On the night of May 9th 1980, theater audiences were witness to the brutal murders of 13 people—murders carried out in ways never before seen on screen. Finally after 90 minutes of unprecedented brutality, the crowds watched as the heroine of the film, the one survivor, floated on a boat away from the carnage toward the morning light. The calming music, early daylight, and approaching police cars let everyone know it was okay, it was over. That’s when HE showed up: the boy in the lake, Jason Vorhees. He leapt from the water, deformed, covered in seaweed and rot and dragged the last survivor into the water. And thus, the legend of Jason Vorhees was truly born. 

The young actor who played that role is Ari Lehman. He was only on screen for a few seconds, but many people (myself included) feel that those few seconds are the most frightening of the entire Friday the 13th series. Those few seconds of film have terrified audiences for 35 years now. Nowadays, Ari Lehman is an accomplished musician and the front-man of the band First Jason. We caught up with Ari after he had wrapped up a video shoot for the single, “Heed My Warning,” and asked. . .

 Jimmy Black and "Ari Lehman of Friday the 13th fame talks about his band First Jason, the trivia book 6-13 and of course all things Friday the 13th." 

 

Ahh,  camping, nothing quite like heading into the woods to escape the drudgery of work and  the stress from the week. Its a leisure activity enjoyed by families, teen agers and people of all walks of life. The seclusion from the man made world of brick buildings , the sweet simplicity of being one with nature and  the rich aroma of the marshmallows toasting on the open fire. All of these things one thinks of while being in the woods, however, that whole image was changed when the 1980 debut of the slasher classic “Friday the 13th” hit the big screen. ...Ari Lehman, the actor, musician, and hot sauce entrepreneur,  best known for his role as the young version of Jason Vorhees in the 1980 slasher classic “Friday the 13th”, was in attendance at Scare A Con 2014 in Verona, NY.

I had the privilege to chat with him this about his iconic role as Jason Vorhees, his band First Jason and, of course, horror movies!

What better to give us fright than the "Friday the 13th" movies? For more than 30 years, the slasher film franchise and Halloween favorite has terrorized us with images of hockey-masked Jason Voorhees and his mother, Pamela. ...Allentown resident David Zernhelt is obsessed with the series. He grew up in New Jersey, not far from the original film's locations: Blairstown, and the nearby Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco. He first watched the original film when he was a teenager and was captivated by the storyline, the mystery and the music. He thinks the first "Friday the 13th" is the best horror film ever made. 

Zernhelt dives deep into the film's details. He explores the history of set locations. He talks to shop owners, passersby and Blairstown locals who played a role in "Friday the 13th." He shares stories about the film that have never before been told.

 

Zernhelt also tells the story of Ari Lehman. Lehman played the original Jason Voorhees, who emerges from the icy waters of Crystal Lake to pull Alice, the last remaining camp counselor, into the depths in the film's iconic final scene. This is the first time we see the infamous Jason, the hockey-masked villian who terrorizes in the "Friday the 13th" sequels.

A keytarist and singer, Lehman has created a band called "First Jason." The band released its first album in 2013 and on the cover is a depiction of the "Friday the 13th" scene in which he took part. Zernhelt includes the album cover in his book.

For Zernhelt, it is inspiring to see Lehman still so connected to his Jason character. Lehman even includes "Friday the 13th" references in his music.

"All these years later in his life, he still talks about his character," Zernhelt says. "It's really neat that you have someone from that far back in 'Friday the 13th' that takes pride in the films. He loves all the films like I do."

...First Jason's second album, Heed My Warning, has the greatest cover art imaginable...

He played the very first Jason Voorhees in the horror film Friday the 13th that came out almost 35 years. 

   
On Friday night actor Ari Lehman was signing autographs and meeting fans at Sound Go Round in Vestal.  The actor is also a musician and has his own band, called you guessed it ."First Jason." On Friday night his band was playing at Fitzie's Irish Pub in the city. 

For those people not familiar with the history of Chicago-based First Jason, let me make things (Camp) Crystal (Lake) clear...

The band's leader is none other than Ari Lehman, the very first actor to ever play the iconic Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th horror movie franchise.

