So they have, YET AGAIN, killed another attempt at bringing Jason Voorhees back to the big screen before it could even get off the ground. You know what I say? Good. After reading the supposed direction they intended to take my most beloved franchise, I am more than glad to hear it. Bette Midler as Pamela? Jason having psychic powers that drove his mother to kill? Elias Voorhees is the good guy? A movie in tone similar to “It Follows”? No, no, no, no, no. If this is what the filmmakers thought would make a good Friday film then they clearly had no idea what they were dealing with and had no intention on making something Friday fans would enjoy.
So, since it seems no one can ever, EVER get this right I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring. Hell, if these are the best ideas the studio can hope to be given maybe, just maybe they’ll just listen to little old me. I’ve got ideas. I’ve had ideas about this franchise since I was a kid. Some of them have been downright awful but none as bad as the stuff I’ve heard over the last several years of failed start after failed start. So let’s have a little chat about Jason and let me make my pitch for the direction I think this franchise should take.
Let’s make one thing clear. The next Friday does NOT have to be a reboot. There is plenty of room in the established canon to support a movie, or even movies that would fit snugly within it. To understand what I’m talking about we have to establish some things about the Friday timeline. First of all, the last film in the timeline is Jason X. That film begins in 2015. The next closest film in the timeline is the 2009 “reboot” which is not actually a reboot but another film in the series (technically Part XII). That film takes place in 2008. In Jason X it was also mentioned that Jason was captured by the government and put on trial in 2010. This leaves a 2 year window in which the next Friday film could be set and still remain within the canon. That’s perfect for the purposes of this pitch. Over the next several articles in this series I intend to lay out my vision for a trilogy of Friday films that would all not only be numbered entries and continue the continuity, but would also individually encapsulate the essence of each phase of the Friday canon they each represent.
Interwoven throughout the trilogy will be flashbacks relating to Jason’s past to flesh out his backstory. While I know it makes some people groan, it’s actually not all that bad as most of the explanation for Jason Voorhees’ supernatural abilities already exists within the canon. In Jason Goes to Hell we see that a copy of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis, from the Evil Dead series, resides within the “Voorhees House” that belonged to Pamela and Elias Voorhees. Since we know that the Necronomicon gives power over death we can extrapolate from there. There is also more than ample evidence that Jason can, in fact die and remain dead for years on end before whatever curse afflicts him brings him back to life. He is killed no fewer than six times on screen throughout the series. This means that the answer to whether or not he actually drowned in the lake as a child has been answered.
Any doubt can be completely dispelled by reading the official novelization of Part II by Simon Hawke that was based on the official shooting script of the movie. In it are the details of Jason’s complete backstory before and after he drowned. Long story short the curse brought him back to life some time after his drowning and he dragged himself back onto shore coughing up lake water and mud. His body began to regenerate over his bloated and distended features making him more ugly than ever (hence the bag on his head in Part 2). He was scared and alone but didn’t want to leave the vicinity of the camp in case his mother came back for him. He lived like this for 22 years hoping each day for her return. His loneliness and will to survive is a tale that has never been explored and really drives home the tragic nature of his character. I think it is an essential to tell this story.
In closing I’ll give a brief synopsis of each movie:
Friday the 13th Part XIII: The Curse of Jason Voorhees – A family has rented a cabin for Christmas on Crystal Lake. The weekend before this get together several cousins and a few of their friends go out ahead of the adults to party and have a good time. The younger brother and grandmother of the main character are sent along to chaperone and make sure things don’t get too wild. Jason naturally takes umbrage with their presence. This is the winter film of the series fans have been asking for for years. It is tonally in line with the first four films and would feature a more human like Jason.
Friday the 13th Part XIV: The Wrath of Jason Voorhees – After being frozen beneath Crystal Lake at the end of Part XIII Jason is resurrected by drunk workers of a haunt that has set up on the lake to capitalize on the legend of Camp Blood. The workers accidentally unleash him while playing with a “prop” from the haunt (the aforementioned Necronomicon). This film is Halloween themed and will be tonally in line with films like Part VI, VII and VIII. Slightly more comedic and featuring a “zombie”-like Jason.
Friday the 13th Part XV: The Trial of Jason Voorhees – Having been captured by the government at the end of Part XIV Jason is being held by government agents in the local Crystal Lake jail before being transported to a more secure location. Elias Voorhees (who through flashbacks has been unveiled to be overarching villain of the trilogy) shows up with a group of cultists to capture his son and use the power within Jason to grant himself immortality. The cultists attack the police, other prisoners and government agents after cutting the power. Think “Assault on Precinct 13”. Jason is accidentally released in the chaos and the two sides meet in the middle with the good guys (which by this point would include both Tommy Jarvis and Creighton Duke) in between. The film would be tonally in line with the more absurd films in the series like Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X and Freddy vs Jason.
So give me a chance to persuade you and I think you’ll like my ideas. Hell, I think I can at least come up with something better than “psychic” Jason. So I’ll see you in a few days with my pitch for Friday the 13th Part XIII: The Curse of Jason Voorhees.
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