Welcome to Crystal Lake

Confessions of a Cosplayer: Ben McClure

Welcome to another installment of “Confessions of a Cosplayer”. Each week I will feature a cosplayer in the Friday franchise who I either know personally or through social media. As time moves on, I will also be focusing on other iconic horror characters from other franchises then I will have horror inspired cosplayers.
If you are a horror cosplayer or know someone who is a horror cosplayer and would like to be featured on a weekly spotlight please reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram or send me an email at SouthJerseyJason@gmail.com

What is your first memory of watching a Friday the 13th movie?
Tough to say honestly.  I only caught glimpses here and there as a kid when I wasn’t supposed to.  The first full memory was sneaking into my parent’s room to watch TV when they were throwing a party downstairs.  It was a small black and white TV that I would plug in and watch on the floor next to the door so I could hear them coming upstairs and have enough time to abort mission.  Flipping through the channels, I came saw Jason Lives and was able to watch the whole thing. From there I was locked in.

What is your favorite Friday the 13th movie?
Depends on what mood I’m in.  If I had to pick one, it would be pt. 3.  I’m a sucker for the OG hock. A close second is Jason Lives as I feel it really played off itself well with a perfect mix of horror and self-aware comedy.  Jason X is my guilty pleasure of just fun as was FvJ. I really enjoyed the reboot despite the average opinion of it. New Blood is my favorite look for Jason and I’m a huge fan of how Kane played the role despite all his movies’ kills getting nerfed which took away from their potential.

What made you get into the art of cosplaying (how old were you? Where did you first show off your cosplay, do you design your own clothing, hood, hockey mask etc.?  If not, who do you use to help with your costume?)
So, I’ve cosplayed two characters in full force.  Jason and Ghostbusters. In elementary school during recess, I would do one of two things; I had a pretty dope Proton Pack backpack and I would play GB with my friends or I would cosplay Jason.  Now you’re probably thinking how the hell did I cosplay Jason at elementary school recess. Here’s how. I would take a sheet of notebook paper and draw the hock leaving some spare paper around the borders.  I would than cut the eye holes and mask out. I’d use a pencil and poke out the vent holes. With the remaining border of the paper, I’d cut a strip the length of the sheet and another the width. I used the two strips for the straps and glue it all together.  Using a fresh sheet, I would fold it up into a makeshift machete and chase my friends around the playground. Fast forward many many years, I got my hands on a Proton Pack from eBay and a kit for the thrower, Army Surplus for the clothing and some home ingenuity plus more eBay goodies to complete the look.  I rocked this for years until I revived my pretty crappy startup FvJ costume I slapped together for Halloween but then ditched it for a pretty damn good pt. 3 costume. I used a Devil’s Latex hood and hock along with a machete I had for about 10 years building up some nice patina. I scored pants and boots from Burlington and ordered a Dickie’s work shirt. 
After two years of the 3, I aimed for a pt.8 but J3 had a deal on latex I couldn’t pass. My Holy Grail of a New Blood costume began after that. Huge shout out to J3! I went back to Devil’s Latex for the hood and hock and with some excellent pointers from James Ingram, I was off and running on finishing my New Blood. I think it turned out better than I expected.  I spent months (working on it on my days off) weathering the clothes using a myriad of tools to get the look I wanted. With James’ startup help on airbrushing it all came together. I reached out to Horror Axes and sent them a pic of the hero pt. 7 ax and he had it shipped to me within days. With some Walmart boots and homemade mud an amazing 7 was ready for debut.

How many versions of Jason costumes do you have?  Do you have plans to showcase more costumes?
Just the 3 and 7 for now.  I would love to pull off a solid JGTH next.  I think that look is so underappreciated because so many didn’t like the movie.  To me, JGTH makes Jason look so much more bad ass because of his limited screen time.  It makes you want it more because you barely get to see it.

