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The Friday the 13th projects you'll never get to see

In 1980, a low-budget horror film named Friday the 13th hit the big screen and changed the face of genre entertainment forever. Not only did the Sean S. Cunningham-directed feature help popularize the slasher subgenre, the film's sequel introduced a new masked killer to the world: Jason Voorhees. For the decades that followed, Jason battled A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger for box office supremacy until the two monsters finally met in 2003's Freddy vs. Jason.

Since Platinum Dunes' 2009 reboot, filmmakers have faced a variety of difficulties in bringing another Friday the 13th movie to life. Much like the development hell Freddy vs. Jason found itself in, it seems one challenge after another has kept Jason Voorhees from killing again. Hopes are high that the 13th installment of the popular slasher franchise will make it to the big screen sooner than later. Until then, let's take a look back at all the Jason Voorhees stories that never came to life. These are the Friday the 13th projects you'll never get to see.

Camp Freddy

1987 was the year the idea of a crossover between A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th was first pitched. And while it ultimately took 16 years before the Freddy vs. Jason we all know and love made it to the big screen, a plethora of scripts were written to support a whole slew of mashup ideas. According to Bloody-Disgusting, Lewis Abernathy was the first writer hired to put the idea on paper. His script — titled Nightmare 13: Freddy Meets Jason — put Jason's origin story smack dab into Freddy's, posing the notion that "Fred Krueger was the Camp Crystal Lake counselor who drowned a young Jason Voorhees." This new angle gave Jason an intriguing reason for all his kills, and a revenge motive to battle Freddy.

Screenwriters Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris were eventually brought in to rewrite Abernathy's script, and they made one notable change. As Wicked Horror notes, "[Freddy] is revealed to have molested Jason as a boy and that is why Jason kills." It's an intriguing concept, but the script didn't stop there. Bloody-Disgusting's description of the script not only reveals that "Freddy and Jason were going to battle in a 'Nightmare Arena' in Hell, inside a boxing ring with ropes made of entrails," the battle was to be surrounded by zombies, with Ted Bundy as the ring announcer. And guess who was supposed to sit right in the front row? Adolf Hitler. Yikes. Maybe it's for the best that this is one Friday the 13th we'll never get to see.

Freddy vs. Jason vs. Satan

Peter Briggs — the man who ended up penning the Guillermo del Toro's 2004 Hellboy — threw his hat in the Freddy vs. Jason ring in 1995. His story throws a time travel component into the mix, placing young Jason Voorhees' home on Elm Street. As you may expect, Freddy ended up terrorizing young Jason prompting his parents to join the lynch mob that eventually cornered Krueger, burning him alive. Once the Voorhees family made their move to Crystal Lake, Freddy's appearances in Jason's dreams came to a head with Krueger ultimately killing the boy. This set things in motion for the hockey mask-wearing killing machine to do his thing.

Birth Movie Death put it best by calling Briggs' idea "more fan-service-y entry than most other drafts." The script is an intriguing read and, overall, Briggs' draft had some interesting components. However, it also found Freddy and Jason traveling back to the 17th century to take their fight to Hell. According to Bloody-Disgusting, Satan was to eventually show up — he was named Thanos in the script — and reveal himself as the proverbial puppet master controlling Krueger and Voorhees the entire time. Needless to say, Freddy and Jason end up killing Thanos, thusly erasing their own existence because … time travel.

Jason goes to court

Screenwriters Brannon Braga (Salem, The Orville) and Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Outlander) were brought into the fold by New Line Cinema to pitch their own Freddy vs. Jason idea in 1997 and, this time around, the media spectacle that was the O.J. Simpson trial inspired the story. According to FlickeringMyth, the Braga/Moore script "took a Wes Craven's New Nightmare approach," adding a meta layer to explore the idea of Jason going on trial for his many murders — but Krueger comes along to "attempt to use him as a portal to the real world."

It's clear that certain '90s pop culture trends inspired Braga and Moore with their story. Aside from taking their cues from the Simpson trial, though, it would've been interesting to get to see a real-life version of Jason Voorhees taking the stand — akin to the Tobe Hooper-directed episode of Freddy's Nightmares, "No More Mr. Nice Guy,"  in which Krueger stood trial for his crimes. The proposed story eventually hits its climax with the two monsters battling it out at a shopping mall. According to Bloody-Disgusting, "that plan goes south when Jason wakes up halfway through the process, binding Freddy and Jason together as a two-headed monster." 

The cult of Freddy

Lewis Abernathy's 1987 Freddy vs. Jason script not only pinned Freddy Krueger as the child-molesting murderer that set Jason on his inevitable warpath, Nightmare 13: Freddy Meets Jason also introduced the idea of a group of hardcore Freddy Krueger fans who walked around wearing tattered Christmas sweaters, burning themselves and attempting to bring Freddy into the real world through virginal sacrifices. 

As Bloody-Disgusting reports, David J. Schow (The CrowMasters of Horror) ended up expanding upon Abernathy's idea, coining the term "Fred Heads," in reference to the aforementioned Cult of Freddy. It was a popular idea that permeated multiple drafts by multiple writers. FlickDomDictum recalls that "The similarities suggest someone at New Line was very enthusiastic about — if not outright coaching — certain story ideas from early in the developmental stage." 

Enough about Freddy Krueger, though. How exactly did Jason Voorhees fit into all this? Well, remember that bit about virginal sacrifices? All that was needed to bring Jason back to life was a simple offering: A dead teenager's heart gets thrown into Crystal Lake. The rest, as they say, is history.

