Special effects artist Brian Wade first cut his teeth on a series of low budget horrors and creature features during the early 1980s, from the obscure Galaxy of Terror to the studio production Jaws 3. His break would come when he was brought onto the crew of two acclaimed pictures, John Carpenter’s The Thing and James Cameron’s The Terminator, whilst also working with renowned artist Rick Baker on the family blockbuster Bigfoot and the Hendersons in 1986.
The same year, Wade was hired to assist on the redesigns of a now zombified Jason Voorhees for Paramount’s Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Over recent years, Wade has worked on a variety of high profile projects that would include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X Files and Resident Evil: Afterlife.
Brian Wade looks back on his part in the resurrection of Jason for Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.
How did you and your effects team land the job for Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives? How did you approach designing Jason, as this movie marked a departure as the character had now become a rotting zombie?
The job was spearheaded by Reel Effects. I was brought on by Chris Swift. I had worked with him on some recent projects (April Fool’s Day) and we liked working together. I approached the character as it was discribed in the script, as a zombie version of Jason, rotted and such, but with the wounds of his past incarnations still apparent.
What made you decide to work on the franchise? Were you already a fan of the previous movies and what was the general feeling regarding A New Beginning?
I had enjoyed some of the earlier installments, and at the time when I heard they were doing another one, I moaned, “Oh no!” But when they offered the Jason design to me I thought, “Well, at least I could have a chance to do a Jason,” so I came aboard. It turned out to be a great project to be a part of, and I am happy I decided to do it. The cast and crew were a pleasure to work with.
How much gore was cut out of the finished movie, as the Friday the 13th series was renowned for falling victim of the MPAA?
We shot two versions of a lot of things, ‘lots of gore’ and ‘Not so much gore’; with that in mind and what you see in the film is what we ended up with. That’s how it goes sometimes.
Did you also work on the Alice Cooper promo video He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask), which was released to coincide with the film?
No, the video used a lot of cuts from the film, but it was cool seeing the stuff in the video anyways.
Which was the one effect from the movie which you were most proud of and why? Were there any effects that you wanted to include, but had to leave out due to budet or time?
We managed to get everything in that they wanted, so nothing is missing, but designing Jason and doing his on-set make-up was the best part overall for me.
How do you feel about the movie all these years later and when was the last time you watched it? How do you feel your design of Jason stands up to John Carl Buechler’s in Part VII: The New Blood (Which many fans consider to be the ultimate Jason)?
The movie is kind of tame by todays standards, that’s for sure, but still watchable. I don’t really try to compare “Whose Jason is better than whose.” I generally let the fans enjoy which one’s they like, and leave it to that.