Original Friday the 13th writer Victor Miller may have created Jason Voorhees with his end of the movie stinger that is perhaps one of the best jump scares put to film but he has no love for how the films that followed treated the character. On Miller’s FAQ section, Miller details why he does not agree with the way the film’s sequels set up Jason as a villain rather than a victim.
“To be honest, I have not seen any of the sequels, but I have a major problem with all of them because they made Jason the villain. I still believe that the best part of my screenplay was the fact that a mother figure was the serial killer—working from a horribly twisted desire to avenge the senseless death of her son, Jason. Jason was dead from the very beginning. He was a victim, not a villain. But I took motherhood and turned it on its head and I think that was great fun. Mrs. Vorhees was the mother I’d always wanted—a mother who would have killed for her kids.”
The original Friday the 13th followed a group of camp counselors that are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which was the site of a child’s drowning and a grisly double murder years before. The drowning victim was a young Jason Voorhees and his mother Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) is the assailant that is seeking vengeance for the death of her child. At the last second of the original film, a new scene was added to the climax which sees a teenage Jason Voorhees bursting out of the lake to attack the main heroine. This moment was meant to be a dream and give the film one final jump scare, which was confirmed by the movie’s special effects supervisor, Tom Savini. Tom Savini goes on to say “The whole reason for the cliffhanger at the end was I had seen ‘Carrie’. So we thought we need a ‘chair jumper’ like that and I said, ‘Let’s bring in Jason.”
The tacked-on ending, which was intended to be a throwaway dream sequence, ending up determining the franchise moving forward. Defying all logic, Jason Voorhees went from being a drowning victim to a vengeful and unstoppable killer that embarks on his own crusade to punish the young and promiscuous counselors that inhabited Camp Crystal Lake. Miller had no say in the direction of the sequels so it’s easy to see why he would be aggrieved that the subsequent films would go completely against his intended intentions but the decision to make Jason into what we know him as today made a true horror icon and he made Paramount Pictures A LOT of money down the line.
Do YOU agree with Victor Miller’s opinion about Jason Voorhees?