Original Director Sean S. Cunningham Developing New Friday The 13th Movie
After 14 years, Jason Voorhees looks to finally be gearing up for a return to the silver screen.
While horror hounds have been treated to delightful revisits of franchises such as Halloween, Scream, and Hellraiser in recent years, one iconic property that's been left out in the cold for over a decade by this point is Friday the 13th.
Of course, the reason that Jason Voorhees and his famed Camp Crystal Lake locale have been absent from the silver screen for a staggering 14 years now, is due to a legal battle between the original film's director, Sean S. Cunningham, and that picture's writer, Victor Miller.
Thankfully, those issues seem to slowly but surely be resolving themselves, with the first major indicator of that being the recently announced Crystal Lake TV show that's in development for Peacock. Serving as a prequel to the initial 1980 outing for the franchise, Miller has joined forces with Hannibal's Bryan Fuller for this hotly-anticipated show.
In similar positive news for F13 fans, there now comes word that this beloved franchise is (hopefully!) gearing up for a return to cinema screens. Not just that, but the aforementioned Sean S. Cunningham is also involved in what's currently being described as a reboot.
As per Bloody Disgusting, Cunningham is teaming with writer Jeff Locker and director Jeremy Weiss for three upcoming projects; one of which is a new Friday the 13th movie.
The first of these projects is a horror feature titled The Night Driver, and it was while working on that film that Cunningham, Locker and Weiss began discussing ideas for Friday the 13th. Not just that, but the other project in the works from this trio is a reboot of 1985's House.
Speaking to Bloody Disgusting, Jeff Locker detailed:
"Sean hired me to do a rewrite on The Night Driver, and after working closely with director Jeremy Weiss and him on that, we naturally got to talking about Friday the 13th and House. Jeremy and I pitched our dream reboot of Friday the 13th, with Sean's blessing to keep developing it with him."
Locker continued on:
"Obviously, the prequel TV series has reignited interest about a new film, so we're hoping the surrounding excitement will inspire both sides to come together and give us Jason the big screen again for the first time in 14 years, but we also have a Plan B for a sequel to the original we think fans will absolutely love and should avoid any legal entanglements."
Jeremy Weiss added:
"Working on The Night Driver with Sean and Jeff was such a great experience, by the time the momentum was picking up we were looking for what projects could be next in line. As a horror nerd through and through, Friday the 13th and House were naturally where I wanted to head next. Jeff not only felt the same, but had very similar ideas with where to take both franchises."
Any new Friday the 13th movie is clearly in the early stages right now, which means there are zero plot details known at this point. Still, it's hugely positive to hear that something is in the works for this legendary horror series to slice its way back to theatres.
Friday The 13th's Legal Issues
As mentioned, there are still legal issues ongoing between Victor Miller and Sean S. Cunningham, so that's the major elephant in the room right now.
This situation dates back to the 2010s, with Miller taking Cunningham to court over revenue rights generated by the wider Friday the 13th franchise over the years. As the writer of the first film, Victor sought to claim some of the money earned by Cunningham from the property over the years. From Sean's side, his argument was that Victor Miller was 'merely' a work-for-hire employee.
It was Victor Miller who emerged victorious in this case... ish. Miller was awarded the copyright to everything featured in that first Friday the 13th. That meant Camp Crystal Lake, Pamela Voorhees, and Jason Voorhees. The catch? Miller was not given the rights to anything that came after that initial movie - including the hulking adult form of Jason, with the 1980 film only featuring Jason as a young boy.
Last year saw Brian Fuller announce that the Crystal Lake series had access to "everything" from the Friday the 13th franchise, with Horror Inc. having managed to assemble the rights to the F13 elements that Victor Miller did not own.
As alluded to, the last outing for the Friday the 13th series came back in 2009 with Marcus Nispel's solid reboot. With genre fave Derek Mears as Jason in that picture, the aim was to follow the redo with sequels, though that sadly has not happened. Likewise, attempts for others - notably LeBron James - to get a new Friday the 13th film off the ground have come to nothing over the subsequent years.
Prior to that, Jason clashed with fellow horror icon Freddy Krueger in Ronny Yu's 2003 Freddy vs. Jason. Before that, the main Friday the 13th franchise saw Jason head to space in 2002's Jason X, to Hell in 1993's The Final Friday, and to, err, New York City in 1989's Jason Takes Manhattan.
Elsewhere, Gun Media and Illfonic's fan favourite Friday the 13th: The Game was forced to stop any new content back in 2018 as part of the ongoing legal issues surrounding the IP.