By Peter White
Bryan Fuller has scored a straight-to-series order from Peacock for a prequel series set in the Friday the 13th universe. It comes from A24.
The move follows a fascinating legal battle between the team behind the original horror film.
Crystal Lake comes from Star Trek: Discovery co-creator Bryan Fuller, who has been developing a Friday the 13th project, originally as a feature film, since 2013. He will serve as writer, showrunner and exec producer.
A24 is the studio, while Victor Miller, who wrote the original screenplay of the 1980 movie, Marc Toberoff, Miller’s copyright attorney, and Rob Barsamian, who produced the original movie, will exec produce.
It’s worth remembering that Mrs. Vorhees was the original camp killer, a fact that Drew Barrymore’s character in the original Scream film would have been wise to have known.
The original Friday the 13th movie, which starred Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Laurie Bartram and Kevin Bacon, follows a group of teenage camp counselors who are murdered at summer camp.
Palmer plays Mrs. Vorhees who initially kills a pair of counselors in 1959 at Camp Crystal Lake after her son, Jason, supposedly drowned, before going on a murder spree in 1979 when a group tries to reopen the camp. Jason turns up at the end to attempt to kill King’s Alice after she killed his murderous mother.
It was directed by Sean Cunningham.
The legal case, which was decided by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and you can read here, saw Miller win the rights to the character that he created after a copyright termination battle. The producers of the original film – Horror Inc., which includes Barsamian, had argued that Miller’s involvement was work for hire but a judge ruled that it wasn’t.
The case meant that Miller is now able to license a prequel series. The fact that Barsamian is one of the exec producers alongside Miller, means that a deal has been worked out between the groups. This means that there are no longer any question marks over what can and can’t appear in the series, as it relates to later films in the franchise. For instance, Jason’s famous hockey mask, which didn’t show up until Friday the 13th: Part III, could potentially be part of the project as a result of the deal between the exec producers.
It’s been suggested by sources that this also opens the door for future feature films in the franchise.
Crystal Lake is not the first television series based on the classic horror franchise. Friday the 13th: The Series aired for three seasons in syndication between 1987 and 1990 from Frank Mancuso Jr. and Larry B. Williams. The series, which followed a pair of owners of a cursed antiques store, does not feature Jason or any characters from the films.
Deadline also revealed in 2014 that Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films and Cunningham’s Crystal Lake Entertainment were developing a series with Cunningham exec producing alongside Power exec producer Mark Canton with Barsamian also producing, but that project never made it to air.
Full details of the plot of the series are being kept under wraps.
Bryan Fuller said, “I discovered Friday the 13th in the pages of Famous Monsters magazine when I was 10 years old and I have been thinking about this story ever since. When it comes to horror, A24 raises the bar and pushes the envelope and I’m thrilled to be exploring the camp grounds of Crystal Lake under their banner. And Susan Rovner is simply the best at what she does. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be working with her again.”
“Friday the 13th is one of the most iconic horror franchises in movie history and we were dying to revisit this story with our upcoming drama series Crystal Lake,” added Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “We can’t wait to get to work with Bryan Fuller, a gifted, visionary creator who I’ve had the pleasure of being a longtime friend and collaborator, along with our incredible partners at A24, in this updated version for Peacock that will thrill long-standing fans of the franchise.”
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