Up in Smoke: When Cheech and Chong Almost Met Jason From 'Friday the 13th'

The stoner comics could have been counselors at Camp Crystal Lake.
Voorhees and Chong.
Voorhees and Chong. / Bob Riha Jr/WireImage via Getty Images (Cheech and Chong) // Denise Truscello/WireImage via Getty Images (Jason Voorhees)

Horror and comedy seem like incompatible genres, but there’s long been a tradition in Hollywood of merging the two. Kevin Williamson’s Scream (1996) spoofed horror tropes while providing genuine scares; in the 1950s, Abbott and Costello met the Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s monster. And somewhere in between, stoner duo Cheech and Chong could have crossed paths with Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th fame.

According to The Wrap, the idea came up in 1986, during a meeting between Paramount executive Frank Mancuso Jr. and Tom McLoughlin, the director of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. After the success of that film, Mancuso wanted to hear McLoughlin’s ideas for a potential follow-up.

According to McLoughlin, who detailed the story on the Post Mortem podcast in 2017, he told Mancuso it could be interesting to have Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong involved in the franchise. The two had developed a comedy routine in the 1970s that eventually led to a series of successful movies for Paramount, including Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke (1978) and Cheech and Chong’s Nice Dreams (1981). Since the studio distributed both series, it was at least logistically feasible, though the comic team had largely dissolved in 1985.

“They’re like camp counselors or something,” McLoughlin recalled telling Mancuso. “It’s like, ‘Hey, man, I saw Jason out there.’ ‘No, man, that’s a myth.’”

In a separate interview with Bloody Flicks in 2017, McLoughlin elaborated. “Half-kidding and half-serious, I said, ‘Paramount owns the Cheech and Chong franchise, right? How about Cheech and Chong vs. Jason?’” he said. “We laughed about the possible comic situations with those two stoners living in the woods secretly running a weed farm when they have encounters with the man behind the mask. Or, they’re the new camp counselors.”

The idea ran out of gas when the reality of what that would look like set in. “We quickly agreed ultimately the film would be more a comedy and probably not scary enough … thus pissing off the fans,” McLoughlin said.

Paramount went on to make Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood—minus any real comic relief—in 1988. Years later, filmmaker Kevin Smith considered a movie in which his stoner characters from Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob, met Pinhead from the Hellraiser series and Michael Myers from the Halloween saga.

Jason hasn’t been seen on screen since a 2009 reboot, though there are plans for a prequel television series, presumably without Cheech and Chong. Recently, the two co-founded a cannabis company.