Disqus for Friday The 13th: The Film Franchise




Filmmaker Harrison Smith Pens Open Letter To New Line Cinema For 'Jason vs Jarvis'

Everyone remembers a few years back when we reported on a concept for a new Friday The 13th film that would reunite the character Tommy Jarvis with Jason Voorhees. Actor Corey Feldman was lobbying to create the sequel and reprise his role as Tommy to do battle with the horror icon. The concept is actually a good one and would have definite marketing and sales opportunities bringing back one of the most beloved characters in the franchise.

That idea quickly fizzled over the years, however, and not much has been talked about that story idea since then, until today. Filmmaker Harrison Smith has himself firmly entrenched in the horror genre and for many years he has been creating a number of successful films, most recently the Eric Roberts and Danielle Harris vehicle Camp Dread. Along with making films, Harrison is currently Head of Independent Genre Development at Carolco Pictures. Needless to say, he understands how the genre works and today he decided to write a very thorough and detailed letter to New line Cinema explaining why he thinks the concept of a Jason vs Jarvis film is a good move and should get made immediately.

Below is an abbreviated look at the letter and what Harrison has outlined pertaining to the rights issues of the franchise and what he thinks can be done with a new film property utilizing the Tommy Jarvis character. I encourage everyone to read the full Open Letter as there are numerous great points made about the state of the franchise as it exists in a more modern time.

To: New Line Cinema

From: B Harrison Smith

Re: Friday the 13th: Tommy Jarvis vs. Jason Vorhees

I am told the rights to Friday the 13th are a mess. Paramount owns some, you own some. Some are parceled out to TV while the films retain others and the characters. I’ve heard one tale that both studios share custody over the franchise like a divorced couple.  I have no idea if this is true. What I do know is that the ownership of rights has become so convoluted that no one seems to have a definitive answer.

I attended two meetings in Los Angeles over Tommy and Jason. One of them, where I was asked to possibly write the first script, ended with me asking a simple question: “Who owns the rights?” When the parties that called me to the meeting named whom they believed owned the rights, I disagreed. In the end, I was right, and sadly felt the project would go nowhere. A second meeting revealed that the rights were so parceled out, no one could make heads or tails of it.

Why would Tommy vs. Jason be a money maker? Here’s why, New Line…stop recycling the same old stuff and put to good use the assets you own:

1. Corey Feldman

There are only three memorable characters from the entire F13th franchise: Pamela Voorhees, her son Jason and Tommy Jarvis. Anyone else is simply part of a victim menu.

Corey Feldman originated Tommy in 1984’s The Final Chapter. The film was naturally overloaded with two dimensional characters (who serve no purpose other than die in a variety of ways) but there was something about Feldman’s performance that shaded Tommy and made the young boy far more real than the dozen victims around him. While his character was severely underwritten (Did he actually create all of those elaborate masks? Did he know of Jason’s previous exploits and did he study him?) audiences took to Tommy Jarvis and Jason had himself a formidable nemesis.

2. Reinventing for Relevance

Tommy is a haunted character. Something dark was already driving him, and his attack on Jason at the conclusion of Part IV is brutal and methodical. He outfoxed the mute killer and was one step ahead of him, preventing his resurrection and protecting his sister.

Pick up decades later with Jarvis in a different world. Haunted by the ghosts of his past, he is obsessed in his steadfast belief that Jason Voorhees never perished. In essence, ignore the films past Part IV like Halloween H20 and start a whole new timeline. This isn’t all about hunting Jason. This is about exploring Tommy and his world.

3. Graphic Novel and Video Game The Shit Out Of This

I understand there is an underground Tommy vs. Jason graphic novel out there. Find these people who did it and bring them in. Make this a Comic Con launch concept. Turn Tommy into an antihero and reinvent him Frank Miller Dark Knight style. Should Corey Feldman know who these people are, reach out to him and get him in for a talk. I am willing to bet these artists are fans of his and they have approached him at some point.

4. Think about a TV Series For This

Word is that Jason is getting his own TV show coming up. Horror has found a new home on television, much like good drama has. Package up Tommy Vs. Jason, make it a story line that could dovetail with the present Jason TV show or run parallel to it. Cross pollinate and make this something that could run supplemental to a series of new theatrical features.

Four points for generating a lot of cash. You create a spinoff without the stigma of a remake. You bring back a fan favorite and one of the top three characters in over ten motion pictures. You avoid the stigma of recycling old plots and diluting the horror aspect of the film. The series becomes relevant to an entirely new generation of viewers who only heard of Jason Voorhees from their parents and Family Guy.

What do you think? Are the rights issues destroying the opportunities to make more films and would re-introducing Tommy Jarvis back into the franchise help or hurt the future of the films?
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