Just weeks after the passing of Child’s Play co-writer John Lifa, it’s another sad day today for classic horror fans as we’ve gotten word that screenwriter Ron Kurz has passed away. Known for writing the screenplay for Friday the 13th Part 2 and for providing uncredited rewrites for the original movie, Kurz reportedly died from heart failure on May 7, though the news of his death was just made public at Fridaythe13thFranchise.com this week. He was 79 years old.
According to his obituary, Ronald G. Kurz was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on Nov. 27, 1940. After high school, he served in the United States Army before later working as a corrections officer at the Maryland Department of Corrections. Tapping into his creative side, Kurz then took up a job at a movie theater and spent his off hours writing as a novelist. During the 70s and 80s, he had been getting his novels published and worked as a screenplay writer, with his work including the movies King Frat, Eyes of a Tiger, and Off the Wall.
As Jason Voorhees is among the most popular horror movie villains of all time, Kurz is perhaps best known for writing the first sequel of the series, Friday the 13th Part 2. The movie is the first of the series to feature an adult Jason as the killer, as his mother Pamela (Betsy Palmer) was the sole killer in the first movie. Part 2 is also the only movie where Jason doesn’t wear the familiar hockey mask during his killing spree, instead wearing the burlap sack that would dub this version of Jason as “Sackhead Jason.” Every fan of the franchise will have their personal favorites and their own ways of ranking the series, but there’s no doubt that the second movie sits high at the top of many of those lists.
Many Friday the 13th fans may also not realize that Kurz had also contributed to the screenplay of the original movie under the pseudonym Mark Jackson. In fact, you could even make the case that Kurz was the one most responsible for creating Jason Voorhees as a horror movie monster. Because Mrs. Voorhees was killed at the end of the first movie, it was Kurz who came up with the famous jump scare scene, teasing Jason as the next killer with the boy emerging from the lake to grab the final girl. Kurz was then able to take the ball and run with the idea when he penned Friday the 13th Part 2, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Kurz’ survivors include his wife of nearly two decades, Ann Dillon; sons Scott Nelken Kurz (Bethany Porter Kurz) and Daniel Nelkens Kurz; sister Susan Kurz; and two granddaughters, Zessi Ann and Elyse Muriel Kurz. We extend our condolences to them at this difficult time. Fans of the Friday the 13th franchise will always fondly remember the work of Kurz as well, and he will forever be remembered and appreciated by all who knew him. May he rest in peace. This news comes to us from Fridaythe13thFranchise.com.