Fans of the Friday the 13th franchise have not had the best luck over the years. Though the character of Jason Voorhees created a crater in the horror genre when he arrived in the 1980s, the 1990s did not do all that well for the young homicidal maniac who seems to be about as indestructible as a steel-reinforced Twinkie. Jason Goes to Hell was an insufferable mess that had more than enough in terms of gore and blood, but either didn’t offer enough in the way of Crystal Lake’s denizens or offered too much explanation about Mr. Voorhees himself. And when the movie came back again in the aughts – 2009 to be exact – there were similar issues with the splatter being good but nearly everything else feeling overworked or underdeveloped.
The critical and fan reception to the 2009 outing was not great either, which might give you an idea about just how long and hard it’s been to get the next Jason Voorhees joint off the ground. And yet, it just seems wrong that there hasn’t been a Friday the 13th in what is now coming up on eight years – it will have been nearly a decade by the time the movie actually hits theaters on October 13th, 2017. During an extensive interview with our very own Steve Weintraub, Platinum Dunes producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form gave us a hint as to why it’s been taking so long for us to see the next Friday the 13th and how they decided on an angle to come at the material from:
“In terms of fun, making [the 2009 film] was so fun. The cast was great, we were in a great setting, everyone got along. We had a lot of fun making that movie and we always wanted to go back to Crystal Lake and make another one. There were so many obstacles to surmount to get to where we are today. I’m not going to bore you with all of them but for a long time, there was a rights issue between Paramount and Warner Bros. Then there was an execution issue. At one point, the studio wanted us to make a found-footage version of that movie and that was deeply concerning to us because we didn’t think we could execute the movie in the right way if it was a found-footage movie.”
“No, Jason is a POV movie. So, it was very hard to wrap our head around how you would do a Friday the 13th that was found footage, knowing that we really need the Jason perspective of watching. We didn’t want to break the DNA of that. We also battled: do we do a sequel to the original? Do we pick up where we left off with Jared and Amanda at the end of the movie? Somehow, that didn’t find a home. So, it’s been eight years. It will be eight years since we made the last one. I’m here to say that we found the location. We have found the lake, we have found the camp. We found an amazing script by Aaron Guzikowski. Breck Eisner is directing the movie. That movie is shooting in early Spring.”
Let’s all breathe a heavy sigh of relief over that one. The idea of sitting down for a 90-something-minute movie to watch kids capturing Jason on their digital video camera is about as appetizing as a two-hour version of Two Girls, One Cup. So, the form of the movie itself seems to be on the right track, and the producers went on to drop a few other tidbits about their movie, including the fact that it will be a period piece. One assumes that means the 1980s, but nothing’s been confirmed yet. On top of that, the movie will be a “hard R” according to the producers, will be shooting primarily in Georgia, and will not be in either 3D or IMAX when it’s released next year. The producers also talked about their thought process with building the latest Voorhees installment:
“There’s been a lot of mileage between the 1st one and the 13th one. What we don’t want to do is alienate the audience who hasn’t seen the preceding 12 Friday the 13th movies. Aaron Guzikowski’s job, as challenging as it is, is to come up with a movie where if you haven’t seen any go the other ones, you can still come and see this one and love it and not feel like you’ve missed out on anything. And if you have seen the other ones, we want this to feel fresh. That’s what took the longest amount of time: coming up with a story and then executing a script that fulfills both those mandates.”
As much as that may indeed sound like marketing gibberish, there’s something to that mindset of both looking at it from a fan’s point of view and a stranger’s perspective as well. One suggests that there will be a lot of talk about the central character, the other suggests absolutely none, and neither is ideal when coming at this sort of material. Fuller and Form made it clear that they won’t try to explain Jason or anything like that in this installment, but you still need to have some semblance of his mythology around. Just not so much that you feel like you’re reading Zinn’s A People’s History of Jason Voorhees. The movie will begin casting in December and will shoot during the Spring in Atlanta, and from the sounds of Fuller and Form’s talk, they’re more than ready to get back into the woods with the hockey-masked lunatic. Whether or not they will be able to galvanize the franchise that once dominated the multiplex is a question we have a little over a year to consider.
Look for more with Brad Fuller and Andrew Form soon. If you missed what they had to say about The Purge 4, click here.