is a fictional character
from the Friday the 13th series
of slasher films
. He first appeared in Friday the 13th
) as Mrs. Voorhees
' son, portrayed by Ari Lehman. Created in combination by Victor Miller
, Ron Kurz, Sean S. Cunningham
and Tom Savini
, he was not originally intended to carry the series as the main villain. Jason Voorhees has also been represented in numerous novels, comic books
, and a cross-over film
with another horror legend, Freddy Krueger
The character has primarily been an antagonist in the films, whether by stalking and killing the characters, or acting as a psychological threat to the lead character, as is the case in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Since Lehman's portrayal, the character has been represented by numerous actors and stuntmen, sometimes by more than one at a time; this has caused some controversy as to who should receive credit for the portrayal. Kane Hodder is the most well known of the stuntmen to portray Jason Voorhees, having played the character in four consecutive films.
The character's physical appearance has gone through many transformations, with various special makeup effects artists making their mark on the character's design, including makeup artist Stan Winston. Tom Savini's initial design has been the basis for many of the later incarnations. The trademark hockey mask did not appear until Friday the 13th Part 3. Since Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, filmmakers have given Jason superhuman strength, and near invulnerability. He has been seen as a sympathetic character, albeit one whose motivation for killing has been cited as driven by the immoral actions of his victims.
Jason Voorhees has been featured in many humor magazines, referenced in feature films, parodied in television shows, and been the inspiration for a horror punk band. Several toy lines have been released based on various versions of the character from the Friday the 13th films. Jason Voorhees's hockey mask is one of the most recognizable images in popular culture.