Saturday, April 4, 2009

[Cryptopopology] Unused Freddy Vs. Jason Script #1

Nightmare 13: Freddy Meets Jason
Written by Lewis Abarnathy
Unseen Cinema Script Review

This early (1993) draft of what would eventually become Freddy Vs. Jason was then known as the ridiculously titled Nightmare 13: Freddy Meets Jason and was scripted by Lewis Abarnathy. Had this been the version that found its way into production, it would have been a very different movie indeed.

Meagan is the hero here, a teenage girl who comes from a troubled family. Her younger sister Lizzie is 13 years old and slow for her age, so she attends a special school where the other students pick on her. Meagan's boyfriend is a sensitive type named Jesse, and her best friend is a weirdo named Stormie. All four of them, of course, live in the small town of Springwood.

According to the network news, police have been involved in a 13 day standoff with a violent cult of young runaways who inject themselves with a hallucinogenic drug called Dream Dope in order to worship their "god": Freddy Krueger. The members of the cult dress like their idol as well, in a brown fedora with a green and red striped sweater, and even burn their entire bodies. In order to keep in constant contact with Freddy, who is still operating in the dream plane, they wear red glasses with flashing diodes attached to the lenses which are, according to the script, "a sustained ocular input that causes your brain to resonate at approximately the same frequency at which the dream state is most likely to occur."

When the SWAT team storms the doors of the makeshift compound, a ridiculous over-the-top action scene occurs, involving night vision goggles, booby traps, a piranha tank, Molotov cocktails and secret passages. The place goes up in flames and most of the cultists escape in the chaos.

Their ultimate plan is for Freddy to be reborn. In order to do so, he must enter the real world and join a virgin in unholy matrimony on sacred ground. The members of the cult would then impregnate her and Freddy would enter the fetus through its dreams, and 9 months later...Baby Freddy.

Young Lizzie is the perfect target. Walking home from school she's nabbed by the cultists and taken to their hideout where she's drugged and given a guided tour of Hell, only to be French kissed by a demon.

When they learn what has happened, Meagan, Stormie and Jesse locate Elwin, a former-cult member who is locked up at the Springwood Mental Hospital. He promises to help them get Lizzie back if they're willing to help him kill Freddy. It's in agreeance, and so they bust Elwin out. They know that they can't defeat Freddy themselves because he knows what scares them. What they need is someone without fear, the ultimate killer. What they need is Jason Voorhees.

Elwin somehow knows exactly how to reanimate Jason, and so they dig up his rotting remains from the Crystal Lake Cemetery, stitch him back together using fishing line, baling wire and dental floss (the script says that Jason looks "nineties...and butch.") and use a downed power line to shock him back to life.

Initially, Jason charges after the kids and attempts to kill them using a chainsaw of all things. But at the moment of truth, Meagan decides to reason with him and, remarkably, it works. She claims that he owes them for bringing him back to life, and that if he helps them defeat Freddy then they will help him find the person responsible for his drowning death in the first place, all those many years ago. Jason, about to shake on it (seriously!), is interrupted by the arrival of the SWAT team once again and firebombed with napalm! This, of course, doesn't kill him, although everyone thinks it does.

The kids are arrested for grave digging, and the rest are taken to jail while Elwin is sent back to the mental hospital via ambulance. On the way to the hospital, the ambulance is high jacked by Jason and he pantomimes Lassie-like to Elwin that he wants to go to Meagan. So they drive away in the stolen ambulance with Jason at the wheel. He even buckles up!

Meanwhile, the Freddy cult has taken over WGOD, the local religious programming station and forces a televangelist at gunpoint to perform the wedding ceremony. From her jail cell, Meagan sees this on TV and, after being nearly raped by a character known as "Head Bitch" of the "Prison Bitches" "who eye Meagan like the desert bar at Denny's" in the shower, causes a riot and manages to escape.

Everyone arrives at the station as the ceremony is almost complete, and Freddy leaps through a Dreamgate into safety. Elwin injects Jason with the Dream Dope and he plummets into sleep, landing in the Nightmare Arena for the most bizarre scene imaginable.

Freddy and Jason are in an enormous boxing ring. The ropes are made of entrails and the posts are topped with human heads. The audience is made up of zombies, monsters and demons, and the ring announcer is none other than serial killer Ted Bundy (who is promptly shot in the head by presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.) Mussolini is sitting ringside, as is Adolph Hitler who can't help but make a snide comment to Ava Braun beside him. When Freddy eats a can of spinach and grows Popeye muscles, he beats Jason into submission.

But then Jason has a flashback, to that fateful day in 1953 when he was drowned in the lake. Struggling to see who it was forcing him underwater, he can barely make out the face, can barely read the name tag: "Hello, my name is Freddy!"

That's right. Freddy Krueger, a 13 year old kid at Camp Crystal Lake drowned Jason Voorhees and started it all. Finding an inner strength, Jason seizes Freddy and wakes himself up, dragging them both into the real world. Jason stomps on Freddy's head and squashes it like a tomato, spilling the Dream Demons onto the floor. The Demons crawl into the television camera and beam themselves into outer space, heading for the satellite so they can transport themselves anywhere in the world. They miss, however, and ricochet into the sun, burning up once and for all.

The SWAT team bursts in and kills Jason, who has finally made his peace. Life goes back to normal at Meagan's house, just one big happy family. Until the phone rings.

"I'll be seeing you in your dreams!"

This script had its high points...but mostly it had its lows. It makes for good "What if..." reading, but I think we'd all be a bit disappointed if this was the final cut.

More likely than not, the Nightmare Arena scene would have caused quite a bit of controversy. And for good reason. When I go see a horror movie that obviously takes place in a fantasy world, I don't want to have special guest stars of real world villainy. Hitler and Ted Bundy at a boxing match, having a grand old time? No thanks.

But the most ridiculous scene, which was by far the low-point of the script, takes place in Freddy's nostril. That's right, nostril as in nose. After Stormie is inhaled by Freddy, she wanders around his nasal cavities and meets the Boogerman who talks, according to the script, "in the distorted voice of Harry Manfredini." Eventually, the Boogerman is picked and flicked and Stormie is sneezed out and splattered against the wall. Who the hell thought that up?

Although it would have been cool to see Jason Voorhees with a chainsaw, it wouldn't have been worth making a movie for. There was such an ungodly number of references to the number 13 (13 days into the standoff, 13 miles to Crystal Lake, 13 year old Lizzie, 13 year old Freddy, etc.) that after a while it seemed like a tired gag. The Freddy cult was a bit too reminiscent of a Halloween storyline that they used for one sequel and then promptly abandoned. It was good that Abernathy tried to tie in aspects from the previous movies (Jason's heart missing thanks to Jason Goes To Hell, the Dream Demons from Freddy's Dead), but in a team-up film of this magnitude you have to be careful to give both characters equal screen time, lest you upset one legion of fans and this script had a lot more to do with Freddy than Jason. You also have to be sure to remain true to the characters, and although Freddy was perhaps properly represented, I think Jason was given a bit too much humanity and intelligence here. Shaking hands? Reasoning? Driving? Charades? Give me a break!

Why don't you just have him donate blood to the Red Cross and nanny on the weekends while you're at it?


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