Jason Voorhees has a mother - everyone knows machete-wielding Pamela - but where's Daddy? Spanning ten original films, Freddy vs. Jason, and even a 2009 reboot, the Friday the 13th franchise has made an absent father figure or Mr. Voorhees. Jason and New Line cinema certainly seem to have some daddy issues and Elias Voorhees is the man we have never met...until now!
After 26 years (and counting), Elias Voorhees has never made it to our screens. However, the idea of Jason's father floated around as early as the first film - sadly (much like his son) Mr. Voorhees sank into rewrites and other idea. Victor Miller, writer of Friday the 13th, told Pit of Horror:
We had a few weeks to come up with the shooting script. There was no time for a backstory except that the counselors had let Jason drown, thereby starting the tragic events that followed, sending Mrs. Voorhees over the edge. I always assumed that Mr. Voorhees had run off after creating a kid like Jason and couldn't take his wife who was starting to get slightly bent as she focussed totally on their child.
I guess that they were too busy making room for Pamela Voorhees - so much so, the idea of Mr. Voorhees wouldn't be touched on for another six years!
The year is 1986, and Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives hits cinemas. Tom McLoughlin, the film's director, admits that Mr. Voorhees was supposed to be introduced alongside the caretaker at the end of the film, but the idea never played out. It was rumoured that a ginger haired Elias paid a visit to the graveyard to tend to the graves of his wife and son, opting for burial instead of cremation. I'm sure you can guess that it is much harder to reanimate someone when they are a pile of ash. Whilst the caretaker made the cut, Elias did not! Instead, you can check out the alternate ending as a storyboard on the deluxe DVD edition. Deciding that every boy needs a father, Simon Hawkes introduces the character of Mr. Voorhees in his novelisation of Jason Lives. Even then we never get the name Elias, with both Hawkes and McLoughlin's additions simply referring to him as Mr. Voorhees.
Film No.9 not only introduces the Freddy vs. Jason concept, but it is when we next hear whispers of Elias. Jason's Daddy's name even gets mention as the father of his half-sister Diana Kimble. It only took 13 years, but Elias finally entered into true canon (if only because of a mention). However, in Dean Lorey's original draft of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, we don't exactly get the Elias we hoped for. Speaking to Pit of Horror, Lorey states:
The original story involved Elias, who was Jason's brother which was the mythology created for the movie. Jason wasn't in that script. It was just about Elias, his brother. It was all that body jumping stuff but it had to do with Elias. Jason wasn't a part of it. So basically it didn't work, and we decided to go in a different direction.
Jason's brother could have been named after his father too (we hope) - otherwise thanks Dean Lorey, you just took a massive dump on one of the franchise's most interesting aspects and sent us back to the start!
Mr. Voorhees reared his head more substantially, this time in the 1995 Topps Comics series, Jason vs. Leatherface. Jason witnesses the abuse of Leatherface, which sparks a flashback to his own childhood. Again given no name, Elias is depicted as your stereotypical abusive father, whose abuse may or may not have shaped his son. We don't exactly get a fleshed-out version of the character, as Elias soon meets the wrong end of Mrs. Voorhees and her machete. Also, at this point you should take the character of Mr. Voorhees with a pinch of salt. Jason vs. Leatherface isn't exactly considered canon - Mrs. Voorhees isn't even called Pamela, they call her Doris!
Jason X: Death Moon (that's right...they extended THAT universe) may be based on the worst film in the franchise, but actually gives us some insight into not only Elias, but the whole Voorhees clan. Set in the distant future, rumours of the Voorhees name still carry horror with them. The novel portrays Elias as a hillbilly, whose great-great-great-grandfather was a 17th Century Salem warlock. Jebediah Voorhees was held responsible for a spate of disappearances in the area, and was burned alive in his mansion. No body was ever found, but apparently Jebediah passed the Necronomicon down through the generations. One day Elias discovers the book and accidentally summons a demon, which in turn possesses the unborn Jason.
Finally, we get the most accurate representation of what/who Elias could be! Serving as a prequel to the original films, in 2007 came Pamela's Tale, the graphic novel which tells Jason's early life from the perspective of everyone's favourite psycho momma. Pamela regales Annie (from the original film) with the story of her abusive husband, a miner who is a "simple, masculine man." In 1947 Pamela is living in a trailer, whilst pregnant with Jason. Elias comes home and it is implied he rapes Pamela; sick of the mental torture, she hacks Elias to pieces with an axe, blows up the trailer and dumps his body parts in....you guessed it...Camp Crystal Lake. Unfortunately, as you know, Annie never made it out of the film alive to spread the news of Elias, which might explain why he has been missing from the franchise for so long!
So why no Elias? Perhaps the most famous Jason, Kane Hodder, was even meant to play Elias in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday and Freddy vs. Jason, but as is the recurring theme of the story, the character was cut! With the upcoming Friday the 13th reboot, could we finally see Elias on screen? Director Brad Fuller has promised us an origin story (of sorts):
Origin-ish, but it’s an origin that no one has seen before. Obviously Pamela’s there, but it’s a little bit different from what you’ve seen before.
Meanwhile sources close to production have told Birth.Death.Movies that Aaron Guzikowski's script does in fact include Elias! Fuller remained a little sketchier on the details about whether or not Elias would return, but only time will tell! It may have taken 27 years, but the possibility of expanding the Voorhees family is one too big to pass up on. The untitled Friday the 13th reboot is scheduled for release on January 17, 2017, so happy Father's Day to Elias Voorhees - everyone here at MP sends a blood-soaked card!