Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What Jason Mask Does the Hollywood Museum Have?

Take a trip to the Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles and in their basement horror dungeon you will see some costume artifacts from the Friday the 13th franchise. The oldest piece in their collection is a mysterious hockey mask that sits on a Jason mannequin often seen with Freddy. The mask has some weird markings and doesn't look like any mask in particular from the films.

Looks can, however be deceiving. Not only did this mask see screen time (for about a two seconds), it very likely gave birth to most of the masks in the franchise that came after it.

The mask has had a small but interesting role in the history of the franchise, having made a handful of random "guest appearances" during the productions of Part 5 and 6. It was also likely recast to create the Part 6 masks, and as such is the "grandfather" of both the Part 7 and Part 8 masks and the great grandfather of the Jason Goes to Hell masks.

First appearance: The "window scene", Part 5. Note the basic characteristics: yellowish color, narrow axe cut, large eye cuts, weird smiley-looking chevron, strapped from the back. You can also faintly make out the characteristic grime across the mouth ascending up the right side of the mask which can still be seen in the mask today. Look reeeeally close at the top of the mask (to the left of the strap rivet) and you can even see the white/gray spot where the paint has been sanded off the clear acrylic to reveal the white coat on the back. The mask today has different straps and red marks but I'll get into that later.
The mask behind the scenes. Photo courtesy of Dick Warlock.

Second appearance: Part 5 TV advertisement, circa 1985. Note the weird chevron, narrow axe cut, sanding around the mouth, large eye cuts and sanding/weathering patterns around the mouth and perimeter. When the mask zooms in, you can also make out the jagged cut of the right eye.
Source: Youtube

Third appearance: On Bill Forsche's head at Reel EFX studios during pre-production of Friday the 13th Part 6. You can make out the grime pattern across the mouth area.
Photo courtesy of Bill Forsche
Fourth appearance: This 1980's Bill Forsche photo of a child with the mask. Note that it is still strapped from the back like it was in part 5, but with a new Part 6-style triangle replacing the old janky one. The Part 6 mask paint scheme was loosely modeled off of this, and it seems likely this mask was used as both a casting and paint master for the film.
Photo courtesy of Bill Forsche
Also, see below the original part 6 buck and its resemblance to the Hollywood Museum mask, particularly in the eyes.

Final appearance: Hollywood Museum, where it currently resides on a decaying part 4 cowl. The Part 6 triangle has been painted over by a larger, cruder freehand version and a couple of extra chevs added to the cheeks. Looks ridiculous but what can you do at this point. The mask also has Part 6 straps, probably as a replacement for the straps that were removed when the mask was recast, and also as an experiment to see how they would look on the final movie masks.
Photo by Auz
While we don't know the exact origin, we do know this mask first appears in Friday the 13th Part 5, so it dates to at least 1985. However, there are clues that the mask is in fact older.

The mask was painted on a clear blank, as were the Part 3 masks. The construction, narrow shape, sharp molded features and large eye cuts also suggest it came from the Part 3 movie buck. It appears to have been given a light beige basecoat, then another coat of a yellow ochre, which was then sanded off in spots. The yellow tones and deep scratches are similar to the Part 3 stunt mask, and don't resemble any of the masks that are known to have been made for Part 5.

The weight of the evidence suggests it was created as a paint test or spare stunt mask during production of Friday the 13th Part 3 and remained with Reel EFX until director Danny Steinmann wanted an additional mask for shooting during Part 5, supposedly to keep the viewer guessing as to whether Tommy Jarvis was hallucinating or being stalked by Jason. Two chevron changes and a bit of brown paint splatter on the nose suggest it was used as a paint master by the Part 6 FX team before it was donated to the Hollywood Museum.

So if you ever make it to the Hollywood Museum, check it out. You are seeing a screen used mask that was likely a casting "ancestor" to every later mask created through Jason Goes to Hell.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Part 8 Mask

Clear PETG blank (molded straight off the movie mask) by Beyond Disgusting Studios. Straps by JDF Studios. All artwork by me. Click any image to enlarge.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Origin of the Part 8 Mask

As I mentioned in "A Visual History of the Hockey Masks," Reel EFX usually recast extra copies of hockey masks created for previous films, even as bucks and molds went missing and hero masks were given to actors. This is why the part 8 mask, the largest and roundest of the masks in the franchise, is such a massively bloated distortion of the original.

The size and shape alone suggest strongly that the part 8 mask was recast directly from a part 6 mask. It also shares certain unusual characteristics of some of the masks to come off the 1986 buck.
Look carefully at the above photo of Gabe Bartalos on the set of Jason Lives with one of his blank pulls. You can see a horizontal "crack" across the mouth holes of the mask that seems to extend from one end to the other. This mask may be a late pull from the movie buck after it cracked under vacuum pressure (as even the most well constructed bucks sometimes do).

