What's going on with the Friday The 13th movie reboot? For nearly four decades, Friday has been a horror staple, following the gory adventures of immortal serial killer Jason Voorhees, yet it's been almost a decade since we last saw him.
The original movie was inspired by the success of Halloween, a tiny budget slasher elevated by the talent of the cast and crew. It went on to become one of the most successful independent films of all time, so Sean S. Cunningham - the producer and director of Friday The 13th - decided to follow the movie's formula. Friday The 13th rose above the many Halloween rip-offs of the era thanks to its creepy atmosphere, genuine scares and gruesome kills. Thanks to a great marketing campaign and a wide push by the studio, the movie became a big hit. Since it was dirt cheap to produce, the studio wanted a sequel, but there was an issue; the killer was dead. The plot of the original is a whodunit, where the identity of the murderer isn’t revealed until the end. It turns out to be kindly Pamala Voorhees, driven to take revenge on camp counselors after they failed to save her son Jason from drowning years before. Pamela takes a well-deserved machete to the neck in the finale, ruling out her return.
That's when it was decided to make Jason the killer – a decision that would pay off in more ways than one. Having Jason suddenly be alive makes no sense whatsoever after the original, but he soon became the icon of the series. He donned a sack over her deformed face in Friday The 13th Part 2, before finding his famous hockey mask in Part 3 (the result of a prank by self-deprecating try-hard Shelly). The combination of a simple slasher formula and low budget meant the studio kept cranking out sequels until Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan in 1988, where profits started to run low. Jason was sold off to New Line Cinema and returned every few years from that point on, most famously in 2003's Freddy Vs Jason.
The last Friday The 13th was 2009's underrated Platinum Dunes reboot, yet while there have been plenty of attempts to relaunch the franchise since, they all stalled for one reason or another. Now the series is resting, pending the outcome of a lawsuit. Let's examine some of the rejected concepts suggested for the future of the series, and what this copyright lawsuit is all about.
There Have Been Multiple (Crazy) Friday the 13th Reboot Ideas Since 2009
The first eight movies followed a robust blueprint; teens come to Crystal Lake or similar setting, Jason – or another killer – picks them off one by one in gory ways, and he's finally defeated by the final girl. The best of the movies got a little more creative with the setup or kills, but that's what fan came to see. Later entries like Jason Goes To Hell tried to mess with that structure, but the results were rarely pretty. The Friday The 13th reboot isn't especially beloved among hardcore fans, but it did take Jason back to Crystal Lake and all the classic tropes that go with it. Despite the movie being a resounding financial success, it's proved remarkably tricky to get a subsequent outing going.
The first attempt was a direct sequel to the 2009 reboot titled Friday The 13th Camp Blood: The Death Of Jason Voorhees. The movie would have given fans something they've been demanding for years; Jason in the snow. Not much is known about the overall story, though the writers released a few pages of it on Twitter last year. The opening scene finds two guys playing hockey on a frozen Crystal Lake, only to see the frozen body of Whitney, the final girl from the previous movie. Jason then appears, chasing them across the lake and slaying one of them. Down to the economic downturn at the time, the studio decided to produce fewer movies per year, so the sequel was shelved.
In 2013 reports surfaced the studio was fielding pitches for a found footage take on the series, which was a hot genre at the time. Fan outcry over this notion was swift and deafening, and producer Brad Fuller later confirmed that while the studio was keen on that angle, the backlash convinced them not to press ahead. David Bruckner (The Ritual) was attached to helm that version, but he stayed on when it scrapped in favor a new direction.
The director would then collaborate with Nick Antosca (Channel Zero) on a new reboot called Friday The 13th: 3D that was set in 1988 – literally taking the series back to its roots. This script was a love letter to classic 80's slasher movies with gory kills and likable teen heroes. The movie also ended with a post-credit tease for a sequel set in the snow, but while the script was very well received, a regime change at Paramount lead to the studio getting cold feet over the period setting, so the screenplay was rejected and Bruckner and Antosca left the project.
2015 also brought news The CW Network was developing a new Friday the 13th TV series. A pilot was ordered that reportedly followed a police officer trying to find his missing brother in the town of Crystal Lake and uncovering the dark secrets about the town and Jason Voorhees's family. Details on the show are scarce, though it apparently would have featured Jason as a background threat, and shown flashbacks to his childhood. The network ultimately passed on the pilot, feeling it was too dark and wouldn't be sustainable as a series.