We all know that Hollywood works slow, but waiting for new Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street sequels is like waiting for rain in a drought: useless and disappointing.
New Line Cinema likes to brag that they’re the house that Freddy [Krueger] built, but just like most people I know, they forget to show any sort of appreciation.
After the 1993 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday teased a battle between franchise icons Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees (see video below), the studio released Wes Craven’s New Nightmare in 1994 before taking several more years to get Jason X into theaters (barely). And during that time the long-promised Freddy vs. Jason remained in development hell.
After a plethora of pitches, scripts and failed starts, the movie finally happened. The two most popular horror icons in the history of cinema were actually going to duke it out the big screen.
I remember being so excited that my friend and myself had purchased a flight to Las Vegas in order to attend the World Premiere, where Freddy and Jason would weight-in before the film’s big debut. Only, it was canceled, which actually didn’t even come as a shock. It never felt like Robert Shaye or New Line was really into either franchise anymore…
The film was screened just a few times before the release, and New Line had made the bold decision not to show critics the final moments. Who won? Well, you’d have to wait to find out.
I recall sitting in the theater on August 15, 2003 in a complete state of shock. My friend and I had decided we were going to see the movie 10 times over the course of the release, since we had been talking about it since middle school. Even with a ticket in hand, I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that it was actually happening – Freddy vs. Jason was about to play right before my very eyes.
Even though the movie wasn’t the best in either franchise, I personally found it fulfilling and still enjoy it to this day (here’s my review). It felt as if this was the beginning, and not the end of both franchises. With its insane $80M box office take, it was only a matter of time before a sequel was in production, right? Wrong. It took another 6 years for New Line to decide to remake Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, instead of continuing on with a unique new franchise they had built. And their love and dedication couldn’t be hidden anymore as they gave the Jason Voorhees rights back to Paramount Pictures in exchange for partnership in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. I mean, seriously?
So, happy 10th anniversary Freddy vs. Jason. August 15, 2003 will always be a special day in my life, where it felt like anything was possible. Who knew that ten years later I’d be shaking my head in disbelief that we have to beg the studios to make more Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween sequels…