Thommy Hutson (His Name Was Jason) interview

THOMMY HUTSON (co-writer/producer: HIS NAME WAS JASON: 30 YEARS OF FRIDAY THE 13TH)

INTERVIEW: Christian Sellers

When did your love of Friday the 13th begin and which movie in particular sparked your interest?
“Though I was too young to see most of the Friday films in theatres, I vividly remember sneaking in to see Friday the 13th Part 7 with two friends after school. We were covering our eyes, screaming, laughing…it was such a blast and such a great memory. From there I had to see the rest of them, but I can say that part 7 is still my favorite. I guess my love of Friday the 13th actually started because of a girl…with telekinetic abilities!”

What is it about Jason Voorhees that has kept the franchise so popular for so long, and how would you compare him to the other main pop culture monsters (Freddy Krueger, Pinhead, Chucky, etc.)?
“I think that it’s popular because the movies always offer something familiar, something new…things that fans feel they have to come out and see. They are, in a way, almost like the old serial films. Jason Voorhees will just keep coming back and, if you’re a fan, don’t you just have to see how, and what he is going to do next? I’d say the films offer a little bit of something for everyone: scares, makeup effects, creativity, a hero, a villain…and no matter what a fan thinks of each film they are really escapist entertainment and fun.

As for Jason in comparison to the other movie villains, it seems that they each have a little something that sets them apart, whether it’s the way their story is told or the the way the character is portrayed. All the great movie monsters, even going back to the days of Universal’s Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf Man and The Mummy, are unique in their own way. They all offer some sort of style, strength and terror that works for the viewer. Some are more psychological, more evil, more sympathetic. I think that is why Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers, Leatherface and Chucky have worked for so long. Aside from a formula, they each have their fans clamoring to see more.”

How do you feel the movies and, more importantly, the character of Jason have evolved through the years?
“I think that as time has gone on a few things have happened. The first being that the films became less and less scary and more of a roller coaster ride. Of course, each film has its scary moments and jumps, but if you look at parts 1 and 2, I think those were definitely very scary, edge of your seat films. There wasn’t any real intentional humor back then, other than some antics by the characters; antics that fit within the story. Other than that, it was regular kids being murdered one by one. The second thing is that Jason, the character, became less a scary, “race after you and kill you” character and more of the commodity. Instead of staying in the shadows and being that scary thing that is lurking around the corner, he came out into the spotlight to be showcased. But, what else can be done after so many movies and so many iterations of the theme. It’s what audiences wanted and they certainly got that in all it’s crazy, bloody fun!”

How did you become involved with His Name Was Jason, and was it your intention for the release to coincide with the reinvention of the franchise?
“It was over a dinner to discuss other potential projects with Anthony Masi and Daniel Farrands. The idea of a documentary had been kicked around by them for a number of years and it was brought up again. When we discussed it at length, I was immediately enthusiastic. From there things really started to snowball and it happened very quickly (as many a good project often does!). In terms of its release coinciding with the new film, that was something that was in the back of our minds since interest would be high, but it wasn’t something that was a definitive plan, though we certainly saw the merits in it. We had hoped it could work within that timeframe in some way and it just ended up that Anchor Bay felt it was the right time.”

Was it difficult to find funding and support for your feature, and did you find most people eager to take part?
“Finding funding for any project is never an easy thing, even for something on a franchise as well known as Friday the 13th. But, with Anthony having produced Halloween: 25 Years Of Terror for Anchor Bay, that certainly helped immensely. He was instrumental in making the deal happen through his previous relationship with them. They also saw what we saw: a great project on a series that has really stood the test of time! And the support we have received from every person asked has been tremendous. Truly invaluable.”

Did you find that some of those that contributed interviews were bitter or disappointed by their involvement in the franchise, as many had tried to distance themselves from it over the years?
“Luckily for us, we never really felt that from anyone. Everyone was eager to come in, lend their talents, tell their stories, share with us items we could use…it was truly incredible and felt great to be part of something that so many people involved with the series truly hold dear and remember fondly. It was a real treat to watch and listen to the cast and crew speak of their time in the films. Even better was when Dan (our director), who is a fountain of knowledge on the series, would bring things up that a cast or crew member might have forgotten…the look on their faces was great. It was easy to tell they had a good time thinking back. It was also nice to have been the ones to bring some cast together who hadn’t seen each other in a long time!”

