Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Visual History of the Hockey Masks


Inspired by a great thread on the masks of Halloween over at MichaelMyers.net, I thought it strange that there was no similar resource for the masks of Friday the 13th. So I'm creating one here. Some information here can be sourced to a book or documentary, some has been informally passed around the artist community for quite a few years. I've attempted to write this down as accurately as possible.

Thus far I've only touched on the masks from the Paramount films. It seems that once ReelFX (who worked in some capacity on virtually all of the Paramount F13 films) took control of the masks and molds from part 3, they typically cast new blanks for makeup artists working on set to finish for each new film. As such, there's an interesting continuity between the masks during the Paramount years, with new masks molded from old ones. This created masks late in the series that were bulbous distortions of the original, but still close enough to capture that iconic look. After Jason Goes to Hell (1993), the continuity between the masks formally ended, with brand new masks being sculpted from scratch for each film.

Parts of what I've presented here are admittedly speculative. This is intended solely as a reference based on the best available information and not as the final word. I'm open to additions and corrections if well sourced, just comment below. Thanks.

PART III and IV Origins (1981-1984)

The original masks for Friday the 13th part 3 were vacuum-formed from a 1970's Jacques Plante mask. Some modifications were made to make it fit the undermask and look fuller onscreen, including adding a wider perimeter and enlarging the mask overall. The masks are said to have been pulled in very thin, clear acrylic.

Photo: Ruste Dowg Productions

Memories of cast and crew on the origins of the mask seem to be murky at this point, but gleaning information from various interviews, many of which appear in the book Crystal Lake Memories, one can create a rough consensus.

The script called for the Jason character to wear a mask, although it didn't specify what kind. During a camera test with actor Richard Brooker, no one wanted to do the makeup for him, so Martin Sadoff (3D supervisor) evidently pulled a Red Wings goalie mask out of his bag to stick on Brooker's head. Director Steve Miner liked what he saw but wanted a version that fit Brooker's head better, so the effects team created their own version from a 70's Plante mask.

Miner described the creation of the mask as a "team effort" although it is unclear exactly what contributions were made by each team. Makeup effects artist Doug White claimed in interviews to have made the original mold and pulled and painted the copies. Sadoff noted "Marty Becker's team made the molds and [art director] Robb Wilson King made various versions of it." King himself seemed to confirm his own input during my brief interview with him in late 2009, when he said the masks were painted an "off white" enhanced with a "slight aged patina" and given an "almost automotive finish" to enhance the look for night-time shooting. White also noted that crew member Terry Ballard was responsible for the famous red chevrons, which he said were made of acetate glued to the finished mask. White also said the mask was finished with Krylon's crystal clear, while King said it was finished with satin clear.

See this post to see how specifically these masks were likely painted by the effects and set design team.

In any case, three known masks were made during production of Friday the 13th part 3 around December 1981-January 1982:

1. The hero mask:

This is the one seen through most of the film. This mask was later modified and used for the part 4 VHS cover and posters:

It's the mask seen in the opening credits of part 4:

It was worn by an unknown crew member during the scene where Jason destroys Rob's gun in part 4:

 It was tossed into the end of a Part 4 TV spot circa 1984-85:

And even made it into several part 5 posters:

According to Tom Savini and some other industry sources, the mask was later nailed to a wall outside of ReelFX studios, where it decayed for several years before being thrown in the trash sometime in the late 1980's. The first of the iconic Jason masks is sadly one of the few that does not survive.

2. The stunt mask:

This mask was used during several scenes in part 3, including the scene where Jason picks up Chili, as well as Jason's "death" at the hands of Chris Higgins at the end of the film.

This mask was later used for the entirety of part 4 and the hospital scene of part 5.


After filming of part 5 wrapped, the mask was given to the film's stunt coordinator, Dick Warlock, who sold it to Croatian fan Dario Latinovic in 2011.

