Two of my favorite websites are bloodydisgusting.com and iHorror, and in this article I’m going to reference both of them. I want to make sure I give proper credit to the respective reporters before I contribute my two cent’s worth to the discussion. Word came out last week that paramount had cancelled plans for the new FRIDAY THE 13th film on the eve of its starting filming. Somehow or other, the intrepid reporters over at Bloody Disgusting got hold of the script for the movie. (Maybe not the final shooting script, but it does jibe with everything we’ve heard about the project.) First, allow me to quote from writer John Squires on BD’s scoop.
“[The] aborted script begins at Camp Crystal Lake in 1977. Two young camp counselors…are murdered in the opening sequence by a killer wearing a sack mask…The masked killer, it’s pretty safe to assume, is none other than Jason Voorhees, as he looks much the same way Jason did in Friday the 13th: Part 2. But we soon find out this is actually Elias Voorhees, Jason’s father.
“The first 40-or-so minutes of the new [movie] were going to delve into the backstory of the Voorhees family, providing us with our first ever meeting with ole Elias…[who] claims five victims throughout the first half of the film. Elias is then himself killed by camp cook Pamela Voorhees, who is sent into a violent rage in the years after her beloved son goes missing…As for young Jason, he’s written as a sympathetic character who wears a white medical mask to cover his hideously deformed face…He’s sixteen years old in 1977, and as you’d probably expect, the other kids at camp ruthlessly pick on him. Eventually, their torment leads to his “death.”
“The film was set to slightly reimagine Jason’s drowning. In this version of events, the older counselors, tripping on acid, take him along with them on a boat adventure; armed with a Super 8 camera, they cruelly unmask Jason and capture it all on film. Running away, Jason attempts to swim from a nearby island back to his home at Crystal Lake, but of course, he drowns…
“We then jump forward three years to 1980, where the second half of the film takes place. With Jason presumed dead and Elias definitely dead, Mrs. Voorhees embarks on the murder spree that we saw in the original [movie]; the second half of the script plays out like a mishmash of the original film and the subsequent two sequels. Pamela kills a few counselors after discovering the Super 8 film, and she then kidnaps Annie and Mary to confront them with what they did. Eventually, the two escape, and as you could probably surmise, Annie beheads Pamela.
“What comes next? Jason, now 19-years-old, takes over where his father left off…Now wearing a “yellowed goalie mask,” the full-grown Jason…is in full-on rampage mode for the final 25-30 minutes of the movie.” Most intriguing to me, Mr. Squires states that there is a glimpse provided of “Elias’ journal, filled with strange symbols and these words, in big letters: “Kill him before he’s born, before it’s too late.’” Unfortunately, he says, the script never follows up on WHY Elias wants his son (we must assume he’s talking about his son) dead.
Over at iHorror, writer Michael Carpenter offered his opinion of the proposal: “The absurdly convoluted origin story…is entirely unnecessary and superfluous. Plus, it limits Jason’s actual rampage to the final 20 minutes or so of the film, and also suggests a demonic origin for him. Has Hollywood somehow still not learned yet that it’s best not to explain exactly why the monster is a monster? Honestly, the script sounded like one giant mess to me…”
I cannot wholly agree with Mr. Carpenter. Origin stories for monsters can and do work. (It hasn’t worked yet with a slasher, and the last time they tried it with Jason it was a resounding failure, but there’s a first time for everything, right?) This one had some promise, though I do agree that it sounded convoluted, and that the journal thing was never followed up on suggests the script wasn’t so well thought-out. Also, it disappoints me that we were going to be given ANOTHER remake instead of a prequel to the original. Maybe what I really want is for someone to take the basic idea behind FRIDAY THE 13TH 9 and actually do it RIGHT. It would be nice to see Jason treated with a little gravitas. The closest we’ve ever come to this was in FREDDY VS. JASON. I wanted to see the 13th installment in the film series elevated to the status of Art. Excepting that, I’d gladly settle for another JASON X, which was for all intents and purposes a spoof, and a really good one.
What form WILL the next FRIDAY flick take? Yes, there WILL be one. The rights are set to revert to New Line Cinema next year, I believe it is, and that studio will most assuredly do what Paramount refused to do and give us a new Jason flick, sooner or later. Let’s hope for sooner.