Apparently Tom Savini will be hosting the documentary. What can you reveal of this and will there be any treats in store for the fans?
“I first have to say how thrilling it was to work with Tom on this. His involvement in the franchise is so seminal, having created — and “destroyed” — Jason. In writing things, Anthony and I never wanted anything to be cookie cutter, so we tried hard to come up with things for Tom to say or do that were not only fun, interesting and organic to the documentary, but also that would be an homage to the Friday films themselves. And Tom is such a pro, so able to draw you in when he speaks on the subject of the films. And, he is terrifically funny which added so much to what we had hoped to achieve in his segments. Also, we were so lucky to have been able to film the segments with Tom at the Friday the 13th maze at Universal Studios Hollywood. It was a very memorable time on set to say the least!”

What kind of release are you hoping for with His Name Was Jason, theatrical or straight-to-DVD, and will you be showing it at any conventions or festivals beforehand?
“It will be a DVD and television release. It’s also going to premiere at the Denver Film Festival on November 14th and 15th…it will really be a treat to see it on the big screen with a crowd of fans!”

When can fans expect for the feature to be released, and do you have a special edition lined up for DVD?
“It will be released on DVD February 3, 2009 by Anchor Bay and will also premiere on Starz Friday, February 13, 2009. The DVD will have a tong of great bonus features that are really fun and informative.”

What are your plans beyond His Name Was Jason? Will there be any other iconic movies you intend to focus on?
“My writing partner and I just finished writing an exciting supernatural adventure film based on a character created by Robert E. Howard for producer Denise Di Novi and the company that owns the Howard properties, Paradox Entertainment. We have a few things in development with some great genre talent and are making the rounds with a non-horror, coming of age adventure. Other than that, it’s taking meetings and writing, writing, writing. In addition, Anthony Masi and I are in production on PRANK, an anthology film franchise with segments in the first film directed by Heather Langenkamp, Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornell. As for other iconic films that might be getting a definitive retrospective from us, yes, I have my eyes set on a few. I don’t want to say too much — you never know what will happen — but one would definitely be a “dream” come true!”

About the Author

Christian Sellers

Writer for UK horror magazine GoreZone (www.gorezone.co.uk) and moderator of Friday the 13th interview/news site www.myspace.com/fridaythe13thfranchise

31 Responses to “ Thommy Hutson (His Name Was Jason) interview ”

  1. For more information on His Name Was Jason’s premier at the Denver Film Festival, please visit http://www.denverfilm.org/filmcenter/detail.aspx?id=22234

  2. That was a great interview. I am just as excited about the Bonus Features as I am the docu. Can’t wait for more details on those!. This is going to be great!.

  3. I see that Amy Steel is part of the documentary (pictured here) although she is not listed in the previous article. Is this a simple omission? Thanks.

  4. The images were provided earlier today by Thommy so I\’m presuming Amy is involved. I hope so as Ginny was one of my favourite heroines

  5. I’m glad Ted White and Richard Brooker are being interviewed. They were my favorite actors who portrayed Jason best. I cannot wait until February 3rd comes, I’m going to save up enough cash to buy not only the documentary but the first three films and save up plenty of cash for my ticket to see the reinvention of a classic. February is a good month for Friday the 13th fans. Now if only they could release more merchandise, like comics and novels. I would be truly happy.

  6. “I’m glad Ted White and Richard Brooker are being interviewed. They were my favorite actors who portrayed Jason best. I cannot wait until February 3rd comes, I’m going to save up enough cash to buy not only the documentary but the first three films and save up plenty of cash for my ticket to see the reinvention of a classic. February is a good month for Friday the 13th fans.”

    I was thinking the exact same thing. Love me some Parts 3 and 4 Jason Voorhess, and Mr. Brooker and Mr. White truely did him justice in they’re respective incarnations.
    He was truely frightening and a palpable threat, and the films hold up. I also can’t wait, after listening to Mr. Steinmann’s commentary (moderated by fine DVD producer Michael Felsher) on his Exploitation mini classic Savage Streets (1984), I can’t wait to see him in this as well.

    Of course the always lovely Amy Steel, hands down the series best heroine who should have come back, as well.

    Was just reading about this on over at Fango’s site, and then came here. I so cannot wait for February indeed, what with the remake coming out, and the Parts 1-through-3 special edition boxset, and then of course this.

    Bring on the next three boring months, baby, so we can get’em over with (and that includes my 26th birthday on January the 28th as well). :D

  7. Great stuff Christian!

  8. I much prefer Brooker’s/White’s Jason. In part 3, was anyone else reminded of Count Orlok in Nosferatu by the way he moved?

