The slasher films of the 1980s pioneered the crossover long before the MCU and could continue the current franchise craze on the big screen.
Back in 1988, a small film called Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood made a choice that would change film history. While the creators had been hoping to pit the franchise's killer Jason Voorhees against the other best-known slasher killer of the 1980s, Freddy Krueger, for some time, that crossover was not to happen for another fifteen years. In order to compensate, the film pits the silent hockey-mask-clad zombie against a blonde, shy girl with telekinetic powers — in other words, against the star of the 1976 horror film Carrie. While the character is named Tina, the thought of "Carrie vs. Jason" is clear. This innovation made way for several decades of comic crossovers and a single film, 2003's Freddy vs. Jason, which explored the possibility of an interconnected universe of slasher movies.
As many know, the interconnected film universe now dominates cinemas. While the Universal horror film crossovers of the 1940s and 50s often get pointed to as horror banking on the craze, the attempts to do so recently have not been particularly successful. That may be because modern audiences are too accustomed to the comedic and sympathetic takes on the interconnected classic monsters (Hotel Transylvania, for instance) to find them scary. Secondly, it may also be because the Universal crossovers already happened. They exist for anyone who wants to rent and enjoy them, and they explore all aspects of the Monster Mash crossover. Imagine trying to remake the Marvel Cinematic Universe — it's been done. However, a Slasher Cinematic Universe is a concept that was only teased and briefly attempted in the past, making it prime for exploration.
Like Marvel and DC, future Slasher-verse films have comic book materials and past movies to draw on for source material. There is even a comic series called Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash and Nightmare comics that tease crossing over with other slasher franchises. There are, of course, also existing sub-franchises with rich solo mythos to refer to in creating the potential crossovers. For most, the official slasher heavy hitters are Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Evil Dead, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Hellraiser, Child's Play, Candyman and Scream. These nine, all of which have sequels and expanded mythos in comic and fandom form, could easily constitute the Slasher Cinematic Universe.
And the aforementioned comic crossover from 2007, Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, has the material for a manageable premise. The comic follows the various survivors of the three franchises, including Ash Williams (Evil Dead), Nancy Thompson (Nightmare), Tina (Friday) and more, as they united to battle the slasher team-up of the title. This concept was already explored somewhat in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, which united a group of Freddy survivors to work together against the Springwood Slasher. Expanding this concept to crossover on film, bringing together horror's iconic final girls (and boy) seems like a reasonable means to give the audience the hero element, possibly with the addition of the Necronomicon and Michael Myers to complete the villain roster for a starter film. From there, adding the remaining franchises could be done judiciously.
The question then becomes, of course, how to cast a crossover franchise. Much like Marvel, many slasher heroes and villains have iconic actors associated with them. It's as difficult to see anyone but Robert Englund playing Freddy Krueger for many as it is to picture someone other than Jamie Lee Curtis playing Laurie Strode. Curtis has played Laurie recently, and many classic slasher actors could reunite to play their original characters. Alternatively, reboots could be made of the originals to facilitate the crossovers. Either pathway seems believable, and in the current era, either feels possible. These reboots could lead to a crossover slasher franchise filled with the lore of the various series, opening up possibilities for a new installment or two each Halloween.
Much like the shared superhero universe, a shared slasher universe is an idea that has been simmering for decades without truly getting off the ground. These iconic franchises have been getting plenty of sequels and continuations to their now somewhat epic stories but have yet to receive a full-length crossover. Horror, like comic books, lends itself well to bringing together disparate protagonists, working through multiple sequels and building up a complex mythology to work with and build stories around. The time is ripe for horror to create its own Avengers.
Subscribe to the CBR newsletter for exclusive comics, TV & movie news, reviews, interviews & much more!