Feature Friday: Freddy vs. Jason

Freddy vs. Jason

I have to admit I’m not a fan of slasher flicks. A good scare is worth a lot, and I can appreciate anything from John Carpenter’s The Thing to Se7en.

But buckets of blood provoke a visceral reaction in my guts, and though that has faded over the years, it’s a big reason why I never saw more than a few in those hallmark eighties series, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. I’ll take Dokken and DJ Jazzy Jeff and leave it at that for my Freddy Krueger nostalgia.

However, given their dubious mark on the North American subconscious, and the resurgent popularity of horror flicks thanks to Scream and Blair Witch, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would say, “Hey, let’s have Freddy and Jason tag-team a whole new crop of kids.” Thus, the ultimate horror team-up, Freddy vs. Jason.

The movie is a bit more than a sequence of evisceration possibilities. It plays on the amnesia of its expected audience, the current teen generation, and winks at oldsters who remember the orignals. Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) introduces himself and tells the story of how he became the “dream demon” who caused so much grief for the kids on Elm Street. The problem, he reveals, is that as long he is forgotten by his victims, they can’t dream about him, and thus he is powerless. What to do?

Well, naturally, what is needed is an invulnerable hockey mask-wearing machete murderer, on a quest from his dead mother to “punish” (read: disembowel, behead, de-limb) naughty teenagers. Freddy co-opts Jason to visit terror on the Elm Street gang, so they will start dreaming of Freddy again. Makes sense, no?

Well, mayhem ensues, as the new youngsters are stalked by both killers: one who just enjoys hacking ‘em up, and another who keeps pushing them to say his name so the urban legend — and nightmares — will sprout up again.

For any who remember the old movies, there are a lot of jokes at the characters’ expense — they have no idea who they’re dealing with, and the thirty-somethings in the audience can chuckle in a “kids these days” way. “Back in the eighties, we knew better than to challenge the killers. We just ran screaming!”

Freddy vs. Jason
  • Directed by Ronny Yu
  • Starring Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger
  • Three stars out of five

 

Originally published in Uptown Magazine, August 15, 2003

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4 thoughts on “Feature Friday: Freddy vs. Jason

  1. Horror and lots of violence give me a pretty nasty physical reaction, too, but I used to watch horror movies all the time, anyway. I’ve stopped doing that to myself in recent years (also because of the horrendous nightmares). I’ve never gotten into the Freddy and Jason movies, though. I always preferred the independent/B-movies.

    • Me too! I mention having appreciated John Carpenter’s The Thing, but I’ve seen it one and a half times, and the last time, 20-odd years ago, I had trouble sleeping for days. Part of it is the gore, but that one was genuinely scary, too, which was why I could appreciate it.
      Actually my favourite scares are more thriller-esque — like the menace in movies such as Dead Again or Silence of the Lambs. And, I would add, An American Werewolf in London.
      Freddy vs. Jason, at least, gave up any pretensions of being anything other than a retro smash-up between two 80s-era monsters. And it was, IMHO, better than other combos, like the unforgivable attemtps to marry the Alien and Predator franchises.

  2. “Back in the eighties, we knew better than to challenge the killers. We just ran screaming!” Heh heh, love it 🙂

    I think the last and only straight-up horror movie I ever saw was the first Final Destination, and that was enough for me. I saw it at a sleepover, and had actually expected it to be a space-travel-themed story, since I’d just seen Mission to Mars. Boy, was I surprised.

    • Oy, that would be a rude awakening. Kind of how I felt, I bet, when seeing Blade Runner at a birthday party when I was, like nine. “It’s science fiction!” my friends said. So I thought, “OK, like Star Wars.” NOT. (I came to appreciate that movie later, in my teens… but for whatever reason as kid I could not stop re-seeing things in my mind after I’d seen them on TV or in the theatre. Sometimes that was awesome, but for stuff that freaked me out… not so much.)

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