3. The TV spot mask:

This mask was probably never used in part 3, but the size, shape and sharpness of the eye sockets suggest it was pulled from the original mold. It is seen in one scene in part 5:
Photo: Crash Cunningham

It was used in a TV spot for part 5 in 1985-86:

This mask also likely served as both paint reference and a probable cast master for the part 6 masks. You can see it here on the head of Bill Forsche during pre-production of Friday the 13th part 6:
Notice that the mask on his head has more constrained sides, whereas the rest of the production masks are very wide. You can also make out a bit of weathering pattern around the mouth that lines up with the "TV spot mask."

This mask is also the source for most of the replica masks that were sold circa 2007-2011, before most artists started sculpting their own. In a clear blank or on a buck you can see a tiny pattern of paint spatter on the left side of the nose near the eye.

Crash had done some great original research on this mask, but unfortunately it seems his blog is long gone. This mask currently resides behind glass in the Hollywood museum, Los Angeles, CA.

PART V (1985)

Doug White claimed in an interview with Crash Cunningham back in 2010 to have sent the original part 3 mold to special makeup effects artist David Miller, who made the masks for part 5. Given the different shape of the part 5 mask, it seems to be a recast, rather than from the original mold, as this behind-the-scenes photo from part 5 seems to indicate:

The part 5 masks that were made for production were likely pulled in black ABS, given the little glimpse we see of the back seems to show only black.
 

Miller told me by email that he recast the part 4 mask (also known as the "part 3 stunt mask") to create the original masks for part 5:
Yes, they gave me a screen used  part 4 to mold. I had to fill in the split area for the part 5. Before I did, I made,a copy mold of the part 4. So I have both split (4) and non- split (5).

Miller also painted them using more or less the same techniques employed by most mask artists today. "It's just layers of acrylic paint washes applied with a sea sponge. No secrets. Each layer needs to dry before the next one is applied."

There were quite a few different masks used in part 5. Aside from the aforementioned masks pulled during part 3, no one seems to know what happened to any of them. From my email exchange with David Miller:
All of the Jason masks, hockey masks, effects heads, makeup effects, etc., were collected by Paramount Pictures after shooting concluded. They are either in the directors closet or in a big warehouse like the one at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The only thing I still have in my possession is the original vacuum forming mold.  This is what we use to make the reproductions of our hockey masks.  We used to recreate the Roy hockey mask, but there wasn't much interest, so we stopped.  FYI... The Roy hockey mask was vacuformed from the same mold as the main #5 hockey mask, but of course it was painted different and the straps were applied under the edge of the mask instead of over it.  The director wanted it unlike any other in the series.
Many thanks to David Miller for his insights in this section.

PART VI (1986)

These masks were likely recasted from the "TV spot mask" as mentioned above. There were 12 masks pulled by the FX team and painted by Bill Forsche, used for various scenes and stunts. They were pulled in clear acrylic, somewhat thicker than earlier masks, painted white on the back and weathered on the front using yellow and brown oil paints.

According to Mario Kirner:
There were 12 masks made at the first run during the pre-production. Another one was made post production when they filmed the "James Bond" eye scene. At that time there was no "good" mask available from the first run for different reason to be used in that re-shoot. Some were damaged during shooting, others gone their way off the set. The post-mask is still owned by C.J Graham. Basically there are two style hockey masks seen in this film, the intact masks and the ones with bullet holes. They made 4 of the bullet ones for which I own 3 of them. The fourth was sold by a collector friend years ago for a price outside of my possible given limit. All in all there are not many of the masks known out of the 13 made. I think I can barely count 6 in private and semi-private hands which I already own half of the bunch. Some of the masks had more of screen time when others may have non to little since some were rigged for FX purpose or stunt work. 
One photo (I'm told from eBay) showing the back of a production mask seem to suggest the front basecoat was Krylon almond or a similar color:

They were also given a light black or gray wash to make them look older. At least one of the surviving masks has squib damage from the forehead shot scene near the end of the film.

