Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Celebrating 10 Years of Freddy Vs. Jason!

August 15 2003.

The world of horror changed forever. It was on this very day, a monumental film changed everyone's perception of what could be accomplished in film, no matter the hurdles and the production woes that a movie can experience in it's journey. A movie that essentially went through rewrite through rewrite, director after director, actor after actor, in all respects, this movie shouldn't have seen the light of day. And while I'm sure there are those who feel it shouldn't have seen the light of day, I feel that it's one of the most entertaining, action packed and overall fun horror movies in history. Today I pay tribute to...FREDDY VS. JASON.



This movie may be one of the most anticipated yet debated movies in history. For years, fans had been clamoring for a lethal showdown between the titans of slashers. And boy, since the mid 80s to even the early 2000s, rumors and stories would start swirling through many news sources, websites, and forums. It became such an on-and-off project, it would make Ghostbusters 3 look like the next installment in the Avengers series. And thanks to New Line acquiring the rights to Jason Voorhees and the Friday the 13th series in the early 90s, the possibilities were absolutely wide open to make this happen. But a problem arose. By the late 90s, both Freddy and Jason had become rather obsolete and the current trends in horror had passed both icons by. Throughout many attempts to revitalize both series with "New Nightmare", "Jason Goes To Hell" and "Jason X" in attempts to freshen up franchises, many thought the chances of the crossover film were doomed to development hell forever. Many thought the only way they'd see both on the screen was the surprise ending in Jason Goes To Hell...watch the video below and find out what I mean...



In late 2002/early 2003, New Line announced what we all had prayed and hoped would happen. After numerous meetings with different writers from different aspects of entertainment and many different directors and producers, Freddy Vs. Jason was entering production for a Summer 2003 target release date. Fans were so overjoyed and rejoicing all throughout the world. Finally, the debates of who is better, stronger and can stack the better body count will be settled forever. I was on several horror boards at the time and can remember multiple countdowns, a no-spoiler rule throughout all forums all while extreme speculation and rumors running faster than Superman after a trip to Taco Bell. Within moments of the first photo from the set, a photo of Robert Englund in full Freddy makeup and regalia holding a Jason mask, interest and excitement went up. The general movie going public was also excited. Many people who remember seeing both movies in their youth had gotten excited for the nostalgic trip that was no doubt going to generate tickets and indeed became one of the biggest movies of that year. When the first trailer finally hit, any skeptics were sold immediately.



For us loyalists this was going be a huge deal. The thought of Freddy beating Jason was a big hope for me. I'm sure others were hoping for Jason to send Freddy to dreamland permanently. Either way, fans were going to walk in excited and walked out pumped up. Director of 1998's Bride of Chucky, Ronny Yu was given the reigns and unenviable task of taking on the storytelling. Many ideas were thrown out in favor of the story we got. The most popular potential storylines usually involved a cult of Freddy-worshipping "Fred-Heads" bringing Freddy and Jason back from the dead. An even more outlandish (and disturbing) story involved Freddy having sex with Jason's mom thus making Freddy the father of ol' Hockey Mask. Thankfully that was thrown out. At the end of the day it was decided to make Jason the hitman of Freddy in the real world while regains power in the dream world. Young actors and actresses including Jason Ritter, Monica Keena and singer Kelly Rowland were cast as the newest of the Elm Street children. And in a controversial move, veteran stuntman Ken Kirzinger was cast as Jason. While many fans rallied against this because the initial thought would be fan-favorite Kane Hodder would be the Jason taking on Freddy, Ken pulled it off rather well considering how beloved Kane was. With a director, a great cast and a script written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, we were ready for opening day!

The new cast!


Sitting down in our seats, I had never been so anxious for the movie to start. And then, after what felt like a decade of trailers, we got to the movie. And then what happened next...well...as I said, is up for debate...

A lot of fans left the theatre a little unsatisfied but a lot of fans left very satisfied. Personally, I was one of the fans left happy with the final product. Many fans didn't like the ending, the lack of Freddy kills, the new young cast and the focus taken off the title characters. A lot of people said there was no real time spent between Freddy and Jason and no real climax to the fight between them. Personally, I couldn't love this movie anymore. I feel the story was, for what could be done, was great. I also feel that considering stories between Freddy and Jason had to be covered and since they were in different places(Jason in the real world and Freddy in dreamworld) it would've taken a lot worse of a turn. With all that was involved, the movie was executed perfectly. And, while some say the fight was a little too short, again, I couldn't disagree more. In fact, when the fight began, everyone in theater started applauding and cheering like they were at a WWE event. And even the director of the film, Ronny Yu, compared the fight scenes to a WWE match so a little cartooniness seemed to be the goal. And come on, people. that's the kinda fight between the two we would've wanted. If it were a downright massacre, it would've been over in twenty seconds and it would've had no heart. Check out the fight scenes below...


With an ending that left fans with a tease for a possible sequel, critics and fans gave mixed reviews. But the impact was huge. Even fans who were unsatisfied, speculated to a sequel. The most popular thought was Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash. Another rumored onscreen battle was Freddy vs. Jason vs. Leatherface. All fun ideas and theories, but at the end of the day no sequel was seen. And considering a lot of peoples negative feelings toward the film, it may be for the best. Although, Freddy vs. Jason did open the doors for an Alien vs. Predator film a year later, which had similar mixed results.

Freddy vs. Jason was the last hurrah for the original Elm Street and Friday the 13th series, as years later reboots would happen. And while we've yet to see sequels for the remakes, I feel Freddy vs. Jason was the perfect way to close out the legendary series. The two biggest icons of horror in the 80s finally got their swan song and were able to close their respective history books. History is often written by the victors, but I feel all fans won, even if most say they hated it.

I love Freddy Vs. Jason. I really do. in fact a big point of contention between my friends and I is who truly won: Freddy or Jason(obviously, I think Freddy won. Of course!). But at the end of the day, we got a 93 minute fun ride that we had all been hoping for years would happen but never expected to truly come to fruition.  Freddy vs. Jason may have been received with mixed reactions, but it was a movie that will stand the test of time. Many generations will be able to debate after watching this just as they did watching respective series before. And that's what will keep the legacies of both legendary killers going until the end of time.

So happy 10 years to Freddy vs. Jason. Don't forget to celebrate by getting a viewing in and don't forget to place your bets...




-Chad

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