Private collector Mario Kirner has acquired quite a collection of screen used Friday the 13th props over the past 15 years, and is now putting his non-profit collection together for fans of Jason in his FRIDAY THE 13th PROPS MUSEUM BOOK.
This hardcover book will feature over 150 pages of content with everything from Friday the 13th Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan screen worn Jason hockey mask and wardrobe to JASON X’S “Uber” Jason mask. Kirner’s release isn’t just a picture book, it is more like a coffee table tome that includes interviews, in-depth information on props, fold-out pages, and behind-the-scenes production images. Kirner gives some insight on his collection and the labor of love for screen-used prop collecting that produced it.
“To start with, you need to understand that this kind of memorabilia does not grow on trees,” he says. “It may take years and a great amount of research to track down and authenticate what you are looking for. Especially with older movies, pre-2000s, when things were usually trashed after production wrapped. It`s not like signing up on Amazon.com and ordering what you feel like matches your collecting focus. I was lucky enough to start collecting when this all was still a niche hobby and many good pieces were still with original sources and have not been sold and re-sold. It tends to get harder to track down fresh pieces now”
Kirner further goes on to talk about how hard it was to come by collectible pieces as a child in Germany – even items that are common place today and how the internet helped to really open up resources.
“As a kid, I started collecting everything that was related to the FRIDAY THE 13TH, THE TERMINATOR AND A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchises in the early 90s,” says Kirner. “That was way before the internet pushed the doors open to a whole new market. There was not much around, compared to today. We had magazines, posters, stickers and these kind of collectibles. The top end material in our collections were items like cardboard standees from video stores and you had to beg for that stuff for years until you would get it from the store owner. What seems like the usual collection content nowadays, like autographed pictures from some of the F13 cast was impossible to get back then, as we had nothing like conventions over here in Germany.”
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Kirner turned his attention to searching online for Jason images and became obsessed with finding new content (especially behind-the-scenes images) that he had not seen before. One day came across an ad for a screen used machete prop, which was said to have been used on the set of Friday the 13th – Part VII. He called that day, but to his misfortune the prop had already been sold; this was the moment that set Kirner on his quest to acquire the best collection of Friday the 13th screen used props he could find.
“I naively started by contacting all possible FX studios, actors, production companies and anyone in between who worked on these movies and where I could find contact information,” he says. “There was not much luck and after weeks and months of trying, only one single response. I was offered a major item and we finally agreed on a deal. Around that time an online forum was built together by a couple other collectors. I joined it and quickly found some as enthusiastic as I was.
“This basically was the start of my collecting career. I also found out quickly that every collecting field that contained valuable items and money, also contains scammers and frauds. One good thing that started around mid of the 2000s were “official” studio auctions, held to promote their movie releases. Piles of stuff is getting brought to the market that way. That allows a safe start for newer collectors with a good chance to obtain authentic movie assets. But that covers newer movies only, so it was still up to my own research to dig up F13 treasures.”
For Kirner, collecting Jason costumes is not as easy as you might think; some take years to complete and usually require some real digging and dealings with multiple people to secure a complete costume. He also explains why his in house museum display room is darkly lit and how it helps to capture the feel of the props.
“As mentioned in the beginning, these items are pretty rare and hard to find. From all the Jason costumes in my collection, none was obtained as a complete set. For example, until I added the final piece to complete the Jason X costume, it took me around 7 years and material coming from 5 different sources”.
“The costume parts were spread all over the production,” he continues. “Someone kept a shirt, another one kept the hockey mask, gloves and neck shackles were in storage somewhere in the costume department and the actor had the boots taken home for his daily use when doing garden work, he said in an exaggerating tone. Some of the items are not made or even intended to survive the production. Materials like foam rubber, for example, begin to dry out mere weeks after it was created, if not stored in a specific manner to mitigate the risk of deterioration. The display and storage room where the props and costumes are housed in the museum, is lighted by LED spots only to prevent irritation of any of the materials and to prevent discoloration. A welcome consequence of that fairly dark prop room is that it works in harmony with and represents the mood of the films in which the pieces were used.”
Kirner says that anyone can start a prop collection, but do your homework and resource some experienced collectors if possible. Don’t get hung up on Certificates of Authenticity as anyone can produce those, and most importantly, no matter how big or small focus on props that you are happy with.
Mario Kirner’s FRIDAY THE 13TH PROPS MUSEUM BOOK will be available November 3, 2018 (or pre-order via EBay now and receive your numbered, autographed by the author copy as soon as it’s printed). The price on this book is roughly $90 USD.
Get your copy now and make mama proud!
Friday The 13th Props Museum – The Book Website
(Pre-order information can be found on this website also)