Finland: the story of the cruel massacre that inspired 12 horror films and remains unpunished after 60 years | Tuesday 13 | Jason Voorhees | WORLD

A murderer on the loose and a group of young people who are going to spend a few days off in a “cursed” camp are the protagonists of Friday the 13th, the movie slasher of the 80 that in Latin America was called Tuesday 13. That horrifying massacre that he recounts would have been inspired by a real event, which occurred in Finland.

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The Sean Cunningham-directed film became a global classic of the genre and inspired many other productions that preceded it. And, although it was always said that the main promoter of the film was Halloween, the hit de John Carpenter, its writer Victor Miller could have taken for the plot a multiple massacre that took place before the film’s premiere, on Lake Bodom, about 22 kilometers west of Helsinki.

On Tuesday 13, several young people vacation at a summer camp on Crystal Lake, recently reopened, in which a young man had drowned a few years earlier. Before long, some of them are found lifeless. In principle, the one who commits the crimes is the heartbroken Pamela Voorhees, mother of a child who had died at the scene, but at the end of the film her son, Jason, appears, who continues the criminal legacy and continues the saga. It was listed as suitable for people over 18 years of age, due to how sensitive its images were for the time.

Coincidentally, two decades earlier, on June 5, 1960, at Lake Bodom, from Finland, three teenagers, two 15-year-old girls, Maila Irmeli Björklund and Anja Tuulikki Mäki, and 18-year-old Seppo Antero Boisman, were stabbed and beaten to death while sleeping in a tent on the shore of the lake. A fourth teenager, 18-year-old Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson, was found badly injured on the grass, but survived.

The crime caused a great commotion in the country, but it was never solved. Gustafsson, who suffered a concussion, fractures to the jaw and several bones in his face, testified before authorities and claimed to have seen the attacker dressed in black and red.

As rebuilt the site Mysteries Unresolved, the crime took place between 4 and 6 in the morning, but the bodies were only found at 11, by Esko Oiva Johansson, a carpenter in the area who alerted the police.

The murderer attacked his victims from the outer sides of the tents, he did not enter them. He used a knife and a blunt object. Before leaving, he took personal belongings of the victims, such as the keys to their motorcycles, but the vehicles were parked in their places. The murder weapon was never found, but several of the stolen items were found, which were discarded near the area.

44 years after the crime, the tent was displayed at the trial of Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson.  (Photo: imgur.com/gallery/ToNes)
44 years after the crime, the tent was displayed at the trial of Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson. (Photo: imgur.com/gallery/ToNes)

Björklund, Gustafsson’s girlfriend, was found half-naked, and she was the only one found on top of his tent, along with the only survivor. That is why, almost 44 years later, in March 2004, Nils was arrested by the police accused of having been the murderer. The National Investigation Agency (Keskusrikospoliisi, KRP) put forward the theory – based on the analysis of the blood spots – that the survivor would have had a fit of jealousy with his partner and that this would have led him to kill her. The support for this hypothesis was that in Björklund’s crime there was more viciousness and violence than in that of his friends. A year later, Gustafsson was released from all charges.

Four suspects, no detainees

The true culprit was never identified. However, various theories emerged over the years of investigation and there were four main suspects before Gustafsson.

The first was Pauli Luoma, a fugitive from justice from a nearby department. The police captured him and after being questioned he had a valid alibi: he was in Otaniemi at the time of the murders. Then the focus was on Pentti Soininen, a maintenance man, who was convicted of various crimes. While in prison, he confessed that he had committed the Lake Bodom murders, but the police questioned him and his confession was not firm. He committed suicide in 1969.

The identikit of the suspect in the murder of the three teenagers in Lake Bodom in Finland.  (Photo: imgur.com/gallery/ToNes)
The identikit of the suspect in the murder of the three teenagers in Lake Bodom in Finland. (Photo: imgur.com/gallery/ToNes)

The third suspect was Valdemar Gyllström, the manager of the Oittaa kiosk, where they would have gone to buy supplies. He was a man who had shown hostility towards the lake campers, but police found no firm evidence linking him to the murder. The merchant took his life by drowning in the lake in 1972 and confessed to the crime in a suicide note, but the police dismissed him because his wife claimed he was in bed next to her that night.

Finally, Hans Assmann, an alleged spy for the KGB (intelligence agency of the Soviet Union), was charged with the crimes. The possible criminal had a good alibi, but it was striking that the day after the crime he entered a hospital with black nails and clothes full of red stains. However, it was never proven that he was involved in this massacre.

A newspaper clipping from the time shows investigators conducting profiling in one of the tents attacked by the murderer.  (Photo: imgur.com/gallery/ToNes)
A newspaper clipping from the time shows investigators conducting profiling in one of the tents attacked by the murderer. (Photo: imgur.com/gallery/ToNes)

Such is the similarity of the Finnish crimes to the plot of Cunningham’s film, that after the film was released, the Lake Bodom massacre was called “the real Tuesday 13”.

The movie

Friday the 13th It was a box office success and led to one of the most famous and iconic horror film sagas. The character of Jason Voorhees won 12 films in his name, including a crossover and a reboot. The most recent installment is from 2009, more than 20 years after the original film.

The original promotional poster for the movie Friday The 13th Paramount Pictures.
The original promotional poster for the movie Friday The 13th Paramount Pictures.

In turn, the story gave rise to a novel of the same name, in 1987, as well as a television series, comics and video games.

The original cast of Tuesday 13 is made up of Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini, Adrienne King, Betsy Palmer, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Mark Nelson and Robbi Morgan. A curious fact that emerged is that Miller created Jason playing with the names of his children, Ian and Josh, and that of a schoolmate whose last name was Van Voorhees.

Cunningham had originally titled the film A Long Night at Camp Blood, but the decision did not convince him at all because it was too graphic. When he found the name by which the film finally became known, he ran to get ads in the newspapers announcing the film, despite not having a scene filmed for fear of it being stolen. The difference in the day of the week when translating it in some Latin American countries occurred because for the superstitious, the fateful day of the week is not Friday, but Tuesday.

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Finland: the story of the cruel massacre that inspired 12 horror films and remains unpunished after 60 years | Tuesday 13 | Jason Voorhees | WORLD