Wrapped in the now-legendary make-up of Tom Savini, Lehman's turn as the first Jason (hence the band name) has become one of the most memorable, and downright terrifying, moments in modern movie history. Now, that moment of murderous cinematic majesty has been recreated for the cover of First Jason's new album, 'Heed My Warning', the artwork - seriously, my favourite of the year thus far - updating the shocking event of 1980 to feature Ari Lehman as he is three and a half decades later.

irst Jason, with 'Heed My Warning', has almost developed a brand of thinking man's horror-themed rock and, when you consider that Lehman was barely a teenager when he hopped aboard the horror express to lifelong notoriety, it's some achievement. The more blinkered of horror rock fans may well baulk at the sounds summoned up by the outfit (Lehman, on vocals as well as "keychete", joined on the recording by drummers Ryan Adomaitis and Amit Cleaver), the Electric Machete Keytar stabbing out a soundmix of distorted guitar and bass, but few could argue that Lehman is, once again, creating something memorable by borrowing from the past and updating with his own vision...just like Cunningham did in 1980.

NAPOLEON, MI – There has been countless reincarnations, but only one man can hold claim as the original Jason Vorhees.

Ari Lehman, who played Jason as a child in the first "Friday the 13th" film in 1980, is coming to a Jackson-area haunted attraction to shoot a music video, of all things.

Remember the original Friday The 13th and how (SPOILER ALERT) it was actually Jason’s mother that was behind everything? We didn’t get our famed masked killer until Friday The 13th Part 2, the machete-wielding bastard that we’ve all come to know and love! But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t get a taste of Jason and his hideous visage until that movie. Oh no, we have actor Ari Lehman to thank for bringing us the beginnings of horror’s most prolific mass murderer! He was the Jason that burst out of the lake and pulled Alice into the cold, dark, murky waters of Camp Crystal Lake. 

The “boy in the lake” has grown up and now has a metal band.

At the age of 14, Ari Lehman landed the role of a lifetime as Jason Voorhees in the 1980 horror film “Friday the 13th.” Lehman left an indelible impression in the movie’s famous final scene when Jason emerges from the chilly waters of Crystal Lake to pull the female protagonist out of her canoe.

In the inaugural chapter from the Man Behind the Hockey Mask series, Jason doesn’t use his machete on anybody—or wear the aforementioned disguise either. Instead, his good ol’ mom does his bidding as she slices her way through Camp Crystal Lake. Jason does manage a token appearance, initially in his deranged mother’s flashbacks. But that’s not his contribution to the first movie that most of us remember. Instead, as the catalyst for a boating accident, his five second cameo at the end of the film is what’s embedded in our heads. ...If you’re still not convinced of the brief role’s influence, look no further than the career path of actor Ari Lehman. He has successfully parlayed his performance as the soon-to-be-homicidal youngster into a whole vocation of horror convention appearances and an aptly named band, First Jason. A mere glimpse of the littlest Voorhes, and horror fans have been besotted ever since.

I bundled my suitcase into the trunk of my old Trans-am, a trip to a summer camp was what I needed after the year I'd had ...Camp Crystal Lake wasn't too far from our home in New York, but it was far enough from our old lives for us... If only for one week.  As we pulled up to the gate I felt a strange chill run down my spine... Like I shouldn't be there, like someone was trying to warn us off.  ...as we got nearer to the water we noticed a rippling... then a splashing... Someone... Something was in the water and it was making waves...

Sherri clung tightly to my arm as we stared for what seemed like an eternity, grounded to the spot in fear, we had all heard the stories of this place... The drowning boy... and the murders, but that was all talk... Or so we had thought....
His voice was friendly, as was his face, long brown curly hair and a fancy beard framed his face well... a face that I knew... A face that I recognised... A face belonging to Ari Lehman... The first Jason Vorhees in the stunning Friday 13th horror series.

As for the music portion of the event, the festival will feature performances from bands that embody the marriage of horror and heavy metal, such as the Chicago-based band First Jason (www.FirstJason.com). Fronted by Ari Lehman, who played a young Jason Voorhees in the first installment of the legendary “Friday the 13th” franchise, the self-proclaimed “punk-metal-horror-comedy duo” pays homage to the archetypal slasher film. With songs, such as “Jason Never Dies!” and “Machete Is My Friend,” off of their debut album, “Jason Is Watching!,” the group firmly establishes their identity with an unique instrument — Lehman’s electric machete. “I do play the world’s only heavy metal keytar, which is the electric machete, which is basically an analog synth which has been duct-taped to a giant machete, with an LED Jason mask in the blade, and I play it through a Gallien-Krueger, big bass amp with 4×10 [speakers]. It’s just about as metal as you can get,” the child-star-turned-metal-monster proudly declares.

Accompanied by Nefarious, bassist for Chicago “murder metal” veterans Macabre, First Jason will take the Antone’s stage at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, and they hope listeners come prepared for an eye-opening performance. “I would say a large percentage of your audience there are unaware of what’s about to happen, and I just recommend everybody comes, especially if you want to see the keyboard reborn on the metal stage,” Lehman says. “And I’m ready to go toe-to-toe with any guitar player. I can play faster and louder, and I can play with both hands at the same time,” he adds, in the spirit of good-natured competition.

