The Friday The 13th Accident That Left A Cast Member Blind For Months

"Friday the 13th" is one of the biggest horror franchises in the world. The original 1980 film famously drew inspiration from filmmaker John Carpenter's "Halloween," and focused on a group of clueless, lascivious camp counselors who are picked off one-by-one by a mysterious killer. And back in the '80s, making scary movies before the slasher genre was fully established was not easy, and the bloody sequences in "Friday the 13th" were inventive for its time, including one death featuring a series of precisely shot arrows.

Unfortunately, this memorable kill in "Friday the 13th" was tainted by an actual horror experienced by the actor playing the victim behind-the-scenes. An accident on the film set caused Harry Crosby, who played Bill, to be temporarily blinded for months. That sounds more horrifying than "Friday the 13th" itself. 

Harry Crosby Was Blinded For Six Months

Accidents on horror film sets don't happen as often as they used to because, over the years, we've been able to build both the experience and technology required to make the most terrifying scenes a reality without anyone getting harmed. But in "Friday the 13th," an accident that occurred while filming one of the movie's more grisly scenes caused an actor to be blinded for six months.

The murder of Bill in "Friday the 13th" is still one of the franchise's most brutal deaths. The psychopathic murderer Pamela Voorhees, mother of the hockey-masked killer we all love, kills Bill with multiple arrows, pinning him to the wall. One of the arrows lands in his eye, as you can see below.


For the scene (via Mental Floss), make-up artist Tom Savini used a fake blood formula which, unbeknownst to the team, included a wetting agent known as PhotoFlo. It was expected to work with the fake blood and make it soak into Crosby's clothing to make the murder scene appear more realistic.

The team later discovered that PhotoFlo was not an ingredient classified as "safe blood," the kind that was okay to be smeared across an actor's face – including on the eyes. To achieve Bill's blood-curling arrow-in-the-eye moment, a latex prosthetic was applied to the actor's face along with the PhotoFlo blood. When the crew began filming the scene, the blood welled up into Crosby's eyes, and when the prosthetic was removed, it caused excruciating pain, and the actor couldn't see anything.

Although Crosby was ultimately fine, The New York Post confirmed that the accident blinded him for six months! Savini later acknowledged the incident, expressing that the on-set accident was "not a proud moment" for him.

Despite the mishaps that occurred behind the camera, the summer camp slasher flick is still beloved 40 years after its release, and it's widely regarded as one of the best horror films of the 80s. We're just glad that the rest of the horrific bodily harm is the result of movie magic instead of worrisome mistakes

The Legacy

Even with this story lingering around your brain, this film remains a foundational slice of horror.

In the slew of "Friday the 13th" sequels and reboots, the original 1980 film is often reduced to a footnote because it's one of the only films in the franchise that doesn't feature Jason Voorhees as the main killer. Jason is the face of the franchise, after all, and his murderous rage has taken him from Camp Crystal Lake to New York City to outer space, and he even eventually battled fellow killing machine Freddy Krueger in "Freddy vs. Jason." But without "Friday the 13th" setting the foundation for the many sequels and reboots to come, one of the greatest horror franchises we've ever known would have never existed. The iconic leading character doesn't take center stage until the sequel, but it doesn't matter because "Friday the 13th" doesn't need Voorhees yet — the original is an effective little chiller that offers shock and disgust in equal measure. It also feels refreshing to see the film pan out as a mystery because who could have such distaste for a bunch of lusty, minding-their-own-business teens?

It has been over 40 years since the film was released, and Jason's character has been reshaped to fit every movie released later. But it's "Friday the 13th" and its initial horror movie magic — the jump scares, the creative ways in which it knocked off teen after teen, and a genuine mystery surrounding the camp's ominous murdering presence — that makes it such a great movie. Because even when it finishes up and blood has been spilled, "Friday the 13th" refuses to offer a sense of closure. Instead, it leaves you with an epiphany — that it isn't over yet. That Jason will return for more.