Jason Voorhees approaching a victim in Never Hike Alone.

Jason Voorhees Lives On: ‘Never Hike Alone 2’ and Survival Through Fandom

For many people, fan films are seen as poor imitations of “real” movies, but there are fan filmmakers who are breaking the stereotype, one movie at a time. Vincente DiSanti is one such director.

Recommended Videos

Best known for his Never Hike Alone series, DiSanti has made a name for himself in the Friday the 13th fandom for writing, directing, producing, and starring in a series of fanfilms that follow infamous slasher killer, Jason Voorhees, years after the end of Jason’s original run of movies.

At the time, DiSanti stated, he wanted to “cheer fans up” due to the unfortunate state of the franchise. When the first Never Hike Alone film premiered, the Friday the 13th franchise was in a state of flux. The writer of the original Friday the 13th (1980), Victor Miller, and Friday the 13th series producer, Sean Cunningham, had just entered a lengthy legal battle over the character of Jason Voorhees. The legal battle resulted in an upcoming film being canceled and ended the popular asymmetrical horror game based on the original ’80s films. 

It’s been 5 years since that first fan film and 14 years since the last official film, an eternity in fandom years. While the lawsuit is now settled and a prequel TV series has been announced, production has been delayed due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. All of these delays have left Friday the 13th fans desperately wanting new content.

Enter DiSanti and his incredible team at WompStomp Productions.

Making a professional fan film

Like many fan film creators, DiSanti and his team are longtime fans of the series who wanted to contribute to a fandom they love. DiSanti noted how, when he was young, Friday the 13th was the biggest horror franchise in the world and Jason Voorhees was the biggest boogeyman in horror for many people. The franchise stuck with them, and they stuck with the franchise.

You certainly feel that love and dedication in every scene. WompStomp Films has carefully worked at maintaining the abandoned summer camp that has become their own Camp Crystal Lake. Finding the campsite is still one of DiSanti’s favorite memories from working on the project. “When we found that camp, we knew it was going to change everything that we were doing,” he said in an interview with The Mary Sue. “Our film started out as a five-minute chase sequence that we were making as a proof of concept.”

DiSanti himself attributes his success to treating his film like a professional film set. “Each day is about capturing as much footage as possible,” he said in our interview. “The more prepared you are, the more time you get to work on your script, putting in the extra hours to make sure the things you need are there. It all ensures you’re set up to succeed.”

It helps that he’s been able to crowdfund the films and has gotten franchise favorite Thom Matthews to return as Tommy Jarvis, among other veteran Friday the 13th actors. This is a trend that other fan films like Jason Rising, which brought back Adrienne King to play OG Final Girl Alice Hardy, have also joined in on with similar success.

Many of these fan films serve as “requels” or “what ifs” to the original series, allowing fans to explore where these characters’ lives have gone after their movies end—or, in the case of Jason Rising, exploring alternate timelines where the characters survived. Never Hike Alone and its sequel serve as a sequel to the Paramount-produced Friday the 13th films, which takes more controversial films like Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X, and Freddy vs. Jason out of the timeline. This makes sense, as Jason canonically dies in Jason X after being cryogenically frozen in 2010, a fact that complicates any potential reboots of the original timeline.

Fan film and original content

Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing.

As a fan film, Never Hike Alone is always at risk for being accused of copyright infringement, and the team must always tread carefully.

Ironically, the timing of the series may have worked in its favor, as the major rights holders were already dealing with their own legal battles against each other. Or maybe they just don’t see the fan films as competition. DiSanti states that he hopes he and WompStomp will never have to deal with that.

Still, this is their last fan film in the Never Hike Alone series—the end of an era, but also the start of something new for Friday the 13th and WompStomp Productions. The group is now transitioning into making original horror content, one of the first of which is a Giallo-inspired Queer horror film titled Bath Bomb.

Whether it’s fan films or original content, I’m sure fans are eagerly anticipating the chills and thrills in store for them this Friday the 13th.

(featured image: WompStomp Films)

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.