Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th and the Worship of the Female Goddess Named Mom?

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Featured Scary Movies and Series

Soon we celebrate Friday the 13th … again, or specifically, Friday November 13th which is our second this year! For horror fans Friday the 13th dates on the calendar mark the greatest excuse to Netflix and chill, while rewinding some of the greatest slasher movies of all time. 

When you think of the evil villain serial killer who stalks morally bankrupt camp counselors, it’s hard to believe that Jason Voorhees kept us captivated for 12 movies.  We still think that there is one more epic 13th movie left in the franchise, because that number would make sense, right? 

If you are a fan of the Friday the 13th movie franchise, and you are planning on ordering some pizza and binge watching as many movies as possible this evening, we’ve got some fun facts and lore about the storyline that you may find pretty cool. 

The Reverence of Friday the 13th in Homage to the Female Goddess (And How That Got Changed)

Throughout ancient history, both the day ‘Friday’ and the number ‘13’ were held in sacred esteem and were strongly associated with the Great Goddesses, and with the power of the feminine energy.  There are roughly 13 menstrual cycles in a year for women, and it is the number of lunar potencies (told you about the moon tonight) blood and fertility.

The number 13 was always a lucky number.  Sanctified in Ancient Israel, and the number of spiritual strength and renewal for Pre-Columbian Mayans. In the Wiccan faith, a powerful gathering of a coven is 13 members and for the ancient Egyptians, the very last phase or cycle of life on this planet ended at 12, and the afterlife began on the 13th.  The number was also representative of the Goddess Shekinah, the yin to the yang of the duality of the supreme God.  In the Islamic faith, Friday is the Sabbath.

The attribution of both Friday and the 13th day were so tied to mystical strengths and powers, that when matriarchal societies were suppressed by patriarchal morals and laws, they flipped the switch.  The day became “evil” or a day of activity but unrest, and less spiritual significance.  And the number 13? It became a superstitious magnet for misfortune and bad luck.

Was the movie Friday the 13th written to acknowledge the power and significance of the feminine Goddess, rage, and retribution? More specifically, was it a nod to Jason’s mother (who dies at the end of the first film?)

When we consider the epic history and characterization of Jason Voorhees, he ends up being a rather complex villain (for a guy who never spoke a word). One thing is clear; that big guy loved his Mom, because witnessing her death spurred another 11 movies about vengeance to restore the only woman that actually meant anything to Jason at all.  Talk about a “Mommy Dearest” complex tantamount to Norman Bates. 

https://youtu.be/G4t4g8T422g

Was the first movie ever supposed to be about Jason?  Or was it ‘taking Friday the 13th back’ for the Goddess? It’s a head scratcher… you tell us what you think. Betsy Palmer was pretty darned terrifying with her mom hair helmet, fisherman’s sweater, and incredible machete skills.  You could definitely tell she worked in the camp kitchen.

13 Fun Facts About The Friday the 13th Original Film You May Not Know

For diehard Jason Voorhees fans, we’ve dug deep and hard for some interesting facts (that everyone else isn’t sharing a blog post to celebrate today).   If you have something to add to our list, don’t forget to leave us a comment below.

