In February, a baker’s dozen of dumb teenagers won’t be so lucky.
“The body count is 13,” producer Brad Fuller revealed to us last weekend when we caught up with him at Comic-Con to discuss the “Friday the 13th” remake.
“I wish we could take credit for [the number of deaths],” he added, acknowledging the symmetry of 13 deaths in a “Friday the 13th” film “The writers, [Damian] Shannon and [Mark] Swift, after we had done everything, said, ‘Did you notice how many kills there were?’ And we said, ‘Yeah, there are a lot.’ They said, ‘Actually, there are 13.’ So the writers had figured that out.”
“We also show what Jason’s doing when he’s not killing,” added his producing partner, Andrew Form. Together, the producers have made recent remakes of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “The Amityville Horror” and “The Hitcher.” “I think that’s something different for the franchise. He plays ‘Guitar Hero.’ ”
“He actually plays a mean banjo,” Fuller laughed. “He’s just great on it, and people didn’t know that. It’s fun to watch.”
If you really believe Jason is jamming on his Xbox, well, you’re as dumb as the 178 people he has dispatched on camera so far. But wait: Could a newer, smarter, faster, machete-wielding madman actually make his eternal struggle with sex-craved teens a bit more evenhanded?
“He just wants to be left alone,” explained the massive Derek Mears, who we observed on set moving much faster and more realistically than the old Jason. “[Our character] has been rejected. He’s pulled away from society. He wants to live by himself. And all of a sudden, these kids come into his area and disrespect his area. And he has nowhere to go. He’s like a caged animal with his back against the wall and he, albeit in a bad way, protects himself.”
“I had a lot of bruises,” remembered Amanda Righetti, who plays one of the new-generation teens being tormented in the flick. “My knees got pretty damaged. I had some bad knee problems afterwards, and it took me about four weeks to really recover from it. It definitely isn’t as campy as the original ‘Friday the 13th’ movies. They were what they were for their day. But when you look at them now, you don’t get as creeped out. It’s a different feel. I think the audiences are demanding a little bit more of horror movies now, so [ours] is a lot of blood and guts and weapons and stuff like that.”
Taking over for the beloved Kane Hodder, Mears went to great lengths to ensure that his Jason wouldn’t become another stiff guy with a hockey mask and a machete.
“[I've been] doing the character background, the victimization of Jason since he was abused as a child. He was always the outcast,” Mears insisted, explaining that Voorhees is mentally ill. “He was always shunned by society. So I’ve taken the stance that it’s almost like a Vietnam flashback, where someone has been victimized and abused so badly that when things resurface and these kids start to encroach on his area, he is once again having a flashback. It’s a moment so intense that he’s getting his revenge [for] when he saw his mother get murdered. He’s still in the moment, like these people just recently murdered his mother, and he’s having his revenge.”
During their Comic-Con panel, the filmmakers unveiled the first trailer for the film. It began much like any of their recent remakes, with attractive teens wandering into a scary place (Jason’s house) and then having something horrible happen (a machete pokes through the ground, goes through the teen boy, and a hand pulls him through the floor). But with later shots of teens running in the woods and a camera looking up at a woman swimming in Crystal Lake, viewers could definitely tell this is another installment in one of cinema’s most successful franchises.
“We had to keep the hockey mask, which is where it all started, and Camp Crystal Lake as a jumping off point for us to go back to the first one,” Form said of the “13th” elements that could never be removed.
“We wanted to make a movie that was fun, and we haven’t done that before,” Fuller added. “A lot of our movies, I think, have been more dreary and tended more towards what they call torture porn. … The scares are so scary, but the scares are happening to kids that you love, because you had a fun experience with them. These are kids who are drinking, smoking and having sex, and it’s been a long time since you’ve seen that on the big screen. We’re hoping that those two things coming together will give the audience a new experience with a horror movie.”
After nearly 200 killings, however, Mears said there’s only one way that Jason would ever let you live, and no one has tried it yet. “Just make friends with him. That way, he won’t be lonely,” the immense actor grinned. “Grab a good Nerf football. A nice game of catch with Jason. No! He’s like a wild animal. Let him be. Go your own way.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Friday the 13th.”
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