‘Friday the 13th’ release axed by Paramount Pictures

Daniel Fennell

Daniel Fennell

The recent report that Michael Myers would be returning to the big screen for a new reboot sent nervous shockwaves around the horror community, with followers envisioning great things for the killer’s comeback. Of course, he is just one of the important three who, along with the likes of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, completes the triumvirate of iconic slashers who maimed and ripped their way across the 1980’s to create a long lasting legacy of fright that survives to this day. With ‘Halloween’s prior report, many in horror fandom were left questioning 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 franchise of Jason Voorhees, has been the topic of an abundance of rumours and innuendo for numerous years. Would they be breaking the series up? Would it focus on Jason Voorhees or his mother, as the original 1980 movie did? Would it be found footage? Little has been heard from the world of Camp Crystal Lake, leaving many questioning if the famous hockey-masked undead slayer would ever actually see the light of day once more. Most of the knowledge we have heard on the plans for Jason Voorhees’ return has been scarcely more than internet stoked guesswork, but shortly after we had more reliable details, Paramount Pictures announced that they are cancelling the coming of Jason Voorhees to the big screen.

Producer Brad Fuller lately addressed the plans for the ‘Friday the 13th’ reboot with ‘The Reel Word.’ Brad Fuller, when he was on the promotional circuit for ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,’ said little regarding the outline, authenticating only that it was still occurring while once again sending to bed some of the most worrisome rumours about plans for the film and re-assuring that the film would not be found footage.

That solely should provoke a sigh of relief for followers of the horror franchise, many of whom are weary of the found footage trend that now taints the horror genre. Brad Fuller is right in that the subgenre is unbefitting for a slasher of Jason Voorhees’ esteem, and if nothing else it does validate that the series is in the hands of someone who gets and honours the nature of both the slasher genre and the franchise itself.

While that does fall in line with preceding assertions that the now cancelled reboot would be made “the right way,” there was still the question of why they are even fretting with another journey to Camp Crystal Lake, to begin with. The original series spawned ten films, a showdown with Freddy Krueger in the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ crossover ‘Freddy vs. Jason,’ and even a previous attempt at a reboot in 2009. We have observed ‘Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan’; we have witnessed him go to Hell; we have 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? We are yet uncertain.

Pamela Voorhees, of course, is the mother as mentioned earlier whose elaborate revenge scheme booted off the original series. You will recall that Pamela Voorhees was the killer in the original film, endeavouring revenge toward the negligent camp counsellors who let her son drown while they were busy partying. Brad Fuller’s statement here seems to imply that the new film was to be paying its respects to the original series while appropriating Jason Voorhees as, the main antagonist.

While that is slightly intriguing, horror reboots are tricky to market and do not often find many benefits among followers. The previous ‘Friday the 13th’ reboot was met with a lukewarm reception by enthusiasts of the original, and mostly played out as a sort of ill-advised ‘Jason’s Greatest Hits’ collection that offered little closeness to the mythos. It would be substantial for this film to prove that it is not only a worthy successor to the title but that it is even essential. Doing that would mean scoring something distinct to the story that we do not already know, or taking an interesting new viewpoint that allows us to see the series in a new standing, not unlike Rob Zombie’s remake of ‘Halloween.’

With Paramount Pictures officially announcing its release on October 13th, 2017, the new ‘Friday the 13th’ was just completely excluded from the studio’s release schedule, along with the upcoming franchise reboot that was scheduled to gear up to begin production in mid-March.

Whether ‘Friday the 13th’ is possible or not to hit the big screen, it remains to be seen, but for now, it certainly seems like the people associated know what they are doing and are, at least, trying to bring Jason Voorhees back to life in a way that is both respectful and engaging, et battling against all odds to make it happen. Given the popularity of the series, however, the bar is set pretty high.

‘Friday the 13th’ was expected to hit theatres October 13th, 2017. Meanwhile, our intuitions and superstitions make it appear that the ‘Friday the 13th’ reboot may be uniquely unusual, but it is just statistics and the psychology of belief, as Paramount Pictures’ master plans may shift once again, and reveal an uncertain future regarding this movie.

On the other hand, ‘Friday the 13th: The Game’ appears to be shaping up rather well. The ultimate Jason Voorhees reverie will soon be a reality but the game’s developer, Gun Media Holdings, Inc., is sparing no expense in showing exactly what they want us to experience in the game. An hour-long panel for the title has recently been released, revealing more content for the game.

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