2017 will see Jason Voorhees return to the big screen in the form of a fresh start, rebooting the classic 1980s franchise.
The 1980s are a bit of a mixed bag for horror fans. The decade previous delivered classics ranging from The Exorcist and The Omen, to Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. From a quality standpoint, the 1970s represent the pinnacle of the Horror genre. Couple that decade’s success with the 1980 masterpiece The Shining, and the genre was headed in an exciting direction. But that excitement didn’t last for most. The eighties instead became the decade of repetitive indulgence. Out went the truly terrifying, and in came the gore-filled sequels, most lacking real heart or originality. Soon, the 1980s horror scene would belong to Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruger, and their reign would damage the genre for a whole generation.
Too many stale sequels and too few scares had the entire genre feeling pretty far removed from the heydays of the ’70s and audiences were looking for something else. Plus the commercial successes from the earlier films now seemed far removed, it wasn’t till Scream broke $100 million in 1996 that studios really started to refocus on slasher-horror again.
Though there is another school of thought on the subject – basically summed up as “So what – those movies were awesome!” – and for a lot of fans, the creative kills and predictable nature of the films were all the fun they needed. Not everything can be The Exorcist, but Freddy and Jason delivered on another level, and they did so almost yearly. As the 1990s rolled around, many of the original fans were outgrowing the concept and the franchises went new directions. Freddy came into the real world with Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and the Friday the 13th franchise released a different look with Jason Goes to Hell. After these two, the characters disappeared from theaters for a bit until Jason X, which saw the machete-wielding, hockey-masked monster sent to space in the classic death-of-a-franchise style. A few years later, we got the ultimate horror crossover film Freddy vs. Jason, which seemed to be about as far as either franchise could go in their current states.
Enter Platinum Dunes, in conjunction with New Line Cinema (aka ‘The House the Freddy Built’), and both characters got reboots. Freddy, with a darker look at the character’s roots in A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) got the better of that deal. While not a hit with fans, the film was certainly better than the soulless 2009 Friday the 13th. With a decent enough cast that included Jared Padalecki (Supernatural, House of Wax), Danielle Panabaker (Justified, The Flash), Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars, Party Down), and an especially enjoyable performance from Aaron Yoo (Disturbia, Gamer) – this movie just didn’t offer anything overly memorable, and felt too sanitized to satisfy the fanbase. At no time did it feel like it was restarting the story, but instead played more like an unconnected imitation of the series. Director Marcus Nispel failed to recapture a tone he seemed masterful with when he handled the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake six years earlier. Instead of relaunching franchises – it seemed as though Platinum Dunes had just put nails in the coffins for both of these ’80s film icons.
In 2013, Paramount Pictures, the studio responsible for the first eight films in the franchise, reacquired the rights to Jason Voorhees from Warner Bros, who got the rights from New Line Cinema. Paramount had to trade some of the distribution for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar to Warner for Friday the 13th and South Park.
Warners, which released Nolan’s megagrossing Batman movies and maintains an overall deal with his Syncopy label, wanted in on Interstellar so badly it gave Paramount its rights to co-finance the next Friday the 13th horror film as well as its portion of a future “South Park” movie. Also part of the deal was an agreement to let Paramount co-finance a to-be-determined A-list Warners property.
via Bloody Disgusting, circa 2013
Seems like a good deal for Paramount. The studio announced that it had plans to relaunch the series, but then came multiple delays and here we are 4 years later. However, it seems we finally have some movement. Reports are the new installment will begin shooting this March, outside of Atlanta, GA. In fact, the location is supposedly not too far from where Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives was filmed. That could be a good sign as Part VI was one of the better sequels in the old Paramount stable. They are scheduled to shoot through May, and then release in time for Halloween of this year.
No casting has been announced as of yet, but Breck Eisner is set to direct the reboot. This seems like a solid choice given what we saw from him with the much-underrated remake of The Crazies from 2010. The script comes from Nick Antosca (Channel Zero, Hannibal) and Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners, The Red Road). The story is said to look more at the Voorhees family and for the first time feature Jason’s father Elias Voorhees.
Elias has only been mentioned in the Friday the 13th movies. He was originally supposed to be included at the end of 1986’s Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives visiting Jason’s grave, but the scene was cut. The idea was that Elias was fully aware of the kind of monster his son was and knew he had been resurrected, but because this moment was cut, fans never got to learn about this mysterious man in the original series. However, he was still included in the movie’s novelization.
via Cinema Blend
We’ve also gotten a glimpse of the studio’s casting call for our unstoppable killing machine – or rather for what he was before…
[YOUNG JASON] – Male, Caucasian, 12 years old ONLY SEEKING IDENTICAL TWINS W/ TV AND FILM CREDITS. MUST BE UNDER 5 FOOT. NO EXCEPTIONS. Lengthy and awkward. A dark, ominous child, who has severe psychological issues. Must have a very electric and expressive face (you will be painting the scene with your facial expressions), as this role does not speak. YOUNG JASON will grow into the pyscho-killer JASON. SUPPORTING ROLE. MUST BE ATLANTA BASED.
via Project Casting
The thought here is they want to cast twins to get around the restrictions of how many hours a day a child can work, especially since they’ll likely be doing shoots at night. It’s also interesting to note the “this role does not speak” line, as that would indicate that perhaps Jason was mute before the accident – or at the very least not too talkative. Either way, it keeps with the spirit of the character.
It’ll be nice to see a new Jason Voorhees movie this Halloween, and seemingly one with some talent behind it. We’ll follow up with more news as it comes to light. For now, we’re keeping an eye out for casting, and who might have the mask on this time around. Stay tuned to GEEK for more!
Images: New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, Platinum Dunes
Source: Screen Rant