Dangling her fingers in the placid waters of Crystal Lake, internationally published author, poet, columnist, and “life long fanatic for the fantastic,” Calie Voorhis, thinks about her cousin, Jason. Although their last names are spelled differently (families do that sometimes.), she still loves her cousin.
Of being a fan of Jason, Voorhis says, “With my last name, there was no other choice.” Her friends and “peers” had spread the “mythology” of Jason from when she was 11 years old until she met him, which was when she was 13. “Given my total nerd status, Jason was used to torture me, until I turned the tables to my advantage,” she says. Voorhis has discussed this in a column she writes for Speculative Chic.
Slasher movies often find the audience cheering for the killer instead of the victims. Voorhis totally cheers for her cousin. She says, “Blood is thicker than water.” Part of her support of Jason is because she sees him as a sympathetic character. “He started out as an innocent, is unmercifully bullied and drowns as a result of people being assholes. Then he learns of his mother’s murder and sets out for revenge, which to me seems more than fair, as far as the morality of horror goes.” However, Voorhis takes umbrage with the original idea that Jason suffered from cognitive impairment. (Tom Savini has said Jason was a mongoloid, which for those unfamiliar with term, is an antiquated and offensive word for Down Syndrome.) “Tom Savini was responsible for creating the makeup of that version, which I always thought was a bit too easy. It bothered me then and it continues to bother me now – as a result I tend to feel more than a little bit protective of Jason and called upon to defend him,” she says and provides the link to an archived article from Fangoria.
Jason has changed over the decades. He has gone from being dead to a mortal and then to an immortal. Voorhis always thought of her cousin as being an immortal creature. “In my head, once he came back from the lake, he was already immortal, and it just took the writers and directors a while to figure that out for themselves.” She believes that his immortality is one of the things that has made Jason such an enduring creature. His ability to imbodied cultural fears has kept him vital as well. “[H]e’s generally seen as ‘other’ – the physical manifestation of a time period’s dread and subconscious,” she says and points out that Jason “manifests” all the “campfire tales” and “urban legends” of the time. His “quiet” nature allows every new cohort who encounters him to “project their campfire terrors upon him.” By being able to do this, Jason remains the ultimate boogie man.
Jason’s status as the ultimate boogie man can also be shown through his total kill count. Despite killing no one in the original Friday the Thirteenth (Spoiler Alert: His mom is the killer in the first movie.), he racks up more kills than Michael Myers, Freddy Kruger, and Chucky. He is the gold medalist in the Slasher Olympics. Everyone has their favorite Jason kills. Voorhis shares two of note. The first comes from the less than brilliant Jason X. Her first pick is the “frozen
Voorhis lists her next favorite kill as the arrow through the throat of Kevin Bacon. She recognizes, “Technically is not a Jason kill, but a Pamela, which leads to the morale of ‘don’t fuck with my family.’” If you don’t have this kill memorized, familiarize yourself with it:
As Voorhis pulls herself from the waters of Crystal Lake, take the opportunity to find her work and read it. You will not be disappointed. She writes some f the most beautiful prose you will ever read from a contemporary writer. Her latest story called “Poaching Oz,” which is about rednecks in the land of Oz will soon appear at Gallery of Curiosities (https://gallerycurious.com/ .) Visit her website, which she calls the “the world’s thirty-seventh worst website.”