One of the biggest strengths of the earliest installments in the Friday the 13th series was its unpredictability, featuring a variety of killers and justifications for how Jason Voorhees appeared to be an unstoppable killing machine. Later entries in the saga sadly featured a repetitive story structure that destroyed many of Jason's best qualities, but the director of the ninth film, Jason Goes to Hell, recently revealed the subtle way he cemented the killer into the canon of the Evil Dead series.
After the fifth Friday the 13th film and its attempt to shift the story away from Jason, the killer was resurrected with a lightning bolt to the torso, essentially turning him into the living undead. No matter what injuries the monster incurred, they merely slowed him down, rendering the possibility of destroying the character nonexistent.
While the Evil Dead films are often lumped into the zombie subgenre of films, the creatures that terrorize Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) are possessed by evil, as opposed to the dead come back to life.
When speaking to Horror Geek Life, Jason Goes to Hell director Adam Marcus detailed how he collaborated with Evil Dead creator to confirm that Voorhees was officially a "Deadite."
In the original Friday the 13th, Jason's mother is responsible for killing teenagers who return to camp where her son died due to neglect from counselors. A hockey mask-wearing killer is the most iconic image from the franchise, but those unfamiliar with the film often overlook this key element of the original movie.
“She [Pamela Voorhees] makes a deal with the devil by reading from the Necronomicon to bring back her son. This is why Jason isn’t Jason," Marcus confirmed. "He’s Jason plus The Evil Dead, and now I can believe that he can go from a little boy that lives in a lake, to a full grown man in a couple of months, to Zombie Jason, to never being able to kill this guy. That, to me, is way more interesting as a mashup, and [Sam] Raimi loved it!”
The Necronomicon plays a key role in The Evil Dead, as it was after accidentally reading a passage from it that caused an evil force to descend upon Ash and inhabit the body of his friends. Clearly Pamela Voorhees didn't care about the repercussions of this deal, as she stopped at nothing to bring her boy back.
Recent years have seen the growth of the concept of shared cinematic universes, whether it be comic book films or Universal's Dark Universe, but back in the '90s, that concept was easier said than done.
"It’s not like I could tell New Line [Cinema] my plan to include The Evil Dead, because they don’t own The Evil Dead," Marcus admitted. "So it had to be an Easter egg, and I did focus on it…there’s a whole scene that includes the book, and I hoped people would get it and could figure out that’s what I’m up to. So yes, in my opinion, Jason Voorhees is a Deadite. He’s one of The Evil Dead."
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday was poised to be the final chapter in the saga, using the finale sequence to pay homage to a variety of other horror properties. In addition to the Necronomicon, there is a crate which reads "Arctic Expedition Julia Carpenter Horlicks University," which is a reference to George Romero's Creepshow.
At another point in the film, the "Myers' House" is referenced in a piece of dialogue, presumably a reference to Halloween's Michael Myers.
New Line Cinema's lack of ownership over The Evil Dead prevented an officially licensed crossover, but Jason Goes to Hell's biggest reference to another horror series came in the film's final moments.
After Jason was defeated, his hockey mask laid upon the dirt, only for Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street's hand to burst through to grasp the mask and seemingly pull it down to Hell. Since New Line owned the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, this was a much more blatant reference that teased a confrontation between the two icons.
The next Friday the 13th film, Jason X, jumped hundreds of years into the future instead of continuing this narrative. Luckily, 2003 saw the release of Freddy vs. Jason, finally fulfilling the brawl that was teased in Jason Goes to Hell's final moments.
The pesky problem of multiple studios might prohibit a legal connection between these franchises, but Marcus claims, "It absolutely is canon."
Considering the absurd places that the Friday the 13th franchise has veered into, this explanation makes much more sense than many other theories explaining Jason's characteristics.
[H/T Horror Geek Life]