In 2017, Friday the 13th fans were getting excited for the franchise’s thirteenth installment, but Paramount Pictures abruptly canceled the movie only weeks before it was allegedly scheduled to begin shooting due to fears over the financial viability of horror movies after the disappointing reception for Rings.
Friday the 13th as a series has something of a notorious history when it comes to plans falling through. The recent stretch from 2009’s reboot to the most current canceled reboot bears this out. It’s not entirely known what state the script was in before the project was called off, but drafts of a couple scripts have made their way online since for fans to read and judge accordingly.
The most recent script, and the one that was presumably about to be filmed, was a draft by writer Aaron Guzikowski, and does some interesting things with Friday the 13th‘s iconic killer, Jason Voorhees.
Jason Voorhees Goes Back to the 70s
Guzikowski’s script was a reboot of the Jason origin story, taking place in 1977 at Camp Crystal Lake. Diehard Friday the 13th fans would quickly do the math and see Jason is a child in 1977. His age wasn’t changed for the film. Instead, much like the first Friday the 13th movie, Jason is not actually the killer. At least, he isn’t at first. The killing of Camp Crystal Lake counselors is again a Voorhees family affair. In this installment, the plan was to have Jason’s father, Elias Voorhees, take the mantle as the masked slasher. The available script doesn’t go into Elias’ motivation. All that’s known is he is the camp’s park ranger that kills five victims before being killed himself by Pamela Voorhees, the camp cook and his wife.
Apparently, Elias was cheating on Pamela. Much like in the original timeline, Jason is bullied and supposedly drowns in Crystal Lake, though his body is never found. This leads to a reimagining of the Friday the 13th tale where Pamela, now driven insane by grief, becomes the killer that terrorizes campers several years later in 1980. How long this portion of the film goes on is unknown, but like in the first film, Pamela kills several counselors before being killed by the hero. The last half hour of the script brings back Jason, now 19 years old and wearing a yellow variant of his iconic hockey mask, to kick off a traditional final girl sequence with the sole survivor.
The entire Voorhees family would have taken turns acting as the antagonists in the next Friday the 13th movie if it had been made. Since it wasn’t, Paramount Pictures lost the rights to the franchise. The series is currently tied up in litigation over the rights, with a verdict expected in June 2020. It’s likely reboot speculation will begin once again following the result.
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