TV has fully embraced cinematic horror in recent years, with Norman Bates, Hannibal Lecter and soon Rosemary Woodhouse getting comfortably morbid on the small screen. Another one of modern horror’s most iconic characters is machete-chopping an unlikely path to television, as Crystal Lake Entertainment and Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films are teaming up for an hour-long Friday the 13th series, centered on Jason Voorhees and the legends of Camp Crystal Lake. If it sounds like the worst idea in the world to you, it might be; but then it could also sound like the best idea in the world, and that’s okay, too. It’s whatever mommy says, really.
The series will be produced by the original film’s director Sean S. Cunningham, and the biggest question is of course how anyone is going to stretch out a plotline that barely filled up the franchise’s endless line of sequels. A procedural where Jason has the weekly problem of figuring out how to kill someone? A whodunit that removes the supernatural side of Jason’s history? An In Treatment-like psychological thriller that delves into the masked killer’s stunted mental problems? None of those quite fit the bill.
According to Deadline, this will be a contemporary take on a group of Camp Crystal Lake counselors who realize they’re being hunted by the monstrous incarnation of the boy who drowned years earlier. But it will also stretch across different timelines, presumably giving viewers a peek into Jason’s childhood, where “new secrets about his wacky family are revealed.” I’d like to take Deadline’s Mike Fleming, Jr. to task for referring to this murderous bloodline as “wacky,” but I suppose my real issue is this show’s existence in the first place.
Oddly enough, the pilot episode will be written by Bill Basso, a Stan Winston Studio vet who’s worked on effects for Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Jurassic Park, and Jordu Schell, an artist and designer on such films as Avatar and Escape from L.A.. Two guys with zero writing credentials are being given the reins to a franchise with some of the most outspoken fans in the world. Sounds about right.
I can’t deny that having talented effects guys on board is a positive, as the Friday series was responsible for bringing gore god Tom Savini to fame. The series’ special effects team will be headed by Roy Knyrim, of Gods and Monsters and Slugs fame. Depending on what network this thing ends up on, if it in facts ends up anywhere, the effects could range from broadcast TV’s super-quick throat slashes to the long, bloody, drawn-out deaths that cable allows. We’re hoping for the latter.
This isn’t the first time that a Friday the 13th series has been conceived, though the 1987-1990 frightfest was connected only by name. That show centered on an antique store called Curious Goods, whose vault was home to a plethora of haunted items that the show’s main characters – Micki, Ryan and Jack – hunted down every week. It was one of the more imaginative horror series to ever exist, and the brooding theme song used to give me nightmares.
One might assume that this project would put a damper on Jason’s upcoming big screen return to Paramount. But apparently that feature is still going to happen, since Paramount doesn’t appear to be able to make any blood money off of this series.
What kind of crazy shenanigans do you think these wacky Voorhees will get into next?