Entertainment Magazine

13 Things You May Not Know About Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Posted on the 28 February 2014 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

In response to Paramount’s announcement of a 2015 release for what will be the 13th Friday the 13th film we’ve been looking back at the prior films in the franchise to dig up trivia as well as answers to questions which have plagued us for years. You can see what we found out about Friday the 13th, Part 2, Part 3, and The Final ChapterHere are 13 things we discovered about…

THE FILM: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), aka, the crappy one where it’s not really Jason


Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter was a huge hit for Paramount, posting the studio’s biggest ever opening weekend.  Several months later Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street debuted, injecting new life into the fading slasher genre by incorporating a supernatural element.  The slasher genre was rebounding.  Why would Paramount leave money on the table by letting a silly thing like killing Jason for good stop them from doing another another Friday the 13th?  Halloween III had shown that at the very least a horror franchise’s iconography expands beyond its title.  So, if they did a sequel without Jason they needed to at least have a killer in a hockey mask.  Throw in way more gore and nudity than usual and surely audiences would accept a Jason-less Friday the 13th.  Right?  Right?

[My sources from this point forward are: Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th documentary & the companion coffee table book of the same name]

1. So, what about the no Jason thing?

The Final Chapter was supposed to be it for the franchise, but its director (Joseph Zito) and writer (Barney Cohen) independently decided that if they left it open for someone to become the new Jason they might be asked back for the sequel.  So, they ended with Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) losing his shit and hacking Jason’s corpse before hugging his sister while freaking us the heck out with this death stare:

Friday 13th Final Chapter Tommy's stare

Well, it worked.  Kind of.  Franchise architect Phil Scuderi loved the idea of Tommy becoming the new Jason, although it meant aging the character by 5 years since Feldman was too young (and unavailable thanks to Goonies).  Scuderi just hired new people to do it.  Speaking of which…

2. The director had previously worked in adult film


New Beginning screenwriter/director Danny Steinmann was originally offered a two-picture deal to direct a Friday sequel as well as a Last House on the Left sequel, the latter ultimately falling through. At that time, he had just made his official directorial debut with the Linda Blair crapfest Savage Streets (1984). However, he’d actually been working in exploitation cinema under various pseudonyms since 1973, starting with the hardcore sex comedy High Rise in which the actors were having actual sex but there were no close-ups of penetration.  That was Steinmann’s only adult film, an attempt to make a better version of Deep Throat (1972), but it still made him the only Friday the 13th director with a hardcore past.  Sean Cunningham’s pre-Friday the 13th adults films were all softcore.

3. There had to be some kind of scare every 8 minutes

For the screenplay, Danny Steinman was working under two directives from Phil Scuderi: deliver a shock, scare, or kill every seven or eight minutes, and turn Tommy into Jason.  In fact, Scuderi presented Steinmann with a graph to emphasize his “every 8 minute” rule, which meant the film needed to keep introducing new characters and then kill them 3 or 4 minutes later.

4. They adapted a story originally written for Part 3

Friday the 13th: Part 3 was supposed to center around Part 2‘s survivor Ginny (Amy Steel), set at a mental institution to which she’d been committed due to emotional trauma.  Steel declined to return, and the concept was shelved.  However, Part 3‘s screenwriter Martin Kitrosser had fleshed out the ideas (Jason survivor as lead character, some setting where troubled teenagers might be) into a written story treatment, which was dusted off and used for New Beginning‘s basic story while Steinman and co-writer David Cohen penned the script.

5. The editor had previously worked on Indiana Jones and Star Wars 

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He went from editing hearts pulled out of chests in Temple of Doom to all sorts of gore in New Beginning

A New Beginning‘s film editor Bruce Green had previously worked as an assistant editor under Spielgberg’s editor Michael Kahn on Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Temple of Doom.  Kahn, who has now been nominated for 8 Academy Awards, winning 3, put his neck on the line for Green.  He told the New Beginning producers to hire Green, and if they did but didn’t like the job Green did then he’d come in and do the film editing for free.  So, basically, that blows any letter of recommendation you’ve ever had out of the water.  Green, who now works steadily editing family comedies (e.g., Princess Diaries, Freaky Friday) would almost instantly regret getting the job when…

6. There was originally a 3-minute long sex scene, but the MPAA forced them to cut it to 10 seconds

Not everyone on New Beginning knew Steinmann had made a porno, but they could have guessed as much after just 1 day of filming during which they shot a 3-minute softcore sex scene featuring DebiSue Voorhees and John Robert Dixon.


Contrary to rumors over the years, the two simply simulated sex, ala a modern Skinemax scene

It was way too close to hardcore porn for most involved.  When Bruce Green asked what he was supposed to do with the footage the Executive Producer said “make it look like a Pepsi commercial.”  The MPAA forced them to trim it all the way down to 10 seconds.  That was still enough for DebiSue’s large (real and spectacular) breasts to leave a lasting impression on a generation of horny teenagers.  Unfortunately, this also haunted DebiSue for many years, costing her teaching jobs she held later in life at Texas and New Mexico high schools once they discovered her nude scenes.  Oh, btw, it’s a complete coincidence that DebiSue’s last name of Voorhees is the same as Jason’s, although that did work in her favor during casting.

