A 1980s Setting Is the Latest Gimmick Associated with the Upcoming Friday the 13th Movie

Producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form continue to throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks
When Friday the 13th was good

When Friday the 13th was good

Bloody Disgusting has reported, based on a story from Brazillian website Omelete, that Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, the Platinum Dunes producers currently in charge of the Friday the 13th franchise, are planning for the next entry in the series to take place in the 1980s.  The reason, reportedly, is to “recover the feel of the first film.”

Fuller is quoted as saying that they have a “different story” to tell with this film, which will be neither a continuation of the 2009 reboot nor a remake of the original.

The Friday the 13th series was at the height of both its popularity and its quality in the 80s, that much is certain.  And if they have a story in mind which meaningfully explores that moment in American popular culture, that looks at those aspects of the public consciousness that made people respond to these kinds of movies, then there might be a very interesting story there to tell.

When Friday the 13th was SUPER good

When Friday the 13th was SUPER good

A different location equals a different story, right?  Right?

A different location equals a different story, right? Right?

But, looking at Fuller and Form’s history as producers, I see very little reason to suspect that this is anything more than a superficial gimmick being trotted out to add a sense of variety to a generic recycling of the Friday the 13th formula.  A few years ago, they went around suggesting that putting Jason in the snow would somehow make the next entry more interesting, but I for one never saw any explanation of what putting Jason in the snow would accomplish from a storytelling perspective.

This seems like the same theory of F13 that gave us the pointless drudgery of Jason Takes Manhattan (which, due to budgetary constraints, basically ended up being “Jason on a Boat”), the entertaining and funny but ultimately insubstantial Jason X, and – on Fuller and Form’s watch – the pointless compilation of recycled elements that was the 2009 reboot.

The presence of David Cronenberg makes anything better

The presence of David Cronenberg makes anything better

For the Friday the 13th series to become interesting again, Platinum Dunes needs to hire filmmakers who will break away from the structure and tropes which have dominated the series.  They need the courage to experiment at the level of the basic narrative, to write a script that tells not just a “different story,” but a different kind of story.

And, really, the key is that they need to start with that story, and then determine the appropriate trappings, not the other way around.

Let me stress, I do believe that a 1980s setting could serve a new Friday the 13th film very well; I simply doubt that, in this case, the decision has been made for the right reasons.  I sincerely hope that Fuller and Form make me eat my words.


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4 Comments on this post.

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  • Damien
    5 December 2014 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    I agree completely and honestly have no faith in those 2.

  • Josh Millican
    5 December 2014 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    I’d like to see a rebooted Tommy Jarvis, and adversary who Jason can drive insane, someone who’s descent would be more pronounced in each new chapter. I loved Tommy Jarvis in the Final Chapter and it was cool to see him go to the insane asylum, then return as a bad-ass in Jason Lives. The way Jason broke his mind was chilling.

    • Evan A. Baker
      5 December 2014 at 8:01 pm - Reply

      I caught a triple feature of the Tommy Jarvis trilogy a few years ago. That was a damned fun night at the movies!

      The introduction of Tommy in Final Chapter was a real breath of fresh air, and opened the series up to some interesting new directions.

      Although I’m not a fan of New Blood, I do think the asylum setting was a good choice, and breaking away from Jason as the killer was a ballsy move, even if it didn’t work out very well.

      Jason Lives is one of my very favorites. The switch to comedy was a good move for a franchise that was in danger of becoming stagnant, and the misty, Gothic horror atmosphere gives the whole thing a unique feel.

      • Josh Millican
        6 December 2014 at 12:26 am - Reply

        Like Nancy in An Nightmare on Elm Street, or Kristy Cotton in Hellraiser, it’s cool to have a reoccurring grudge matches.