By Jason Delgado
Many horror fans (including myself) have long wondered what happened to the much-discussed planned sequel to the 2003 hit movie Freddy vs Jason. This film was rumored to be titled Freddy vs Jason vs Ash, bringing into the fold the beloved Evil Dead hero character with a chainsaw for an appendage and a “boomstick” in his other hand, played by charismatic actor Bruce Campbell. At the last Monsterpalooza, the actor who played Jason in the original film, Ken Kirzinger, said that he heard through the grapevine that Evil Dead director Sam Raimi was the reason that the movie never happened, because he was protective of his Ash character. Well, it just so happened that Sam Raimi attended Son of Monsterpalooza this year, which ran from October 13-15, at the Marriott Burbank Convention Center & Hotel.
I took this opportunity to ask the gracious Mr. Raimi in his autograph line about why that highly anticipated movie never happened, and about his rumored involvement in the upcoming Avengers: Secret Wars. Sam did not disappoint! For Secret Wars, he said that he has no plans currently to make another superhero film, although Raimi added that he wishes that they would call him. We can assume that “they” means Marvel. Marvel, and everyone associated with them, are notoriously tight-lipped on details about upcoming projects that have not formally been laid out, so that response came as no surprise to me. Sam was a little cryptic on this one; does he just want to feel good about getting an offer, or would he actually direct the movie? My gut says that he would (which would be awesome since he’s a top-notch director!), but only time will tell.
Raimi was much more forthcoming with his answer about why Freddy vs Jason vs Ash has not happened. First, he explained that he has a deep love for those two horror icon characters of Freddy and Jason. He told me that Ash is such a hero character, that if he was in a movie with those villains, Ash would ultimately have to kill them for good. Wow! Can you imagine how epic that movie would be? That is such a tantalizing concept: two legendary characters meeting their final demise to a third legend. Such a film could go down as one of the top horror box office hits of all-time, if done right. Now, I can see why the movie companies that own the rights to Freddy and Jason would never agree to that. Those characters are cash cows, because they keep coming back from the dead and audiences still adore them (there haven’t been any new films lately, but I’m sure they’ll both be back at some point).
That bombshell was enough of an answer for me, but Sam continued on and said he would need to be a producer of the film so that he could have creative control. This is a reasonable request, which makes it sound like this concession wasn’t being granted at the time of the offer. Raimi also was unsure if whatever director was brought on could nail the tone of The Evil Dead franchise. That’s definitely understandable, since horror/comedy is such a tricky genre to navigate. Sam Raimi has shown that he is one of only a select few directors to be able to nail that difficult mix, and he has done it consistently. These are two issues that seem like they could be solved by sensible parties, but it is understandable as to why the killing of Freddy and Jason would not be on the table. What an amazing reveal by Raimi!
Thank you to Sam for sharing that information, because I have been wondering about that for decades! Freddy vs Jason was a movie being talked about on school yards across the country long before the film happened in 2003, and the scrapped sequel has been on my mind ever since! I would be remiss to mention that I can’t say enough about Sam Raimi. He shook every single fan’s hand and greeted them warmly, offering advice on things like camera shots and giving encouragement to fellow filmmakers.
The rest of the Con was also a delight, with the usual mix of horror merchants and celebrities on hand for autographs and photos (for a fee). I met Final Destination, Idle Hands and Chucky show star Devon Sawa, who could not have been nicer. The same goes for Sleepaway Camp star Felicia Rose, whom I had just seen the previous weekend at Joe Bob’s Drive-In Jamboree. Other big stars, such as Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira – Mistress of the Dark, greeted long lines of adoring fans throughout the Con. I love the atmosphere of fandom and how kind celebrities give that love right back to fans at Cons like this.
Lastly, I attended the 40th reunion panel for the cult horror classic Sleepaway Camp. Stars Felicia Rose, Karen Fields, Tom Van Dell, Christopher Collet, and Katherine Kamhi were all in attendance and offered great behind-the-scenes stories. Karen Fields echoed the sentiment of the passionate speech that Joe Bob Briggs’ gave at the Jamboree on trans rights, because the film’s subject matter relates to it, and she says that so many fans tell her at these Cons that the film has meant a lot to them and their support of trans rights. This is even more meaningful to her because of the fact that her own daughter is transgender. Katherine Kamhi’s son was in the audience and asked the entire panel if they had any real-life supernatural experiences. Most of them did, with Katherine telling the story of how after a close family member had just passed, she and another family member felt an intense feeling of a spirit passing their bodies, so much so that she and the other person made audible noises when it happened and turned to each other to confirm what they just experienced. Spooky!
This event was certainly a memorable Son of Monsterpalooza, I can’t wait until the next one! Learn more at their site!