Freddy vs. Jason is a movie famous for the incredible amount of time that it took to get made. It was first brought up in the mid-1980’s, around the time that the second Nightmare on Elm Street was hitting theaters and Freddy was beginning to become something of an icon. The Friday the 13th series was already successful by the time the latter franchise came along and people would start to wonder: Who would win in a fight, Freddy or Jason? The idea stuck. It never left. In the later years of the decade, the two studios behind the characters tried to work something out, but could not. Paramount owned Friday the 13th and New Line owned A Nightmare on Elm Street and each wanted to make more money on the movie than the other. It looked like the monster mash-up would be an impossibility until New Line bought the rights to the Friday the 13th series in 1990.
The two monsters finally lived under the same roof. In perhaps the first Avengers-style teaser, Freddy’s glove bursts up through the earth at the end of Jason Goes to Hell and promises that the fight fans have been waiting for is on its way. Yet it was still ten years before Freddy vs. Jason would finally hit theaters. During that time, the movie came close to happening on an almost yearly basis. Dozens of writers were hired to write and rewrite dozens of drafts. A lot of great ideas were born during that time, as well as a lot of weird ones. Here are some of the weirdest things from the various versions of Freddy vs. Jason that were almost made over the years.
Echoing the ending of Jason Goes to Hell, the earliest drafts of the Shannon and Swift script–which would eventually become the final film–saw a very different ending. Here, Freddy and Jason keep fighting and tearing at each other and the world goes dark around them. They slowly realize that they have woken up in Hell, pause to notice, and then prepare to keep fighting. Then, chains shoot out of the darkness and separate them. Pinhead from the Hellraiser franchise appears and asks, “Gentlemen, what seems to be the problem?” Which is an ending that would have had horror fans screaming, but couldn’t happen for a variety of reasons, not the least of them being that New Line did not own the rights to the Hellraiser series.
Most of the Freddy vs. Jason drafts were dead-set on a pretty unfortunate story and head-scratching ways to bring the two monsters together. In one such instance, a girl is tormented by a Freddy-worshipping cult. While Freddy makes a few dream cameos in this version of the script, he is not a major part of the movie until the third act. Jason has it much worse. Here, Jason Voorhees is barely mentioned and never seen through the majority of the film. The lead character’s boyfriend is named Jason and that was apparently thought to be enough to satisfy most fans through the majority of the film. When Jason the boyfriend is killed later on, his heart is thrown into Crystal Lake where it resurrects Jason Voorhees, who then proceeds to battle Freddy.
In the only draft titled Jason vs. Freddy, to switch things around, Jason is a human character that the movies are actually based on. Mind you, at the time that most of these scripts were being written, New Nightmare was the most recent movie in either franchise. So this one was written to try and adhere to that film’s real-world approach. Freddy is still a character existing outside the Elm Street franchise and Jason has been reimagined as a serial killer who formed the basis for the boogeyman portrayed on screen. It’s weird to think of seeing him on trial for the insane number of murders he’s committed over the years, stranger even to imagine that the heroine of the film is Jason’s defense attorney. This version turns Jason into more of a tragic hero, making him seem less responsible for the things he has done. He even lets the heroes get away to safety before his climactic showdown with Freddy.
In some of the drafts over multiple versions of the concept, a backstory was applied to make the fight between Freddy and Jason mean more. In it, Freddy Krueger was revealed to be the counselor that allowed Jason Voorhees to drown. Not only that, but he is revealed to have molested Jason as a boy and that is why Jason kills. He projects Freddy’s face onto every victim, Freddy is the root of his troubles and killing Freddy will finally help him to put his past behind him. This was much more of a Lifetime movie, and I can only imagine how audiences would have reacted to this extremely confusing surprise when they flocked to see the feature in theaters.
In a film called Freddy vs. Jason the fight between the two icons had better be memorable when it finally happens. But some of the earliest drafts went a little too far in this department. In the Lewis Abernathy draft unfortunately titled Nightmare 13: Freddy Meets Jason, Jason and Freddy fall into a boxing ring in hell and an army of zombies gather to watch them as they fight. Their ring announcer is none other than Ted Bundy. This was the most head-scratching version of this movie to come dangerously close to getting made and remains extremely uncomfortable to think about.