The part 8 mask shares a horizontal crack along the same path...
And its also visible all the way across the part 8 "trailer mask":
 Though, in case you are wondering, the part 8 masks is much too large to have come off the same buck as the 6. As an interesting aside, the part 7 mask has approximately the same fracture you see in the part 8 mask, visible on the right side.
This strongly indicates that the part 7 and 8 masks descend from a part 6 mask-- the size and features of the part 7 mask suggest it may have come off the same buck as the part 6. But back to the part 8...

Which "Jason Lives" mask does the Part 8 descend from? Possibly this one:
As you can see, this old promotional poster features someone wearing a weird mashup of the Part 8 clothes with a leftover Part 6 mask. Courtesty of Mario Kirner, here's a closeup of the same mask from an old video store display:

So we know that Reel EFX or Paramount were still holding on to a 6 mask by the time part 8 was released, and if this was the only one, its the best candidate for the source of the 8.

Looking closely at the scratch patterns around the right side of the mask, you can see a lot of identifiable details line up with the "Alice Cooper mask" used to promote Part 6:

It's almost certainly the same mask. So was the Cooper mask used to create the Part 8 mask? Can't say 100%, but there's a strong possibility that was the case.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Found: The Missing Link Between the Part 7 and JGTH Masks

How did they make the Jason Goes to Hell masks? Evidently they used a spare promo mask from part 7.

Reel EFX usually kept around spare masks from previous films, even as the hero masks were lost or given to actors. They had at least one spare promo pull from part 7 in the shop and gave it to the team at KNB when they started work on Jason Goes to Hell in 1992.

Crew members with part 7 promo pulls, 1988ish.
Five of the promotional pulls.
While not as detailed as the movie mask, the promo copies had the same basic features, including the propeller damage cutaway on the right side.

The trimmed down part 7 mask was probably chosen for its small size as an ideal mask to build Jason's big meaty head around. You can see this mask sculpted into the head by FX artist Robert Kurtzman during pre-production of Jason Goes to Hell here. Note how the cutaway eats into two vent holes, just like it does in the above promo masks:

The only known photo of the "missing link" mask.
The hero mask, however, has the mouth vent hole intact and the second "sideburn" vent hole eaten into. The consistency with the above promo masks strongly suggests this transition mask was made in the same set as the promo masks, rather than with the hero during part 7's production.

The part 7 hero mask

The only problem for the crew was that this leftover mask still had the propeller damage, which didn't make narrative sense if Jason had obtained a new mask. So it appears they clayed up 80% of the old prop damage, recast the mask, and created the movie blanks.

You can clearly see the repair work to the propeller damage in this movie mold JGTH blank owned by Bob Ferden.

In the final masks, the repair work was scuffed up with a dremel and painted black. But you can still see a small error: they forgot to add the mouth vent hole back in at the edge!
Just a bit of mask history for you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Original Part 4 Shirt

Kira Tidmore recently did a bang up job restoring the original Jason Voorhees dummy from The Final Chapter and posted some great photos on her Facebook page.

But one thing about this piece is especially interesting: could the shirt currently worn by the dummy be the same shirt worn by Ted White throughout the film?

It is certainly possible that multiple shirts were used for the film. Being the same apparent make as the part 3 shirts, it seems likely that whatever was used in part 4 was leftover stock from part 3. The shirts themselves are different however: the shirt(s) used through part 3 had a missing left pocket flap.
While we don't know exactly what shirts were used in part 3, we can say comfortably what was used in part 4, thanks to Kelly Mark Delcambre and Kira Tidmore.

The shirt worn by the dummy is an XL Sears Perma-Prest work-leisure shirt, according to a photo of the tag Delcambre posted on his Facebook page during the restoration.
We know this shirt is screen used. But is it the same shirt worn by Ted White? Odds are pretty good that it is.
Kevin Yagher posted a behind-the-scenes shot of Ted White resting during shooting of the final scene in part 4. You can see the slash mark across his shirt is the same size, angle, and position (pointing directly at the second button) as the shirt worn by the dummy.

We also know that the shirt worn by White above did not make it to part 5. The shirt worn by Morga during his Jason scenes had a rip that was cruder and further toward the shoulder.
For continuity's sake, it was probably easiest to just take the same shirt worn by White throughout the film and stick it on dummy number one for the chest impact. This created the rip. The same shirt was later worn by White again and finally ended up in Jason's death scene on dummy number two. While this would be hard to prove, the evidence seems to suggest that it is the same shirt.

