Starting Work On A Friday
Gorezone Issue #26 (Spring 1993)
by Marc Shapiro
Excerpts of interview with Jason Goes To Hell director, Adam Marcus, pp. 8-9, 61
Friday the 13th changed Adam Marcus' life forever - before he was even a teenager. But the movie had a much more positive impact than inspiring him to slice up his sister or turning him off the idea of summer camp for good.
"When I was 11 years old, I worked on the original Friday the 13th," Marcus relates. "I ran coffee for Sean Cunningham. That experience is what got me excited about making movies, and led to my being involved with this."
This year, the 25-year-old Marcus is bringing his Friday experience full circle. In his debut directing assigment, he's repaying Jason for pointing him towards a movie career by putting an end to the masked one's eight-film-long murder spree.
"That's right, folks!" proclaims Marcus as he darts around the outdoor location of Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday. "We're finishing Jason off - and we're giving him a much better ending than Freddy ever had!"
It's dark and cold on the wooded, secluded Jason Goes To Hell set, but Marcus' enthusiasm is unbridled. His summer-camp style of humour, alternately poking fun at and hyping Jason's latest - and allegedly final - outing, has the veteran crew in stitches more often than not.
"The disadvantage of doing this movie is having to field questions like, 'What part is this?' or, 'Gee, didn't he die a couple of movies ago?'" chuckles the director in between takes. "And I have to say, 'Well, he dies in every movie.' But the advantage is that this film will be seen in theatres, while Amityville 5 will go straight to video. For some strange reason, people have been loyal to the Friday the 13th films and insist upon seeing them in theatres."
But Marcus has been more than a kid with a blood-red toy train. His professional approach has scored major points during production with cast and crew alike. "Adam has been real serious about this being an actors' movie," says lead actor John D. LeMay. "He's got certain things that he wants, but he's been willing to let us try different approaches and make suggestions. He's made us a real part of this film, rather than just human props."
"He's been real diligent in making sure we don't fall into any trap," adds Kane Hodder, Jason's alter ego. "He'll tell me what he wants Jason to do, and then come to me and ask what we have to do make a Jason bit believable. He doesn't have an ego about this thing. He wants everybody's input so that he can make the best possible picture."
...The film, set for release April 2 from New Line, stars LeMay (of TV's Friday the 13th: The Series.) Kari Keegan, Allison Smith, Steven Culp, Erin Gray and Steven Williams, with Hodder back for his third turn as Jason. The KNB team supply the FX, and composer Harry Manfredini returns to create the score after a one-film sabbatical from the Friday films ... "This movie works from the premise that there really was a Jason," hints the director of a storyline that will be outlined in greater detail in FANGORIA #121. "Jason has supernatural elements surrounding him that have never been explained in previous movies. In this film, he's painted as Satan's assassin who keeps coming back to life for the sole purpose of killing."
Marcus recalls that the evolution of the Jason Goes To Hell script included the creation of another villain to oppose Jason: this idea was ultimately discarded. Most importantly, Marcus aimed to create a multifaceted killer with "some human elements" but "no crying or any of that sensitive sh-- ...Marcus' insistence that this Friday "be a different kind of film" only increased when Cunningham decided to hand him the directorial reins. "With few exceptions, I always felt cheated when I watched a Friday film," Marcus explains. "The movies have been real negative, pandering toward teens and exploitative of women ... so the bottom line was that you always had a cut-and-dried slasher movie with a group of stupid kids whom the audience felt deserved to be slaughtered."
Consequently, in Marcus' hands, the emphasis was placed on intelligence when the film began its ambitions - by Friday film standards - two-month casting period. "We saw everybody," he reports. "We weren't just looking for the typical Friday the 13th types with a good body, a pretty face and nothing else. Because I'm theatre-trained and my background is in acting, I went after people who could play the parts intelligently. The body and the face were secondary.
"We weren't looking for physical types, and we weren't necessarily locked into anything by gender," he contnues. "We had a role that was written for a man, but when a woman came in and did a better job, we cast her. The goal of this film was to find good actors, rather than a bunch of good-looking kids who couldn't act."
The reasoning behind this decision became clear when the final draft of the Jason Goes To Hell script made its way into the performers' hands. What they found was a script unusually heavy on convincing characters ... "we wanted to create a series of mature intelligent people who are minding their business, leading normal lives, and suddenly find themselves caught up in the horror that is Jason.
... "It's been scary," he [Marcus] admits. "I'm the new kid working with all these pros. This is a big Friday picture, and orchestrating something this size has just been unbelievable. Everybody's been understanding and helpful - and because of that, we seem to be pulling it off."