Film News

An Expendables-Like Horror Film Featuring Some of the Genre’s Greatest Final Girls Is In Development

Jason Vorhees has killed over 160 people on screen, not counting the first or fifth Friday the 13th films since he’s not actually the villain in those.  However, he left behind 10 final girls (11 if you count the girl from Part V even though she fought a Jason impersonator), each of whom failed to ever re-appear in any of the sequels.  This fact was not lost on the makers of the Camp Crystal Lake documentary as in one section actresses like Amy Steel (Ginny from Part 2) and Jensen Daggett (Rennie from Jason Takes Manhattan) joke about the prospect of a new Friday the 13th movie in which all the surviving final girls band together to destroy Jason once and for all (or at least until they see how much they make at the box office).

Well, somebody out there was listening.  Kind of.  William Butler, who actually played one of Jason’s victims in Part 7: The New Blood, has announced that he is attempting to put together an Expendables-like movie but instead of 80s action stars it will star final girls from the horror genre.  The official press release, from Icons of Fright, reads as follows:

Butler and writer Patrick J. Doody (Beneath) are currently penning the story for “THE SURVIVORS” a horror-action feature-film about a multi-generational group of strong female survivors who decide to get revenge as they ban to together and turn the tables on legendary murderer who, during their youth pursued them all. After the killer resurfaces, the women make a pack to track him down and end his twenty-five year killing spree.  Starring in the project so far are an impressive cast of fan favorites including: Adrienne King (FRIDAY THE 13TH) Heather Langenkamp (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET) Jordan Ladd (CABIN FEVER) Amanda Wyss (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET) Deborah Foreman (WAXWORK, APRIL FOOLS DAY) and Patricia Tallman (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD ’90). Butler is also meeting with with Amy Steel (FRIDAY THE 13th 2), P.J. Soles (HALLOWEEN), Kelli Maroney (NIGHT OF THE COMET), Tuesday Knight (NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST 4) and Lisa Wilcox (NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST 4/5), Beverly Randolph (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) in hopes they will also join the dream team.

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Some of the Final Girls mentioned in the press release

Um, that’s nice and all, but how likely is it that this gets made?  Plus, what’s with kind of pressuring those actresses who’ve yet to commit by mentioning them by name in this press release?  Well, Butler is at least far more than just some random actor killed off in an old Friday the 13th sequel.  In fact, I honestly had no idea who he was in New Blood, and now that I found a picture of his death scene I still don’t remember him:

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Jason killing off Michael (William Butler) in New Blood

The guy getting stabbed in the back with a tent spike in that picture has been making his living as of late writing and directing for Disney Channel shows like Get Connected (’08-‘11) and Game On (‘12-‘13).  However, he’s also kept busy working in low-budget horror, writing and directing Madhouse (2004) as well as writing a bunch of Night of the Living Dead films at the start of the century.  The mere fact that some of his stuff has been produced is at least some kind of sign that he could maybe get The Survivors produced as well.

Just like The Expendables, this project has an instant hook, the type of thing you’d think would be easy to sell.  Plus, considering how much the slasher franchise subsisted on a consistent re-supply of young, nubile flesh giving us a collection of older-but-somewhat-familiar-looking actresses in a genre pic could be interesting.  Then again, all of those movies from which these actresses are being culled were sold on the appeal of the killer, not the survivors.  There was far more interest in seeing Jason fight Freddy than seeing their most notable survivors (probably Nancy-Heather Langenkamp for Freddy, Tommy Jarvis for Jason) band together.  Plus, with Expendables 3 tanking so hard right now has the 80s nostalgia team-up already lost its charm?  Heck, not even the Expendables people have been able to get their female-centric spin-off Expendabelles off the ground, and that was before Expendables 3 came along and did so poorly.

If The Survivors ends up happening it will be the third project in the past 2 years to toy around with revisiting the notion of the Final Girl from the slasher films of yesterday.

First, there was The Final Girls, “a drama revolving around a group of girls who have, in essence, survived their own personal horror stories and are brought together by a mysterious older woman (to be played by Halloween’s Jamie Lee Curtis) to channel the stress and scars of their experience for some greater good.”  This show was set up at ABC Family, and Friday the 13th 2-3, Halloween H2o director Steve Miner was attached to produce and direct.  There seems to have been zero updates since the project was first announced in Sept. 2013.

Final Girls
Thomas Middleditch, Adam DeVine, Nina Dobrev & director Todd Strauss-Schulson on the set of The Final Girls

Then, there was the identically titled The Final Girls, described as horror comedy that plays like “Pleasantville in a trashy horror movie from the ’80s with a little Back To The Future thrown in and a spoon full of Terms Of Endearment with a dash of Scream and two dollops of Purple Rose Of Cairo for good measure.”  Based upon a feature film script which had been floating around Hollywood since 2008, the project was picked up by Sony earlier this year, and centers “on a girl (Taissa Farmiga) and her group of friends as they are mysteriously transported into the world of a classic 1980s horror movie, which starred the girl’s recently deceased actress mother (Malin Akerman).”  Vampire Diaries‘ Nina Dobrev, Silicon Valley‘s Thomas Middleditch, and Pitch Perfect‘s Adam Devine are also on board.  Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson (A Very Harold & Kuma Christmas), the film wrapped production at the end of May.

Now, there’s The Survivors.  It’s a cool idea.  Now, let’s see if they actually get to do anything with it.

What do you think?  Which horror film final girl would you want to add?  What about Hellraiser‘s Ashley Laurence?  Or what about, in an alternate universe in which this would actually be possible, Neve Campbell from Scream?  Take to the comments with your thoughts.

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