  9. FRIDAY THE 13TH 3 coming out on DVD FEB 3rd in 3D!

  10. Where’d you hear that Irving? All I can say is if it’s true it’s about time!

  11. Christian, it is official! Go to bloody disgusting, they comfirmed it!

  12. It seems so but why would they release that on standard DVD and release parts 1 & 2 on Blu-Ray? Why not offer all 3 of these on both formats? BTW, what exactly is “uncut” with all 3 of these flics anyways? The extra gore shots from part 1 is all I can think of, like when Pamela gets decapitated and you see it in full (which I still have on my VHS copy). Anyways, hopefully both standard and Blu-Ray owners will be satisfied on Feb. 3. Somehow I sincerely doubt it though.

  13. Yeah I checked Amazon.com last night. About bloody time!

  14. Pete, the uncut version of part 1 has been available in Europe for a few years now. All the sequels were censored by the MPAA so providing the deleted footage still exists and is salvagable then we should be in for a treat. Part 2 had its graphic murder scenes severly trimmed, and Part 3 even had an alternative ending. Hopefully that will be in the deleted scenes if they can find the footage

  15. Christian, I have already posted here recently about part 3 in 3D just to let you all know that you can buy 3D DVD versions right now at http://www.underground3Dmovies.com or find them at http://www.ioffer.com

    The better stereoscopic/field sequential will need the converter and shutter glasses but the quality is way better than the old anaglyph(red/blue)

  16. Cool, thanks Christian! They probably talked about that in the two books I have (Crystal Lake Memories and Making Friday the 13th) and I just don’t remember what was cut. Like you said, we can only hope to see what we get (and hopefully on standard DVD too.)

    Ted, I’ve seen part 3 in 3D available before too on fleshwoundvideo.com which I believe someone on this site recommended. It’s probably the same guy selling it for all we know, LOL! He’s offering it in both versions as well. I’m assuming that this so called 3D release for pt.3 coming out on Feb.3 will be the old anaglyph format? I’ll take it that way but hopefully it’ll be better than Freddy’s Dead last 10-15 minutes of the flic 3D or Night of the Living Dead remake in 3D.

  17. Thanks Ted, but where possible I try to stick to websites I have used before and avoid bootlegs. But thanks for the info.

  18. I just couldn’t help myself but I had to see part 3 in 3D as I never got to on the big screen and were not sure they would ever make a 3D version commercially. It’s the remake coming up that has got me all pumped up about my favorite movies.

    I will still be buying all the new DVDs when they come out next year.

    By the way Christian what websites have you used before?

  19. In what way used before? You mean sites I’ve posted on or ones I’ve just visited?

  20. I don’t know anymore. I just looked up Friday’s 1-3 on amazon and I’m confused as fuck after reading the review’s for pt.1 & 2. One guy’s saying that all three will be uncut and another says that pt.2 will be the theatrical R rated version and not uncut. There is no mention of pt.3 in 3D either. That’s not to say that it will not be but it’s just getting confusing. Is there an “official” site that has the correct info on the dvds and not this speculation shit? Getting old real fast, you know? At least from going on amazon I saw that standard DVD owners are not getting shafted on these releases! YES!!!

  21. “I don’t know anymore. I just looked up Friday’s 1-3 on amazon and I’m confused as fuck after reading the review’s for pt.1 & 2. One guy’s saying that all three will be uncut and another says that pt.2 will be the theatrical R rated version and not uncut. There is no mention of pt.3 in 3D either. That’s not to say that it will not be but it’s just getting confusing. Is there an “official” site that has the correct info on the dvds and not this speculation shit? Getting old real fast, you know? At least from going on amazon I saw that standard DVD owners are not getting shafted on these releases! YES!!!”

    Pete man, SO true.

    I am now so officially confused by this all. I really wish there was an official e-mail address, or an official site, cause I also check (and use) Amazon and DeepDiscount a lot, and I am also just SO confused. Paramount really need’s to let out some more official info, or to make an official small site, cause indeed it’s just confusing. About what all is finally uncut, and what all is in 3-D (which I myself highly doubt for numerous reasons, but even so, ya know), ect.

    Can’t blame ya. It’s gettin’ old pretty fast indeed. Also bring on this, the His Name Was Jason doc, and the new uncut footage having My Bloody Valentine DVD and all of the other goodies that 2009 has in store for us. :D Thank Goodness we finally got a wonderful Pieces release to round out the year as well (thank you Grindhouse). And sorry for gettin’ a bit off topic, but also DeepDiscount.com is having a pretty nifty 25% off sale, with the use of this site code that is on there. They’re stuff is already the best online if ya ask me, so you all should check it out, though it’s not useable with pre-orders, sadly, but who matters when it’s that cheap?

