The Quarantine Stream: 'Freddy vs. Jason' Brought Two Iconic Slashers Together With Silly Style
(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Movie: Freddy vs. Jason
Where You Can Stream It: Hulu and HBO Max
The Pitch: Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th series and A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Freddy Krueger finally meet face-to-face, and when they’re not battling each other, they’re brutally murdering a bunch of dumb teens played by people in their mid-3os.
Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: There’s a trashy joy to be had when watching Freddy vs. Jason. Like watching a garbage fire out under a sky full of brilliant stars, this film is both beautiful and hideous. With a script so nonsensical that it might as well not exist, Freddy vs. Jason is worth your time for one reason, and one reason only: it brings together two iconic slashes and allows them to beat the shit out of each other.
Freddy vs. Jason was decades in the making. As far back as 1987 there were plans to have the two immortal slasher villains meet face to face. The idea would knock around for years, with fans demanding the showdown to end all showdowns. The closest anyone got was a final scene in Jason Goes to Hell, when Freddy’s razor glove bursts up from the ground and sucks Jason’s hockey mask down into the ground (and into hell, I guess). That was in 1993.
It would still take another 10 years before the characters actually occupied the screen together. In 2003, Freddy vs. Jason hit theaters, and thrilled fans while repulsing everyone else. The reviews were merciless, but Freddy vs. Jason is pretty much what you’d call a critic-proof film. You can point out all of its faults, but then what? This is a film with zero fucks to give.
The premise: Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is in danger of fading away from memory because most of the Elm Street kids are either dead or have forgotten about him. If no one remembers Freddy in their dreams, Freddy can’t exist. His solution? To go down into hell and recruit Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger, a bit of casting that angered fans, since they were hoping previous Jason Kane Hodder would return) to be his puppet. It makes absolutely no sense, of course. If Freddy is the one who needs to be remembered, why the hell would he send Jason out to into the world? Go ahead, try to answer that. You can’t. And it doesn’t matter.
Jason starts slashing his way through a group of dumb kids, but Freddy eventually gets fed up with Jason’s bullshit. He tries to neutralize the Crystal Lake killer in a scene where he pretends to play a game of pinball, with Jason slamming off the walls as if he were the pinball (yes, this is a real scene in a real movie that was really released in theaters). As the film progresses, Jason kind of turns into the default hero. He’s certainly presented as a much more tragic figure than Freddy, and when the two meet again at the end of the film for a final fight, it’s Jason we’re rooting for.
And what a final fight it is. The two battle first in a burning cabin, and then on a burning dock. And oh yeah, before the fight begins, the film’s final girl character yells: “Freddy vs. Jason! Place your bets!” Who the fuck is she talking to? Us? I have no idea, and neither do you. And again: it doesn’t matter. We’re watching Jason Voorhees slash his machete at Freddy Krueger, and that’s more than enough.
Director Ronny Yu goes bonkers here, bathing the film in weird neon lights, reveling in the gore, and cranking up the nu-metal soundtrack. It’s dumb. It’s glorious. It’s Freddy vs. Jason.
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