- Jason Voorhees is one of those iconic horror movie figures that is always present during the Halloween season. But with the Friday the 13th franchise beginning in 1980, there are a lot of versions of the killer out there. From his early and less famous looks to a more grotesque version to even a futuristic take on the character, there is a lot of debate as to which Jason Voorhees look is the best.
Though possessing an iconic look, no other slasher villain has gone through as many revisions as Jason Voorhees. Appearing as a drowned boy in his first film, a sack-headed hillbilly in his second, and eventually becoming a hockey-masked brawler as time went on, as the character has evolved, so has his look–leading to a bevy of diverse and interesting visual interpretations of the character.
Of course, not every costume is created equal, and some of Jason’s looks are less impressive than others.
Updated on October 13, 2022 by Colin McCormick:
Jason Voorhees is one of those iconic horror movie figures that is always present during the Halloween season. But with the Friday the 13th franchise beginning in 1980, there are a lot of versions of the killer out there. From his early and less famous looks to a more grotesque version to even a futuristic take on the character, there is a lot of debate as to which Jason Voorhees look is the best.
12/12 Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
There are some fans who would perhaps take issue with including Friday the 13th: A New Beginning as it is not actually Jason Voorhees in the movie. The movie follows a group of victims being targeted by an unknown killer taking inspiration from Jason.
Similar to the first movie, most of these kills are done without showing who the killer is, meaning that fans don’t get a good look at the fake Jason until the end. His lack of screen time, the fact that it isn’t the real Jason, and replacing the red markings on the mask with blue ones makes it all feel like a cheap knockoff.
11/12 Friday the 13th (1980)
It’s unfortunate that the original Jason is such a visual flop, but the jump scare that introduced him is far more effective than the look itself.
The makeup and prosthetic work by Tom Savini are top-notch, and kid Jason is a big reason the series got a second entry to begin with. But the appearance is incredibly brief, and nearly every other iteration of Jason’s look is more iconic than this entry. However, even if it was before the time that he became an iconic masked killer in horror movies, it is a memorable look.
10/12 Jason X (2002)
Taking Jason into space was an unexpected turn for the franchise and created this so-bad-it’s-good horror movie. Jason X finds the titular killer taken out of Camp Crystal Lake after being frozen and discovered in the distant future. After being brought back to life, he gets a futuristic makeover.
Uber Jason is quite cool, but he really just doesn’t feel like Jason. For many, Jason X is the absolute bottom of the franchise barrel, and though this is an awesomely designed metallic mutant, both the film and the look lack the appeal of the character and the series as a whole.
9/12 Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
As it turns out, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter was far from the final movie in the franchise. But this fourth installment became a fan favorite as the movie that really solidified the Friday the 13th template.
Fittingly for a generically “good” entry that lacks some of the charms and wild eccentricities of the series’ most idiosyncratic chapters, Jason’s costume design here is nothing special despite it being one of the most easily recognizable versions of the character.
8/12 Friday the 13th: Part VI – Jason Lives (1986)
The film that introduced the audience to a re-animated, zombified version of the character was also his return after the A New Beginning‘s fake Jason debacle.
Though a cut above his appearance in the previous two entries, there’s something a tad too utilitarian about his look here, as he looks more liable to get to work landscaping rather than committing serial murder. At least his increasingly rotted flesh and use of a fence spike as a spear earn extra points.
7/12 Friday the 13th: Part 3 (1982)
The first film in which Jason dons a hockey mask also gets points for containing the scariest version of the Friday the 13th unmasking scene. When Jason reaches out to the final girl Chris in the film’s closing minutes–a cruel smile lighting up his freaky visage–it’s one of the few moments in the entire series of films that the character can still elicit chills from the contemporary viewer.
Aside from presenting the hitherto lanky Jason as something more hulking, the overall costume is nothing to write home about, but Part 3 was a game changer that made a hockey mask something to fear, which marks a major turning point for the character.
6/12 Friday the 13th (2009)
The somewhat unfairly panned Platinum Dunes remake of Friday the 13th re-imagined Jason as a lean, mean, survivalist machine with a new look to match.
Beginning the film with an updated sack-head and gaining the hockey mask about halfway through, this look doesn’t necessarily read as the iconic character that people know and love, but it’s slick, refined, and absolutely one of his better appearances.
5/12 Friday the 13th: Part VIII — Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Arguably one of the worst Friday the 13th entries also features Jason at his coolest. Covered in copious amounts of pond scum and decked out in a sleek, black leather jacket, this is an awesome and sharp take on the typically lumbering ragamuffin.
Unfortunately, Jason Takes Manhattan loses precious points for also having the absolute worst reveal of Jason’s bare face–a soggy-looking rotted skull visage that oozes green slime.
4/12 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
A look to annoy every purist, Jason Goes to Hell’s take on Crystal Lake’s infamous baddie is one of his most strange and underrated. Taking seeming inspiration from the cancerous evil of Jason, this version of the character has a lumpy, misshapen, tumorous face that’s literally consuming his mask.
The jumpsuit is fairly standard, and this is one of the character’s most divisive costumes, but for those who love it, it may be his best. The only con is that this is also the only film with a body-hopping Jason, so viewers don’t get to see enough of it.
3/12 Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981)
A look that’s both effective in its simplicity, and a peek at what might have been, Friday the 13th: Part 2 threw any sort of narrative sense out the window by presenting viewers with a totally alive, fully grown backwoods Jason in overalls and a one-eyed sack mask after his appearance as a dirty kid in the first film.
His unveiled face is just as effective, and though he’s a far cry from the Jason he’d become, this freakish hillbilly version of the character is masterful in its minimalism and shows where the series could have taken the character if the hockey mask hadn’t become so ubiquitous.
2/12 Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
With an idea that seemed so ridiculous at the time, it’s a surprise Freddy vs. Jason actually got made. The movie pits Jason against fellow slasher icon Freddy Krueger, resulting in one of the best villain vs. villain fights in movies.
The ultimate slasher smackdown/fan service vehicle presented viewers with the ultimate “classic” Jason look. A gentle visual re-imagining that maintains the spirit of the character while updating it for the early-2000s audience, this is likely the Jason anyone coming to the series post-80s remembers best, and rightly so.
1/12 Friday the 13th: Part VII — The New Blood (1988)
Jason’s best look also features his best unveiled face. Designers took a hint from Part 6’s watery conclusion to create a new costume for Jason that was distressed in all the right ways. With a tattered jacket and the chain with which he was tethered at the bottom of Crystal Lake left hanging around his neck, this Jason has been through hell and just looks more awesome because of it.
In one of the movie’s most iconic moments, Jason’s mask bursts open revealing a horrifyingly rotten visage, that, though not as unsettling as his face in Part 3, is likely the most impressively putrid the character has looked.
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