Made for only $500,000 in 1980, Friday the 13th spawned the most famously ludicrous string of sequels in film history. Along the blood-soaked road to its ninth incarnation, the new Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, seven actors have played the indestructible hockey-masked killer Jason Voorhees. Here’s what all these Jasons have been up to since wrapping their freaky Fridays.
Ari Lehman, 28, Friday the 13th (1980)
How it all began: Jason, 12, drowns as a result of horny teenage camp counselors’ neglect, setting his mother on a rampage of senseless slaughter. Most memorable murder: A muck-covered Jason leaps out from burial under Crystal Lake and drags an unhappy camper down with him. Life after Jason: He immediately gave up acting and became a musician; he appeared in Reggae Sunsplash ’93 as the only American in a Nigerian group led by reggae singer Majek Fashek and now fronts Jungle Science, a fledgling African-progressive rock group. Musings: ”It’s comical to look back on, but I was 14 years old and really into acting. When I came to the set, I was Jason.”
Warrington Gillette, 33, Friday the 13th, Part 2 (1981)
The carnage continues: Jason puts his mother’s severed head on a table and collects the corpses of teenage victims to create a shrine to her. Most memorable murder: A tomahawk goes through the bodies of two fornicating youths. Life after Jason: Gillette did a thriller and some commercials, then became a Wall Street investment banker in 1986. He acts occasionally. Musings: His Friday turn-ons included a chance to jump through windows. Turn-offs: artificial teeth, six-hour makeup sessions, and all-night shooting.
Richard Brooker, 38, Friday the 13th, Part 3 (in 3-D) (1982)
The carnage continues: Nubile teenagers spend a weekend in the country and end up in the morgue; Jason wears a hockey mask over his disfigured face for the first time. Most memorable murder: An arrow flies through an eyeball. (Honorable mention: pitchfork in the stomach.) Life after Jason: Brooker costarred in Deathstalker, did soaps, then quit acting. Now he runs a Burbank, Calif., company — Brooker…Below the Line — that provides services including equipment and crews to movie studios and independent producers. Musings: ”The hardest thing was having to rely on acting for income. How many years are you gonna park cars until you realize it’s not gonna happen?” On sequels: ”I was told they were going to do up to 13.”
Ted White, 67, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (ahem) (1984)
The carnage continues: Jason escapes a hospital, butchers skinny-dippers and is killed by preteen Corey Feldman. Most memorable murder: Guy sees girlfriend slain, then gets his testicles crushed. Life after Jason: White’s 30-year career as a stuntman (he had doubled for Clark Gable in The Misfits) gave way to bit parts in big movies (Starman) and big parts in bit movies (Conagher), bringing his current total to 350. Musings: ”I didn’t know whether I wanted [the role of Jason] or not.” He eventually pulled his name from the credits and refused the part in future sequels.
Dick Wieand, 48, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
The carnage continues: Someone is killing members of a halfway house for — oh, really? — randy teenagers. Most memorable murder: A road flare in the mouth. Life after Jason: Wieand continues to act in commercials but says, ”I haven’t been up for a feature film for a while.” He is also an L.A. photographer, shooting stills for actors’ résumés. His clientele has included two Jasons (parts III and VI). Musings: ”It was just a part, nothing difficult. But it was a confusing story that didn’t turn out as well as I thought it would. They decided it should be more action-oriented. The first one is a nice picture, but it just got worse from there.”
C.J. Graham, 36, Friday the 13th, Part VI — Jason Lives (1986)
The carnage continues: This time he’s brought back from the dead to rip hearts out and save the series. Most memorable murder: One machete rips through two people on a motorcycle. Life after Jason: Graham acted in commercials and ran two L.A. nightclubs. Today he’s general manager of Las Vegas’ Holy Cow! Casino, Cafe, and Brewery, but he still flies to L.A. for auditions. Musings: ”For most actors in L.A., it’s their whole world. Doing Jason was fun, but I wasn’t really into acting.”
Kane Hodder, 38, Friday the 13th, Part VII — The New Blood (1988), Friday the 13th, Part VIII — Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
The carnage continues: Jason battles a telekinetic teen (VII), embarks on a slashing spree across Manhattan’s landmarks (VIII), and enters other bodies while fighting a bounty hunter (IX). Most memorable murders: A party favor gouged into an eye (VII); a drowning in a garbage can of green toxic slop (VIII). Life between Jasons: Hodder has also performed Leatherface’s stunts in Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and plays a villain in the upcoming Father Hood. Plus, after ”a number of lines,” Hodder gets killed in the upcoming Pumpkinhead II. Musings: ”It’s a perfect role for a stuntman. The more crazy I get, the more they love it. I thought Part VII was pretty good, but in Part IX the acting, the music, the directing — it’s a quality film.”