This is a photo of Forsche with Barbara Bock at ReelFX's shop in Raleigh Studios, 1986. (From Forsche's Facebook page.)
 
Mario Kirner of the Friday the 13th prop museum has several of the masks that are known to survive, but others remain in private collector hands. Some of the masks known to still be around...



Above photos courtesy of Mario Kirner
Another one, as mentioned above, still owned by C.J. Graham, mounted by Bill Forsche with a short explanation: "Modern day photo of CJ Graham's original Jason mask that I made for Friday the 13th Part 6 that I restored and mounted in this display for him." This, according to Forsche, is the "title screen" mask used in the film:
Source: Bill Forsche's Facebook page.

And remember the famous "paintball scene" mask?

That was purchased by a private collector not long ago directly from Chris Swift, one of the special effects artists on part 6:
Photo courtesy of Justin Ray

An interesting aside: This is a mask owned by a Friday the 13th fan that is said to have come from the mother of the late Steve Summerfield, who worked as a makeup artist on Part 6. The mask shape and features checks out as an authentic production pull, although I can't completely rule out that it is a recast. The back is coated in what looks like Krylon Dover White and the front appears to be Krylon Almond or something close to it. If this is an authentic mask, it is a rare glimpse of the actual basecoat that the movie masks had.
 


PART VII (1988)

Only one mask was used for the duration of filming, probably due to the very distinctive damage that was done to make it appear old. It was pulled in thin, black ABS. I don't know the source of the mold but it may have been a recast of a part 6. There's also a chance it came off the same mold as the part 6 and was thus sourced from the "TV spot mask."

Kane Hodder owned it for many years and later sold it to Mario Kirner. There was another stunt mask made and used for the "split" but it was lost long ago.

In addition, the crew painted several masks that were given away for promotional purposes.Here's a shot of crew member Mecki Heusen dremeling out the ABS blanks back in 1988:
 The finished masks--also note the vintage can of Krylon at left labeled "off white." This gives us a strong clue about the basecoat of the promo masks, and possibly about the hero mask as well.
 

 And the promo masks as they appear today...


PART VIII (1989)

There were at least two masks pulled for part 8, both almost certainly cast from a part 6 mask, given the wide, salad bowl shape, bulbous nose and distorted features.

The hero mask seen through most of the film was painted silver on the back and with a yellow ochre color on the front. A few years back an artist friend of mine said an FX artist from part 8 gave him a sample of paint they used for the mask. He found the paint matched Kilz goldenrod (which used to be available at Wal-Mart).
Source: Friday the 13th Franchise.com
This mask was also worn by Kane Hodder during his Arsenio Hall appearance promoting the film in 1989:

There was a second mask used during the acid scene and for some promotional materials:

This second mask is also likely  the same mask seen in reverse on the part 8 posters...

And a third "melted" mask used at the very end of the film:

Jason Goes to Hell (1993)

The last, to my knowledge, of the continuum of movie masks that descend from the original. The JGTH masks were likely recast from either the part 7 hero or a promotional pull, having very similar propeller damage and narrow cut around the perimeter. There were at least three to four masks painted for the film. They were pulled in black ABS, as you  can see below.
 

A few years back Fiberglassmasks.com came into possession of a blank said to be from production of Jason Goes to Hell. The mask seems to have an identical cut and slight inward bevel around the edge to the JGTH movie masks, and is likely authentic. The blank shows traces of the "propeller damage" on the part 7 mask that was crudely filled in during the recast--this is a strong suggestion that these masks were taken from the hero part 7 mask, with part of the prop damage and probably other areas reconstructed for reasons unknown. The "fill-in" was later masked with weathering and dremeling in the final movie masks (Photo from Fiberglassmasks.com)

Some of the other known masks pulled for the film:
 
There are a lot of masks floating around the web, purporting to be from JGTH, some even signed by Kane. Since it is difficult to tell if they are legitimate, I've left them off here.

Well that about wraps it up. Feel free to let me know if you have any valuable information to contribute.