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13 Stars of Friday the 13th
Notable careers owed to Jason Voorhees
By Martin McFriend
February 12, 2009
While words like Friday the 13th, Jason Voorhees and Camp Crystal Lake are by now synonymous with the horror genre in all but a few dark caves around the world, the cast, crew and creators behind this legendary slasher sub-universe are considerably less well-known. Quick quiz: name five famous people involved at any level of the mega-popular franchise? Admit it, unless you’re a serious geek, you failed. Don’t feel too bad, though. The Friday series is buoyed by a murderous freak in a hockey mask—not exactly People’s 50 Most Beautiful material. But the list of names and talent playing influential roles in the 12 films, television series and pabulum of paraphernalia is more distinguished than you might think. Here we bring you the 13 biggest stars of Friday the 13th and we guarantee you didn’t know all of them.
13. The Name: Wes Craven
The Episode: Freddy vs. Jason
The Role: Writer
The 411: Ok, so this one’s kind of a cheapie. Legendary horror auteur Wes Craven never had much to do with the ‘Friday’ film series until fanboy interest spawned a gimmicky franchise crossover between Jason and Craven’s own iconic villain, Freddy Krueger of Nightmare on Elm Street fame. But well before 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason hit screens, original Friday the 13th producer-director Sean Cunningham cut his horror chops working with Craven on Last House on the Left. Sometimes, the greats of the horror genre run together thick as thieves.
12. The Name: Kane Hodder
The Episodes: Parts VII, VIII, IX, X
The Role: Stuntman/Jason Voorhees
The 411: While not exactly a household name, Hodder’s been around the industry block for more than just a spin. The only man to play Jason more than once, Hodder has built a Hollywood reputation as a throwback-style tough guy. He served as stunt coordinator for The Devil’s Rejects, Enemy of the State, Spawn and Se7en, to name a few, and added to his bloodthirsty bad guy repertoire with turns as Victor Crowley in Hatchet and the title role in Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield. Did we mention he donned the Leatherface mask in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3? Hodder, who has the word “KILL” tattooed inside his lip, once nearly burned to death filming a stunt scene. Damn.
11. The Name: Corey Feldman
The Episodes: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, cameo in parts V and VI
The Role: Tommy Jarvis
The 411: Feldman, whose name is typically invoked these days only in connection with some sort of joke or “where are they now” story, holds the honorable distinction of playing a character who actually killed Jason twice. Suspend your disbelief and pretend for a second that Jason can actually die. While also playing one of the few characters never killed by Jason (more bonus points), half of Corey squared gave other famous genre performances in ‘80s classics The Goonies and Lost Boys.
10. The Name: Tony Goldwyn
The Episode: Part VI: Jason Lives
The Role: Darren
The 411: Best known for roles in Ghost and The Last Samurai, as well as providing the voice for Disney’s Tarzan, Goldwyn makes the list based on face recognition and pedigree. Despite being the grandson of Silver Screen legend Samuel Goldwyn, Tony gained notoriety primarily as a character actor. Tell someone Tony Goldwyn’s name is attached to your script and you’re likely to get a confused look. But show them his head shot and they’ll take you seriously. Because Goldwyn plays an arrogant prick in most of his films, fans will be happy to see him violently skewered with a spear early in the sixth ‘Friday’ film.
9. The Name: Sarah Polley
The Episode: Friday the13th: The Series
The Role: A wicked stepdaughter in Season One
The 411: Many Friday the 13th fans immediately cry foul when they see the 1980s TV series mentioned in connection with the motion picture franchise. Well, let them. They can’t change the fact that the show was created by Frank Mancuso Jr. after he’d finished producing five of the movies of the same name. Sprinkle in several thematic overlaps and a slew of cast and crew who worked on both productions and, ladies and gentlemen, you have relatives in the same family tree. In any case, Polley is a talented young actor-writer-director and no stranger to horror, with roles in Existenz and Dawn of the Dead (2004) to prove it.
8. The Name: Michael Bay
The Episode: Friday the 13th (2009)
The Role: Producer
The 411: Judging by the marketing hype machine behind this anticipated remake, few will be shocked to see Michael Bay’s name here. The powerhouse producer-director behind popcorn action classics such as Bad Boys, Armageddon, Transformers and Pearl Harbor, Bay resurrected Jason in the hopes that the Crystal Lake mythos still holds some cache for today’s teen audience. If nothing else, Bay’s version lends a dash of studio spectacle and Tinsel Town hoopla to a big-screen saga fashioned in the tradition of low-budget schlock.
