Why I Love FREDDY VS JASON And Always Will
Fifteen years ago, I bought tickets to see Freaky Friday with my best friend Cory. We had absolutely no intention of seeing the family fun film (don't get me wrong, I like Freaky Friday) and I continued to sneak into my first Rated R movie.
It was 2003, five years before Marvel would even release the first of a franchise that would take another four years to turn into the ultimate crossover event. So for me, the fact that I was going to see a movie where a character from one franchise I loved was not just going to cameo in another characters franchise, but co-star in it. It was mind blowing.
I grew up watching horror but with strict parents I had only recently watched A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, only after I was old enough to stay the night at my friends house, who had much more lenient parents than I did. Oh boy, did we consume those movies with a voracious appetite. We had so many available to watch and with a local video store offering five movies for five dollars, we were able to view them at Netflix-binge like speed before that existed in the capacity it does now. So I may have not grown up with either franchise but it was safe to say I was as obsessed and attracted to them as I had ever been, and as time would tell, as I ever would be. It was a fever pitch.
So we snuck into the movie with both franchises fresh in our mind. We had ridden the highs and lows of each so it was safe we only went into the film with a single expectation: these two titans of terror are going to beat each other up.
How?! What plot would bring these two together? Both slasher icons, both entrenched in a world of the supernatural, but hell, Freddy existed in dreams. Does Jason dream? All these questions were present as I sat down, hoodie up, hunched over smack dab in the middle of the theater. It opens and we see Jason doing what he does best, the familiar "ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma" and all seems as normal as any other day post-80's does near Camp Crystal Lake. Then the mention of Elm Street, some body morphing, and we realize Freddy has made his appearance now too.
The movie continues to hash together a plot that is goofy and will be ridiculed later on. Jokes are made and some will land and others fall flat and many will become dated. The kills start to happen and they're what we came here for. That's what we want. A whack with a machete but on Elm Street! A nightmare attack at Crystal Lake! It's not just the characters we love, it's the location's we're familiar with.
I'm not going to sit here and preach to you that there's some deeper meaning to search for or that it's not as silly as we remember. This is not a great movie.
However, that's only if we're looking at the "term" great in a certain context. Because if we are looking for something that delivers great performances, well, you get Robert Englund. That's about it. We get a few scares here and there too, a creepy set piece, that's about the extent of the horror.
I've been a fan of horror for almost three decades now, much of that time has been existing as a fan with the advent of the internet. So i've been seeing negativity on Freddy vs Jason for fifteen freaking years. I'm here to tell you, it just never made sense to me. I did not go into this movie expecting to be scared. I went in to watch two scary guys with bladed weapons who had dominated their respective playing fields for seventeen films across two franchises. I went in because this was a pipe dream. Never in a million years would I have expected to see in a majorly funded film, Freddy and Jason confront each other face to face. This was a playground argument. If you were lucky, this was a comic book crossover. But the dream master and the revenant challenging each other to fisticuffs on the big screen. No effing way was that ever going to happen.
But against all odds it did. In 2003. Twenty years after these horror icons had broke into the scene, they still carried enough weight to get a movie made based on this idea: "Freddy Kreuger fights Jason Voorhees." Then it got made. That's insane. That's a feat in itself. So you know what? I forgave the silly. I let go of the idea of some plot that made sense. I accepted the fact that Freddy was going to use some sort of incredible kung-fu to hold his ground against Jason. And I loved it. I loved every second of it.
When you put a little elbow grease in, you get to polishing and somethings just work. The death of Mark and his brother. The ultra glossy sheen of a rainy night when a total jackass gets bent in half post coitus in a wireframe bed. The entire rave scene. The energetic and bombastic dynamic of the fight scenes of characters switching between their places of power. Now that every film fan has a blog, critical analysis exists all over the place, on every phone, tablet, computer in the house. It's easy to look at Freddy vs Jason and remember Kelly Rowland's cringe-inducing jokes and the stoner jokes. God damn it, though. You have to remember this movie should not even exist. It's had all the chances of a snowball in hell, and it's a little slushy but it made it. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a thirteen year old who grew up on comic book crossovers, the legions of fans who spent countless hours of their lives having this exact argument, the monster kids who until then could only ask "what if?"
I saw Freddy beat up Jason and I saw Jason beat up Freddy.
So I walked out of Freddy vs Jason happy. I wasn't scared. I wasn't amazed. But I had a belly full of popcorn and soda and I was happy with it. I still am.