7. Not everyone initially knew they were in a Friday the 13th movie

Roan Slaon Junior Hubbard

Ron Sloan didn’t know he’d been cast in a Friday the 13th

How the heck could you not know you’d been cast in a Friday the 13th movie?  Well, the films didn’t actually go by their real titles during production.  They had fake titles derived from David Bowie songs (e.g., Part 3 was called “Crystal Japan”).  This started with Part 3, when they started filming in California and wanted the Hollywood film labor unions not to notice since they employed entirely non-union labor.  The actors usually figured it out though, especially after they’d auditioned.  For Ron Sloan and a couple of other New Beginning actors, they somehow didn’t catch on until their first day on set when the stuntman playing Jason (Tom Morga) walked by in full costume and in character.  They thought they’d been cast in something called “Repetition.”  Luckily, they weren’t upset to find out that was a lie.

8. They stole poor Carol Locatell’s wig


Carol Locatell and her wig in Sharky’s Machine

In her audition for the part of over-the-top hick Ethel, Carol Locatell wore a wig gifted to her by Burt Reynolds for her time playing a hooker in Sharky’s Machine (1981).  The New Beginning people loved it, especially the part where she could provide her own wig.  That’s not really what she was going for (surely they’d get a new wig for the film), but she just went with it.

Locatell Friday 13th

Locatell and her wig in New Beginning

Unfortunately, she temporarily volunteered the wig to the make-up department in the chance they should need it for any re-shoots.  They never gave it back to her, perhaps forgetting it was her personal property and not their’s.

9. Fadden was NOT Here

New Beginning is a whodunit, not a particularly good one, but a whodunit nonetheless.  So, there are more adults around than normal (all potential bad guys), and Tommy’s all super strange and possibly psycho.  Plus, there’s that guy Vic Faden who chops poor chocolate-loving Joey to pieces.  Surely, he’s a Jason candidate, right?  Maybe.  However, fans have read too much into it.  After Vic is taken away, we later see the graffiti “Fadden Was Here” on a bathroom wall just over a character’s shoulder:


Does this mean Vic broke out, took a moment to misspell his last name on a wall, and then started killing everyone?  That gives them way too much credit.  ”Fadden” was simply the name of a golfing buddy of Danny Steinmann’s brother.  The graffiti was just an inside joke, one which obviously very few got.

10. Cocaine was everywhere on set

It seems appropriate considering how often the fictional characters in Friday the 13th are supposed to be on drugs, but multiple New Beginnings actors now claim cocaine was freely available and openly used on set during the making of the film (as well as many other films of the era).  Some even claim the coke-habit went all the way up to Steinmann.

11. John Shepherd took the film very seriously, and was very religious


John Shepherd as the traumatized, adult Tommy Jarvis

Contrast that cocaine, party-heavy set with a Strasberg-trained leading man who was so method as Tommy Jarvis that he wouldn’t really talk to anyone since his character would be reluctant to freely engage in conversation.  In fact, prior to filming he had volunteered for 3 months at a state mental hospital, regularly visited creature and comic book shops since the Corey Feldman version of the character was into those things, and wrote his own personal backstory for what had happened to the character in-between movies.  During filming, he would do push-ups, sit-ups, and run in-between scenes to get his body sweating.  However, he almost didn’t take the part, having been the last person cast in the film.  He was very religious, and regularly counseled kids at a Los Angeles church.  It was a seminary student friend who convinced him to take the part since the Friday the 13th films are basically morality tales (you do evil, you die), and his character got to kill Jason in the end.  Even with all of that, if you count them up the Tommy Jarvis character only says 24 words throughout the whole movie.  That was a lot of work for 24 words.

12. Yes, they knew the reveal of the killer was stupid


Who the hell is that? The ambulance driver? I barely even remember that there was an ambulance

Among the cast, the only people who knew Jason was actually the ambulance driver were the two leads (John Shepherd, Melanie Kinnaman), the stuntman playing Jason, and the actor playing the driver.  However, pretty much everyone knew it was stupid.  They had to film fake Jason’s death scene twice since no one believed the audience would be able to just see the unmasked man and instantly remember him as the ambulance driver.


Good. You gave us a close-up. So, now I can look a little closer, and..nope. Still no idea who that’s supposed to be.


Oh, it’s that guy? But he showed up like 18 dead people ago. Plus, he was only around for like 2 minutes. I can’t be expected to remember him

Ultimately, Steinmann decided to cut away from it as fast as possible in the hopes the audience would just go with it if he instantly distracted them with a new scene.  That new scene turned out to be just as bad…

13. That was NOT meant to be a dream when Tommy ends the film moments away from murdering Pam


The Friday the 13th series loves itself a cheap-scare, dream ending.  As a result, since New Beginning ends with Tommy having donned the hockey mask, moments away from killing his love interest, but Part VI opens with Tommy not so much in a homicidal maniac frame of mind the New Beginning ending must be a dream, right?  It wasn’t supposed to be.  As far as the people making it were concerned, Tommy had become Jason, and would be the killer in the sequel.  The new creative team behind Part VI dropped it because audiences despised the whole stupid idea.

The final damage for New Beginning?

  • Body Count: 20 (see them on YouTube)
  • Box Office: $21.9 million domestic (like $51.5 million at 2014 ticket prices) on a $2.2 million budget. It was the 5th straight Friday the 13th movie to debut atop the domestic  weekend box office top 10, and was already making pure profit above budget + marketing after 4 days of release.  However, the word of mouth was toxic, and it was out of the top 10 by its third weekend, the quickest such box office decline for a Friday the 13th film to date. The franchise would not re-emerge as a legitimate box office presence until Freddy Vs. Jason in 2003, and the Friday the 13th re-make in 2009.

Next Friday, we’ll tell you how Part 6 turned out to be an awesome damn movie (no, seriously, it’s a cult classic of the slasher genre)

Siskel & Ebert Review Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter:

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