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The Real Reason Jason Wears A Hockey Mask In Friday The 13th Movies

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, moviegoers witnessed a tremendous uptick in horror mainstays hitting the silver screen. Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), Michael Myers (Nick Castle), Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), and more arrived one after the other, and each made an immediate impact — sending audiences home with a reason to keep the lights on when they went to bed. To this day, they're as much a part of the horror world as they were back then and continue to keep fans on their toes, but what is it about them that maintains their relevance? First and foremost, their unique looks have gone a long way in helping them achieve unforgettable status.

From Hannibal Lecter's (Sir Anthony Hopkins) soul-piercing stare to Regan MacNeil's (Linda Blair) demonically deformed smile, the horror genre is loaded with characters who boast appropriately unsettling aesthetics. Aside from boosting Halloween costume and box office ticket sales, this design approach has a great track record of ensuring longevity for these names and franchises. There's perhaps no better example of this concept in action than Jason Voorhees of "Friday the 13th" fame, whose costumes — save for his first few appearances and the futuristic garb he wore for "Jason X" — have hardly changed, despite starring in a dozen different movies.

Alongside his methodical walk and sharpened machete, Jason's signature visual cue is his famous hockey goalie mask. Nearly four decades after it graced the big screen for the first time, it's still impossible to go out during the Halloween season and not encounter it. Even still, few are up to speed on where he got it and the reason he continues to wear it. For those curious, here are some answers.

Jason's hockey mask isn't important to him...or is it?

After appearing as a child suffering from hydrocephalus and severe bullying in the inaugural "Friday the 13th" movie from 1980, Jason Voorhees became the adult monster he's recognized as today through subsequent installments. The sequel, "Friday the 13th Part 2," is where he really makes a name for himself, even though he keeps a simple bag over his head for the entirety of the runtime. He eventually dons his trademark hockey mask after killing Sheldon "Shelly" Finkelstein (Larry Zerner), its original owner, in "Friday the 13th Part 3."

This timeline doesn't make a big to-do about Jason wearing his mask, and the rebooted one, which kicked off with 2009's "Friday the 13th," didn't make it any more significant. Unsurprisingly, he still shed blood to get it, this time killing off Camp Crystal Lake visitor Donnie (Kyle Davis), who actually managed to see his bare face before meeting his brutal demise. This led the lumbering serial killer to abandon his cloth head covering in favor of a worn-out hockey mask he found in the attic of Trent Sutton's (Travis Van Winkle) lake house, completing his transformation from generic slasher antagonist to a revised cinematic icon.

Ultimately, both renditions of Jason put on their hockey masks out of sheer convenience, but there may be more to this choice than meets the eye. Though it's never stated outright, he likely wore it to hide his face and avoid horrified looks from those that caught a glimpse of his true portrait. After all, his physical deformities led to unending abuse from his peers as a kid, surely contributing to some form of low self-esteem and insecurity deep down. He easily could've remained uncovered during his murder spree, but he didn't, preferring to keep his grotesque face concealed instead.