7. The Name: Crispin Glover
The Episode: Part IV: The Final Chapter
The Role: Jimmy
The 411: Aside from playing the token weirdo in dozens of movies over a 30-year career, Crispin Glover has a prolific entertainment resume, acting, writing, directing and scoring movies, while also managing to record one of the most bizarre and terrible albums in modern history. Immortalized by his role as George McFly in the Back to the Future series, Glover also warrants props for drug-fueled, unscripted hysterics on the set of The Late Show with David Letterman (hit that up on Youtube if you haven’t seen it). But before any of that nonsense, Glover did a fine job of taking a meat cleaver the face courtesy of that crazy Voorhees guy.
6. The Name: Tom Savini
The Episode: Parts I and IV
The Role: Makeup and Special Effects
The 411: A certified makeup and special effects wizard, Tom Savini has become nearly as popular for roles in front of the camera as he has for an impressive body of work off screen. While his performance as Sex Machine in From Dusk ‘Til Dawn stands as arguably the most memorable, Savini is high in the running for actor with the most all-time roles portraying a zombie. Parts in several George Romero movies, Creepshow and Planet Terror boost his undead street cred. But when the cards are finally counted, fans of the horror genre will most often pay homage to Savini’s gift for gore, demonstrated brilliantly in horror franchises ranging from the Living Dead series to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
5. The Name: Miguel A. Núñez Jr.
The Episode: Part V: The New Beginning
The Role: Demon
The 411: All things being equal, Miguel Nunez deserves a spot on this list for being the only actor bold enough to take on the role of, apologies in advance, Juwanna Mann. Yes, Mania is taking some journalistic liberties with this selection, but in truth, Nunez has put together a pretty decent Hollywood body of work. With notable parts in Return of the Living Dead, Street Fighter and Scooby Doo, he hasn’t shied away from the genre since getting a career jumpstart in the fifth Friday the 13th episode. Judging by the success of his most famous lead role, he might want to consider auditioning for a part in the next remake.
4. The Name: Kelly Hu
The Episode: Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
The Role: Eva Watanabe
The 411: Getting strangled by Jason did wonders for Kelly Hu’s acting career. After toiling in relative TV obscurity for much of the 90s—playing running characters on Nash Bridges and Sunset Beach—Hu rose to prominence starring as femme fatales in big budget hits The Scorpion King and X2: X-Men United. In recent years, the former Miss Teen USA has graced the screen on CSI: New York and Law and Order: SVU. Her leading roles in action and adventure films, along with real life karate skills, make Hu a safe bet to show up in plenty of genre mayhem to come.
3. The Name: Kevin Bacon
The Episode: Part I
The Role: Jack
The 411: Kevin Bacon already had one big performance in Animal House under his belt before playing a sex-crazed teen camp counselor who pays for his lust with a spear through the neck in the first ‘Friday.’ But this early gem in a long and lustrous career is often obscured by Bacon’s ensuing work, which brought him to A-List status through too many good movies to mention. While most often associated with dramatic films like Apollo 13, A Few Good Men and Murder in the First, Bacon’s work on the horror scene cannot be underestimated. Flatliners, Stir of Echoes and the incomparable cult favorite Tremors serve as testimony to this fact (let’s pretend Hollow Man didn’t happen). Remember to use this knowledge the next time you play “6 Degrees of.”
2. The Name: Stan Winston
The Episode: Part III
The Role: Makeup Artist
The 411: The late, great Stan Winston, high priest of modern movie makeup and special effects, was a little known ingredient in the success of the Jason franchise, after doing makeup on the third chapter without ever receiving an official credit for it. You probably already knew about Winston’s work creating iconic images in The Terminator, Edward Scissorhands, James Cameron’s Aliens and The Predator, among scores of other classics. But now you can tell your friends that the ultimate creature-feature visionary also played an instrumental part in creating the Jason Voorhees we know and love today. After all, it wasn’t until part three—where Winston worked his magic—that Jason first debuted the hockey mask, and made movie history.
1. The Name: David Cronenberg
The Episode: Jason X
The Role: Dr. Wimmer
The 411: Even I was surprised to learn that Cronenberg, brain trust behind The Fly, The Brood, Rabid, Scanners and The Dead Zone, made a discreet cameo in Jason X. One would think that this indisputable legend of sci-fi and the macabre, often known as the “king of venereal horror,” would have bigger projects on his plate than playing bit parts in B-movie horror sequels. But that’s exactly what makes this role cool—with all his success, Cronenberg still demonstrates a childlike passion for an old-fashioned grind house feature, and an appreciation for the F13 franchise. Cronenberg is rewarded for his zeal when his character, Dr. Wimmer, is unceremoniously impaled by a spike.