The Continuous Story In The Background Of Many Horror Films
Being a horror fan isn't easy. You fall in love with a no-bullshit, nightmare-inducing killer, then the next thing you know he's in Manhattan, going to hell, or bumbling around in space. It was probably never John Carpenter's intention to have the ultimate opponent of Michael Myers be Mr. Break Ya Neck, either. But that's the nature of being a horror fan: If it's a good enough monster, you will have to bear the pain known as "sequels."
That's why the fun of horror franchises doesn't lie in the simple "Well, TECHNICALLY Hellraiser 4 is a SEQUEL to Hellraiser 9." It lies in seeing how all of them connect. I'm not talking about all of the films in one series ... I mean ALL of them. Yes, it is insane to try to rationalize all the plot holes and inconsistencies found from film to film. Doing it means that you have almost zero empathy for the logic users of the world. But you could at least connect them all with a common theme and come out with a sense of closure for some of these horror series that ended abruptly or rebooted without any real conclusion.
Where It All Began
What started off as an innocent Easter egg in the first Nightmare On Elm Street (there is a scene wherein Nancy watches the Evil Dead with the expression of someone sitting through a VCR autopsy) ...
Tree violations? Talking decapitated heads? So passe.
... evolved into a multiverse in which Ash Williams, Jason, and Freddy eventually met and dueled for supremacy.
Because of that Easter egg, Evil Dead director Sam Raimi returned the favor by including Freddy's glove in the cabin background of Evil Dead II (1987). While we usually imagine horror directors as pale, wide-eyed creatures who hunt for fish in subterranean caves, it's nice to see that Raimi saw Wes Craven's Nightmare, pointed a crooked finger at the TV he'd stolen from a dead morgue attendant, and whispered "Friiieeeennnd."
Put the murder hand in the other murder movie, as pals do.
Think that's not worth canonical mention? Guess again. It turns out that the Dream Demons that gave Freddy his powers (as explained in 1991's Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare -- a movie where, no shit, Freddy Krueger kills Alice Cooper) come from the very book that awoke the evil dead in that same cabin: The Necronomicon.
No puns? Must be serious.
As a matter of fact, Jason Voorhees' powers can also be traced to The Necronomicon. As seen in 1993's Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, the dreaded book was found in Jason's mom's house, presumably among other books like How To Get Over The Loss Of A Child and the CliffsNotes for Properly Stabbing And Re-Positioning Camp Counselors.
Oprah's Book Club called it the "NOM SHUGGOTH MUGDERRO PE LAGFORN of the year!"
At the very end of the Jason Goes To Hell, those who had outlasted the human body's natural instinct to get the hell away from that film were treated with this bowel-cleansing teaser:
Eat it, Marvel post-credits scenes.
"It's Freddy's hand! My childhood was worth it! Now, since the horror world is obviously starting to work in the favor of us fans, we should see Freddy Vs. Jason by 1995 AT THE LATEST."
Ten years passed.
And then, just when you were about to give up hope and go find out what a boob feels like, Freddy Vs Jason was released. A few years later, the script for a sequel called Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash (which was eventually turned into a graphic novel instead) was born. So all of those Easter eggs eventually led to all of these series being connected. But that's too simple. Of course the heads on the Mount Rushmore of horror are going to be connected.
But what about the JV team?
Who Else Was Involved
One of the most important and all-encompassing Easter eggs (one that is typically overlooked) was actually found in 1998's Bride Of Chucky. There we see Michael Myers' mask, Freddy's glove, Jason's mask, and Leatherface's chainsaw, all sitting in an evidence locker.
And if you look really closely, you can see Leprechaun's shame.
Once again, seems like this is just a non-canonical Easter egg with little-to-no story value, right? Ahem.
In 1998, Halloween: H2O was released. By the end of that film, Michael Myers was supposedly decapitated, his body was placed in the possession of the cops (I know. It was supposed to be the end of the series. Hindsight, etc.) Freddy was dead. Jason was also dead. And the last time we saw Leatherface, he let a victim escape, thus probably leading to him getting apprehended or taken down as well. Now it makes sense as to why their shit is all in an evidence locker, right?
"Not really, but we're willing to play along."
Chucky was also in the evidence locker, listed as "Unresolved." Being that Andy (the protagonist of the first half of the Chucky series) was questioned at the very end of 1991's Child's Play 3, and was set free, as seen in 2013's The Curse Of Chucky, it's safe to assume that the authorities were in the middle of legitimately investigating the validity of a killer doll. And not, ya know, sending this panicky youngster to a mental ward to spend the rest of his life.
