Jason Voorhees, the hockey-masked, machete-wielding scourge of Crystal Lake, has been terrifying movie audiences and comic book aficionados for almost forty years with his unfortunate habit of popping up when you least expect him. Whether you’re enjoying a peaceful skinny dip, or shirking your duties as a camp counselor, or just wandering in the woods minding your own business, Jason is more than likely to put in an appearance. And here’s the fun thing- whatever you do to Jason, whether you hit him with a car, or electrocute him, or run him through with an iron bar, the guy just keeps on coming back. So that raises the question, just where _does _his unlimited supply of pep come from?
This is a controversial issue among _Friday the 13th _fans. Because lest we forget, Jason was missing-presumed-dead in the first movie, and it wasn’t until the second outing that he put in an appearance (albeit with a sack on his head). So where had he been all that time? And why was his unfortunate mother so convinced that he drowned? Could it be that he possesses some kind of healing factor?
First, we need to think about what we mean by “healing factor.” Because the fact is, even though Jason can (and does) take an awful lot of punishment throughout the film and comic book series, he’s hardly what you’d call a picture of health. His frequent sojourns in and out of Crystal Lake have left him moldy and more than a little green. A bullet won’t stop him, but it will certainly leave a mark. And though he is apparently immortal, the wounds he sustains are often still there the next time we see him.
Plenty of intellectuals have debated the nature of Jason onscreen and in print (including David Cronenberg in _Jason X_), but no one has really managed to determine what it is that keeps him going. We know he’s not quite human- if he were, he’d be dead and buried the first time someone shoved a pitchfork into him- but he doesn’t have regenerative powers either. In the fourth movie, he is effectively killed for good, and it’s not until the sixth movie that a bolt of lightning reanimates him. But even then he remains a distinctly killable, albeit highly durable, monster.
And yet in the comic books, Jason takes a lot more in the way of bloody injuries. At one point, for example, a massive hole is blown in his body which is shown to heal up almost immediately. But if that goes for _all _his wounds, why does he need to wear the hockey mask? Perhaps the best way to look at it is to divide Jason’s timeline into pre- and post-part 6. Up until the sixth movie, he was a mortal but decidedly thick-skinned serial killer. After he was revivified by lightning, he was a supernatural monster.
But even that doesn’t answer _all _the questions about the nature of Jason, including the all-important one concerning his whereabouts when his mother thought he was dead. Maybe we’re just not meant to know. All I can tell you for sure is that I wouldn’t want to run into him on a dark night.