  1. Frank Mancuso Jr. was the producer of the original 1978 version of ‘Halloween’ and its success was the inspiration to write and produce Friday the 13th. Both franchises grossed over $529 million dollars in box-office receipts by 2018.
  2. The highest grossing single film in the Friday the 13th series had a co-star.  A five-razor fingered co-star and an epic duel to the death (again) for both Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kreuger. Released in 2003, Freddy vs. Jason grossed $114.9 million dollars. 
  3. The 2009 remake of the original Friday the 13th was the second highest grossing film in the series, with earnings of $92.67 million dollars.
  4.  The original mask for Jason was supposed to be an umpire’s mask.  Totally less scary than a white hockey mask.  We’re glad they made the switch.
  5. The famous “ki ki ki… ma ma ma” sound effect that accompanied Jason, was composed by Harry Manfredini, to imitate a young Jason encouraging his mother to “kill kill kill, ma ma ma”.
  6. Jason racked a body count of 167 victims over the course of 12 movies. Which didn’t include Freddy Kreuger because Freddy is no one’s victim.
  7. Its cheaper budget wise if the masked killer doesn’t return for the next movie.  It’s all about keeping production costs low, so Jason Voorhees has actually been played by 13 different actors.
  8. Camp Crystal Lake was actually New Jersey Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco.  It used to sell memorabilia from the original movie, but now the most exciting thing on the website are Boy Scout Badges.  They do sell special Halloween event tours for fans and camp fundraising.
  9. The ‘Goody Two Shoes’ guy next door character Bill? He was the real-life son of Hollywood legend Bing Cosby.
  10. Filming for the movie lasted only 28 days.  Victor Miller wrote the script in two weeks.
  11. Kevin Bacon agreed to shave his armpits for the bunk murder scene.
  12. The full body count in the original movie was 11.  Including the unlucky snake.
  13. Gene Siskel (yep, Siskel and Ebert) gave Friday the 13th zero stars. Not only that, but he was a Broadway fan of Betsy Palmer, and gave the audience her personal address, and told them to write her letters in protest for the exploitation of her theater talent in the movie.

Happy Friday the 13th from all of us at Puzzle Box Horror.  If you have some fun fan facts to share, hit us up in the comment section or on social. We love it when you banter with us on horror and paranormal movie fandom.

Jennifer Strange – Demon Hunting and Ghost Curses

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Best Horror Books Best Of Featured Horror Books Reviews

Young Adult (YA) and horror are two genres that I have a lot of affection for, and so it stands to reason that a book combining both of those should be one I would truly enjoy. Of course you have your celebrated series such as Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but it’s been years since I’ve read those and I’ve been looking for something new. Enter the recent YA horror Jennifer Strange by Cat Scully.

Fifteen-year-old Jennifer Strange is the Sparrow, cursed with the ability to give ghosts and demonic spirits a body-a flesh and blood anchor in the mortal world-with the touch of her hand. When a ghost attacks her high school and awakens her powers, her father dumps her unceremoniously in the care of her estranged older sister Liz, leaving only his journal as an explanation. Drawn to the power of the Sparrow, the supernatural creatures preying on Savannah, Georgia will do anything to receive Jennifer’s powerful gift. The sisters must learn to trust each other again and uncover the truth about their family history by deciphering their father’s journal…because if they can’t, Jennifer’s uncontrolled power will rip apart the veil that separates the living from the dead.

Wow, I had SO much fun with this book! There’s an element of mystery to it right from the beginning, but then it also turns fairly gruesome and horrifying very early on. It reads like a typical YA book, so I was actually caught off guard (in the best way) by the brutality and pulse-pounding scares of our protagonist’s first major paranormal encounter. It’s violent, it’s instantly memorable, it lasts for three glorious chapters, and it instantly hooked me into the book. From that point on reading this was pure bliss.

I’ve seen this book compared to the Supernatural and Evil Dead franchises, and those are the two that really resonate with me (sorry, I never watched/read any Buffy). Much like the Winchester brothers, Jennifer and her older sister Liz were born into a demon-hunting family of sorts and are forced into taking on the family business as they search for their missing father. And much like the demons called forth from the Necronomicon, the spirits here are vicious, relentless, and feature a fair amount of gore and bodily fluids. I also liked that a paranormal attack (be it regular ghost, Wraith, Banshee, or something else) could literally come out of nowhere at any moment. Fortunately Scully balances this well with slower scenes and moments of character building, and the pacing works really well.