It's nice to know, after years of fan speculation (Sears vs Big Mac), what shirt was used in part 4. If you need me, I'll be on eBay looking for this exact tag on a olive green work shirt.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Some shots of my remake

This mask is a multi-year work-in-progress I started painting back in 2012. It's never quite finished but every time I sit down with it, it gets closer. It's on an ABS blank from JDF Studios, but once I finish it I want to add about a half centimeter of resin to the back to give it that heaviness that the movie masks had. I'm guessing I can add straws to the vent holes and clay up the eyes to prevent overspill. Then I'll paint up the backside and have Derek sign it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

New Project...

"Death has come to your little town, sheriff."
Not Jason but heyyyy gotta branch out once in a while. I've been a Myers fan since part 4 and a collector since 2009ish. I've owned a NAG Madman78 and a NHK from Nick Mulpagano (who does outstanding finish work). This is on a DIY blank by Martin Pena, which is itself a second-gen retool of an original Kirk mask.

Like a lot of Myers artists, I'm going for H1 perfection here, or as close as I can get to it with the mediocre photos that survive of the mask in its original 1978 condition. We'll see how it goes!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

A Dream 31 Years In the Making

It was shortly after Part 6 came out on VHS in 1987 that I caught my first glimpse of Jason Voorhees preying on camp counselors. From the moment I first saw that mask I was intrigued... and a few months later when I learned his name was the same as mine, I was a fan. 31 years, dozens of hockey masks, some latex pieces, a pilgrimage to Germany and a long-running blog later I finally got my life-long fandom memorialized in a photo with almost every living actor to don a Jason mask. What an epic moment.

The two that are missing from this photo are of course the late Richard Brooker, who I met in 2009 and 2011:
And Derek Mears, who I met in 2009:
There are of course, scores of stunt and FX personnel who played Jason: Tommy Lee Wallace, Ellen Lutter, and Carl Fullerton in part 2, Mike De Luna in part 3, Tom Savini in part 4, John Hock in part 5, Chris Swift's eye in part 6, Glenn Ennis and Doug Tate in VS... and of course Ari Lehman. Lots of people to meet, many of whom don't do conventions, but it was nice to get the major ones out of the way all at once!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Part 6 Bust For Sale By Shallow Grave FX

Josh is doing some great paint-ups of my old Aladdin Sane part 6 bust. These are for sale at his site at a very reasonable price. Have always been impressed with his command of an airbrush.

While hardly a perfect reproduction, the Aladdin Sane is easily the most accurate "C.J." style part 6 fan sculpt ever executed. Maybe that's a brag, but its also a fact. There were two sculpts done for the film, one a faceless cowl made for the first actor (Dan Bradley) and later a full-face sculpted by Brian Wade for the cemetery scene at the beginning of the film. This is the mask I was trying to replicate.

Here's a few shots of the sculpt and some of the finished pieces paired with photos of the original.

This piece has a long, complicated and somewhat painful history.

I sculpted it in 2010-2011 after the Brian Wade fiasco left a lot of collectors angry and disappointed they couldn't get a copy of the original part 6 movie bust. My (rather lofty) aim was to create the "His Unlucky Day" of part 6 pieces, since part 6 sculpts seemed to me to all have a significant degree of artistic license. I sculpted the forms obsessively over several months using transparency overlays with screenshots and other references so I could see how the entire head looked as it swiveled around.

After some texturing advice from some fantastic sculptors like Ryan Bean and James Mangrum (sculptor of His Unlucky Day), the sculpt was finished in May 2011 and I proudly blasted photos across Nightowl and Michael-Myers.net of the first finished piece a few months later.

The response was... crickets. Virtually ignored by fans and collectors. I think I sold two or three copies, and one of them was on eBay. After pulling a keeper for myself, I sold the mold in 2013 to Canadian artist and horror fan John Ubdegrove. John only pulled a couple of copies before he was in a severe car accident months later and left unable to continue his art. He did manage to create a life-size Jason with it though, and even reportedly had an offer on it from Jason actor C.J. Graham.

Shortly before he tragically passed away in August 2015, John had sold the mold to James Power of Crystal Lake Industries who briefly sold a hood version before selling the by-then somewhat damaged mold to the current owner, Josh Palmer of Shallow Grave FX last year. Josh sent me a urethane pull from the mold that I partially re-sculpted back into its original glory, and a new mold was made from that.

After 7 years of collecting dust, journeying all over Canada and back, I can't begin to describe how grateful to Josh and thrilled I am that this piece--that for so long seemed destined to never see the light of day-- is finally being produced.