Friday the 13th: Is it ‘Ki ki ki, ma ma ma’ or ‘Ch ch ch, ah ah ah’?


Friday the 13th fans are debating whether the iconic noises from the film are “Ki ki ki, ma ma ma” or “Ch ch ch, ah ah ah.” So, which one is it?

Certainly, anyone who has seen a Friday the 13th film knows what sounds I’m talking about. Whenever Jason (or his mother or copycat killer) are stalking their victims, that trademark creepy tune will play, perfectly setting the mood. Ever since 1980, people have been quoting the sounds, typically by saying, “Ch ch ch, ah ah ah.”

How do you hear it?

For decades, every single fan of the franchise said it this way. But in the 2009 documentary His Name Was Jason, a revelation from composer Harry Manfredini would change things. After all this time, he revealed exactly how he came up with those iconic noises. Using Pamela’s “Kill her mommy!” line from the first film, Manfredini distorted words “kill” and “ma” until they sounded like the recognizable tune we all know and love.

With this reveal, however, came people with holier-than-thou attitudes over the subject. Suddenly, some fans began to treat others as morons for saying (or typing) it as “Ch ch ch, ah ah ah.” Even though all of us have been saying it that way for decades. Suddenly, people were not only claiming to be experts by knowing this, they’re acting like they knew that’s what it was supposed to be the whole time.

Yeah, right.

Still, not everyone has seen His Name Was Jason. It wasn’t until 2017 when Friday the 13th: The Game came out that the “Ki ki ki, ma ma ma” thing really took off. That’s thanks to one of the loading screens from the game, which matter-of-factly states that it’s “Ki ki ki, ma ma ma” and not the much more commonly used phrase.

Credit: Gun Media

Wanna bet?

So, which one is it? Actually, the correct answer is neither. There is no right answer to that question. In the midst of all this arguing over this matter, I think we’re all forgetting that this is NOT a line of dialogue.

In fact, these are sound effects. Maybe they went in to Manfredini’s musical doohickey as Betsy Palmer’s voice, but what came out are these strange, creepy noises — you know, sound effects. And is there really a correct way to spell a sound effect?

I say no. Because I don’t care what Gun Media says, and I don’t care if they have Sean Cunningham and Harry Manfredini agreeing with them. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t hear those noises that way. For me, it’ll just always be “Ch ch ch, ah ah ah.”

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So, the next time you see somebody spelling it the “old” way, don’t rush in to correct them like a white knight on a high horse. We’re not competing to be the biggest fan of the franchise. Let’s all just accept it both ways, because honestly, this is probably the silliest thing in the world to argue about.

Ch ch ch… ah ah ah!