Hot Project: Freddy and Jason together at last

We all remember Freddy Krueger, the star of New Line’s horror movie franchise A Nightmare on Elm Street. The original 1984 Nightmare movie introduced us to Freddy (played by Robert Englund), an evil otherworldly being who infiltrates his victims’ dreams and slashes them to death with his trademark glove-you know, the one with knife blades attached to each finger.

The movie spawned seven sequels in the space of 10 years.

In the sixth offshoot, entitled Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Freddy used his long-lost daughter Maggie to lure unsuspecting teens into his nightmare world. He ultimately died (and I use that term loosely) after engaging in a battle to the end.

But no one ever really bought that, and rightfully so.

A seventh installment followed 10 years after the original, aptly named Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, where Freddy is actually released into the physical world. This time, as the tag line warned, staying awake wouldn’t save you. And if the title denoted anything, it was a sure indication that Freddy was not going away any time soon.

The other ’80s villain

Everyone also knows Jason Voorhees, the hockey mask sporting villain from Paramount’s Friday the 13th franchise that started in 1980 and ended in 1993-or so we were led to believe.

In the final installment of the Friday series, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Jason met in match in Creighton Duke, the world-famous bounty hunter specializing in serial killers of Jason’s ilk.

But Jason’s death and descent into hell did not signal the end of the villain, or the series. The film’s final moments showcased a familiar gloved hand escorting Jason to the fiery depths.

And so the rumors about a possible pairing began. When New Line acquired the rights to the Friday the 13th movies from Paramount, the prospects became all the more real.

Jason No. 2,435,445

New Line, however, was not finished with the Friday the 13th venture. In March of last year, Jason X went into production. The project, which was completed well over a year ago, is slated for release next summer.

Kane Hodder, who has played Jason since 1988’s Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, reprises his role as the slayer, but the setting has changed somewhat. Jason X takes place in the year 2455, on “Old Earth,” now a contaminated planet abandoned for centuries. When a group of intrepid young explorers return to the planet in hopes of unearthing ancient artifacts, a grizzly fate supposedly awaits them.

The film was directed by James Isaac (the creature technician for films like Gremlin, The Fly, and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi) and produced by Noel and Sean Cunningham.

Two villains are better than one

Talks of a Freddy/Jason team-up never seem to go away. New Line has had the project in development for years, but recently it seems to be gaining momentum.

The film would bring Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees together in a battle for control of hell. Rumor has it that two endings have been penned for the film, one with Freddy winning, the other with Jason as the vanquisher.

While promoting the upcoming Boogymen DVD, Englund told the Sci-Fi Channel news service, Sci-Fi Wire, that the project has indeed been given the green light.

“I heard that [New Line chairman Robert Shaye] has approved the latest draft of a script,” he told the Wire. “But I haven’t seen it. It’s, like, wet.”

Though Englund could not confirm who wrote the screenplay, Sci-Fi Wire mentions that Mark Protosevich (The Cell) was one of the latest writers to work on it.

Englund also denied rumors that New Line is waiting to see how Jason X performs at the box office next summer.

“We began getting behind Lost in Space and Spawn and several other films,” he said. “So we got backed and backed and backed. And our directors and our special-effects guys all went on to other projects.”

“Since all this began about three years ago…the technology has changed in special effects. So knowing New Line, I’m sure that the deal memos coming down from the main office there, from Bob Shaye, have to do with exploiting all the new special-effects technology. So I’m sure that’s affecting the rewrite and everything,’ he explained.

Michael DeLuca, Rob Bottin and Guillermo Del Toro were both at one point mentioned to direct the project, but Stephen Norrington is the latest candidate supposedly in talks.

The bottom line

All that matters to diehard horror fans, however, is that the film will eventually get made. And the buzz is certainly not going away. One thing is certain, Freddy vs. Jason would be the duel of a lifetime.