Bryan Fuller Fell In Love With Friday The 13th Because Of Pamela Voorhees

The best horror villains are ones that make us feel a twinge of compassion. A sympathetic origin story can leave audiences doing mental gymnastics when they find themselves feeling empathy for someone killing people onscreen left and right. As exhibit A, I present Jason Voorhees.

Known in pop culture vernacular simply as "Jason," the sub-human killer from the "Friday the 13th" franchise hacks his way through a gaggle of horny teens for the better part of a dozen films and a brief TV series. During that time, he's also gone to space, vacationed in New York, and battled fellow killer Freddy Krueger.

And now, he's baaaack (sorry, wrong horror franchise). Well, maybe. Peacock recently announced a "Friday the 13th" prequel series, "Crystal Lake." Legal battles that are arguably more scary than the movies have made it somewhat unclear who will or won't appear in the new series. But that's OK, because it's actually Jason's mother, Pamela Voorhees, that made "Crystal Lake" showrunner Bryan Fuller ("Hannibal") fall in love with the franchise.

The sometimes-forgotten killer from 'Friday the 13th'

"Friday the 13th" typically evokes images of Jason in his hockey mask and the chilling "ch ch ch, ah ah ah" tune that accompanies most of his kills. But longtime fans of the franchise are well aware that Jason barely makes an appearance in the first movie and that the hockey mask doesn't enter the equation until "Friday the 13th Part III."

Jason's tragic origin story has always made him the focus of the franchise. A quick refresher: As a child, Jason Voorhees lived with physical abnormalities and mental disabilities. His mother, Pamela, was employed by Camp Crystal Lake. While staying at the camp with his mother, Jason was bullied and thrown into the lake, where he drowned. No one was ever held responsible for Jason's presumed death.

In the first film, the son of the original Camp Crystal Lake owners attempts to re-open the camp 22 years after Jason's drowning. Pamela Voorhees avenges her son by killing the owner and all but one of the camp counselors. Pamela is eventually decapitated by the lone surviving camp counselor, who then discovers that Jason is still alive.

Because of his own experiences, producer Bryan Fuller says Jason's tragic backstory and the undying love from Pamela Voorhees are what made him fall in love with the series.

Fuller could relate to Jason's mother

Bryan Fuller revealed to Fangoria that his earliest experience with storytelling began by sitting around campfires re-telling the "Friday the 13th" plot synopsis to his friends. It was also around this time that he developed empathy for Jason Voorhees and his mother. "I was working with special needs kids," Fuller revealed. "I was hyper-aware of the challenges of parenting special needs children."

That awareness is what drew Fuller to "Friday the 13th." For him, the movie wasn't just a scary slasher flick. It was made personal because of Pamela Voorhees and what she did for her son.

"One of the kids I sat with during most of that volunteer work, his mother simply couldn't handle him. He was amazing and unique and had a different sort of intelligence, but he was also non-verbal. His mother couldn't get far enough away from him. And so, when I read about 'Friday the 13th' and saw the lengths Pamela Voorhees would go to for her special needs child, I found myself in this Venn diagram of influences, and I fell in love with the series."

Fuller says nothing is off the table as far as what "Crystal Lake" will include. Given his emotional connection to Pamela Voorhees, I expect the complex relationship between Pamela and Jason to be passionately explored. "I feel that I'm in a unique space to tell this story and to make sure it is loved and cared for appropriately," Fuller said.

"Crystal Lake" does not yet have an official streaming premiere date listed.