Soon after the release of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday in 1993, author William Pattison was hired to write a series of stand-alone novels that related to the Friday the 13th franchise. Under the pen name Eric Morse, Pattison’s four titles – Mother’s Day, Jason’s Curse, The Carnival and Road Trip – were published through Berkley Books in the twelve months that followed the movie’s release.
Eric Morse talks about his contributions to the Friday the 13th legacy.
How did you become involved with writing the Friday the 13th books and how did the adaptation of Mother’s Day come about?
Actually, the fans can thank a woman named Charisma Jones for that. Charisma worked with me at our local Kmart. I had actually been writing for a few years at that time, mostly for myself. One day at lunch Charisma came up to me and told me that her cousin worked for Berkley Books and that they had made an arrangement with New Line Cinema, who had bought the franchise from Paramount Pictures, to write a series of books related to their new film Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. She said that they were looking for a writer to write the books and she had suggested to her cousin that I would be the guy. So, after some very intense convincing from Charisma and my mother, I submitted a series of treatments. In the original treatments I brought Jason back in the first book, The Mask of Jason Voorhees, but the publisher grabbed onto the idea of having Jason’s mask possessing people and there being a new killer in each book. Therefore, I ended up dropping the first book and had to radically change the other treatments to adapt them to what the publisher wanted.
It would be another ten years before I would actually get to start writing The Mask of Jason Voorhees. It is now my final story that I’m writing as an independent online serial. In regard to the film adaptation of Mother’s Day, I came into the project a bit late in the game. Cory had been working on the project for three years before I got involved. I found out about the film when Cory posted a thread on the now deceased messageboard on Fridaythe13thFilms.com. I left him a message telling him that I was honored that he enjoyed my book so much that he would make a film out of it. He invited me to help him with some problems he was having with the scripting and I signed on as Executive Consultant. Later when Cory couldn’t find someone to do the voice of Mrs. Voorhees I offered my services as voice artist as well. If you’ve seen the film you can see that that worked out very well. My Mrs. Voorhees is actually a slightly adapted imitation of Mrs. Bates from Psycho. I actually listened to Betsy Palmer from the first F13 to help me adjust my Mrs. Bates for the film.
Why do you think Jason Voorhees became such a recognisable part of pop culture and what new aspects are there left to explore with his character?
I really can’t say for most horror fans, but I think it was the image of the killer in the hockey mask that brought the appeal. Before Part 3, F13 was a run of the mill slasher movie. I was actually surprised that they came out with a Part 2. For me, the initial appeal of Part 3 was that it was in 3-D. But then, of course, after that installment I was hooked. In regard to aspects left to be explored, I’ve been very vocal on this subject online. There are many things that are yet to be explored. For instance, in F13 Part VIII, Jason is destroyed and regenerates into a child again. What about that? There is a story there. How does he go back to being the adult Jason, though be it a bit bloated and looking more like The Toxic Avenger in Jason Goes to Hell? What about Jason’s original resurrection when he drowned as a boy? There is a story. What about the source of Jason’s ability to regenerate and return from the dead? Now there is a story…. There is a lot of material left to be explored. Unfortunately, it won’t be explored once New Line spits out that remake they are planning for 2009. What we will see is an end to the franchise, unless they do what Toho did with Godzilla and simply ignore the remake after it is made and just go on with the series. But, that would take guts and I really don’t see that with New Line.
What kind of Friday the 13th movie have you attempted to make; are you going for the humour of the later instalments or the darker aspects of the original or The Final Chapter?
In many ways F13: Mother’s Day is styled after the original four films. Mostly I can say that I got a lot of inspiration from the original F13. Though, Mother’s Day does share some of the more supernatural aspects of the later installments.
How gory is Mother’s Day and will the violence satisfy the fans of the series?
I never put in gore for gore’s sake in my stories. I always make the gore part of the story and motivated by story events. But for those F13 fans that need their blood and guts, we got it. Though our killer in this story, The Hunter, carries a gun for the most part he is not so restricted that he won’t use his hunting knife, and actually the gun itself, in gory and creative ways.
Are there any plans to adapt more of your Friday the 13th novels and do you hope to start your own franchise?
Unfortunately, for me and Cory Stevens, Mother’s Day is a one-shot deal. After we finished shooting Mother’s Day Cory had talked about doing an adaptation of the second book, Jason’s Curse. But after a bit of soul searching and the fact that Cory is planning to move to LA either toward the end of the year or the beginning of 2008 we decided that we would let this film stand as our homage to my book series. Though for those fans out there that enjoy both my writing and Cory’s filmmaking take heart. Cory and I are currently in the early development phase of a new original horror film. This film is based on an actual account dealing with a vampire that took place in the 1700′s, but we are going to have our film in modern times. The account is of The Vampire of Croglin Grange. We are currently looking for investors. If that comes together we think horror fans will really enjoy this film.