Friday the 13th is a hallmark of modern horror, with its star character, Jason Voorhees, the avatar of slasher movies. Over the decades, several stunt performers and actors have portrayed the hockey mask-wearing killer behemoth. However, a few of those men stand above the rest.
5. Richard Brooker, Friday the 13th’s 3-D Jason
Richard Brooker only played Jason in 1982’s Friday the 13th Part III. However, his turn wearing the hockey mask is a cornerstone filled with hallmarks. Brooker is the first performer to embody Jason with a hulking sense of strength, and the first to actually wear the iconic hockey mask (he wore a bag on his head in part 2). Finally, the film was presented in 3-D, making the inventive kills and site gags memorable.
4. C.J. Graham, Jason Lives!
In Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, C.J. Graham plays the iconic killer. This installment features a transformed undead Jason who relentlessly stalks his victims with a zombie-like presence. Unlike previous portrayals, the film fully explores Jason’s undead nature, adding an extra layer of terror as he hunts for his next victim. Of course, Graham’s mannerisms and more calculated movements would be picked up by future performers.
3. Derek Mears, the Reboot Jason
The Friday: the 13th 2009 remake is slowly earning more fans over the years. This is partially due to Derek Mears truly inhabiting the role. Mears’ take on the character is fiercely athletic, a juggernaut that can’t be stopped. Jason exhibits a newfound level of malevolence as he torments his victims, devises intricate traps, and methodically targets the individuals at Camp Crystal Lake. Not only does Derek Mears portray Jason as a formidable killer, but he also captures the essence of a relentless stalker who actively schemes the demise of those unfortunate enough to cross his path.
2. Kane Hodder, Friday the 13th Part VII through Jason X
Actor and stuntman Kane Hodder has the honor of playing Jason Voorhees the most number of times. In his four adventures as Jason, he journeyed from Camp Crystal Lake to the bustling streets of Manhattan and even ventured into the depths of space. Hodder built on previous performances, adding character beats like deep breathing and head movements. Some of the most iconic Jason moments are with Hodder, such as Jason kicking a group of punks’ annoyingly loud boom box. Hodder further endeared himself to fans by being a frequent guest at horror conventions.
1. Ted White, the Veteran Stuntman torments Corey Feldman
By 1984’s Friday the 13th part IV, Ted White was already a seasoned stuntman. He had doubled for the likes of John Wayne and Clark Gable. His stunt work is stellar (Jason crashes through a lot of doors and windows here). However, his naturally imposing nature really sets him apart. White stood around six foot five (dwarfing the mere six foot Kane Hodder). When White’s Jason torments his victims (particularly a pre-Goonies Corey Feldman), he’s impossibly imposing.
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