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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

Friday the 13th: Why Can't Jason Voorhees Be Killed?

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Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees is one of the iconic monsters of the slasher horror genre. Like many of his kind (including Halloween's Michael Myers), Jason never truly stays dead in any of his films. This could be because of his mysterious death as a child. At a young age, Jason Voorhees drowned while attending Camp Crystal Lake. The counselors who were supposed to watch him were too busy having fun and participating in sexual activities. This caused his mother, Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), to kill two teenage counselors.

Two decades passed, and Pamela went on a killing spree when she found Camp Crystal Lake was reopening. Many assumed Jason was doing the killing as he had become an urban legend among the teens, but he didn't actually start murdering people until after his mother died. But he was supposed to be dead, right? A clear indication in the follow-up Friday the 13th Part 2displays that Jason might have never drowned. It appeared he lived in a shack close to Crystal Lake.

Jason Voorhees is Actually a Zombie

Jason doesn't die on Friday the 13th Part 2, or Friday the 13th Part III. He was brutally wounded in both installments, but with the open ending in both films, it was safe to assume he would return in a follow-up film. It wasn't until Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter that he truly met his demise by Trish (Kimberly Beck) and Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman). To enact his death, Tommy shaved his head to look like a young Jason, which caused the killer to become confused. Trish takes off Jason's mask when he's distracted and hacks his face. When it seemed he may still be alive, Tommy, in panic, began to hack away at Jason's face.

In the following film, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, a teenage Tommy (John Shepherd) was admitted to a psychiatric hospital as he was still having nightmares from the events of the previous movie. It appeared Jason had returned to life, but that wasn't the case this time. A patient's father, Roy Burns (Dick Wieand), experienced a mental breakdown when he discovered his son had died brutally. In a fit of hysteria, he dressed up as Jason and began his own killing spree. So, how did Jason come back to life in the Friday the 13th movie franchise?

It wasn't until Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, that the killer came back to life. Prior to this film, Jason was truly dead. Still paranoid that Jason was alive, Tommy (Thom Mathews) dug up his grave to ensure he kept it that way by cremating his body. However, lightning struck Jason, causing him to come back to life with a vengeance. Only this time, he was much stronger than before. From this point forth, Jason was considered a zombie. It wasn't until Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday that the character was again successfully killed.

Jason Voorhees' Mother Made a Deal With the Devil

When Jason's body was sent to the morgue in Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, the medical examiner noticed his heart was still beating. Fascinated by it, he ate the heart. This caused Jason to possess his body. However, this body didn't last long as Jason needed to possess someone from his bloodline. When he went back to his old house, Jason found a book that oddly looked similar to the Kandarian Dagger and the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis from The Evil Dead franchise.

Apparently, after Jason's initial death from drowning, his mother found a book that could resurrect him. Thus, when he came back, he had otherworldly, super-powered abilities. The film's writer, Adam Marcus, stated, "She [Pamela Voorhees] makes a deal with the devil by reading from the Necronomicon to bring back her son. This is why Jason isn't Jason. He's Jason plus The Evil Dead."

Not many fans bought this retcon, with Jason Goes to Hell being one of the more poorly received films in the saga. Because The Evil Dead franchise wasn't at the same company as Friday the 13th, Jason's resurrection wasn't fully discussed, and the backstory couldn't be fully disclosed. Although it was an interesting take on the character's way of coming back to life, it took too many liberties, expecting fans to make too many connections in a short time.

Jason Voorhees Suffers the Same Fate as Michael Myers

It was a grand effort to uncover the truth behind Jason Voorhees's existence, but the reality was that Jason Voorhees couldn't be killed because more sequels would be made. He was a popular horror character who rarely disappointed in terms of the scare factor. Unlike Freddy Krueger, he has no mystical powers -- he's just a zombified man who cannot be killed. The zombie bit in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives was sufficient for viewers to continue watching Jason killing people without much thought.

Another horror icon, Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise has suffered the same issues in terms of killing the character. The difference is that he can never be dead and stay dead. There were moments in the Friday the 13th franchise where Jason did appear dead for some time (i.e., Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, and ultimately, Jason X). In each film, a significant amount of time passes. At the same time, Michael Myers' deaths have been sourly played out. The new trilogy explained that the character was pure evil and only sought to kill. In Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, the character appeared to have died, but many viewers and even Jamie Lee Curtis discovered that Michael Myers couldn't die contractually.

The best way to combat the issue of killing an iconic slasher is to not touch upon why these killers don't stay dead, as it never ends well. With continuous films, many plot holes end up contradicting the previous deaths. But between Jason and Michael, Jason appears to have a better understanding of staying dead and really leaning into other characters such as Tommy Jarvis as being the reason why he continues to live at the hands of others.

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