Freddy vs. Jason was a big deal to me when it came out. The movie had been in the making for years. Two major film icons were going to cross over on the silver screen. This was not as common as it is today with all of our current shared cinematic universes. This crossover was first teased in Jason Goes to Hell back in 1993, and it was finally realized ten years later. It didn’t get much bigger to a guy with an active subscription to Fangoria back in the day. Plus, ten years of hype and speculation that was backing it up didn’t hurt either.
The final product was fun for me. It pretty much delivered on the promise of seeing these two Halloween staples square off against each other. Of course, it’s a close fight, but one monster comes out a head (wink). Reading about the road that led there is almost better than the final destination.
Dustin McNeill does a great job chronicling the trip through development hell that this movie went through in his book Slash of the Titans. Every script and treatment that was commissioned are summed up to give you a glimpse into the films that could have been. For example, many scripts featured beloved characters from both franchises like Tommy Jarvis or an evil nightmare cult of “Fredheads” that had a leader named Dominic Necros. Also, Robert England once entertained the thought of making a Freddy movie starring rappers, The Fat Boys, that would have had an Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein vibe. These pitches are followed up with interviews with the cast and crew that give insight into the thought processes of the different treatments and the final product.
I think the thing this book really explains well is how many people honestly tried to make a good picture and were committed to this project. Ten years is a long time, there were plenty of opportunities to make this film during that period, but there were so many people involved through the various stages of this movie that wanted to get it right that prevented many of these ideas from going forward. McNeill helps document these folk’s hopes for the project and how the different pitches evolved from each other.
This book is a fascinating look at the development process of two established franchises. It’s rare that a movie has been this thoroughly documented and examined. Anyone interested in film production should take a look at this book to see a side of the Hollywood machine that is rarely talked about this in-depth. Being a fan of the two franchises helps elevate what McNeill has done with this book. It is a dream come true to slasher horror movie fans.
Book by Dustin McNeill
Original Publication Date: March 2017