Following the release of Jason X, fantasy author Nancy Kilpatrick was hired to pen two novels that continued the stories of Uber Jason and the Friday the 13th saga; Planet of the Beast and To the Third Power. Kilpatrick’s other work includes Near Death, Dracul: An Eternal Love Story, Bloodlover and Dark Terrors 5.
Nancy Kilpatrick talks about her literary contributions to the Friday the 13th franchise.
What made you decide to write two Friday the 13th novels and where did the ideas for Jason X: Planet of the Beast and Jason X: To the Third Power come from?
I liked the movie Jason X quite a bit. It took Jason to a new realm, which hasn’t really happened with Freddy and Michael. I was kind of hoping there would be another Jason in space film. Planet of the Beast (three in the book series) came about because the idea was to write about Jason in space and, of course, the previous book two had set up some parameters for that which I had to work with. First and foremost, I needed to bring Jason back to life in a way that made sense. Because he was now somewhat bionic, it also made sense that he could survive on something like Planet 666 despite the harsh atmosphere. And it also made sense that some maniac scientist would have the audacity to think he could exploit this uber Jason and become the ruler of the universe – fame and fortune through madness!
I desperately wanted to write book four but it had already been commissioned to someone else, so I asked for book five and in order to come up with a proposal for five, I had to read the proposal for four. Much to my horror, the character that I’d worked so hard to save in three was destroyed almost immediately in book four. I was outraged! I couldn’t let this happen! I had plans for her! I’d intended on a big showdown between her and Jason anyway, so I took what the four writer had done and manipulated it so that my character did, in fact, survive that black hole. Through her survival came the plot for To the Third Power. Again, I had to use the parameters that had been set up in book four about Jason, which were pretty damned weird. It’s hard enough to bring back the dead, especially given the state Jason was in in four, but I think I managed it pretty well.
Is Jason Voorhees an interesting character to write about and what were the highs and lows of adapting a slasher franchise into a book?
The highs were that I got to write about Jason, which is a film series I’ve loved from the get-go and have followed religiously. The series has been fun and scary and icky and strange and tragic. I feel so privileged to have gotten the chance to contribute to the Jason legacy. I don’t think there were any lows. One difficulty was that Jason doesn’t speak and seems to have no emotion but maybe only one emotion, rage, although we don’t know that for sure. Especially the Space Age Jason in the novels is more machine-like, unstoppable. In fiction, unlike in film which is all visuals and dialogue, you usually give some insight into a character. But with Jason that’s not really possible. I did have one brief sentence near the end of Planet of the Beast and in that Jason might have an emotion. Or not. Subject to interpretation.
Out of the two novels that you wrote for the series, which would you say was the most enjoyable to write and why? How long did it take to develop each story?
I don’t think one was more enjoyable than the other to write, but I will say I had to stretch more with To the Third Power because of the constraints I felt with book four in terms of how Jason is perceived and how he ends up, and also because of the destruction of my character who I wanted to re-use in another book. I had to go a different way. Developing the ideas for each took maybe a week, once I’d read what had come before so I could see where my books could fit into the series. Writing the books is another story.
Would you ever contemplate writing a Friday the 13th movie and if so how do you think the film would vary to the previous ones?
I’d love to write a Friday the 13th movie! (Are the producers reading this???) In fact, I was sad that the book series ended because I had a GREAT idea for book six and where Jason would go from five, and it would make a dynamite movie, within the Jason X theme of him being in space. Actually, I think the four original books in the series would all make good films (the first book was a novelization of the film Jason X). But apart from space, I know I could do an intriguing Friday the 13th script of Jason on planet Earth. He’s already been in a number of situations but there are plenty of others that would be innovative yet keep to the tone of the films and the legend of the one and only Jason Voorhees.