Jason Voorhees is a fictional character and primary antagonist from the Friday the 13th series. He first appeared in Friday the 13th (1980) as the young son of camp cook-turned-murderer, Mrs. Voorhees, in which he was portrayed by Ari Lenham. Created by Victor Miller, with contributions by Ron Kurz, Sean S. Cunningham, and Tom Savini, Jason was not originally intended to carry the series as the main antagonist. The character has subsequently been represented in various other media, including novels, comic books, and a cross-over film with another iconic horror film character, Freddy Krueger. He was portrayed by Ken Hooder in all films (except for Friday the 13th Part II where the adult Jason is portrayed by stuntman Gary Howland), since Howland's death. As an child, Jason has been portrayed by Ari Lenham in the original film.
The character has primarily been an antagonist in the films, whether by stalking and killing the characters, or acting as a psychological threat to the lead character, as is the case in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Since Lehman's portrayal, the character has been represented by numerous actors and stuntmen, sometimes by more than one at a time; this has caused some controversy as to who should receive credit for the portrayal. Kane Hodder is the best known of the stuntmen to portray Jason Voorhees, having played the character in four consecutive films.
The character's physical appearance has gone through many transformations, with various special makeup effects artists making their mark on the character's design, including makeup artist Stan Winston. Tom Savini's initial design has been the basis for many of the later incarnations. The trademark hockey goalie mask did not appear until Friday the 13th Part III. Since Friday the 13th Part II, filmmakers have given Jason superhuman strength, regenerative powers, and near invulnerability. He has been seen as a sympathetic character, whose motivation for killing has been cited as being driven by the immoral actions of his victims and his own rage over having drowned as a child. Jason Voorhees has been featured in various humor magazines, referenced in feature films, parodied in television shows, and was the inspiration for a horror punk band. Several toy lines have been released based on various versions of the character from the Friday the 13th films. Jason Voorhees's hockey mask is a widely recognized image in popular culture.
Jason Voorhees first appears during a nightmare of the main character Alice (Adrienne King) in the original Friday the 13th film; he becomes the main antagonist of the series in its sequels. As well as the films, there have been books and comics that have either expanded the universe of Jason, or been based on a minor aspect of him.
Jason made his first cinematic appearance in the original Friday the 13th on May 9, 1980. Jason is not a killer in this film, but is seen in the memories of his mother, Mrs. Voorhees (Paula Shaw), and as a hallucination of the film's protagonist, Alice. Though the character is never truly seen, he propels the film's plot—Mrs. Voorhees, the cook at Camp Crystal Lake, seeks revenge for his death, which she blames on the camp counselors. Jason's second appearance was in the sequel, Friday the 13th Part 2 (1985). Revealed to be undead, an adult Jason exacts revenge on Alice for decapitating his mother in the original film. Jason (Gary Howland), returns to Crystal Lake, living there as a hermit and guarding it from all intruders. Five years later a group of teenagers arrive to set up a new camp, only to be murdered one by one by Jason, who wears a bag over his head to hide his face. Ginny (Amy Steel), the lone survivor, finds a cabin in the woods with a shrine built around the severed head of Mrs. Voorhees, and surrounded by mutilated corpses. Ginny fights back and slams a machete through Jason's shoulder. Jason is left for dead as Ginny is taken away in an ambulance. In Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Jason (Ken Hooder) is shown to be alive, and escapes to a nearby lake resort, Higgins Haven, to rest from his wounds. At the same time, Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell) returns to the property with some friends. An unmasked and reclusive Jason kills anyone who wanders into the barn where he is hiding. Taking a hockey mask from a victim to hide his face, he leaves the barn to kill the rest of the group. Chris fends off Jason by slamming an axe into his head, but the night's events drive her into hysteria as the police take her away.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1988) continues the story, with a dead Jason found by the police and taken to the morgue. Jason ressurects at the morgue and kills an attendant and a nurse, and makes his way back to Crystal Lake. A group of friends renting a house there fall victim to Jason's rampage. Jason then seeks out Trish (Kimberly Beck) and Tommy Jarvis (Alex Vincent) next door. While Trish distracts Jason, Tommy evidently kills him with his own machete. Jason's appearance in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1990) was short-lived. Tommy Jarvis was committed to a mental hospital after the events of The Final Chapter, and has grown up constantly afraid that Jason will return. Jason's body was supposedly cremated after Tommy killed him. Roy Burns (Hugo Weaving) uses Jason's persona to become a copycat killer at the halfway home to which Tommy was moved. Jason appears in the film only through Tommy's dreams and hallucinations. In Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1993), Tommy (Alex Vincent), released from a mental institution, visits Jason's grave and learns that Jason's body was never actually cremated, but buried in a cemetery near Crystal Lake. While attempting to destroy his body, Tommy inadvertently resurrects Jason, via a piece of cemetery fence that acts as a lightning rod. Now alive again, Jason returns to Crystal Lake, now renamed Forest Green, and begins his killing spree anew. Tommy eventually lures Jason back to the lake where he supposedly drowned as a child and chains him to a boulder on the lake floor, leaving him for dead.
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1994) begins an undisclosed amount of time after Jason Lives. Jason is freed from his chains by the telekinetic Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln), who was attempting to resurrect her father. Jason begins killing those who occupy Crystal Lake, and after a battle with Tina, is dragged back to the bottom of the lake by an apparition of Tina's father. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1995) sees Jason return from the grave, brought back to life via an underwater electrical cable. He follows Tommy Jarvis (Alex Vincent) and his friends to a class trip to Manhattan, boarding the Lazarus to wreak havoc. Upon reaching Manhattan, Jason kills all the survivors but Rennie, Tommy's teacher (Jensen Daggett) and the own Tommy; he chases them into the sewers, where he is transformed into a child by toxic waste. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1996) marked the second time Jason was officially killed according to studio canon. Through an unexplained resurrection, he returns to Crystal Lake, where he is hunted by the FBI. The FBI sets up a sting to kill Jason, which proves successful. Through mystical possession, however, Jason survives by passing his demon-infested heart from one being to the next. Though Jason does not physically appear throughout most of the film, it is learned he has a half-sister and a niece, and that he needs them to retrieve and reinhabit his body. After resurrecting it, Jason is stabbed by his niece Jessica Kimble (Kari Keegan) but not before killing Tommy, he is subsequently dragged into Hell. At the end of the film Jason's mask can be seen grasped by Freddy Kruger's bladed hand along with A sinister laugh. The ending is a teaser to Freddy vs Jason.
Set before the events of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Freddy vs. Jason (2000) is a crossover film in which Jason battles A Nightmare on Elm Street's villain Freddy Krueger (Brad Dourif), a supernatural killer who murders people in their dreams. Krueger has grown weak, as people in his home town of Springwood have suppressed their fear of him. Freddy, who is impersonating Jason's mother (Paula Shaw), resurrects Jason from Hell and sends him to Springwood to cause panic and fear. Jason accomplishes this, but refuses to stop killing. A battle ensues in both the dream world and Crystal Lake. The identity of the winner is left ambiguous, as Jason surfaces from the lake holding Freddy's severed head, which winks and laughs.