The Friday the 13th legal saga continues to rumble on with no end in sight and fans could be forgiven for losing hope that they’ll ever see another sequel. The basis of the lawsuit is that the original film’s writer Victor Miller is asserting his right to all concepts introduced in his screenplay. Sean Cunningham and Horror Inc., meanwhile, dispute that he can do this and are currently appealing the decision of a judge who’s ruled against them.
Final ruling is delayed due to the death of one of the appeal court judges involved and COVID-19 gumming up the court system, but it’s been an unusually long wait so hopefully we’ll get some news this summer. In the meantime, fans are poring over Miller’s website, which contains an FAQ giving his views on Friday the 13th as a whole. In a neat twist, he hasn’t seen any of the multiple sequels to his most famous movie and the reasoning is interesting, with the writer saying:
“To be honest, I have not seen any of the sequels, but I have a major problem with all of them because they made Jason the villain. I still believe that the best part of my screenplay was the fact that a mother figure was the serial killer—working from a horribly twisted desire to avenge the senseless death of her son, Jason. Jason was dead from the very beginning. He was a victim, not a villain. But I took motherhood and turned it on its head and I think that was great fun. Mrs. Voorhees was the mother I’d always wanted—a mother who would have killed for her kids.”
Jason does actually appear in the original Friday the 13th, emerging from the water in the final moments to grab Adrienne King’s Alice. However, this is as part of a dream sequence that takes place in her head, so it fits in with Miller’s vision of the character.
But it’s doubtful whether this series would have become the titan we all know without Friday the 13th Part III unveiling Jason as a homicidal hockey-masked behemoth. It’s that version that’s gone down in horror history, launched a million Halloween costumes, and sold tons of spinoff merchandise.
What’s especially frustrating about the legal quagmire is that Master of Horror Stephen King has a Friday the 13th project ready to go. His take is called I, Jason and would be told from the perspective of Jason as he’s repeatedly defeated by gangs of resourceful teenagers.
As King explained:
“Killed over and over again at Camp Crystal Lake. What a hellish, existential fate! [But] just thinking about the legal thicket one would have to go through to get permissions makes my head ache. And my heart, that too. But gosh, shouldn’t someone tell Jason’s side of the story? Blumhouse could do it as a movie.”
The return of Jason Voorhees and Friday the 13th, written by Stephen King and produced by Blumhouse? Sounds like a license to print money to me. C’mon guys, let’s get Jason back on our screens in style!