Do you attend conventions?  If so which ones do you attend?  Are there any you recommend for someone who has never attended?  What advice would you give to someone who has never attended a convention as a cosplayer?
I’ve been to two Spooky Empire cons.  At the first one I met Kane Hodder and at the second one I met CJ Graham.  The first one, I wasn’t in character. I brought my pt. 8 hock and a little retro hock I made for my daughter’s retro costume.  I kinda kicked myself for not bringing my completed pt. 3 at the time and my wife gave me crap for not doing it either. I rationalized not doing it because it would be awkward meeting Kane dressed as Richard Brooker. 
At the second one, I brought my recently completed 7 gear despite planning on meeting CJ. Boy what a night and day difference in the experience. The second I hit the main floor I was mobbed. It was like being a mini celebrity.  I couldn’t move 5 feet without stopping for pictures. It was a blast but there were some things I didn’t end up doing because it ate up a lot of time. One of which was getting a stare down photo op with CJ in costume. As a matter of fact, I should’ve done two days there to rock both the 3 and the 7.  Some advice for a first timer would be to try and have someone with you. It definitely helps to have a handler lol. Plus, having to strip down elements of the costume to get a drink or food helps if you have a second set of hands. I did meet more people in costume like fellow cosplayers but the kicker was meeting the Jason Lives Alumni.  I got pics with CJ but the entire cast stopped me and asked if they could take a pic with me! Darci was off the chain and kept trying to get me to come to the after party. She also couldn’t keep her hands – or lips – off my axe. Now keep in mind I had my wife and kids with me. Slightly awkward but a pretty cool story to share in retrospect.  This made up for missing my stare down with CJ for sure. So to any first timers, just go full speed and have a blast.

What advice would you give to a first time cosplayer?
Remember that everyone starts somewhere.  Your first attempt will probably take more than one attempt.  Be patient and give yourself plenty of time. I started my 7 in March with the goal of completion at Halloween.  If you rush your build, you will make concessions you may regret later. Additionally if you try and fab something up the beginning of October, you will find that many mask/hood makers are already working on people’s orders who planned ahead.  It is immensely helpful to get into the Jason cosplaying FB groups.
Your average friend list won’t have the eyes for what you are going for to give you solid advice. The groups I’m in are filled with very helpful people who can direct you to builders and sites to buy the proper gear or help you with do it yourself techniques.  I’ve seen some sketchy attempts where I thought to myself, uh oh this guy is going to get flamed but I’ve never seen it happen. The F13 community is such a good group and I’m happy to be a part of it. I’m always willing to help where I can and I’m no pro for sure. Start a DM conversation with people who are positive and responsive that give you unsolicited advice that have done the work themselves.  Just remember as with anything, be selective on how you slide into someone’s DMs, lol. Another tip I can share is to buy the F13 Props Museum book if you plan on doing a pt. 6 or higher. There are some amazing reference pics in that book of individual elements of the costumes and props. It’s not all inclusive but definitely worth the buy, costume building or not.  Beyond that, I found that watching the movie in the background while you work keeps you motivated and you’ll have reference shots at the ready.  The internet will fill in the gaps. Lastly, have fun. This is why you’re doing it in the first place. Give yourself enough time, plan your budget, shop around and be patient.  It will all come together.

Who are some of your favorite cosplayers that you follow on social media or personally know?
Obviously, James Ingram at J3 Jason Costumes.  Again, without his pointers to get me going I don’t know how my 7 would have ended up.  James Burlew and I have shared tips for a hot minute now. He has the best X I have ever seen on top of being a good guy to chat with.  I’m very happy to have connected with him. Jeffery Fahrnkopf was probably the first fellow cosplayer that I connected with. He makes some bad ass hocks and costumes in and out of the F13 realm.  He and I share the same affinity for accuracy and he makes some cool short video clips.

Do you have any social media accounts for your cosplay that you would like to promote?
I don’t have any socials that are dedicated to my cosplays but I can be found on FB at Ben McClure.  I won’t be hard to find as I’m the only one with a sick New Blood profile pic, lol. My IG is @creepmuzik.  I’m most active on FB. Just the usual mix of family, Jason and car stuff. That’s pretty normal… right?

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