Collins’ Crypt: Let It Snow, Let Him Slash

BC's dreaming of a white FRIDAY THE 13TH film.

Last week the awesome Fright Rags released a new shirt called "Clark's Revenge," depicting Clark Griswold from Christmas Vacation, with his hockey mask and chainsaw, standing in front of his overly lit home. It's an amazing shirt, and I bought it instantly... once I realized what it actually was. See, the email they sent out had just a preview image of the full shirt, and I didn't notice the title, so at a quick glance all I saw was a hockey masked guy in front of Christmas decorations, and figured it was some sort of "Jason on Christmas" mashup. And that is something I would NOT buy, because it would just make me sad to wear a shirt reminding me of the fact that we never got a Friday The 13th movie in the snow.

While pitched a few times (and almost certainly the setting for at least one fan script), for some reason the idea of setting Jason Voorhees loose on a frozen Crystal Lake never came to fruition, which baffles me as any image that flashes in my head of such an endeavor gives me a giant fan boner. All you have to do is look at the basic plot of each film in the pre-Platinum Dunes, original eleven-film series (including vs. Freddy) to see that after the first six films, the producers were constantly looking for ways to mix things up. New Blood retained the Crystal Lake/summertime setting, but gave him a supernatural adversary. Jason Takes Manhattan used up TWO possible scenarios - Jason on a boat and Jason in New York, Jason Goes To Hell went on some Hidden-inspired body swapping adventure, and of course, Jason X sent him off to space. And while the fight with Freddy largely took place in Crystal Lake, the bulk of the movie was set in Springwood, i.e. Freddy's territory.

So really, until the remake came along, there hadn't been a traditional "Jason kills teens in the woods during the summer" entry since 1986's Jason Lives (with New Blood being a sort of transition). Now, one could argue that the more they try to mix things up, the more they fail to live up to the best of the series (most older fans' ranking of the franchise would have one of those first six entries as their favorites*, and even the younger fans tend to recognize the greatness of Final Chapter at the very least), but that doesn't mean that there's no reason to try. One could make many reasons why those later films didn't work, but I don't think the setting was the issue for any of them - the most common complaint about Manhattan is that he's not in New York ENOUGH, and come on, Jason on a spaceship is just funny (the piss poor Jason design and Harry Manfredini's jaw-droppingly awful score hurts Jason X more than anything else, if you ask me). Indeed, of the last three Wrong Turn films (itself a primarily woods-based franchise), which were all directed by the same hack (Declan O'Brien), the only one that was watchable was the one in the snow.

Plus, it's just snow. Ideally it would still be set on Crystal Lake (though hopefully an actual lake, not the tiny ponds seen in later films - one of my all time favorite lines from Devin was that New Blood's version of the lake looked like someone merely left a hose running in their backyard), just a partially frozen one, with lots and lots of snow to utilize. It practically writes itself: six to eight teens go off to the lake to snowmobile, renting one of the cabins (which would have a hot tub in order to get the obligatory skin scenes in there) and spending a lot of time outside to maximize the new environmental dangers and trademarks. Hell, they could even point out that they think winter is the only time the place is safe since Jason never seems to kill anyone at that time (as much as I am a stickler for continuity, in this case the movie needn't bother trying to fit into any established timeline. He can just be there, no need to explain his reappearance - that's how badly I want to see a snowbound Jason movie).

And just think of the weaponry! In addition to changing the setting, later entries were also fairly obsessed with giving him new ways of killing people; the machete and his bare hands were still accounted for, but more often than not he'd be using "one time only" weapons like a guitar (Manhattan), a party favor (New Blood), liquid nitrogen (Jason X), and even Freddy's own glove in Vs. So the snow and cold would give him lots of new toys he otherwise probably wouldn't have access to: shovels, ski poles (or the skis themselves), icicles, ice skate blades... hell he could probably hurl a nicely packed snowball at some asshole hard enough to break his skull for a cheer-worthy "funny" kill along the lines of the sleeping bag/tree kill in New Blood. And even though my idea is just a generic "winter" setting, there's no reason it can't be close to Christmas, giving him a few more possibilities (though I figure most of that sort of stuff has been covered by Silent Night Deadly Night and 2006's Black Xmas).

It would also even work well for the Platinum Dunes' incarnation, should they ever get off their ass and make a new sequel. The (awesome) Derek Mears version of Jason is a survivalist, so there's plenty of stuff for him to do during the harsh winter - and more reason to be pissed about meddling teens, making noise and scaring off his food supply. And they wouldn't even have to worry about the continuity, since that film ended with him jumping back out of the lake, and thus it's perfectly Friday-logical that he's just chilling back in his tunnels in the "off season."

However, I'm not sure if the Dunes will be behind the next movie, should one ever come to pass. Brad Fuller after all claimed that they're not making horror movies anymore, and they've already given up the rights to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a film that was more successful commercially and critically than their 2009 Friday reboot. In some ways I hope that they're the ones to deliver the next installment, because I want Mears to return as Jason and it would be confusing to set the film in the original series (as the new Texas Chainsaw film is doing, possibly setting a new precedent for this remake-ravaged modern time we live in) with the remake Jason, but I also don't have much faith in their company to produce a worthy film anymore. I enjoyed their remake, but not nearly as much as I did (and continue to enjoy) the first six installments, nor as much as I appreciated PD's first few reboots (Chainsaw and its 2006 prequel, Amityville) and if their attitude now is that they don't even want to make horror films, I can't see Fuller and Andrew Form exerting much quality control over a sequel, especially since it's been four years and counting since that film's release. Since their film was supposed to start a new franchise, it's been way too long; the original series knocked out a new entry every year or two until the gap between 8 and 9, and that was the result of Manhattan's failure AND a change of studio - neither was the case this time around.

Best case scenario (also called a "wholly unrealistic pipe dream") - someone with dough, access to Mears and a genuine affinity for the franchise makes a film independently of Dunes' "creative" input, and brings it to them complete for them to slap their name on it and distribute it through Warner/New Line as normal. If they're not interested, the marvels of CGI can just swap out the name Jason and his identifying features and release it as a standalone slasher - CGI mask replacement has been done before, in H20, so it's not too far-fetched an endeavor, especially when dealing with a mythology-lite movie like a Friday the 13th sequel. The snowbound slasher genre has very few solid entries, - Cold Prey and... uh, Cold Prey 2 are pretty much it; the movie Iced is among the worst slashers I've ever seen, and the less said about Shredder**, the better. But I think a world without a legit Friday the 13th film featuring Jason smashing through some poor snowman to get at a horny teen is an unfair and incomplete one. Do the right thing, Hollywood. Make the world a better place.

*4, 6, 2, 1, 5, 3, Remake, 8, X, Hell, Vs/7. For the first six it doesn't change, after that they move up or down a slot depending on my mood.

**Ironically, when I looked up to make sure it was Shredder and not "Shredded" (it's been a while), I discovered that this piece of shit was actually released in Japan as Jason Z. Go figure.