Lehman is most excited to simply experience the festival as a music lover and make new discoveries. “In all honesty, I’m there with my ears open to learn. I’m there to bring my sound, but I’m really there to check it out and absorb and learn,” he explains. Having traveled the country and played with the acts, such as Chimaira and The Browning, Lehman sees a lot of encouragement from the metal scene right now and thinks HHFF will only further highlight the supportiveness of this audience: “I think we all got an opportunity here to kind of all come together and make this scene really thrive.” 

Jason Voorhees is an on-screen legend. With the highest confirmed kill count of literally any other on-screen movie monster, Jason’s place in pop-culture history is all but absolute. But what of the men who’ve worn the trademark mask? Surely the guys fit to play one of the single most terrifying and physically imposing men in film history have some awesome stories to tell, right? Damn straight they do, here are our favorite three.

So Metal Ari Lehman is the first guy to ever play Jason on screen, so of course, he’s the first guy on our list. Though he never wore the hockey mask, Ari did play Jason as a deformed young boy which involved him wearing perhaps the single greatest piece of special effects make up ever designed. Seriously, look at this shit! It looks like everything wrong you’ve ever done had a baby with a brick wall and dipped it in a nightmare, then gave it the home address of the part of your brain THAT CAN NEVER UNSEE THE TERROR!

Though Ari never went back to films in a big way since his break-out role as a potato headed Jason, he did decide to kick all of the ass at music. This culminated in Ari fronting a band aptly called First Jason because when you were the first guy to ever play a character with 800 confirmed kills, you just have to front a metal band and sing about it. Hell, walking out on stage and saying “I was, nay AM Jason Voorhees” is more hype than Slash playing a guitar solo  on a naked lady guitar made of snakes.

Being that it’s Friday the 13th, it’s only natural to wonder what the original Jason Voorhees from the film franchise of the same name is up to now.

Ari Lehman, who first appeared in “Friday the 13th” as a young Jason, was never seen as the hockey mask-wearing killer who terrorized characters of the horror movie franchise. Now 48 years old, Lehman hasn’t let the fame of being the original Jason wear off.

Lehman is a member of the heavy metal duo First Jason, which takes its name from Lehman being the original Jason from “Friday the 13th.” The band released its first album, “Jason Is Watching!,” in 2009. The album includes horror-themed songs such as “Jason Never Dies!,” “You Better Run!” and “Machete Is My Friend.”

 

It may call itself the Housecore Horror Film Festival, but with Pantera main man Phil Anselmo andmetalsucks.net writer Corey Mitchell at the helm, they were also promising a superheavy metal lineup, Oct. 24-27.... Of course, this isn’t just a music festival, and Mitchell’s keen to make sure there’s no walls between the music onstage and the on-screen mayhem. Aside from Goblin, there’s also First Jason, lead by Ari Lehman, aka the original Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th

...(Ari Lehman) My interaction with the friends and fans of Jason Voorhees and "Friday the 13th" at Horror Conventions and FIRSTJASON concerts is extremely gratifying and rewarding. In 1980, we all had no idea that this film would capture the audience's imagination with such success. Now, it is clear to me that each film in the series has essentially been created as a direct response to the dedication of F13 fans worldwide. I have heard hundreds of stories from fans about where they were when they first saw "Friday the 13th", as if it is a historical event. The reactions are so diverse: some get nightmares, while one little girl told me she calls upon Jason to save her from the bad Monsters in her dreams. I am honored to be the 1st Jason.  ...it is because of the friends and fans all over the world who are dedicated to Jason and F13. I am an entertainer, mainly a musician, and as such, I go where the audience is, and bring them music and theatre. This is my role in life, and I do not take it for granted when I am invited to appear. Another reward for me is how the most wonderfully surrealistic moments ocur at Horror events. To walk into a room where others perceive you as a representative of a legendary Hollywood Monster is always a thrill, and sometimes even more. I have found Horror fans to be the most interesting and warm people, and FIRSTJASON has been welcomed with open arms by the Horror scene and the Metal scene all over the world. The fans of Jason, F13 and Horror in general are the last vestiges of the darkly romantic American literary movement exmplified by Edgar Allan Poe. 

...In honor of Friday the 13th (which happens about three times every year), we thought it high time to shine a spotlight on Ari Lehman, the little-known actor who played Jason Voorhees in the first film. Lehman has only a tiny role at the end of the film, but what he lacked in screen time, he more than made up for in terror. His scene is among the most famous in slasher-flick history.

