Max Landis pitch reboots icons Freddy, Jason, Chucky, and Pinhead

Freddy Krueger

Max Landis, the CHRONICLE / VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN writer who is currently developing a remake of his father's film AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, was recently interviewed on an episode of the Nerdist podcast The Writers Panel, and the last 13 minutes of that 62 minute episode are of particular interest to horror fans.

As the interview wraps up, host Ben Blacker asks Landis if there's an existing property he would love to get his hands on. Landis replies that there is something he has been pitching for six years, and proceeds to deliver that pitch... and it's a story idea that doesn't just cover one existing property. For this dream project to happen, multiple studios would have to work together to allow Landis to reboot several horror icons from the 1980s.

The pitch begins with a teenager. The gender isn't important, but for this version of the pitch Landis goes with a male character, picture John Boyega as he was in ATTACK THE BLOCK. He's a Marty McFly-ish kid with a troubled girlfriend, and he has been in the foster system for a long time, living in a foster home full of kids who are like the IT Losers Club crossed with THE WARRIORS. When a possible adoption runs into trouble, this kid is placed with a temporary foster family... a couple who live on a nice street where the houses are for sale for low prices because the street has a bad history. This couple had a son who was killed in their home, and the audience will recognize that pictures of their lost son are of a young Johnny Depp. After having dinner with the couple, the kid starts vomiting blood and falls unconscious. His girlfriend calls for an ambulance and while he's taken to the hospital, he walks down the street in his dreams and sees three little girls playing jump rope while singing: "One, two, Freddy's coming for you."

So the street's Elm Street, Freddy stalks the kid, pops out, claws to the face, dead instantly. Except he's not. Freddy can't get his claws out of the kid's face. And the kid is like, 'What the f*ck are you?' Freddy's like, 'What the f*ck is happening?' All of the sudden chains, like the movie HELLRAISER, go all around Freddy, pull him up like he's a scarecrow. In the hospital room, which the foster parents have closed off, they've drawn the HELLRAISER symbol on the floor under the bed. The kid's heart rate spikes and Bryan Cranston (as the foster father) goes, 'We got him. He's ours, call the others.'

... The kid has a psychic exchange with Freddy and sees the night of the Elm Street murder, when Fred Krueger was burned by the parents of Elm Street. Except for the first time we see the real version of it. The parents of Elm Street were a cult and they sacrificed an innocent man, Fred Krueger, to summon the demon, Freddy Krueger, and then have been sacrificing their children for thirty years to this demon to become incredibly famous and powerful and wealthy. Now they have finally gotten to the point where they are going to sacrifice the demon itself, so the rest of the cult is on the way to the hospital to use our kid to pull Freddy out of the dreamworld and sacrifice him."

In the dreamworld, the kid and a powerless Freddy are between the mortal world and Hell, so to try to escape this scenario they embark on a WIZARD OF OZ-esque journey to different areas where the barriers between dimensions are thinner. Their first stop is a nightmare version of Crystal Lake, where they thwart crazy camp counselors to rescue a little boy who has been eternally drowning in the lake.

They pick up Jason ... Jason's just a sweet little deformed boy, but then can Hulk and turn into the big Jason."

The next place they go is a Good Guy doll factory, where they save Charles Lee Ray from being tortured by doll-like voodoo practicioners. 

Charles Lee Ray is like, 'I'm just an innocent man who's here on accident, you gotta help me escape!' So Jason, Freddy, and our kid, Marty McFly, break Chucky out of the Good Guy doll factory and head into actual Hell, the space between the netherrealm, to confront Pinhead and the Cenobites, who are who the cult worships and are our actual villains."

While the kid and the new versions of the icons make their way through the Emerald City of Hell, the kid's girlfriend and the other foster kids raid the hospital to save him from the cult.

The idea behind this pitch is that the audience is there to see Freddy, Jason, and Chucky, so just let them be heroes this time - the characters you love, but in a different context. They become protective of the kid, but they're still not good or nice.

Landis is quite passionate about the idea while making the pitch, but he also knows that it's something he'll likely never be able to make. Especially when you take into account that he envisions it as an epic film with a 70 to 85 million dollar budget.

The pitch changes too much about the characters for my taste - I'm not into an innocent Freddy so much, and I really don't like the idea of Jason as a little boy who can Hulk out into a hockey masked slasher. That's not something I need to see. The idea of foster Warriors raiding a hospital to battle a cult so they can save a friend from being sacrificed to a demon, though, that sounds like fun. I say never mind rebooting the icons, leave them out of it, just give me the foster kids vs. cult members part of the story.

Extra Tidbit: What do you think of the pitch?



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