Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash
In 1991, what eventually turned out to be a 12-year wait for Freddy vs. Jason began. The result was apparently satisfying for fans, because the film opened at number one and eventually made $114 million worldwide, according to website Box Office Mojo. This immediately resulted in talk of a sequel, which came to be known as Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash. The idea, of course, was to bring in reluctant hero Ash (Bruce Campbell) from the Evil Dead series to toss off some one-liners, romance some women, and generally lay down some boomstick and chainsaw on all opponents.
Whether you think this is a good idea or not, at least there was some precedent. The easy connections come from the movies themselves. In the original Nightmare on Elm Street film, Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) watches the original Evil Dead on television (apparently the movie poster also appears somewhere else). In response, Sam Raimi put Freddy's glove in the toolshed in Evil Dead 2. In Jason Goes to Hell, the same film that started the Freddy vs. Jason rumors, a character finds the Necronomicon inside a house, on a table, much like the Alien skull in the Predator tropy case in Predator 2. The less obvious link was the fact that New Line Cinema was behind The Evil Dead's limited theatrical run way back in February 1983.
But of course, these things are hard to do. The first murmurs of the project showed up on movie website C.H.U.D. during FvJ's theatrical run. Of course, the instinct by movie people is to deny everything, which is what pretty much what happened. By the time FvJ was released on DVD, however, it seemed a shade more likely. On the audio commentary, Robert Englund mentions the idea, however, musing that it seems unlikely. New Line managed to try to deny it some more, what with a few reports on how various treatments and pitches were not Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash. Finally, director Ronny Yu, who helmed FvJ, finally confirmed that not only was he going to stay on for the second FvJ film, but they were trying to work Ash into their treatment. Sam Raimi said it was an "interesting idea", and if a script turned up, he'd "like to read it".
Over the next year, little tidbits kept coming up about it. In mid-to-late 2004, New Line finally seemed like they were acknowledging it as a project they were working on. The big news, however, came on August 16th, 2004, right after Alien vs. Predator opened at number one the earlier weekend. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that New Line was in real talks with Sam Raimi on whether or not they'd be able to use the Ash character for the flick. Raimi wouldn't direct, but Bruce would return as Ash, which alone would have made the project worth it.
Unfortunately, it didn't happen. In October, Raimi and his producing partner Rob Tapert said, to be specific:
"That won't happen.
I have great respect for those franchises. But I didn't want to be in a position where I was protecting Ash, the character that I want to eventually make another movie with one day, protecting him and not allowing the director to do what he felt he had to do. I didn't want to be in a weird position like that. I have a great deal or respect for Sean Cunningham. I think he's a brilliant filmmaker. He made some classics. I just didn't think it was a winning, great situation for anybody.
I don't know, can you kill Freddy or Jason? I think Bruce Campbell woulda' kicked their asses. First, I think they would have had their way with him in probably 80 minutes of punishing him, which I would have enjoyed.
I wanted to give the fans what they want with that. It's hard to know what the fans want with that, if that was the proper treatment. I just don't know. I don't think so. As fun as that sounded, I think they're in two different worlds, the Evil Dead and Jason/Freddy. Maybe another time, that would be a better combination."
A bit later what was supposedly the official treatment presented to Raimi at the meeting popped up on horror website Bloody-Disgusting. To generalize, Ash worked at the Mini-Mart, and he ended up battling off Freddy and Jason over the Necromomicon with the help of a bunch of dumb teenagers. Most of the good material from Freddy, Jason, and Ash himself was stolen from the other films in the franchise, and generally it sounded like an awful concept.
Right now Raimi and Campbell are working on the remake of The Evil Dead (Bruce is only producing and there WILL NOT BE A CHARACTER NAMED ASH), and possibly evil Evil Dead IV, which Raimi has clearly stated he wants to do, and will work on likely after Spider-Man 3 is finished. Freddy vs. Jason 2, meanwhile, is somewhat dead. Obviously, such a big moneymaker won't be ignored forever, but right now New Line is concentrating on other things, and Yu seems to have left the project to do something with Jet Li. Robert Englund has mentioned he wants to sit down with Jamie Lee Curtis with the intentions of getting her Laurie Strode character from Halloween in the film instead, but honestly, Englund might be a little crazy.