The icons of horror are having a pretty good year. The recent announcement that Michael Myers will be returning to the big screen for a new outing sent excited shockwaves around the horror community, with fans anticipating big things for the killer’s return. Of course, he’s just one of the big three who, along with the likes of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, forms the triumvirate of iconic slashers who maimed and ripped their way across the 1980s to create a long lasting legacy of terror that exists to this day. With Halloween’s announcement, many in the horror fandom were left wondering what was to become of the rest of the villainous madmen who continue to stalk our nightmares.
The long gestating reboot of Friday the 13th, the home franchise of Jason, has been the subject of plenty of rumors and innuendo for the last several years. Would they be changing the series up? Would it focus on Jason or his mother, as the original 1980 movie did? Would it be found footage? Little has been heard from world of Camp Crystal Lake, leaving many wondering if the famously hockey-masked undead murderer would ever actually see the light of day once more. Most of the information we’ve heard on the plans for Jason’s return has been little more than internet fueled guesswork, but we have more solid details now.
Producer Brad Fuller recently discussed the plans for the Friday the 13th reboot with The Reel Word. Fuller, currently on the promotional circuit for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, said little regarding the project, confirming only that it was still happening while once again sending to bed some of the more worrisome rumors about plans for the film and re-assuring that the movie won't be found footage:
“There was a lot of found-footage scripts that they wanted us to make and I was not going to do that because I don’t think that can exist in Jason Voorhees’ world.”
That alone should cause a sigh of relief for fans of the horror franchise, many of whom are tired of the found footage trend that now infects the horror genre. Fuller is right in that the subgenre is unbefitting a slasher of Jason’s esteem, and if nothing else it does confirm that the series is in the hands of someone who gets and appreciates the nature of both the slasher genre and the franchise itself.
While that does fall in line with previous assertions that the new movie will be made "the right way," there’s still the question of why they’re even bothering with another journey to Camp Crystal Lake to begin with. The original series spawned 10 movies, a showdown with Freddy in the Nightmare on Elm Street crossover Freddy vs. Jason, and even a previous attempt at a reboot in 2009. We’ve seen Jason in Manhattan (well, kind of); we’ve seen him go to Hell; we’ve even seen him destroy an entire space station during an ill-advised journey into space. What else is there left to do or accomplish with this character?
None of this seems to worry Fuller, who promises fans an exciting new take on the series, thanks to the script provided by Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners).
“Aaron’s story has great characters…You kind of have to understand Jason Voorhees, so we go back and we kind of started over and work our way forward. [It’s] origin-ish, but it’s an origin that no one has seen before. Obviously Pamela’s there, but it’s a little bit different from what you’ve seen before.”
Pamela, of course, is the aforementioned mother whose complex revenge scheme kicked off the original series. You’ll recall that that Mrs. Voorhees was the killer in the original movie, seeking revenge against the negligent camp counselors who let her son drown while they were busy partying. Fuller’s statement here seems to suggests that the new movie will be paying its respects to the original series while utilizing Jason as the main antagonist.
While that is somewhat intriguing, horror reboots are a tricky business, and don’t often find much success among fans. The previous Friday the 13th reboot was met with a lukewarm reception by fans of the original, and mostly played out as sort of an ill-advised “Jason’s Greatest Hits” collection that offered very little to the mythos. It’ll be important for this movie to prove that it’s not only a worthy successor to the title but that it’s even necessary. Doing that means adding something new to the story that we don’t already know, or taking an interesting new angle that allows us to see the series in a new light, not unlike Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween.
Whether that’s possible remains to be seen, but for now it certainly seems like the people involved know what they’re doing and are, at least, trying to bring Jason back to life in a way that’s both respectful and interesting. Given the popularity of the series, however, the bar is set pretty high. Here’s hoping they can cross it.
Friday the 13th is expected to hit theaters sometime in 2017.
Source: The Reel Word