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The Best Stephen King Novel Idea You'll Never Get To Read

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It certainly wouldn't be an understatement to call Stephen King one of the most influential writers in pop culture history. His books — and the movies they've inspired — range in genre from horror to science fiction, combining memorable characters, mind-bending multiverses, and challenging new ideas with the warm, friendly ease of a camp counselor telling spooky stories around the campfire.

And hey, speaking of camp counselors? You might want to sit down for this, slasher movie fans. Because recently, King not only casually tossed out an insanely awesome story concept on Twitter — one which would redefine a certain horror movie icon forever— but did so while acknowledging that it'll probably never come to pass. The franchise that King teased a concept for is Friday the 13th — the long-running Crystal Lake-set series wherein a killer in a hockey mask routinely kills off teenagers — which, if you've noticed, has been struggling to remain relevant for a long time. The last reboot attempt, over a decade ago, largely fizzled out, and a near-endless parade of attempted sequels never made it to theaters. In an era of powerful, socially-relevant horror like Get Out, and innovative fare like A Quiet Place, nobody has interest in a slasher formula so dead that it can't even be resurrected by lightning, psychics, or a trip to outer space.

Enter Stephen King, man of ideas. In 2020, King tweeted, "The best novel idea I never wrote (and probably never will) is I JASON, the first-person narrative of Jason Voohees, and his hellish fate: killed over and over again at Camp Crystal Lake. What a hellish, existential fate!"

Interested? You aren't the only one. Because something like "I, Jason," is exactly the kind of innovation this all-but-dead series needs. Here's why.

Why 'I, Jason' is the Friday the 13th reboot everyone needs, deep down

Now, there's a big difference between your standard Stephen King novel — with the author's trademark character depth, plot twists, and empathy — and most of the cheap, bloody, popcorn-oriented Friday the 13th sequels. Which certain entries, such as Parts III and IV, stand far above the rest, most of the series is brought down by the lack of a deeper meaning, much less any continuing protagonists to root for (Tommy Jarvis aside). That's been the problem with resurrecting the whole thing, because while threads of social commentary can still be found and resuscitated in something like, say, Halloween, most Friday the 13th flicks are just gory exercises in seeing how each uninteresting teenager gets killed off. In the films after Part IV, the victims themselves tend to be an afterthought: audiences are, instead, watching to see Jason Voorhees. 

And that's the brilliance of King's pitch. Because not only is Jason obviously the most interesting character, but across all 12 films, he's been surprisingly unexplored. Unlike Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, Jason wasn't born a monster, but created by tragedy: Bullied as a child, overprotected by his mother, and drowned in the lake, only to somehow turn into an unstoppable supernatural juggernaut that, to his shock, watches his mother being beheaded. The movies have occasionally hinted at a weird, childlike innocence going on beneath Jason's violent actions, which — while not sympathetic, per se, considering how many people he's killed — makes for a potentially fascinating villain, most notably glimpsed in Part IV, when Jason is struck motionless by the sight of a boy dressed like his childhood self. 

King's pitch, "I, Jason," not only confronts the fact that Jason is the one the audience came to see, but makes you reconsider what might be going on in Jason's head. Because even though Jason is an irredeemable murderer, the existential horror of his existence — dying over and over again, infinitely — is an utter nightmare. A book or movie that followed the "I, Jason" approach would completely redefine the character, and perhaps stir new life into the slasher genre. A solid writer, such as King, could take the story in unpredictable directions, and perhaps explore more contemporary fears, instead of rehashing the same old beats again. 

Could this really happen, though? 

Will 'I, Jason,' ever happen? Don't count on it

Okay, so there's a reason Stephen King prefaced this idea as being "the best novel idea I never wrote (and probably never will)," and that's because it's not likely to happen. Sure, an all-new horror film, titled "I, Frank," could conceivably be done based on this approach — in essence, the cosmic horror of being a monster who dies, over and over again, just to endlessly repeat the same cycle of pointlessly killing people — but it still seems like a loss not to have Jason himself in the driver's seat. There's a reason King thought of Jason for this concept, after all. It would be the ultimate look "behind the hockey mask," as it were. 

However, between copyright issues, producers with competing visions for the franchise, and the riskiness of such an approach, seeing this story become a Stephen King book, much less an actual horror movie, is probably not destined to happen. That said, a number of similar concepts have already been explored in the literary world, with perhaps the most exciting being the Paul Michael Anderson novel Standalone (2020), a book that examines the notion of such monstrous figures causing carnage as part of an overall effort to protect the multiverse, which demonstrates just one of the inherently creative storytelling possibilities in such an approach.

As for Jason Voorhees, though? If he ever appears in a movie again, it probably won't be written by Stephen King.