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Jennifer Strange horror book cover

Speaking of characters, I really like Jennifer as a main character (and I even grew to like her sister Liz). She’s caught in a new world of surprises and is having to deal with some heavy discoveries while fighting for her life. Not only is she sympathetic and realistically detailed, but her struggle with her newfound power and its damning implications is incredibly compelling. I also liked the character Marcus, and I’m glad he was written with care and complexity. Unfortunately those three are the most fleshed out characters. We learn enough about the others, their personalities and motivations, to get their relation to the plot, but I wish they were given opportunities to be as dynamic as Jennifer, Liz, and Marcus. 

The other thing that I didn’t like as much is the ambiguity that floats in and out of the pages. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the climax hinges around a series of events that, while epic and interesting in their telling, are overall a little confusing at times. And there are certainly pieces to the puzzle missing, though as this is the first in a trilogy I must presume they will begin to fall into place in later books. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I loved that it is set in Savannah, GA (the perfect place for a ghost story), I loved some of the twists and turns, I loved the variety of ghouls, and I loved the pacing, structure, and characters. Yep, lots to love here! I also thought it was really neat how the book splices in pages from their father’s journal, including his diary entries and illustrations from their mother. Made for a cool dynamic to chunk the story and break things up. Jennifer Strange fits very well into the YA horror genre, and I think it’s a story that both teens and adults will find worth reading!

Jenny – Ghost Ship and its Frozen Crew

Categories
Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

The Last Voyage of Jenny

“May 4, 1823. No food for 71 days. I am the only one left alive.” – Was the captain’s last entry in the ghost ship Jenny’s log book. Jenny was an 1800’s English schooner that became frozen in ice crossing the Drake Passage in 1823.

Very little in this world is as fascinating and terrifying as a ghost ship. A vessel wandering aimlessly on the vast oceans instills the true meaning of being a ghost. The history of phantom ships dates back to the early 1700’s, with many pieces of ghost ship lore having no known origin date at all. Add in a frozen Antarctic passageway, and Ghost Ship Jenny takes the terror of ghost ships to another level.

Captain Brighton writing his last passage in the schooner Jenny's ship log
Captain Brighton writing his last passage – Art by David Romilly

Date of Discovery

The ship set sail in 1822 and went missing in 1823. According to Polar Record, it was rediscovered in 1840 by a whaling ship “Hope.” By the time of discovery, the ship had been encased in ice for almost 7 years. Other accounts place the discovery in 1860, however, the most commonly agreed-upon timeline is 1840. On either timeline, the frozen bodies of the crew were encased in ice for no less than 7 years or up to 27 years.

Ghost Ship Jenny’s – Frozen Crew

Frozen Crew likeness of the ghost ship jenny

The article from Globus in 1862, a popular German magazine, recaps the fantastic re-discovery of the ghost ship Jenny. As the story goes the whaling ship, named “Hope,” happened upon Jenny after the ice had broken revealing what appeared to be a fully manned ship. To the horror of the men aboard the whaling ship, the crew for the Jenny were actually frozen in place and had been for 7 years. It is reported that Captain Brighton of the ship Hope found the captain of the ghost ship Jenny still with pen in hand as he scribed the last entry. Some say that Captain Brighton properly buried the ship’s captain, crew, wife, and dog all at sea. Other urban legends state that the Jenny and Crew are still aimlessly lost at sea.

To this date the ship remains a true ghost ship as it has yet to be seen aside from reports that are nearing 200 years old. Are the crew of the phantom ship Jenny still frozen somewhere at the bottom of the ocean near the drake passage or is the ship still completing it’s doomed journey?

Ghost Ship Jenny

Ghost ship Jenny is one of many ghost ships out there, but the way in which it went missing and was re-discovered surely makes it one of the most terrifying.

Books About Ghost Ship Jenny

Seafaring Lore and Legends books including the ghost ship Jenny
Seafaring Lore & Legends including the tale of the Ghost Ship Jenny
Antarctica Vol 1 book about sea legends and the ghost ship jenny
Antarctica Vol 1 which includes information on the Ghost ship Jenny

References

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