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NYC Horror Film Fest Q&A: Director/Producer Sean S. Cunningham talks “FRIDAY THE 13TH” Series

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If you thought Sean S. Cunningham’s sit down with FANGORIA was over, well, much like the FRIDAY THE 13TH series, it’s not.  And speaking of that franchise, after Cunningham was finished talking about the HOUSE reboot, he followed up with some exclusive news on the future of the FRIDAY THE 13TH series. For fans wondering about the newest incarnation of Jason for the Millennials, well it’s all covered right here, including the new FRIDAY THE 13TH game, television series, and film.

FANGORIA: So let’s talk so let’s talk about the new FRIDAY THE 13TH video game and what it was like to construct it and raise the money for it; I think that’s amazing.

SEAN S. CUNNINGHAM: Alright, so the video game was made by Gun and they’re video game makers in the first place. They’re young and ambitious; they’re not Nintendo but they’re quite excited about doing it. We were trying to create a video game in which Jason could interact in a modern way and ways that it would kind of make sense, and sense is a weird word but we have a way you can play it.  Steve Harris was the driving force for us got together with Gun, and Gun was working on their own completely different game but had the same sort of player mentality. So, they took what they have and put it together with Friday and with Jason and then all of a sudden it is, “Oh, this could really work.”

So, we made the deal with them and they’re good to go with or without Kickstarter but then the idea of Kickstarter came along and said, “Well, let’s give it a shot.” The idea was that if we’re successful, we’ll have some more money to put in development and the core of the game will be the same, but it will have a much better paint job; Lots of chrome.

FANGORIA: So can you compare the video game to one entry in the Friday the 13th series?

CUNNINGHAM: Probably the 14th chapter, because I think, by then, the films will have caught up.

FANGORIA: I’m very excited to hear that Jason may be slashing through the CW in the near future. Could you tell us why you chose the CW for the new FRIDAY THE 13TH series instead of Netflix or HBO?

CUNNINGHAM: We went with CW because they are probably the most successful genre distributor in the world because they’re not only strong in this country but around the world with their other titles, in particular, ARROW and THE FLASH. They know that market and they know the audience. They’re very smart and very psyched about doing the project.

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FANGORIA: And what audience are you trying to reach now?

CUNNINGHAM: The intellectually disadvantaged.

FANGORIA: I love that!

CUNNINGHAM: Yes, they’re beautiful.  You just have to get past them; you can’t judge a book by its cover. 

FANGORIA: Could you talk a little bit about the experience about creating the hockey mask?

CUNNINGHAM: The hockey mask really wasn’t my idea, I’d like to take credit for it but I can’t really. Steve Miner was the director and he had done a lot of work with the NHL where he was an editor for the gross amounts of footage that used to generate. He had Jason in a burlap sack and you just can’t do that, so he just said, “Let’s just try the hockey mask.” We said, “All right, what the fuck!” and somehow or another, it just caught on and stayed. Now probably every Jason has a slightly different mask and everybody puts a slightly different thumbprint on it. But that’s how it happened: it was really Steve being very unhappy with the burlap sack.

FANGORIA: There have been rumors going around that the new FRIDAY THE 13TH film will take place during the winter as well as other ideas, can you comment on that?

CUNNINGHAM: They’ve been talking about that, but that’s not going to happen. I think what’s different for sure is Paramount was hung up on trying to do the found footage, which most fans, including me, just thought it wasn’t right. They weren’t saying yes to anything that didn’t work but they couldn’t find anything that would work. So finally, last February they gave up on it and decided to go in a completely different way and now they’re in the process of once again finding a better way to make it.

They need to break out of the core audience and add to that audience to get crossover traffic.  I think the trick will be in taking Jason as he is and finding a way to involve him in slightly more complicated but purely primal stories, and that sounds kind of important but how do you do that? But I think if you can add that to what we already got then I think it really can sing.

FANGORIA: Where do you see Jason going let’s say 5 years from now?

CUNNINGHAM: Nassau. [laughs]

Even if Jason packs his bags and begins to terrorize vacationers in the Bahamas, there’s no doubt that the fans of the 35 year old franchise will follow.  It seems that Cunningham has a lot of work ahead of him and FANGORIA will be there to keep you up to date every step of the way.  

About the author
Adam Lee Price
Adam Lee Price has an intense love of horror films and has since being a child. This love of horror has led him to focus on a career in writing films for the next generation of genre fans. Adam has recently completed writing his first feature length horror screenplay entitled THE MASQUERADE. Now, he looks forward to the next chapter of his life working alongside great writers in the horror industry and at FANGORIA Magazine.
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