As the world prepares for David Cronenberg’s return to horror with the upcoming Cannes premiere of “Crimes of the Future,” certain fans are taking the opportunity to look back at the filmmaker’s most iconic horror projects. While films like “The Fly” and “The Dead Zone” remain beloved, it’s easy to forget that Cronenberg also starred in “Jason X,” the infamous “Friday the 13th” movie that sent villain Jason Voorhees to outer space.
Screenwriter Todd Farmer recently spoke to The AV Club about the cult classic and recalled that Cronenberg first came on board because his longtime collaborator Jim Isaac did the opening sequence, which takes place inside Jason’s brain.
“That was all Jimmy. It wasn’t in the script. I’m glad he did it,” Farmer said. “And all of that wet gooeyness is because Jim Isaac was David Cronenberg’s special effects guy and Cronenberg was known for moist gore. And so that opening, the combination of Hell and the gore, I didn’t come up with that. That’s Jimmy’s brilliance.”
But while Cronenberg’s effects team may have elevated the film’s opening sequence, it didn’t come for free. The “Videodrome” director had one condition: He had to be in the film.
“Jimmy wanted us to use Cronenberg’s effects team, which was Jimmy’s effects team,” Farmer said. “And so he’d gone to David out of respect and said, ‘Do you mind if I use the guys on this?’ and Cronenberg said, ‘I don’t mind at all, but you have to cast me.'”
The filmmakers eagerly cast Cronenberg as scientist Dr. Wimmer, although even they were a little confused about why the horror legend wanted to be in their movie.
“What kind of confidence does it take for Cronenberg to say, ‘Yeah, I want to be in the 10th installment of the ‘Friday the 13th’ franchise’?” Farmer wondered.
Once Cronenberg came on board, he quickly noticed some problems with the script and began rewriting most of his character’s lines.
“We were doing a late in the draft polish, and somebody had reached out and said, ‘Cronenberg’s rewriting all of your lines,'” Farmer said. “And they were saying it in a way as if I would be offended. ‘I just wanted to let you know. Don’t be upset, but David’s kind of making some changes.’ And I was like, ‘That’s great! I’m going to get credit for that.’ And when he says, ‘I don’t want him frozen, I want him soft,’ that’s not me. That’s Cronenberg.”