A few days ago, Adam posted about Kane Hodder, who was injured while doing mocap for the official Friday the 13th video game. The comments quickly began talking about Hodder’s years of portraying Jason and what made him so special in the minds of the horror community. And that got me thinking about the various actors who portrayed the iconic masked killer and how each brought their own presence and feel to the role.
So to get a discussion going about who portrayed the best Jason, I’m going to give you information about each actor, such as which movies they starred in, what their kill count was, etc… Then, at the end of this post, there’s going to be a poll where you can cast your vote. Let’s see who you love the most!
Ari Lehman – Friday the 13th
Ari’s portrayal is limited entirely to the first film as Young Jason. He’s got no kills under his belt and the only scare he gave us was erupting from the lake to drag Adrienne King into the water. Still, that’s one of the most iconic moments in the series, so maybe there’s something to it?
Warrington Gillette – Friday the 13th Part II
Mr. Gillette was the introduction of the masked slasher that we’ve come to know and love and that alone deserves our respect and admiration. Gillette’s version of Jason managed to rake up an impressive 9 kills, although it should be noted that this is actually the movie with the smallest body count in the series.
Richard Brooker – Friday the 13th Part III
Mr. Brooker gets a big leap in my personal favorites because it showed Jason running (he doesn’t always walk, okay?!) AND it was in this movie that Jason donned the iconic hockey mask that would become the cultural icon that we know and love today. He amassed a very respectable 12 kills, including the ridiculous yet awesome spear in the eye sequence.
Ted White – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
White’s Jason met his match in this movie against Tommy Jarvis but put up one helluva fight, netting himself 13 kills (hehe). Plus, we got this amazing dance sequence from Crispin Glover. How that ups the vote potential for White, I don’t know. I just wanted to embed the video.
Dick Wieand – Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
Technically, we can’t really count Wieand as portraying Jason. After all, the whole movie ends with the twist that Jason actually IS dead and that Wieand’s “Roy Burns” is seeking revenge on all the people he blames for the death of Joey, who is Roy’s son. However, I love this movie and think it’s a whole heap load of fun. Plus, he axed off (pun intended) 18 people*! That’s pretty damn impressive!
*Neil and Les were in Tommy’s dream and Roy dying obviously doesn’t count
C.J. Graham – Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives!
The return of Jason! While it was hinted at before, this film drove in the point that Jason is an undead supernatural killer, one that cannot be killed. Graham’s portrayal of the killer in this movie added 18 deaths to Jason’s growing kill count, including the 3-for-1 machete sweep! Plus, Graham got to do a James Bond-esque opening walk/attack. Obviously he already has a license to kill. HahahahI’ll show myself out.
Kane Hodder – Friday the 13th Part VII through Jason X
Here he is! Kane Hodder holds an impressive four Friday the 13th films under his belt, which is obviously more than anyone else in the franchise. His portrayal took him from Camp Crystal Lake to Manhattan and even to space, where he amassed a grand total of 58 kills. Unfortunately, due to how Jason Goes to Hell played out, we can’t give him the 23 kills in that movie because, well… “Jason” kept changing. Still, he’s the clear leader in terms of kills and he brought a badass physicality to Jason that many feel wasn’t present beforehand.
The below kill will probably always be my favorite. So brutal.
Ken Kirzinger – Freddy vs. Jason
Kirzinger got himself a great gig as he not only got to play Jason and kill off a bunch of stupid teenagers but he also got to face Freddy Krueger! He added a very solid 17 kills to his total, which doesn’t include the dream kill in the beginning because, let’s face it, dream deaths aren’t real deaths. Also, I’m not adding Freddy because wink wink.
Derek Mears – Friday the 13th (2009)
In my opinion, Mears brought us a Jason that was crafty, cunning, and damn scary. That opening sequence with Jason running and swinging back to attack Amanda Righetti’s “Whitney Miller” was simply fantastic and showed that Jason wasn’t going to hold back nor was he going to be a joke. This Jason meant business, even though he was a pot farmer. JUST KIDDING!
Mears added 13 kills (once again, hehe) to Jason’s phenomenal body count. He also went from the sack mask to the hockey mask in one film. Overall, I’d say he did pretty solid!
Alright readers, it’s time to answer the question of the day! Who do you think played the best Jason Voorhees?