March 13, 2015

The Birth of Jason: the Inspiration Behind the Iconic Mask & the Title 'Friday the 13th'

Friday the 13th isn't just the most unlucky day on the Gregorian calendar, it's also the title of one of the most successful slasher film franchises ever made.

And as a person who goes a little batty and celebrates this day like it's her birthday (technically, it is sometimes) with horror movie marathons which always include at least one flick from the Friday the 13th series, I figured learning pretty much everything one possibly could about how the first film originated and gave birth to the rest would be a great way for me and my fellow horror trolls to commemorate a day that I consider way more scary than Halloween -- because there's no candy or 4-year-olds dressed up as Elsa or Iron Man or vampire zombie football players or vampire ghost witches. (Those last two came from the minds of my niece and nephew. Yeah, I was very proud.)

In this episode of The Insiders, host Sebastian Twardosz interviews Friday the 13th creator Sean S. Cunningham to talk about everything from  how the film started out as only a title to the creation of the infamous hockey mask.

If you're a little pressed for time or just want to skip to a topic that interests you specifically, The Insiders has provided a breakdown of the interview:

  • 00:30 -- Introducing Sean S. Cunningham.
  • 00:45 -- How Friday the 13th started as just a title.
  • 03:35 -- The making of Friday The 13th.
  • 06:00 -- Creating the soundscape of Friday The 13th.
  • 09:00 -- Expectations after releasing the film.
  • 11:15 -- What it’s like working with the same people on multiple projects.
  • 12:50 -- Creating the grudge match Freddy vs Jason.
  • 15:00 -- How did Jason Voorhees’ mask become part of the character?
  • 16:30 -- Cunningham’s change of heart and decision to not be a doctor.
  • 21:15 -- Raising funds before Kickstarter existed.
  • 22:05 -- Early film projects of Sean S. Cunningham.
  • 24:25 -- Bringing The Last House on the Left into being with Wes Craven.
  • 27:00 -- Kids sports films; Here Come the Tigers and Manny’s Orphans.
  • 30:50 -- Spring Break.
  • 33:50 -- House and My Boyfriend’s Back.
  • 37:00 -- Watching a screening of Alien with O.J. Simpson.

Not only dose Cunningham share information about how the franchise (originally not intending to be one) was formulated, but he shares some keen wisdom on filmmaking as well. For instance, he shares a story about when he first screened Friday the 13th for Wes Craven and was told that it was boring and slow. However, when he screened the final cut with all the audio, music, and sound effects added, reactions completely changed. Cunningham expresses how large of an impact the right soundtrack can make on how your viewers respond to your film emotionally.

Are you a fan of the Friday the 13th franchise? How are you celebrating Friday the 13th? Which movies should I include in my horror movie marathon tonight? (Halp!) Let us know in the comments below!     

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3 Comments

March 13, 2015 at 6:55PM, Edited March 13, 6:55PM

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Daniel Thoen
ne'er-do-well
265

If you really want to s#*t yourself? watch Paperhouse (1988).

March 15, 2015 at 9:37PM

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Awesome! Really enjoyed the intervew

March 17, 2015 at 1:33AM, Edited March 17, 1:33AM

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Facundo Rodrigo Campos
Wearer of Multiple Hats
342