Yes, the time has come for Freddy Vs. Jason, the 2003 monster mash that pitted these two terror titans against each other for our amusement. While fans of Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees were not happy that long time helmsman Kane Hodder did not don the hockey mask here(stuntman Ken Kirzinger took up the gruesome mantle instead), NOES fans were thrilled to have Englund back on board for this one.
It's no surprise that Freddy turns out to be the more conniving of the two, using his old "you've got the body, I've got the brain" trick to convince Jason to rise from his undead grave in order to frighten the children of Elm Street into thinking about Freddy again:
It seems that the town of Springwood has worked hard to erase Kruegar from the local lore, even using Hypnocil(a throwback reference to Dream Warriors) on kids in a nearby mental hospital in order to squash any stubborn dreamers in their midst.
The set-up there is interesting but not fully developed, a small complaint to be sure. One long time debate amongst fans of both series is how to get these bad boys in the same space at the same time;Freddy is a dream demon ,so how can Jason fight him? Well, that involves some tweaking as Freddy finds Jason in hell and while our Mr. Voorhees is undead, he can be in states of unconsciousness there. That's a bit of a stretch but it works well enough.
Freddy's abilities are slightly upgraded, due to his name being bandied about during Jason's kill spree in Springwood, and he even is able at one point to possess the body of a stoner(who is an out and out Jason Mewes of Jay and Silent Bob fame stand-in) in order to knock out his new found ally. With Jason's kills interfering with Freddy's need for soul feeding, their first big battle is in the dream world, where Kruegar has the home field advantage:
Lori, for example, is mostly a screaming meenie, much like Kate Capshaw was in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom(and believe me, I was hoping that Kate would get dunked in the lava pit by the end there). Sure, she attempts some flashes of brilliance but they seem to come out of no where.
in her debut performance) is mainly annoying at best.
The guys don't fare any better, with the one exception being lovelorn nerd Linderman, whose death is a result of making a bold stand against Jason to protect Kia(who had been taunting him for most of the film). You do actually feel sorry for the poor guy in his last moments.
As glad as I am that the" having a woman be part of the Freddy's demise" standard is held up in FVJ, it would have been nice if she had been more of a force to be reckoned with:
Director Ronny Yu was a great choice, particularly since he had previously revived the Child's Play sequels with his quirky Bride of Chucky. Yu had a good playful approach to the material that didn't skimp on the scares(Jason's fiery attack in the corn field was a strong visual sequence) and made this whole crazy thing as much fun as watching a pro wrestling match on TV.
There had been talk of a sequel(one of the proposed endings of FVJ was to have Pinhead step in to break up their rematch in hell) but I'm not sure it will happen at this point. That's just as well, since FVJ was a good enough send-off to both characters in my opinion.
This concludes my Year of Freddy Fear and much thanks to all who have followed this pop culture quest of mine. Hope you had a good scary time with me and thanks also belongs to Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp,Lisa Wilcox and the numerous others who made the Elm Street films as menacingly magical as they are. I highly recommend checking out the documentary Never Sleep Again for more insight into how these films were made.
As for Freddy Vs. Jason, I feel that this film was more of a true finale for NOES fans than Freddy's Dead was(but New Nightmare scores higher in the artistic category) and it was grand to have one last deadly dance with this devilish dream man, even if he did have some odd company to keep: