‘Friday the 13th’ Reboot Will Show You a New Jason Voorhees Origin Story, Kind Of
By now, Jason Voorhees’ origin story has become as redundant and exhausting as the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. He was a kid with a physical abnormality who drowned because some careless teenage camp counselors were too busy gettin’ busy and smoking pot. We get it. But apparently we don’t get it enough because that long-developing Friday the 13th reboot is going to rehash Jason’s origins yet again — this time revealing even more needless information about the slasher boogeyman’s family history.
Here’s the thing about guys like Michael Myers and Leatherface and Jason Voorhees: They’re scarier when you don’t know anything about them. Sure, their earlier films suggested background stories, but those felt like the sort of boogeyman tales recounted around a campfire to explain away their existence. Urban legends, basically.
Each Halloween and Friday the 13th sequel increasingly humanizes Myers and Voorhees by exploring their origins and building on their mythology — as if they’re merely misunderstood protagonists. But the more we learn about them, the less scary they become, until they’re satirizing themselves in a sequel set in space. And yet the people who make these movies have an almost willful misunderstanding of what makes these guys scary.
Take Brad Fuller, for instance. The Platinum Dunes producer spoke with The Reel World about the current iteration of the Friday the 13th reboot, written by Prisoners scribe Aaron Guzikowski. According to Fuller, we’re going to learn a whole lot more about Jason Voorhees:
Aaron’s story has great characters…You kind of have to understand Jason Voorhees, so we go back and we kind of started over and work our way forward. […] Origin-ish, but it’s an origin that no one has seen before. Obviously Pamela’s [Jason’s mother] there, but it’s a little bit different from what you’ve seen before.
“A little bit different,” he says. Maybe we’ll get to meet Jason’s dad!
But seriously, the last thing we need is to learn even more about Jason Voorhees and his family life. A fictional slasher or boogeyman or ghost is far more menacing when it has no discernible motives — what’s scarier: a killer that’s coming after you because he had a tragic childhood, or one that’s targeted you for no reason? The latter, of course; the former just gives the film’s protagonists (and us) a way to empathize and the potential to psychoanalyze their way out of getting slashed.
And sure, okay, “even the worst monsters are human” is a good life lesson, and sure, horror films are cathartic, but there’s nothing scary about a guy in a hockey mask with a machete who just needs a hug.