In the 30-plus years since the film came out, Lehman hasn't done much acting, instead focusing on his music. His official site explains that he studied jazz piano in New York City and now headlines a rock group called (of course) FirstJason. Song titles include "Soul Seller," "Machete Is My Friend," and the eerily prophetic "Jason Never Dies."

(Original in Brazilian Portuguese. Translation by Google Translate for Business)

An interview with the actor who played the boy who drowned in Crystal Lake, creating one of the greatest slasher icons!

If there is an expression that comes in handy in the introduction of this text is the famous "in the right place at the right time." For those who are familiar with my writings, it is easy to know that I am a great admirer of the genre. Interestingly, I never wrote about one of my favorite horror movies. It's Friday the 13th (Friday the 13th, 1980). Reason joke to many, I really like the original and say more, putting myself in the audience who saw the film in theaters in 1980, I truly believe that many people have enjoyed the film.

...An hour later, I returned to the place. Inside the store, there was no queue. I went in and went to the end of the building, where there was a small table with pictures and posters of Ari and Richard as Jasons. Suddenly, I noticed that the Ari was talking to one of the Store employees at a distance where I could not get close and, despite being a journalist, I am too shy to shout to get someone inside a store. 

JMR - JASON MUST RULE , horror graphic novel created by Alessandro Marzi ( www.mylefthand.weebly.com ) and Ari Lehman, "The FIRST JASON of Friday the 13rd" ( www.firstjason.com)

SOUNDTRACK of the video: "For Whom The Bell Tolls", performed by METALLICA

It's no secret that I am an alucard carrying horror nerd. Last year, for the first Über Röck Halloween, I wanted to interview someone special, someone who walked the twisted line between horror and music and who could provide a suitably entertaining article for my favourite time of year......so I contacted Ari Lehman.

 For those of you that think that Michael Bay is a horror auteur, let me explain. Ari Lehman played the legendary Jason Voorhees in the original (and best) Friday The 13th movie three decades ago. Remember the shock ending that is truly, and rightly, an iconic horror moment? Yeah, that's Ari. So he has the horror angle covered, what about the music? Well, Ari fronts FirstJason, a boundary blurring metal/punk crossover that is just ripe for picking by Über Röckers worldwide. When I had the idea for Über Röck's 13 Days Of Halloween I just knew that Ari had to be involved and, legend that he is, he duly agreed, providing such a great series of answers to the 13 questions that I have put to the Devil's Dozen of musicians for this series of interviews (including six movies in his all-time top five!) that he just had to be the first to be featured...........

It started with a simple question. “Can you swim?” asked movie director Sean Cunningham of a 14-year-old Ari Lehman. “Yes,” he replied. With that one word, Lehman landed the role of the first Jason Voorhees in the 1980 horror classic “Friday the 13th.” At the time, he thought it nothing more than a great summer job and a chance to work with actors Kevin Bacon and Harry Crosby and special effects master Tom Savini. Little did he know the famous scene of young Jason lunging out of Crystal Lake to grab the lone surviving camp counselor (played by Adrienne King) would forever cement him in horror movie history. No lines required. ...Today, Lehman uses his horror movie past to influence his current passion, a band called First Jason. ...combines metal and horror with comedy and punk to form a monster band. With songs such as “Jason Never Dies,” “You Better Run,” “Machete Is My Friend” and “Jason Is Watching,” Lehman uses his lyrics and vocals to give a voice to the silent killer. “It’s a wonderful and surrealistic opportunity to include the social aspect of people’s perception of this villain and connect it with me through song,” said Lehman, who sings lead and rocks out on his “key-sword,’’ an analog synthesizer he attached to a sword to create a distorted guitar sound. “We’ve managed to capture people’s imaginations and run with it far into the woods and into Crystal Lake.” 

Neenah, WI. Gavin met up with Ari Lehman backstage at a concert, where Ari’s band Firstjason was opening for metal band Spineshank. Much was discussed, from the magic of Tom Savini, to the “sedentary cemetery of society”, to metal… to home remodeling.

 "...I have a lot of respect for Kane, he’s always reached out to me and given me encouragement and help. Shit, Cleaver was there the first time we met him in an elevator. We’re just standing there, and Kane looks up, and he’s like, “Ari Lehman, the first Jason Voorhees.” And I’m like, “Holy shit.” And he’s like, “I always wanted to meet you.” That was like my welcome to the whole horror scene, was from Kane. And Betsy, the great Betsy Palmer."

From the Denver Film Festival

Producer Anthony Masi sent along photos from the Denver Film Festival premiere of His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13. He informed us "First Jason" Ari Lehman attended the red carpet event garnering plenty of autograph seekers in the crowd.

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