Are they fun Easter eggs, or do our favorite villains live in the same universe?
“Shared cinematic universes” are all the rage in Hollywood right now. Of course, it all began with the Marvel and DC comic book superhero universes that have been dominating the box office for the last several years, and in 2017, Universal is launching their own shared monsters universe with the action-oriented reboot of The Mummy. And then there’s the so-called Cloverfield Cinematic Universe, which continues next year with a film that will share some connection to both the 2008 found footage monster movie and this year’s universe-expander, 10 Cloverfield Lane.
But what about the big horror movie franchises of the 1980s? Fans have for years been begging for a “Shared Slasher Universe” of sorts, hopeful that the likes of Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, and Ash Williams will eventually come together for either an epic mash-up film or a series of interconnected movies. Of course, it will likely never happen. Then again, does it already exist?
Back in November 2015, our own Daniel Baldwin wrote an excellent piece about the Universal Monsters Universe that already exists, and today we delve into the Slasher Universe.
It all began in 1987…
In response to Wes Craven featuring a scene from The Evil Dead in A Nightmare on Elm Street, which itself was a response to Sam Raimi putting a torn up Hills Have Eyes poster in The Evil Dead, Raimi cleverly hid Freddy Krueger’s glove in Evil Dead 2. The glove appears in two different scenes: at one point it hangs above the workshed door, at another it can be seen hanging in the fruit cellar. Freddy’s glove subsequently popped up for a cameo appearance in “Ash vs. Evil Dead” last year. Of course, the various appearances of the glove in the Evil Dead franchise can’t really be viewed as anything more than Raimi paying tribute to Craven, but Evil Dead 2 was the first time a major prop from one franchise found its way into another.
If nothing more, it’s fun to imagine Ash and Freddy residing in the same world.
Eagle-eyed fans spotted another fun little franchise-to-franchise nod in 1990’s Predator 2, which has since become one of the most well-known Easter eggs in cinema history. At one point in the 1997-set sequel, an instantly-recognizable Xenomorph skull is spotted in a trophy case aboard the Predator Mother Ship. Though an Alien vs. Predator comic series had just begun at the time, the skull represented the first time the two franchises crossed over on the big screen. Of course, two Alien vs. Predator films followed many years later: AvP in 2004 and AvP: Requiem in 2007.
The skull suggested that the battle had begun long before we were given a front-row seat.
If there’s any one lynchpin of the Slasher Universe it’s Jason Goes to Hell, released in 1993. While Evil Dead 2 suggested that Freddy and Ash live in the same world, Jason Goes to Hell went ahead and made it clear that Jason lives right alongside them. Down in the Voorhees basement, the Evil Dead franchise’s Necronomicon is spotted, and if that wasn’t direct enough a connection between the series’, the Kandarian Dagger is also prominently featured in the body-hopping film. In fact, it’s the Kandarian Dagger that possesses the power to kill Jason Voorhees once and for all; and indeed it serves precisely that purpose, suggesting that… Jason is a Deadite?! Freddy then pops up at the very end to drag Jason into Hell, teasing their 2003 battle a decade in advance.
Maybe it was the Necronomicon that brought Jason back from the dead?
That’s not all that Jason Goes to Hell brings to the table, in terms of universe-building. Also seen down in the Voorhees basement is the crate that housed the monstrous Fluffy in Creepshow, and you may remember that at one point, a character makes mention of something happening near “the old Myers place.” The implication is that Michael Myers lives in that very same world.
Speaking of the Necronomicon, did you know that it also pops up in 1994 sequel Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings? It can be seen in Ms. Osie’s cabin, suggesting that the witch uses the Book of the Dead as part of her spells. Does Pumpkinhead have some connection to the Necronomicon?
Another film that heavily expands on the Slasher Universe, if you choose to have a little fun and use your imagination, is 1998’s Bride of Chucky. Early in the film, Tiffany steals Chucky’s remains from a police compound, and several iconic horror movie props are seen in the same building.
Locked up in the station is Freddy’s glove, Jason’s mask, Michael Myers’ mask, and Leatherface’s chainsaw. We already knew up to that point that Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers inhabited the same world, but Bride of Chucky posits that maybe the killer doll and Leatherface do as well.
I’d be remiss to not also mention 2006’s Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, which is set in a world where all the big slasher villains exist. At one point, Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers are mentioned by name, and it’s also worth noting, as I recently did in a separate article wherein I spoke with the film’s writer, that Eugene is supposed to be Billy from Black Christmas.
Also worth reminding that Leslie Vernon is mentioned in Hatchet 2, which would place bayou monster Victor Crowley into the same universe as all the other slasher icons!
Now look. Before anyone jumps down my throat, I feel I must once again point out that this is all for fun. Most of this stuff isn’t canon but rather the work of filmmakers paying tribute to the horror movies they love; it’s just amusing to examine all the homages, connect the dots, and imagine a world where all of our favorite slasher characters exist and breathe the same air.
Did I miss any franchise-to-franchise connections? Let me know if you think of any!