All Joe Gallow wants is to become part of "Friday the 13th" history. Fittingly, he'll do so on Friday, April 13.
The Scipio man has organized a screening of a fan film inspired by the horror series, "Never Hike Alone," that night at Track Cinema in Fingerlakes Mall. The fan film will be followed by "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives." The event will also include Jason Voorhees-themed cookies by the mall's Bradford Heights Delights, raffles for autographed posters and other items, a costume contest with a bloody "Part VI" Jason mask painted by a friend of Gallow's as the prize, and a display of Jason masks from each "Friday the 13th" movie from Gallow's collection.
But Gallow doesn't just collect Jason masks — he wears them. He posts photos of himself as the character on Gallow Goes to Hell, a cosplay (costume play) Facebook page.
Gallow began dressing as Jason after years of watching "Friday the 13th" movies with his father. He then began piecing together Jason costumes from the Army jackets of his father, a Vietnam veteran, and his grandfather, a World War II veteran. In 2007, after years of making do with flimsy plastic Jason masks, Gallow got his first real one, red chevron designs and all.
Gallow said he prefers Jason to horror counterparts like Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers because he looks cooler — but also because of his character.
"Jason's kind of a victim," he said. "I felt bad for him, in a way."
Though Gallow has done a few Jason photo shoots since 2008, it wasn't until October, when he started working with friend and Auburn photographer Emily Lane, that his cosplay took off. She shoots most of the pictures of Gallow as Jason, and recruits friends like Megan Davison to portray his victims. Gallow does much of the editing, he said, such as swapping backgrounds and adding blood and gore. They shoot several times a year — including a recent winter shoot, because "you never see Jason in winter" — and Gallow posts about three photos a day to his page, he said.
The same month he started working with Lane, Gallow took a chance on "Never Hike Alone." Though he's wary of fan films, the "Friday the 13th" enthusiast fell in love with it. About 53 minutes long, the film depicts a man going hiking alone, only to encounter Jason in Camp Crystal Lake. Director Vincente DiSanti "put a lot of money and love into it," Gallow said, so "you can't tell it's a fan film."
Gallow started communicating with DiSanti with an internet comment about the design of Jason's mask in the film. Later, Gallow asked the director about the possibility of a Blu-Ray release of "Never Hike Alone" due to the difficulty of watching it on YouTube in Scipio, where Gallow doesn't have good internet. He was surprised when DiSanti gave him permission to premiere the film in New York.
Gallow chose Track Cinema, as his wife, Sherri Gallow, is a manager there. And he chose "Part VI" to follow the fan film because that's where it fits best in "Friday the 13th" continuity, he said. He also hopes Friday's event not only spotlights the work of Lane and Davison, but the local popularity of the horror icon who brought them together — and sent them to hell.