Sad news has gripped the horror community with the recent passing of Steve Dash. For those who don’t know, Dash passed away on December 18, 2018, at the age of 74 due to complications from diabetes. He was mainly a stuntman/coordinator in the horror genre, in films such as Mr. Hush, Night Shift, and Alone in the Dark. Also, you may not know, he was a stunt double for William Atherton’s character, Walter Peck in 1984’s Ghostbusters! However, those of us familiar to his name will always remember Dash as the burlap butcher– (I coin the phrase if it has yet to be taken), or bag head Jason as he’s been called, the first Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th part 2.
He set the bar for what was to become a staple character in the oh-so missed Slasher genre. A kind-hearted, and funny man, I had the privilege of meeting Dash in New Jersey at Monster Mania a few years ago. I was taken-a-back being in his presence, as his energy still very much radiated that of Jason Voorhees. Dash, like Kane Hodder, was not shy about letting loose his inner Crystal Lake Killer, having brought up his machete (to my throat) for our photo op.
When I asked Dash why there were two people portraying Jason in the film, seeing as he himself was a stuntman, he replied that while he was originally set to be the stuntman only, the crew was having problems with their other actor Warrington Gillette. While the scene we see at the end of Friday part 2 is, in fact, Gillette, this was filmed before said problems had arisen. Thus, Dash was given the remainder of the film to bring Jason to life. And what a job he did! As far as all of the actors who have come along to play the iconic role, admitting myself that CJ Graham remains to be my personal favorite overall, Dash definitely brought, what I think to be, the most terrifying presence to the character. This perhaps mostly due to the fact that Jason was new to the screen, and had yet to be shaped into what we know of him today. Dash’s portrayal maintained a sense of emotion and grief towards his mothers slaying at the end of the original, something I feel was lost to any of the later actors that followed. With this, as well as being the only rendition (excluding Jason as a boy in Part 1) to not have dawned the infamous hockey mask, I think Dash stands out among the 9 actors who have come to play the role.
On behalf of horror fans all over, we say thank you. Rest in Peace Steve Dash, as you will always be remembered as– in the manner that you had autographed my DVD case– “The Real Jason” I do hope that many of you out there had the opportunity to meet Steve Dash, it was an honor for myself.
Until next time, this is The Horror Seeker!