Friday the 13th: Camp Blood

After the success of Platinum Dunes' Friday the 13th reboot, Paramount and Warner Brothers got to work with the studio on a follow-up. Blood-Disgusting reported in 2010 that the sequel — which was titled Friday the 13th: Camp Blood — was written by Freddy vs. Jason scribes Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. According to multiple rumors, Derek Mears was to reprise his role as Jason, the film was to be shot in 3D, and the plan was to release the film opposite Platinum Dunes' other genre reboot:  2010's A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Producer Brad Fuller ultimately announced the cancellation of the project on Twitter in 2010, saying, "it's not my call — I would drop everything and make it today if they wanted it." Why was the project canned? All Fuller had to say about it was "It's a long story."  Seven years later, a never-before-seen image was revealed on Shannon and Swift's Twitter feed: The title page of their never-filmed script. As you can see by that subtitle, it seems that the writing duo behind 2009's reboot was planning on killing off Jason once and for all.  

We'll never get to see this sequel, according to Bloody-Disgusting, because the studio pulled the plug "due to the fact that both Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema were being thrifty during the poor economy at the time and only wanted to produce films that were more box office friendly."

A complete Friday the 13th reboot

Christopher Nolan's Interstellar ended up reigniting Friday the 13th hopes in 2013. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. gave its rights to the franchise over to Paramount in order to have a stake in the Matthew McConaughey-led sci-fi epic. Attempting to strike while the iron was hot, the studio got to work on another Jason movie, but instead of using the Damian Shannon/Mark Swift script that Fuller previously championed, they got the wheels turning on another reboot.

With Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes no longer behind the project, it made sense that new filmmakers would be brought in to tell a brand new story. The Exhibitor Relations Twitter account updated followers on the project in 2013, writing: "Paramount sets FRIDAY THE 13th for March 13, 2015. Not a sequel to the reboot, mind you, another reboot entirely." 

Now that this news was public, questions started swirling about the new movie. Would it be 3D? Would we get to see Derek Mears return as Jason? If it was a reboot, would this project retcon the Friday the 13th series completely, a la Paramount's rebooted Star Trek series? The possibilities were seemingly endless.

A found footage Friday

With Paramount back in the Friday the 13th game, the studio started fielding ideas for Jason Voorhees' next film. This was 2013, a time when genre films like V/H/S 2 and The Sacrament breathed new life into the much-maligned found footage subgenre. Ryan Turek — former Editor in Chief of horror website Shock Till You Drop turned VP of feature film development at Blumhouse — broke the news on his Twitter page, stating that the studio was fielding pitches for a "found footage" take. Needless to say, the fan reaction to the idea was varied, to put it charitably.

Would Jason have been as terrifying through such a lens? Viewing the action, and subsequent kills, wouldn't have the same impact if the audience was viewing the carnage through the perspective of a camera on a camper's handheld device. Producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form were eventually able to convince the studio to take a different approach, telling Collider, "Jason is a POV movie. So, it was very hard to wrap our head around how we'd do a Friday the 13th that was found footage, knowing that we really need the perspective of watching. We didn't want to break the DNA of that."

The CW dives into Crystal Lake

Would the story of Jason Voorhees work on television? That's a question the CW's Mark Pedowitz thought he knew the answer to when the network made the 2015 announcement that they had a Friday the 13th TV series in development. Series creator Steven Long Mitchell (The Pretender) described the tone to Legion of Leia as a "cross between the first season of True Detective and Twin Peaks on acid." 

According to Mitchell, the story would've followed a police detective looking for his lost brother in Crystal Lake. "He realizes his brother was there searching into the past murders, and realizes that his personal story is tied into Jason's personal story," Mitchell explained. "Part of the fun of the show is exploring, is this Jason or is this a copycat? Is it possible that Jason has been around all these years? Is Jason a monster? Is he real? Is he a serial killer? And really exploring who and what Jason is, is part of the whole thrill of the show."

As much as we'd love to get to see it, the CW ended up passing on the series. "We didn't believe it was a sustainable script or a sustainable series," Pedwoitz said, according to Collider. "It was a very good pilot, but not a sustainable series."

A retro Friday the 13th

The identity of Paramount's new Friday the 13th underwent multiple transitions. David Bruckner (V/H/S) was soon brought on as the director for the project, with Nick Antosca (Hannibal) signing on to pen the script. 

Story details for Jason's highly anticipated return soon emerged: It'd take place in the '80s, Jason's mom would have a role in the film, and it'd allegedly focus on Jason's supernatural mythology. According to Friday the 13th Franchise, Bruckner described the tone he was after as a curious hybrid between slasher horror and slacker comedy. "We were allowed to truly explore what the film could be as a proper '80s reboot — what that would look like," he explained. "My take on it was that I wanted to do Dazed and Confused meets Jason Voorhees [laughs], a genuine last-day-of-school coming-of-age story." 

Bruckner and Antosca ended up getting replaced by Breck Eisner (The Crazies) and Aaron Guzikowski (The Prisoners). And before their film was made, Paramount removed Friday the 13th entirely from their lineup, with THR citing the poor box office returns of genre sequel Rings as the reason.

In an exclusive interview with Bloody-DisgustingAntosca reflected on his Friday the 13th story, and his simple take might actually have been the one that stood the best chance of bringing audiences back to Crystal Lake in big numbers. "We just wanted to make a classic Jason movie," said Antosca. "With kids at camp who get slaughtered, and great kills and some characters you actually enjoy hanging out with 'til they die."