Exactly ten years prior to Freddy vs. Jason making its way into theaters, Freddy Krueger made a surprise appearance at the tail of end of Jason Goes to Hell, pulling Jason’s iconic hockey mask (literally) down into the bowels of Hell. Why did we have to wait so long to see the actual battle? Well, as it’s been well documented over the years, it wasn’t because New Line wasn’t trying.
The studio went through countless writers before Damian Shannon and Mark Swift cracked the code and came up with something they were happy with; some writers brought their own ideas to the table, while others were hired to rework scripts penned by previous scribes. Shannon and Swift managed to bring Freddy and Jason together in a way that both made sense and was a whole hell of a lot of fun, but before New Line settled on the to-the-point simplicity of their idea, they toyed with many ideas that were almost too bonkers to even believe.
Here are five of the most batshit ideas that were pitched.
1) FREDDY MOLESTED JASON AS A CHILD
Lewis Abernathy was the first writer hired to merge the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, and he got to work in the immediate wake of Jason Goes to Hell. Abernathy’s script, titled Nightmare 13: Freddy Meets Jason, introduced the idea of Jason’s origin story being woven directly into Freddy’s mythology. He proposed that Fred Krueger was the Camp Crystal Lake counselor who drowned a young Jason Voorhees, and that Jason was on a mission to seek revenge. Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris later expanded upon this idea, going one step further. In their draft, Freddy actually molested Jason as a child, and then ended up drowning the young boy so that nobody would ever know. A little too dark for a fun mash-up film, don’t you think?
In Abernathy’s script, Freddy and Jason were going to battle in a “Nightmare Arena” in Hell, inside a boxing ring with ropes made of entrails. Sitting front row? Adolf Hitler.
2) TIME TRAVEL PREVENTS BOTH FREDDY AND JASON FROM EVER EXISTING
Peter Briggs, who ended up co-writing 2004’s Hellboy, submitted his own Freddy vs. Jason pitch in the early ’90s. His crazy concept also toyed with the idea of Freddy and Jason having a shared past; in Briggs’ script, the Voorhees family used to live on Elm Street, and the Voorhees parents were part of the lynch mob that killed Freddy. This resulted in Freddy killing Jason after the Voorhees family moved to Crystal Lake; he then subsequently brought Jason back to life as an undead monster. Yes, Jason’s new origin story was to be that Freddy created him.
And that’s not even the craziest idea in Briggs’ script, which began in the 17th century and eventually pit Freddy and Jason up against one another… in Hell. Who was going to show up down there? Satan himself (named Thanos in the script), who was going to be revealed to be the master of both Freddy and Jason; they’ve just been his pawns this whole time, Briggs conceived.
The crazy ambitious film would’ve ended with Freddy and Jason killing Satan and then being banished from ever existing, due to a time travel plot device. An FBI agent goes back in time, forges a judge’s signature, and prevents Freddy from being released from prison. In other words, Freddy never became a Dream Demon, and as a result, Jason was never killed as a boy.
Can’t make this stuff up.
3) FREDDY AND JASON BECOME ONE
How strange would it have been to see Jason Voorhees plucked out of Crystal Lake and placed into a courtroom? That’s exactly what co-writers Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore did with their Freddy vs. Jason script, which saw Jason on trial for the various murders he committed over the years. The script was written at the time the O.J. Simpson trial was the hottest thing in America, and it drew much inspiration from the widely-publicized, real-life trial. After being shot in court, Jason is taken into the hospital and put under, resulting in him having a nightmare that brings Freddy into the real world through his body. The final battle between the two horror icons was to take place inside a shopping mall, which is where things were going to get REALLY insane.
Battling inside the burning mall, Freddy knocks Jason out with nitrous oxide and attempts to use his body as a vessel to re-enter the dream world. But that plan goes south when Jason wakes up halfway through the process, binding Freddy and Jason together as a two-headed monster. The burning roof ultimately collapses, presumably killing off both Freddy and Jason.
The Braga & Moore script also had a meta twist to it: the Friday the 13th movies we’ve all seen were merely movies, while we were going to meet the real Jason for the first time.
4) THE CULT OF FREDDY
One of the most popular ideas throughout Freddy vs. Jason‘s early development process was the so-called Cult of Freddy: a group of hardcore Freddy fans who wear Christmas sweaters, burn themselves, and attempt to bring Freddy Krueger into the real world by sacrificing a young virgin. The concept first popped up in Lewis Abernathy’s aforementioned script, and David J. Schow expanded upon it when he worked on a rewrite of that original script. Schow dubbed the Freddy fanatics the “Fred Heads,” led by an evil character named Dominick Cochran.
How did Jason figure into the script? A dead teenager’s heart is thrown into Crystal Lake, bringing Jason Voorhees back to life and leading to the promised battle between he and Freddy.
5) TWO DIFFERENT ENDINGS
When Mark Verheiden came on board in the late ’90s, he quickly did away with the Cult of Freddy idea, instead choosing to focus on what fans really wanted from the mash-up film: the fight itself. And he had a pretty cool idea for how to execute it. Verheiden proposed that Freddy vs. Jason have two different endings, one with Freddy winning and the other with Jason winning; which one any given viewer saw would’ve depended on which theater they saw the film at. He wrote two vastly different ending sequences, but alas, Verheiden eventually departed the project.
And then there’s Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, which still breaks our heart. Sigh.