First, let’s briefly recap how we got here.
As we’ve been covering here on Bloody, Paramount and Platinum Dunes have been working on a new installment of the Friday the 13th franchise for several years now. First, they hired Nick Antosca (“Hannibal,” “Channel Zero”) to pen a script, which would’ve been a straight up, ’80s-set Friday film loaded with brutality – you can read Brad’s recap of that script if you’re interested.
Ultimately, they decided to not go forward with Antosca’s script, to be directed by David Bruckner, instead settling on a script penned by Aaron Guzikowksi (Prisoners). The plan was for that movie, billed as something of an origin story, to film this March with Breck Eisner (The Crazies) in the director’s chair; but alas, Paramount just pulled the plug at literally the final hour.
In other words, we’re not getting ANY Friday the 13th movies any time soon.
But we did manage to get our hands on an undated draft of Guzikowki’s script.
So here’s what almost was.
With the tentative title Friday the 13th: Part 13 on the front cover, Guzikowksi’s aborted script begins at Camp Crystal Lake in 1977. Two young camp counselors, Jeff and Sandra (an homage to the characters from Part 2, but not the same characters) are murdered in the opening sequence by a killer wearing a sack mask. The young lovers climb atop the camp’s fire lookout tower; the masked man slashes Jeff’s Achilles tendons while he’s scaling the ladder, sending him plummeting to his death, and from the very top of the tower, he also tosses Sandra to her death.
The masked killer, it’s pretty safe to assume, is none other than Jason Voorhees, as he looks much the same way Jason did in Friday the 13th: Part 2. But we soon find out this is actually Elias Voorhees, Jason’s father. Yes, the new film was to essentially present Elias as the original Jason Voorhees – oddly enough, Brad’s 2011 April Fools joke played with this same idea.
The first 40-or-so minutes of the new Friday the 13th were going to delve into the backstory of the Voorhees family, providing us with our first ever meeting with ole Elias; the character has popped up in comic books, but never in the movies. The script simply describes Elias, the camp’s park ranger, as a “large man,” and he claims five victims throughout the first half of the film. Elias is then himself killed by camp cook Pamela Voorhees, who is sent into a violent rage in the years after her beloved son goes missing – it doesn’t help that Elias was cheating on Pamela.
As for young Jason, he’s written as a sympathetic character who wears a white medical mask to cover his hideously deformed face. A new addition to the mythology, Jason is also fed by his mother through a feeding tube. He’s sixteen years old in 1977, and as you’d probably expect, the other kids at camp ruthlessly pick on him. Eventually, their torment leads to his “death.”
The film was set to slightly reimagine Jason’s drowning. In this version of events, the older counselors, tripping on acid, take him along with them on a boat adventure; armed with a Super 8 camera, they cruelly unmask Jason and capture it all on film. Running away, Jason attempts to swim from a nearby island back to his home at Crystal Lake, but of course, he drowns.
The main characters in the script are 17-year-old Annie and her younger sister Mary, who are the daughters of camp owner Steve Christy – aside from Jason and his mother, Steve is the only character from the original film that pops up in the script (though Guzikowski pays tribute to many franchise characters through his own character names). Annie has a special connection to Jason, feeling bad for him and trying to teach him how to swim at the start of the film, but she ultimately becomes entangled in his death. It’s her boyfriend, Barry, who spearheads the cruel act that leads to Jason drowning, and the friends agree to destroy the evidence and keep it all secret.
We then jump forward three years to 1980, where the second half of the film takes place. With Jason presumed dead and Elias definitely dead, Mrs. Voorhees embarks on the murder spree that we saw in the original Friday the 13th; the second half of the script plays out like a mishmash of the original film and the subsequent two sequels. Pamela kills a few counselors after discovering the Super 8 film, and she then kidnaps Annie and Mary to confront them with what they did. Eventually, the two escape, and as you could probably surmise, Annie beheads Pamela.
What comes next? Jason, now 19-years-old, takes over where his father left off.
That’s right. Three killers in one movie. The Voorhees Dynasty.
Now wearing a “yellowed goalie mask,” the full-grown Jason (who witnessed his mother’s murder) is in full-on rampage mode for the final 25-30 minutes of the movie. Annie and Mary, along with several other male and female counselors, put up a valiant fight (Annie attacks Jason with an outboard motor at one point, slicing a hunk of his mask off), but most of them are brutally dispatched with relative ease. Using weapons like a fishing trident, a cleaver, a tent stake, and his bare hands, Jason kills seven nondescript counselors in a quick flurry of violence. Annie and Mary, our two survivor girls, find their way to the fire lookout tower… where the film began.
There’s an interesting final act reveal in the script, which leads Annie to dress up as Elias Voorhees in an attempt to scare Jason – like Ginny cosplaying as Mrs. Voorhees, it works, but only briefly. Up in the lookout tower, they come across Elias’ journal, filled with strange symbols and these words, in big letters: “Kill him before he’s born, before it’s too late.” The script doesn’t dig deeper into this idea, but the suggestion is that Elias knew that Jason was some kind of superhuman monster, and that he tried for many years to kill his own son before he grew up.
The final pages describe what surely would have been an impressive set-piece. Jason, smarter than he looks, chops down the lookout tower with the two sisters hiding up top. Annie dies from an injury sustained during the fall while Mary, revealed to be the final girl, makes her way to safety. As for Jason, he disappears into the night. And he’s kept a sick memento…
Pamela’s severed head – adorned with detritus from the lake – it’s been placed in the tree so her eyes seem to stare across the water, watching the camp…
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