interviews with other film professionals, such as Wes Craven. Grove's book also includes previously unseen production photos, which were acquired from private collections.
Eight months after the release of Grove's book, Titan Books, in association with Sparkplug Press, released a detailed history on the Friday the 13th series of its own. Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th by Peter M. Bracke was released on October 24, 2005. The book chronicles the creation of the series up to the release of Freddy vs. Jason. Bracke spent three years researching the series and collecting more than 200 interviews from the cast and crew of each of the films. Bracke's extensive work for the book prompted Sean S. Cunningham to provide a foreword. Crystal Lake Memories also includes images that had not been previously released to the public, as well as storyboards, concept art, and publicity material. A private party was held on October 22, 2005 at Universal Studios CityWalk Hollywood for the book's premiere.
A documentary film, titled His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th, was released in February 2009. The film was directed by Daniel Farrands, who wrote the film Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, as well as a documentary on The Amityville Horror. The film was broadcast on the Starz television channel the first week of February; afterward, it was released on DVD on February 3, 2009. The documentary is hosted by special make-up effects artist Tom Savini, who interviews the cast and crew members of each of the Friday the 13th films, asking them questions on how and why they made the choices they did during filming. It also features interviews with journalists and other filmmakers who offer their opinion of the series.
In addition to the films, television series, and various literature based on the Friday the 13th franchise, there are over one hundred licensed products that have grossed more than $125 million in revenue. In May 1986, Domark released a Friday the 13th game for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum. The plot involved the player picking a "sanctuary" on a map, and then trying to persuade other teenagers to go hide there; Jason is "disguised as a friend" in the game, until he decides to attack the player. Three years later, LJN developed a game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. In the 2000s, Xendex developed their own Friday the 13th game, this time for mobile phones. In the game, the player takes the role of one of the staff members at Camp Crystal Lake; while the staff is preparing the camp for its first summer weekend an "unknown stalker" begins murdering each of them. The player must discover the truth and escape the camp alive. There was also a Friday the 13th board game released in the United Kingdom, which contained "blood capsules that you crunch in your mouth to create home-made special effects".
Over the years, the characters of Friday the 13th have been marketed under various toy lines. In 1988, Screamin' toys produced a model kit of Jason Voorhees. Six years later, Screamin' toys issued a second model kit based on Jason's appearance in Jason Goes to Hell. Both kits are no longer in production. In 1998, as part of McFarlane Toys's Movie Maniacs 1 collection, a figure of Jason from Jason Goes to Hell was released. Jason was one of the three most popular figures sold from Movie Maniacs 1 collection, the other two were Freddy Krueger and Leatherface. The following year, a six-inch (152 mm) scale model of Jason and Freddy in a glass display case was released by MacFarlane Toys. In 2002, as part of its Movie Maniacs 5 collection, McFarlane released a model of Über-Jason from Jason X. McFarlane did not release another Friday the 13th collectable until November 2006, when a 3-dimensional movie poster was released. Since 2002, there has been a steady production of action figures, dolls, and statuettes, with more merchandise tying into the film Freddy vs. Jason.
Apart from video games and toys, the series has also seen the release of its films’ soundtracks, which consist of the musical score created by Harry Manfredini and Fred Mollin. In 1982, Gramavision Records released a LP album of selected pieces of music from the first three films.
In December 2006, IGN ranked the top 25 film franchises, and Friday the 13th came in at # 7. Qualifications include: the franchise must have at least three films released before December 2006; the franchises must be either a commercial or artistic success; the franchise must have some form of impact on popular culture. Three senior editors, the Editor-In-Chief, and IGN's Entertainment Editorial Manager judged the various film franchises. Commenting on Friday the 13th's seventh place ranking, the general consensus among the reviewers was that even though the Halloween franchise started the slasher genre, Friday the 13th became one of "the most influential franchises of the 1980s" and that its commercial success through eleven films, novelizations, comic books, and other collectables is proof of its legacy. ABC Online's Arts and Entertainment reporter, Gary Kemble makes note of the popularity of the franchise through both popular culture and with its fans. Kemble points out that Jason's mask, which was not adopted until the third film in the series, is one of the most widely recognizable images in popular culture. Talking with Brenna O'Brien, co-founder of the Fridaythe13thfilms.com website, the pair discuss how the fan base of the franchise has become so impassioned with the series that they have created a long list of fan-made films, their own full latex body suits crafted to emulate Jason's appearance, and tattoos of Jason and the Friday the 13th moniker on their body.
|"Everybody in the audience imitated hoot-owls and hyenas. Another girl [in the film] went to her room and started to undress. Five guys sitting together [in the theater] started a chant: 'We want boobs!'"|
|— Karnick believes that this excerpt from Ebert's review of Friday the 13th Part 2 shows how critics have misunderstood the point the Friday films have tried to make.|
S. T. Karnick, editor of American Culture, wrote an article for the National Review detailing the impact Friday the 13th has had on the slasher genre, and noted that the reasons critics have deplored the films are the same reasons why the franchise has had such a strong influence. Karnick explained that Friday the 13th did not try and recreate the same "clever" film that John Carpenter made in 1978, but instead "[codified] the formula" of Halloween, and "[boiled] it down to its essentials" so that it could be copied by other filmmakers. In his assessment, Friday the 13th changed the horror genre by purposefully not providing back-stories for characters, so that when the audience witnesses a character’s death they are "strangely unaffected." Instead, Friday focuses on the history and motivations of the killer, who would exact revenge not on the people directly responsible, but on innocent people — a formula Karnick notes was replicated in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child's Play, Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Saw, the Hannibal Lecter films, and the Halloween sequels. As Karnick sees it, "these films spoke directly to fears of increasing crime and social dislocation [and] provided audiences with ways to detach from these worries and conquer their fears of violence by laughing at it."
In Karnick's eyes, contemporary critics have failed to see how the film has affected audiences, and subsequently branded the film series as "both irresponsible (for numbing audiences to violence) and puritanical (for showing the murders of sexually active teens)". Quoting director John Carpenter, Karnick emphasized that "teens thus dispatched became victims not as punishment for sexual activity but simply because they were too preoccupied to notice the presence of a murderer". Pointing to Roger Ebert as a prime example of how critics have misunderstood the films, Ebert wrote that during a screening of Friday the 13th Part 2 he noticed that the audience had no sympathy for the victims, and cheered during death scenes. Karnick explains that Ebert's remarks show how the film series forces "audiences to experience the very thing that motivates the murders: a lack of compassion". In closing, Karnick suggested that these films were not puritanical, but proved the audiences "could be just as indifferent and callous as the characters in the films".