After years in development hell, New Line Cinema’s Freddy vs. Jason finally hit theaters on August 13, 2003. It was a monster success for New Line, whose identity was built around Robert Englund‘s Freddy Krueger and the A Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. The film ended with a wink to fans, lending credence that this was only the beginning for the two slasher icons. In fact, internally they had immediately begun discussing how to up the ante on a sequel. While there were multiple rumors of potential villainous crossovers – including Halloween‘s Michael Myers and Hellraiser‘s Pinhead – the only one that was legitimately in contention was to bring The Evil Dead‘s Ashley J. Williams into the horrorverse. With the support of New Line’s senior executives – including President and COO Toby Emmerich – Creative Executive Jeff Katz and Sr. VP Stokely Chaffin fought tooth and nail to pit Bruce Campbell‘s Ash against both Freddy and Friday the 13th‘s Jason Voorhees (played by Ken Kirzinger at the time). A treatment circulated internally (one that Bloody Disgusting leaked exclusively back in 2004) but ultimately the huge success of Sam Raimi’s The Grudge reboot in 2004 turned Ghost House’s focus to remaking The Evil Dead (which eventually happened in 2013 with Fede Alvarez at the helm) instead.
Katz reached out to Bloody Disgusting this weekend with a discovery that is going to blow horror fans’ minds. While packing up a few items he came across an old internal memo that he and Chaffin sent to Emmerich on October 30, 2003. The title of said memo: “ROUND TWO: FREDDY VS. JASON – ‘Why Ash Works‘”.
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