(Release Date: Well... read on.)
Anybody else out there want to know the who, the what, the when, the why and the where of Jason Voorhees and family? The Who (aside from being a killer band) would be the Voorhees Clan. The What is a series of murders! The Why... depends on which film you're watching. The Where is Camp Crystal Lake (occasionally called "Forest Green"). The When... well... Hmmm... The When... Let's talk about the When!
The saga of the man behind the mask establishes that Jason Voorhees was born on Friday, June 13, 1946.
There was only one Friday the 13th within the year of 1980, and because Pamela Voorhees states Jason's birthday is "today", we can assume that the events of the original Friday the 13th (part one, from 1980) actually take place on June 13th 1980, Jason's 34th birthday. It's suggested that Jason either died during the summer of 1957 and returned from the dead later on, or survived his drowning and went into hiding. However, it's shown that he most certainly grew up and certainly appears (in the second film on) to have the body of a mid-30 year old. Of the two possibilities (died and returned as a walking corpse or stayed alive in hiding) it's more likely that Jason survived, but lived disoriented until the sight of his mother's execution sent him on his killing spree. He'd have to be pretty damned disoriented, though, because Pamela Voorhees clearly visited Crystal Lake and went all through those woods a bunch of times. Further what kind of coincidence would it take for him to only see her at the time of her death? Further, the film was released on May 9, 1980, which means that there was over a month to prevent this crap and nobody did.
It's possible that the events of Friday the 13th Part 2 took place all around the same time, however, it's equally possible that the Alice Hardy-centric introduction takes place closer to the events of the first film than the rest of Part 2 does. We'll go with the date of 1981 (the year of the film's release), however unlikely it might be that the same camp where multiple murders took place only months before would attempt another reopening the very next year.
There were 3 Fridays the 13th in the year of 1981: February 13th, March 13th and November 13th. If we're to believe that the film takes place in 1981 (and because the film was released on Friday, May 1, 1981) it could be suggested that the most proximate date is the right one, that being March 13th. This is an unlikely starting date for a summer camp's ramping up for customers, and an even less likely date for girls to get naked for night time swimming. The script of the film suggests that this all took place five years after the events of the first film (evidence showed that Part One took place on the 13th of June 1980, Jason's Birthday). This puts us at 1985 (with or without the help of Marty McFly). There were two Friday the 13th dates in '85, one in September and one in December. Again, naked chicks and summer camps, so I'm thinking Friday, September 13, 1985 as the date. Sure most of the summer is over, but that's not the point, is it?
The events of the third movie necessarily take place after the second (some events of the series are indeed out of order) specifically because Friday the 13th part 3 in 3D is the first appearance of the infamous Hockey Mask (he used a Pillow Case, if that, before this film). Chris Higgins indicates that she was attacked by Jason (and this is proven true) two years prior. Because Jason wears no mask at all in this flashback, we know that this attack took place prior to the events of Part 2. The fact that he has no hair in this flashback, but very long hair in Part 2 leads to some areas of ambiguous continuity. Let's go with this, though. Even with his regenerative abilities (if he had them yet), Jason would need some time to recover from that nasty shoulder injury he received in Part 2. This puts the attack on Chris in 1984 (giving him some Rogaine time) and the events of Part 3 in 1986. Jason's birthday of June 13th again falls on a Friday, and with the suggestion that teenagers would more likely skinny dip during the summer, I'm saying that this was to be June 13, 1986. This was the only Friday the 13th in 1986, and is more likely than the December 13, 1985 possibility. The film was released on August 13, 1982.
The events of the fourth feature, known as Friday the 13th the (ha ha ha) Final Chapter are shown to take place the very next day after the events of the third film. This puts us at Saturday the 14th of June, 1986. It is noteworthy that this is the first film in the series to actually be released on a Friday the 13th, hitting theatres on Friday the 13th of April, 1984. There was one other Friday the 13th that year, this one in July. This doesn't matter, however, as the events can't take place in 1984 due to the years' differences quoted in the script. Taking the point of view that Jason was still "alive" at this point, this suggests that his "death" took place shortly after his 40th birthday.
Here's where things begin to chew up temporally. John Shepherd was 24 when he played Tommy Jarvis, but the suggestion made in Friday the 13th A New Beginning is that he plays Tommy at 15. Corey Feldman had been 12 when he played Tommy at age 12 in 1984's Part 4. Regardless, if the calculations are right and the fourth film ended on Saturday, June 14, 1986, the events of this film probably take place in 1989 (though the film was released on March 22, 1985). There were two Fridays the 13th in 1989, both in winter. While there is no explicit reference to Summer Camp (this one takes place in the world's least secure mental hospital) the naked (and appreciated) romp in the woods suggest that this could neither be January or October. So, let's just say the Summer of 1989.
Because the "New Beginning" didn't take off, it was back to the old drawing board for the next film, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, which was released on August 1st, 1986. Tommy is notably different in mental state than the previous film, though it is explicitly stated that he was in a Mental Hospital before the events of this one. He's also played by a different actor, Thom Matthews. Thom was 21 during the filming of this one, and that seems to be about right. There's no certainty of this, however, as John Shepherd was older than Tommy when he played him. If this is the case, this would put the events of this film at six years past the events of the fifth film in the series. Although the last two films didn't state that they take place on Friday the 13th (and most certainly did not) the date does seem to be important for Jason. Tommy also alludes to the concept that this is an anniversary of sorts. As part Five contained no actual Jason, this must be around the anniversary of Jason's Birth or of his Death (the only time Tommy actually met up with him before now). This could suggest a few things, if the year of 1995 is even correct. This could well be Tuesday, June 13, 1995 or possibly Wednesday, June 14th 1995. But, there were two Fridays the 13th within 1995, one in January and one in October (just like in 1989), so he could be talking about the last time he encountered Jason, whether real or imaginary.
