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SYFY WIRE Godzilla vs. Kong

'Godzilla vs. Kong' director Adam Wingard reveals the deep cut nod to 'Jason X' you almost certainly missed

By Josh Weiss

Filmmaker Adam Wingard and his production crew haven't been shy when it comes to sharing the various influences they drew on for Godzilla vs. Kong. Toho's rich history of cinematic monsters was obviously a big one, but the kaiju smackdown also paid homage to 1980s classics like Back to the Future, Lethal Weapon, and The Terminator.

The references to iconic bits of pop culture don't end there, though. During a recent Reddit AMA, Wingard revealed a super deep cut nod to one of the oddest slasher flicks ever made: 2002's Jason X.  "The big reference that I haven't seen anyone pick up on is when Kong folds up and kills Nozuki (aka warbat). That was inspired by the holo-deck murder scene in Jason X when Jason picks up the camper in their sleeping bag and smashes them around," the director wrote of the Hollow Earth battle.

Helmed by Jim Isaac, Jason X was the final standalone chapter in the original Friday the 13th series before the franchise was rebooted by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes in 2009. The movie, which saw an armored Jason Voorhees killing a bunch of people aboard a spaceship in the far-flung future, was — not surprisingly — a critical and financial disappointment, bringing in a little over $17 million worldwide against a production budget of about $11 million.

Over the last 19 years, however, audiences, have come to re-evaluate the sci-fi slasher as a campy, yet entertaining entry in the Friday the 13th canon. Its creative kills (one of which was tested on Mythbusters) are usually cited as the project's biggest strength. And despite a 19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Jason X is not the worst-rated Jason film out there. That particular honor goes to 1982's Friday the 13th Part 3, which currently holds a lowly 7 percent. Ironically, that was the first outing to feature Jason wearing his iconic hockey mask.

 Getting back to Hollow Earth, the scenes involving the Jules Verne-esque journey to the center of the Earth were originally supposed to feature even more giant beasties that didn't make it into the final cut. "We created quite a few that were going to show up in Hollow Earth that we didn't get a chance to show. My favorite was one we called 'Swamp Kitty.' Maybe he'll make it if there is a sequel," Wingard explained. He added that "no other pre-existing Titans were ever seriously considered" for the main aboveground action beyond Godzilla, Kong, and Mechagodzilla. But seriously — where the heck are all the kaiju that bowed to Godzilla at the end of King of the Monsters?!

And if you're still debating your friends over who won in Godzilla vs. Kong, the director is here to put those arguments to bed once and for all. "Godzilla def won," he wrote. "He killed Kong. Kong was revived. I consider the Mecha battle was outside of that. As they say: 'Godzilla won the fight, Kong won the movie.'"

Godzilla vs. Kong is available to stream on HBO Max until this Thursday, April 30. The film will then be exclusive to theaters until its wide home video release. Being available on a streaming platform for the last month didn't prevent the movie from becoming the highest-grossing release of the COVID-19 pandemic (it passed $406 million at the global box office this past weekend).

When asked how he feels about directing the blockbuster that "saved theaters," Wingard typed out an old school emoticon smile and said: "Ask me again this time next year." While Warner Bros. and Legendary have yet to announce a fifth MonsterVerse adventure, Wingard is up to make another one: "Selfishly, I would like to nominate me again."