The one horror item that was blatantly missing from the scene was Hellraiser's Lament Configuration, otherwise known as Satan's Orgy and Meathook Rubix Cube. Being that the Hellraiser series and Pinhead were almost as popular as any of the other above-listed horror icons, it seemed like blasphemy to not include it. Especially since Pinhead was so close to being a part of Freddy Vs. Jason, no thanks to a copyright issue. Copyright: Separating nerds from their nerdy dreams since nineteen-fifty-forever.
Luckily, it only took the Hellraiser series two years to answer exactly where the Lament Configuration was, as well as answering just who was leading the investigations on these supernatural slashers.
In Hellraiser: Inferno (2000), we find out that Pinhead's damned puzzle box was in the possession of a detective after all. Turns out that most of the events in the movie are warped due to this particular cop (named Joseph Thorne) opening the box and being trapped by Pinhead to live out his own personal Hell. In a year that gave us stuff like Dracula 2000 and Scream 3, Hellraiser: Inferno was fucking Casablanca.
And the Oscar winner for Best Chains goes to Hellraiser: All Of Them.
The plot of the film has him conducting an investigation on a nonexistent serial killer known as "The Engineer," who may just be an amalgamation of the other slashers he had spent his life chasing, as it's created by his own subconscious for him to chase endlessly in Hell. Again, Casablanca.
I just wiped a single tear from my eye. Magnifico.
Could Joseph Thorne be the Mulder to the X-Files-esque cabinet we saw in Bride Of Chucky? Quite possibly yes. And Pinhead taught him that no one could stop the fucking Cenobites. Though for the sake of everyone who ever stood in front of a Blockbuster aisle and thought "Hm. A seventh movie about the Pinhead guy? Wouldn't hurt to rent it ..." he probably should have.
See, by this point in time, it was clear that these supernatural slashers were no longer invisible to the cops. We were already shown that the FBI was clued in enough to take Jason down:
Even when Michael Myers came back to wreak havoc (mostly on his own reputation), the 2002 film known as Halloween: Resurrection ended with him again in the custody of the authorities:
SIGNIFICANTLY LESS RAD.
So the series left off with Myers revealing his supernatural healing abilities to a coroner. Being that the franchise was rebooted immediately after this film, it makes logical sense that the authorities caught on to Myers' bullshit and stopped him before he killed anyone else. It's definitely a whimper and not a bang, but it's a louder whimper than he would've gotten if the guy who rapped "Arab Money" had been the one to truly finish him off.
And in Freddy Vs. Jason (2003), the U.S. government had finally recognized supernatural slashers as a plausible threat. Not only have they acknowledged the existence of a demonic dream killer in Freddy, but they even showed enough interest in the matter to work with pharmaceutical companies to create drugs to suppress dreams. Walgreens around the country mobilized to add "Anti-'80s-Slasher-Villain" aisles, probably in between the aisles for hair products and ass creams.
How It All Ended
By the time the comics Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash (2009) and Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash: Nightmare Warriors (2009) roll around, things have escalated and we see the government trying to use Necronomicon to create supernatural super soldiers. (This was also hinted at in Jason X, which is actually the last canonical film in this multiverse, wherein we see them try to replicate Jason's healing factor for similar purposes. There has to be a better way to do this than to drag Jason onto your expensive, poorly armed spaceship, but for all of its advancements, the future is still as dumb as every Crystal Lake camp counselor from 1983.)
Not to sound unsympathetic in your time of need, but what did you expect?
So whatever happened to these classic boogeymen? After countless murders, the government finally became involved, and decimated and collected them all in an attempt to turn them into living (undead) weapons. Isn't that exactly what you would've expected?
Need a more tangible conclusion? Watch The Cabin In The Woods. If you haven't seen it, stop reading and go watch it. If you have seen it, watch it again right goddamn now, and then read on.
The Cabin In The Woods (2012) attempts to provide a tangible conclusion to the supernatural slasher multiverse by showing that the government (and all the world's governments) have accepted the reality of supernatural killers, and attempt to appease the dark gods below by performing rituals sacrificing young people to them. Just replace all the generic monsters with the ones from this article. It fits, I swear.
Stuck between copyright laws and a hard place, this is what you get.
What's the moral of this story? The endgame? There is none. At least until time travel is invented. And when it is, use it to go back in time to visit your young, innocent, slasher-movie-loving self as they go to their favorite section in the video rental place. Whisper to them, "All of this shit? It's connected." And then hand them a copy of this article.
"That's really cool," they'll say. "You mean like Cracked, the magazine?"
"No, you're missing the point! Noooo ..." you'll yell, fading back into the time warp.
Liked the theory and want to see more rants and ravings by this writer? Follow David Israel Nunez Alvear on Twitter.
Editor's Note: After this was written, but before it was published, Bloody Disgusting published an article detailing John Squires' feelings on the "connected" slasher universe. Squires is one of the best and most effortlessly readable writers working in horror movie journalism today, so go check out his Twitter as well.
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