Send in the Slashers:

Why the Assembly of Cinema’s Greatest Horror Icons Can Be a Successful Movie Franchise

There is nothing like a great crossover story, a time when creators bring icons together in a vicious battle to see which one emerges victorious. Recently, however, the concept has become more popularized, with the introduction of Marvel’s famed Cinematic Universe, the interest of uniting big characters can increase the interest in not only characters but the worlds in which they belong. However, before one can do this one must consider the plausibility of merging of universes one must first ask if the formula applies only to characters that have originated in comic books or can it be applied to characters whose roots are found in cinema, specifically to the great horror icons like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and others alike? If the answer is yes, then another question immediately arises in regards to the slasher brotherhood, and that is can these beacons of terror exist in a world much like those seen in the pages of comics, and can it, using the same creative methods that were applied to other franchises, potentially create a new universe with as much potential and profit as those already in existence?

In other words, is another game changing crossover approaching?

In 2003 Hollywood delivered on such an idea, with Jason Voorhees pitting against Freddy Krueger in an epic blood bath that rattled the senses and shook audiences to their core. Produced on thirty million dollar budget and earning over one hundred million the film proved to be as profitable as any other, but then what halted the continuation of such another entry in the film series? Well, the answer to that question was convoluted, for many problems arose in terms of character rights and the potential for more stories, but any real fanboy who labels himself as an admirer of the deadly twosome will vouch for the film’s legitimacy as well as it success. After all it did put the two greatest horror icons together and did deliver blood, gore, and mayhem while all the while staying true to both characters’ legacies.

Nevertheless, in 2007 a comic book series was commissioned by Wildstorm and DC and continued where the first film left off and also introduced yet another icon into the darkly world introduced in the predecessor. Ash Williams of the Evil Dead entered the world of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees and was used to build the supernatural elements included in the narrative, and while this was a stunning move in terms of thrill and potential, what the move really did was validate the notion that adding other horror icons could be successful and thus posed another prolific question regarding the franchise: could other characters exist in this world as well, and could this mergence lead to the creation of an entirely new world?

To better understand this idea it is crucial to examine the qualities that make these characters alike and what makes them different. To begin the most obvious is their common lust for murder, as Freddy, Jason, Michael, and Leatherface each possess a fetish for butchering teens that always find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet this is what makes them familiar, not what makes them similar. Truthfully the most notable aspect of their familiarity is the intricate supernatural elements found in each of their mythologies. Jason Voorhees is essentially an immortal killing machine, Freddy Krueger is a dream demon, and Michael Myers, though represented as the perfect serial killer, is protected by an ancient curse that grants him a keen element of survival. Leatherface, however, is not built within this context but there are other characters that are. Take for instance Clive Barker’s Cenobites led by the notorious Pinhead and the wonderfully cheesy Chucky featured in the Child’s Play series, and if were to delve much deeper into the world of horror one would find many interesting avenues that could connect to Phantasm, Wishmaster, and Pumpkinhead. And, of one were to continue along this common thread, one would see that the uniting of these icons is no more implausible than the merging of Superman and Batman, Iron Man and Captain America, or Freddy and Jason. All of these characters could be modified to suit a single story line that is presented in a formula much like Marvel is using with their prized Infinity Stones and much like what Universal will eventually be doing when they bring all of Universal’s classic monsters in a single movie franchise. And if someone can make a world whereby Dracula exists alongside The Wolfman than there is no reason why a world cannot be created where Jason meets Michael Myers or a world where Pinhead encounters The Wishmaster. All of this can be accomplished if, and only if, reputable talent decides to take risks and ensure the conceptualization of this world and to build it with the same integrity as all other crossovers.

They must believe in it as much as the fans do.

Now, although the potential for a slasher universe is exploding with potential, there is still much progress that needs to be made. Much of the characters are still owned by other film studios and there are producers who may not share the same passion as illustrated here. However, such an obstacle is no greater a feat than that which was encountered when Marvel Studios acquired the rights to include Spider-Man in their cinematic world or how implausible it might have seemed ten years ago when people were praying for an Avengers movie. There will always be challenges for creating great works of art, but if history has told us anything it is that when there is potential to thrive, someone somewhere will find a way to do make it happen and hopefully, when such a time comes, there will be someone who appreciates the world of horror, and seeks to build a universe whereby great horror icons can come together in terrifying tales that can excite and scare audiences everywhere.

It might very well be the only nightmare people will look forward to experiencing.

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Jarrett Mazza is a writer and teacher living in Canada. He attended Wilfrid Laurier University and received an Honours Bachelor’s Degree in English and Contemporary Studies as well as a Bachelor of Education from the prestigious Schulich School of Education. He is now in the process of earning an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in Vermont. He has been fascinated by superheroes and stories for as long as he can remember and studied comic book writing and sequential storytelling from industry professionals Ty Templeton and Andy Schmidt. When he is not self-publishing his own comic books, he is working on his thesis novel, submitting short stories to publishers, obsessing about geek fandom, and looking for new things to read and write.

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