This brings us to Friday the 13th part VII: Jason Vs. Carrie... I'm kidding... The New Blood. This film is set five years after that of Part VI, which suggests a Y2K scenario. However, the opening of this flick implies that while Tina was a child, Jason was already under that water (see part VI's finale). Lar Park-Lincoln was 27 during the filming of this movie, and Jennifer Banko was 10 while playing the same part. This implies that seventeen years, not five, have passed, but let's go with the five and that Tina was around 15 or so. Friday the 13th took place only in October (and skinny-dipping suggests that this was summer, though they actually filmed in winter). We can guess this might have been October 13th 2000, or we can state openly that the producers definitely didn't give a crap either way. Hell the directors didn't care about continuity, did they? Judging from this, and the fact that the film was released on Friday the 13th of May, 1988, it's a safe bet that this was meant to be 1988. To confuse matters more, if this indeed was 17 years after the events of the sixth film, we're looking at 2012, which is during the time that Jason is already frozen in stasis and Crystal Lake is a research facility. Again, who cares?
In 1989's Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, we're focusing a lot more on Jason than on the day itself, of course. Released on July 28th, 1989, there is no specific suggestion of summer, though the first victims do look happy to "get nekkid." It could well be winter, of course, as there are plenty of winter clothes and suggestions of chills, and the only nude scenes take place indoors. Here's where it gets incredibly messy. This one most certainly took place after the continuity of part 7, however, part seven (if the stated dates are to be at all believed) probably took place somewhere around the year 2000. Jensen Daggett's character of Rennie is haunted by the ghostly apparition of Jason as a child (he has hair again, by the way). While this ghost is completely unbelievable in any form, the implication that Jason really did "touch" her when she was a small child is made. Since this is her senior trip, Rennie is 17... 18 at the most. She looked to be somewhere around 7 during her encounter with Jason as a child. Because Jason "drowned" in 1957, and wasn't terribly decomposed yet, this makes this encounter somewhere around 1958 or 1959, which means Jason must have taken Manhattan before he saw his mother killed at Crystal Lake, yet he still had a huge back story associated with his history. Couple this with the fact that the camps weren't closed until after the killings and this could have been 1957, actually. However, this is equally impossible for the obvious reasons. Now, if this is just a ghost who appears at various stages of life any old time, then the Jason Attack would have been ten years before the events of this film, which necessarily took place after 2000, based on the facts that the dock has been rebuilt, the lake is safe again, etc. So tentatively, the events must have been around the first half of 2001 or 2002, putting the encounter at 1992. So... why did we never see the ghost way back then?
But on to part 9, one of the more ridiculous films I've ever sat through twice. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday gives us few hints to just when in hell this is supposed to have taken place. Due to the fact that Jason doesn't just die but gets his head blown off and... well, all kinds of other shit happens, we can reasonably assume that this is supposed to be after the events of part 8. Plus, he's looking pretty damned crappy (even more than usual), has hair again and has all the tell-tale mask dings to imply that he's got his past behind him. It's rather ironic that one area of true continuity has to do with just how messed up J-Dawg's mask is. Interestingly, this is another flick that was released on Friday the 13th... this time of August, 1993. At this point the film series has reached either the early '90's or the early '00's. We know that we're not looking at anything beyond 2008, due to the whacked events of Jason X! Freddy Vs. Jason had to take place some time. One thing... just like this whole article is an experiment in the ridiculously futile, Jason Goes to Hell is a fine example of a film that is so over-the-top insane in its (now forgotten) concepts, finding logic in this thing is simply not going to happen, so let's forget it!
Freddy Vs. Jason is another temporally unfixed film, but due to the presence of the film Jason X we know that it can't have taken place after 2008 and due to the fact that Jason is... well... dead during this film, it's likely that we're looking at some time after 1986. We're also given a heapin' helpin' of Freddy Krueger here. That guy's last foray into film was the early 1990s, so we can guess, due to the fact that he's not just gone, but forgotten, that the events take place after the events of The Final Nightmare (1991). It's also pretty clear, due to the continuity and presence of a certain dream suppression drug, that this is the "Freddy" of the main series, not the "Real Freddy" of Wes Craven's New Nightmare. This film came out on Friday the 15th of August, 2003... there were no Fridays the Thirteenth that year. It's not really clear that this matters, though, because this is primarily Freddy's world with Jason just slashin' in it. Based on all this, could we be looking at 2003 here? There's no reason why not.
The fact that Jason X already existed pretty much means that he hasn't been completely obliterated by 2008. This is about the time that the J-man got busted (instead of destroyed) by the Government and interred into the Crystal Lake Research Facility (which sucks). It's 2010 (the year we make contact) that the Voor-Whore is frozen in carbonite (well, not really) and launched toward the borgified stars in the year 2455. That guy! Soon (though not soon enough) we're given one more camp for the Goalie from Hell to play horse hockey in. Interestingly enough, this is one of the few films in the series that is actually easy to date (seeing as how the years are given to us at each step). Sadly, this merely chews up the continuity even more.
So to recap 1946, born on my anniversary, "drowned" in 1957, going nuts in 1980, bouncing about the 1980s like there's no tomorrow (whenever that might be)... the 90's, back to the 80's, foreward to the 90's back to the 1950's, forward to the 2000's. Then we all stop giving a crap until 2003 through 2010 and at long (long) last 2455 AD! Whew. The real question is... who cares? Clearly the film makers didn't It's all fiction kids. Sigh. With more sequels on the way, now I've got to figure out if the next one is in 2455, 2465, 2481, 2493, 2503, 2508... and I gotta wonder why the hell I bothered writing this. Happy Friday the 13th, true believers. See you in the Next Reel.
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