Deadly Movies Investigates, Case #4 | Pinhead in ‘Freddy vs Jason’ (2003)
‘Freddy vs Jason’ has its flaws, lord knows it does. But regular Deadly Movies readers will know that I adore the film (read why here). Not only do I think it’s one of the greatest all time guilty pleasures (see the Top 10 here), but it’s also the best horror crossover that genre fans have ever been treated to. But genre fans, if you thought Freddy vs Jason came up short on the OMFG meter, then just wait and see what could have been. The rumour goes something like this: “Did you know they seriously considered adding Pinhead to the finale of Freddy vs Jason?“. This urban legend is just too juicy for Deadly Movies to ignore, so with dear stalker firmly on head, lets investigate when Pinhead almost met Jason and Freddy.
This much we know is true, Freddy vs Jason spent decades in development hell, with New Line approaching Paramount from as early as the late 80s with the idea of a franchise crossover. Neither studio could agree on who would get the licence rights to exploit their other’s marquee horror villain for profit. The real development of the movie began in earnest in 1994, following the release of 1994’s ‘Jason Goes to Hell’. Two really big factors were at play here; firstly (and most importantly) New Line had acquired the rights to make new Friday the 13th movies and the character Jason Voorhees. Secondly, Sean S Cunningham (director and writer of Friday the 13th) was back on board the Friday franchise and eager to make a Freddy vs Jason. “I didn’t come back to do Jason Goes to Hell”, said Cunningham, “I came back to do Freddy vs Jason”. The problem was that Freddy was busy with Wes Craven’s ‘New Nightmare’ (1994), so Cunningham got to work finding a script and director for a new Jason instalment to to keep the big guy in public view. That film would be ‘Jason Goes to Hell’. Over the next decade Freddy vs Jason went through true development hell, with a script by Damien Shannon and Mark Swift (revised by an uncredited David Goyer) green lit in the early 2000’s.
Swift and Shannon had planned various endings the movie, some more complex and expensive than others. “We put our most amount of work into the ending” said swift. There were various endings written whereby a final showdown between Freddy and Jason would take place in Hell. One such ending featured a gladiatorial type pit with the two icons battling it out in front of a Caesar-esque Satan. There were conceptual drawings made of this scene which were published in the book ‘Crystal Lake Memories’. In the drawings, by Dave Damron, you can see the blood and corpse soaked fight pit, and even just make out the horns and eyes of Satan.
Of course locating your ending in hell opens up another big horror franchise possibility.., Hellraiser. Swift goes on to confirm that there was a draft of the ending that included Hellraiser’s Pinhead character, presumably to be played by Doug Bradley. “Our original idea was to bring in Pinhead from the Hellraiser franchise, but New Line didn’t own that property“. The suggestion is that Pinhead’s famous chains would have torn the warring Freddy and Jason apart, giving him the closing line of “Now, what seems to be the problem?“. Ending the movie with a three-way stand-off that presumably would have been a launching point for a ‘Freddy vs Jason vs Pinead’ movie. An unlikely event even if they had secured the rights to the Pinhead character. Sadly all of the Hell based endings were thrown out due to budgetary restrictions. But for a fleeting moment, if only for a few weeks, there was a movement to bring Pinhead, Freddy, and Jason together for one glorious horror moment. Sadly however it would seem that this never really went any further than the drawing board.