With Freddy vs. Jason stuck in development hell (what, no one just wanted to make money?), New Line didn’t want people to forget Jason. So they sent him into the future. They sent him into virtual reality. And they sent him into space.
Jason X (2001)
In 2010 — 9 years in the future! — Jason is captured by the U.S. government but can’t be killed, so government scientist Rowan LaFontaine decides to place the killer is suspended animation. Of course, a bunch of soldiers screws the whole thing up and Jason kills everyone in his path before he stabs Rowan and freezing both of them.
445 years later, Earth is ruined so everyone moves to Earth 2. So why not send some students back to the old Earth on a field trip? Why not send their professor and an android, too? While exploring the Crystal Lake facility where Jason was experimented on? And why not put the still frozen bodies of Jason and Rowan on the Grendel, their ship? Nothing bad can happen, right?
Well, it turns out that Jason is dead and his body could be worth plenty. The Professor calls his money man, Dieter Perez (Robert A. Silverman, who has been in five Cronenberg* movies and the two episodes of Friday the 13th: The Series that he directed, too) and they discuss how Jason’s body could be worth something to collectors. Luckily — or maybe not — they bring Rowan back to life.
Of course, kids keep having sex around Jason, which brings the maniac back to life. He wipes out nearly everyone on the ship, including all of the soldiers that are on board. He even takes out an entire space station!
The teens upgrade their android, KM-14, who wipes out Jason. Or so everyone thinks — a medical station brings him back as Uber Jason, filled with cybernetics so powerful that he can punch the android’s head off. Not even a holographic simulation or a shuttle crash can slow him down! It takes flying him through re-entry and burning him up to take him out.
That said — two teens see his mask land on Earth 2, so he could always come back. He can come back, right?
This was written by Todd Farmer (Drive Angry, the remake of My Bloody Valentine) and directed by James Isaac (House 3). I have a real weakness for this film as it really goes places none of the others did. It’s the Abbott and Costello school of running out of ideas and just doing something completely off the wall.
*Cronenberg shows up in a cameo as Dr. Wimmer, too!
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Finally, after years of development stops and starts, arguably the two biggest horror icons of the 1980s would fight. Helmed by The Bride with White Hair director Ronny Yu, this would be the last film in both villain’s series before they were rebooted.
Freddy is stuck in Hell, powerless because the children of Springwood have forgotten about him. He disguises himself as Pamela Vorhees and sends a message to Jason, begging him to kill the teens he can no longer reach.
The adults cover it up, just as they have for years. They don’t want Freddy ever coming back, so they even send his victims to a sanitarium and give them Hypnocil to suppress their dreams. Freddy starts coming back with each kill, but then he realizes that Jason cannot be contained and that his mayhem will only cost him victims.
Our protagonists try to pull Freddy from the dream world into our world, but Freddy catches Jason in his dream world, using his fear over drowning to defeat him. At the last moment, Jason actually saves everyone by returning to our world.
By the end, Freddy is decapitated and Jason is dead. Or is he? Of course, he raises from the lake, holding his machete and Freddy’s head as the bastard son of a thousand maniacs winks to the audience.
Sadly, Kane Hodder was replaced by the even larger Ken Kirzinger. The director wanted a bigger, bulkier Jason. Oh well. Also, Kelly Rowland from Destiny’s Child is in this.
While sequels were planned (rumored battles were to include Ash from Evil Dead, Pinhead from Hellraiser and Michael Myers from Halloween), nothing ever happened. There was a comic series that did this — more on that later.
The movie figures out a nice way to connect the characters, but they went even further in the original script. One idea was that Freddy either raped or had a consensual sexual encounter with Jason’s mother, and as a result, was Jason’s dad. Or maybe Freddy had worked at Camp Crystal Lake and was the reason behind Jason’s death. These ideas felt too contrived and were dropped.
There was nowhere else to go after this movie. It was time for a reboot.
Friday the 13th (2009)
Marcus Nispel directed the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 2003, so why shouldn’t he get a shot at Jason? This film is more than just a remake of the first film. It’s really a bit of the first four all in one.
We watch Jason as he watches his mother get killed by a camp counselor. Thirty years later, he kills every single teen who has comes to Crystal Lake looking for marijuana, except for Whitney, who reminds him of his mother.
Weeks later, some rich kids come to stay at a fancy cabin. They’re all fodder, too. Only Clay, Whitney’s brother, can save her. Finally, Whitney acts like Jason’s mother and stabs him, but he comes back at the end, rising from the lake.
This is a slick, CGI animated take on the Jason mythos. I’m more into the Savini school of gore, so there’s a lot of this that didn’t work for me. It’s not a horrible film by any means. But it’s not the best of the series. And while it did well at the box office, it was also the end of the series.
Or is it?