Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Recognize this?

There aren't many props that survive from Friday the 13th part 2. As far as I know the two I just bought are the only two remaining... and probably the best two pieces you could possibly want.

Back in April 2011, I came across a piece by Bob Deakin (via this post on the Fridaythe13thFranchise site), who wrote about a Connecticut man named Lloyd Albin, owner of the Pamela Voorhees head from Friday the 13th part 2. Back in 1980 Lloyd was the owner of Camp Kenmont in Kent, CT, where the filming had taken place. Following a wrap-up party, Lloyd found the crew had left Mrs. Voorhees' mummified head hanging from a tree on his property. For more than 30 years, he had kept it in a closet wrapped in a towel, taking it out occasionally to scare his campers.

I found Lloyd phone number on the web and called him to inquire about the head. At the time I was sure I couldn't afford such a thing but wanted to see it and make a lowball offer anyway. Lloyd was affable and loved talking about his experiences on the set of Friday the 13th, inviting me to come see the prop. He also had the original "Camp Crystal Lake" sign held by Marta Kober in the opening scenes, which I was able to screen match.

Lloyd didn't sell me the pieces but I mentioned his props to Daniel Farrands, who included Lloyd in his Crystal Lake Memories documentary in 2013. After the documentary came out, I wrote a blog post with a few stories and anecdotes Lloyd told me that didn't make it into the documentary. A couple of years went by and I basically forgot about it.

Then a friend of mine pointed me to a eBay auction. Lloyd's props were finally for sale! I managed to buy both pieces and OH MY GOD I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE IT.

You might have seen Tom Spina's photos... the head was in rough shape and Tom did a great job restoring it. Even in person, you can hardly tell where the damage was... and it was extensive. The thing literally lost chunks of foam latex every time you touched it.

I can't describe how exciting it is to own a piece of film history. In a way, this head is more central to the Friday the 13th story than the hockey mask: this desiccated head was the object of Jason's cultish devotion, the only thing that mattered in the world to him, and the reason he committed all his murders. The fact that the prop still exists is remarkable considering the poor treatment B movie film props got back then.

Honestly, she doesn't look like much in daylight. But once you get her properly lit, it's like being onset back in 1980...
One of the things I considered in buying this is screen use. I have no doubt that it was made by Carl Fullerton on set. But was it the only one, and is this the one that actually saw screen time? That would affect the value considerably. I asked Fullerton back in 2011 if more than one was made, but he couldn't remember.

Fortunately, blue ray screen shots (thanks Auz) might provide some clues.

Establishing screen-matching with a piece like this requires more than identifying sculpt features, but characteristics that could only exist on one version of the piece. The face was hastily sculpted, cast in foam latex and affixed to a plaster life cast (probably of Connie Hogan). There are tiny bubble patterns in the forehead in some of the recesses where the foam was popping during the curing process. If you look very closely at screen shots, you can see evidence of the same bubble patterns. Since it seems unlikely the bubbles would have formed in exactly the same places from casting to casting, this indicates a high probability that my head is the only one made for the film. The head also has pieces of double-sided tape used to hold the wig on still affixed, suggesting it's the screen-used piece.

So there you have it. I don't think this will be the beginning of a huge screen-used prop collection for me because honestly, I'm probably never going to top this. Sometimes you just get lucky!

So this piece is far too fragile to cast directly... but I've been thinking about doing a very limited edition re-sculpt. 20 copies at the most. Its a nebulous plan right now, but keep it in mind and comment below if you might be interested. Until then, enjoy these photos of the real deal and thank the horror gods she made it 35 years!