    Later guys …

  22. Cool, I never heard of deepdiscount.com. I will definetly check it out. I didn’t realize they were a new Pieces dvd! I already own the first version they released, hopefully it will be packed with some goodies that will make it worth buying. Never saw My Bloody Valentine. Is that the flic that involves a mining accident of some sorts and the killer has a miner’s mask on trying to stop a local V-day dance or something? I’ve been curious about it.

    Thanks again Captain! Once again you have come through! ;)

  23. Christian, I meant the sites you said you stick to and avoid bootlegs.

    Pete and Captain, Did you guys see the trailer for My Bloody Valentine 3D coming out in the near future? I saw it at Saw 5 and it looks like it will be pretty good.

    Too bad though for some reason I never got to see the Friday Remake trailer on the big screen yet because it was not with Saw 5 like they said it was going to be. Damn.

    By the way does anyone know if that 3D version of My Bloody Valentine will be on the Imax screen in 3D or just the regular theater?

  24. I am not believing anything any of those reviewers say. I will stick to Bestbuy.com and get what they have to offer. I would prefer for all three Friday the 13th films to be uncut and unrated. I heard Friday the 13th Part 2 was not all that gory though. I know part one was gory as hell though but not part two, I\\\’m not too sure about part 3.

  25. Here’s the link to the 3D version. No details as yet, aside from it being remastered and in 3D. Another sitem Bloody Disgusting perhaps, stated that four pairs of 3D glasses comes with it. It makes sense to cash in now as not only is Friday the 13th being relaunched but next year sees the release of loads of 3D movies.

    http://www.amazon.com/Friday-13th-Part-Pairs-Glasses/dp/B001K9OXEE/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1226325172&sr=1-4

    As for the early movies, Part 2 was quite graphic, but when Paramount submitted it to the MPAA they freaked and made them cut it, unfortunately Paramount panicked and cut too much out. But the scene where Mark gets the axe in the face and Scott gets his throat slit were especially bloody. Regarding his death scene, Russell Todd, who played Scott, said, “My best friend John Caglione Jr. had cast my neck for a foam latex appliance that would have the pre cut wound in it and tubing running from it up my leg to a guy in the tree with a pup. When Jason slices my throat I just had to lean my head back to reveal the pre cut wound and the blood would be pumped to it. Well, it pumped and pumped and pumped and went on for what seemed like hours. I was trying to stay in character and do my best death work but the blood was finally running into my eyes and causing REAL pain. Eventually the cameras stopped rolling and I was just covered in blood. Perhaps too gruesome for the MPAA but very effective.” (read the interview here - http://fridaythe13thfilms.com/blog/russell-todd-scott-friday-the-13th-part-2/)

  26. Thanks. I\’m looking forward to seeing these uncut movies. Anyone know if part 3 was heavily cut as well? 2009 is defintitely going to be a good year for Friday the 13th fans.

  27. I don’t think Part 3 was that censored, but there was an alternative ending where Jason decapitates the heroine in a dream sequence. Images are available of it in Crystal Lake Memories, but I don’t know if any footage of it exists

  28. I heard about that. I heard Stan Winston lent a helping hand in the make up effects of Jason and with the decapitation as well.

  29. I think Stan’s contribution was Pamela’s rotting severed head, but I may be wrong. They so need to give these movies the uncut treatment, so sick of Paramount’s piss poor excuse for DVDs. I want to see uncut versions of the later sequels, especially 5-7

  30. Pete,

    No problem my good man. ;) Indeed http://www.deepdiscount.com rocks pretty hard. I use it 90% when I order online now. The only *minor* draw back is that while they have 90% of what Amazon carries, they don’t have just EVERYTHING, is ya know what I mean, and so I still use my Amazon account for stuff like the new Faces of Death special edition which DeepDiscount doesn’t carry, or the Amazon and Voltron.com exclusive of Voltron: Fleet of Doom, the 1986 TV movie with btoh Lion Force Voltron and Vehicale Voltron, ect. Thankfully, with buying from 3rd party sellers on there and even Amazon directly, you can still save a nice chunk of change. :D

    And indeed: My Bloody Valentine had that storyline of Harry Warden (or is it???) trying to stop a nice, small town Valentine’s Day dance/party.

    I haven’t yet seen the new remake 3-D trailer, but after hearing The Creepy Kentuckian on over at http://www.deadpit.com rave about it in his kind, rural voice during the many audio shows I’ve been downloading loyally as of late, has really me to check it out! I love 3-rd stuff, so if Shreveport here gets it, I’ll be the firs tto check it out. Too cool.

    A bit off topic as always: The Real Ghostbusters is FINALLY on DVD. Thanks to Fangoria Online. I am glad that Tife Life offered the 4 easy instalment pay plan, as with a 25 disc (! :)) set even that price was a bit too steep.

    Later bros …

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