The Case of the Confusing Mask

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Any horror fan worth their salt will recognize the perplexing American poster/box cover art from the 1985 bomb Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning:

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What makes this such a head-scratcher — and should be obvious from the above image — is that the mask used on the cover is not the mask Jason wears in the film, or any Friday the 13th film. This has always stuck with me but I never cared to do much digging. Until now.

So where to start? Cracking the code required a perfectly worded Google search. Here’s how I started my exploration:

“Friday the 13th V mask”. “Friday the 13th V mask box cover”. “Friday the 13th V alternate mask”. “Friday the 13th V plastic mask”. “What’s up with Jason’s mask on the cover of the Friday the 13th V box?” No luck.

Checked Ebay. Checked the official Friday the 13th franchise site. Nothing, nada. What I did find was everyone was confused about why this mask graced the cover of Friday the 13th part V and confounded as to where it came from.

Googling “plastic hockey mask” brought me to an actual hockey equipment site where I discovered a few interesting things. First, the mask used in ‘Garden Tool Massacre’ from The Blob (1988). Turns out it’s a junior-sized goalie mask and also incredibly inexpensive:

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Also found the mask from Alone in the Dark. This same mask can be found in other movies like Waxwork II: Lost in Time and Halloween H2O, and was the same mask used by the wrestler Lord Humongous (not to be confused with Lord Humungus, the Mad Max character – more on that in a sec):

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tumblr_inline_njq4ydeGAr1qg31yktumblr_inline_njq4ygupIO1qg31ykBut back to the mask I was on the hunt for.

In 1981, one year after Friday the 13th was released, the sequel to Mad Max — Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior — was released. The film introduced us to a memorable post-apocalyptic villain, Lord Humungus. While not the first time a hockey masked maniac would appear on film (I believe that honor goes to Act of Vengeance; see my other article), as far as I know, this is the first time that this specific cheapo Jason knock-off mask makes an appearance in film history. Remember: Friday the 13th not only didn’t feature Jason Voorhees as the killer, it didn’t feature the famous hockey mask until its second sequel.

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The character of Lord Humungus (with a little altered spelling) would directly inspire the wrestler “Lord Humongous” (see B&W pic above). Speaking of wrestling: despite Lord Humongous using a different mask than Lord Humungus, the cheapo knock-off mask in question would be used by another wrestler. In 1983, the Friday the 13th-inspired Canadian wrestler “Jason the Terrible” (seen with a young Owen Hart) used the mask as part of his ensemble. Note the hole placement: same mask.

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Two years later, in 1985, the mask graces the cover of the poster/box for Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning and causes a lot of  horror fans to say, “Huh?”

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In 1987, the mask makes another appearance on film, this time in Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. They painted it red for some reason, despite being a total homage to Jason Voorhees (the character of Tackleberry is seen chainsawing his way out of a body bag while wearing the mask.)

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In 1989, Christmas Vacation was released, and in a classic scene involving bickering neighbors we see the cheapo hockey mask being used (alongside a chainsaw) once again to recall the Jason Voorhees imagery:

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1991: the video game Pit-Fighter is released. It was one of the first to use live-action footage to animate the game, something that would reach the heigh of its popularity with Mortal Kombat. But what does this have to do with the mask? The game makes a direct reference to Lord Humungus. While the mask design is too pixelated to know for sure (it was the 90’s, give it a break), the character design is clearly modeled after the Mad Max baddie – so we’ll count it.

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In 1993, PCU came out. In the final scene of the film, the lead character “Droz” (played by Jeremy Piven) slaps on a hockey mask. And as far as I know, this is one of – if not the – last time this specific cheapo hockey mask makes an appearance on film.

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So that brings us up to speed. My search for this elusive mask continued. Searching “plastic hockey mask” brought up a result I almost overlooked. Mixed in with all the pictures of hockey masks was a singular airsoft paintball mask -that’s right paintball – not hockey. When compared to the aforementioned mask style, it’s a pretty damn close match:

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The eye holes are a bit bigger and the airholes may not be completely punched out, but note the ridges that cross the mask as well as the hole placement. Spot on!

Even dragging pics of the mask into Google image search doesn’t bring up any revealing results. The last and closest thing I could find to the actual mask was on a film memorabilia site. It was listed among other horror stuff, all from the same user but none of it seemed to be for sale.

tumblr_inline_njq53mMUwT1qg31ykI left the website link on the pic so you can search his stuff if you’re interested. I wanna point out that this was listed as an actual prop from the movie, and also labeled “vintage”, but I question the veracity of both those claims.

And that’s where my search dead ends, folks. I have followed every trail until it went ice cold. I Googled every possible combination of words, hoping to nail the magic amalgamation that would unlock the mysterious mask door and finally set me free. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. And so, for now, the answer remains hidden, the riddle unsolved. But the search continues…

UPDATE: After posting this article on Twitter, it was pointed out to me that the mask in question is vintage Cooper goalie mask. And sure enough, it is:

tumblr_inline_njq544dJDz1qg31ykGod bless the internet. Now if only I could get the 16 hours I spent writing this article back. You win again, Jason!

7 thoughts on “The Case of the Confusing Mask”

  1. For those interested in the specifics, this mask is called the HM6 by Cooper (Canada). I’d imagine the mask was used as an aesthetic choice to resemble the mere suggestion of Jason, considering at this point in the 80s goalie face masks are out dated and unavailable. Consider this interesting fact: goalie masks more frequently reference Jason in pop culture now than the sport it comes from. Just shows how truly influential the series proved to be.

    If anyone is interested in purchasing one, they do pop up on eBay every now and again. Your other option is a replica from Fiberglassmasks.com

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    1. What I like is how, in my search for a solution to the perplexing Friday the 13th Part V mask, I inadvertently found the answers to questions I never asked. Poetic, in a way, really.

      Like

  2. I’ve often wondered about this mask too. I wonder if it was poster designer’s attempt to convey the New Beginning. The back-lit image certainly would have worked with the “official” mask. Now I’m obsessed with knowing why this mask was used?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Y’know, it’d be a tall order (and would probably result in a lot of dead-ends), but I’d love to track down all the designers behind those boxes (and hell, a LOT of other horror boxes, too) and talk about the inspiration behind their layout choices.

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