Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

Freddy Vs. Jason

By Steve Anderson
April 16 , 2004

Everyone's been waiting for this one for years. 

And there are plenty of subtitles, in a variety of languages, along with a surfeit of extra features, so enjoy!

As far back as I can remember, horror fans have been waiting for a battle between the two biggest franchises, and the debate has gone on endlessly.  Just who would come out on top in such a battle?

Freddy has always had the edge of an incredible array of supernatural powers.  We've seen him appear and disappear semi-randomly.  We've seen him alter his appearance in any of a hundred ways.  We've seen him do things that only a cartoon character could do and take punishment that would kill any hundred men. 

Jason has always had his own edge, too.  His unequaled strength and sheer resiliency have allowed him to survive punishments that would topple buildings.  He moves with incredible stealth for a monstrosity of his size and build, sneaking up on victims with a silence more fitting for a classically trained ninja. 

And yet each comes with a set of weaknesses all their own.

Freddy is a roaring egomaniac, believing himself unbeatable when his history says otherwise.  On the rare occasions Freddy has been tricked into the real world, he's proven to be an utter pansy, getting soundly beaten by slight teenage girls armed with baseball bats.

And Jason is, in all honesty, an imbecile.  He's been tricked numerous times, including by a girl wearing his dead mother's sweater.  He's been lured into throwing himself from a hayloft onto rusty, pointy, farm equipment.

So thus, we get the contest of a lifetime, Freddy versus Jason.  Of course, it can't just start there.  A two-hour brawl would get downright dull after a while-watch boxing sometime, and ask yourself if YOU wouldn't get bored after round three hundred. We have to have a PLOT.  And a plot there is.

We start in director Ronny Yu's vision of Hell, which, continuity-wise, is a plot hole the size of Jason's boxer shorts.  Freddy is sitting nonchalantly in an oppressive, inky blackness in a zoom so tight it could win a wet t-shirt contest.  Never mind the end of "Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday" in which Freddy's clawed hand reaches up from a flaming crevasse in the ground to seize a temporarily fallen Jason's mask. 

He then proceeds to rant away about how everyone has forgotten him, sounding for all the world like a demonic version of Gloria Swanson.  But of course he has a plan-to trick Jason, whom everyone thought was dead a couple episodes back but somehow isn't.wait, did I just SAY that?  Am I glossing over an even BIGGER plot hole?

Yes.  I did.  And I am.

So now, Freddy, in a positively egomaniacal glee, is orchestrating a plot from beyond the grave to send Jason in the midst of Springwood.  And why?  So that Jason can start killing on a scale that is trademark Jason.  Everyone would blame Freddy for the murders and remember him, thus allowing him to leave the inky black hole that Ronny Yu decided to stick him in for the first five minutes of the film, presumably to conserve the special effects budget. 

I guess no one was supposed to notice the seven foot tall, three hundred and fifty pound troglodyte wandering away from every crime scene.  You know, the one dressed like the NHL's worst nightmare and carrying a machete that's bigger than Springwood High's place kicker?

And, as is the norm for most horror movies since the eighties, the plot holes go unnoticed by absolutely everybody long enough for Freddy to return in true Freddy style. 

Freddy gets a chance to take on Jason on his own turf-Jason's own nightmares.  And Jason's resiliency alarms Freddy.  Every person Freddy had ever taken on before in dreams died within a five-minute dream sequence.  But Jason simply will not die, regardless of the punishment Freddy inflicts on him.  Concussions, lacerations, a multiple-ton industrial furnace to the head.nothing stops Jason.  Freddy, in a growing state of mystified terror of Jason's capacity for injury on turf that Freddy should own, grows desperate.  Freddy throws every single punch he can think of, including playing Jason like a giant pinball with accompanying sound effects.  But then a key event happens.

Jason develops a roaring case of hydrophobia.  Yes.  Jason has suddenly become terrified of water.  I know what you're thinking.yes.yes.he almost DROWNED as a child. Sure he's afraid of water! 

But then those of us who've paid attention remember Jason walking full-bore, unstoppable as ever, THROUGH THE CENTER OF A LAKE.  This is not the behavior of a hydrophobic, proving conclusively that a drunken chimp was left in charge of the continuity. 

The teenagers whom Jason had been stalking in order to make Freddy's comeback tour a grim reality, however, have begun to figure that the devil they know is better than the dream demon they don't, and are thus setting up circumstances to pull Freddy out of his dream world and into the REAL one, where Jason can take a solid whack at him.  And indeed, it does work.  Freddy is now a fixture of the real world, and Jason is none too happy about the last twenty-odd minutes in which he took a greater beating than an Enron 401k plan.

And what a brawl it is.  Jason lifts Freddy bodily and runs him through a wall.  Horizontally.  Freddy slices through windows, siding, studs, and wallboard like a diamond carbide-tipped chainsaw running at two million RPM.  This of course should have torn the flesh-and-bone Freddy to bloody hunks.  But Freddy has apparently been doing Tae-Bo during his stay in Ronny Yu's inky black version of hell - he probably had a lot of time on his hands when he wasn't ranting about how everyone had forgotten him, and there's plenty of room for all the kicks and such-and is fighting back against Jason with a style and sheer verve that would make Jackie Chan wince in jealousy. 

Somehow Freddy is now a master of martial arts with a genius-level IQ that allows him to make all sorts of fancy strategic plans including using construction equipment to his best possible advantage.

But what Freddy had not counted on-and that every Jason fan knew was coming-was that Jason was just as strong, if not even MORE so, in the REAL world as he was in Freddy's little nightmare country.

Jason takes a beating that's even more preposterous in the real world than in the dream world.  He has heavy things dropped on him.  Canisters of pressurized oxygen, when full weighing probably a couple hundred pounds, are launched at him.  A stack of rebar is dropped on him from a height of three stories.

This is the most impressive of all, folks.  Rebar, for those of you who aren't commercial contractors or haven't had a basement built recently, is the collective term for long rods of typically iron or steel that are inserted into a concrete mold to lend it extra strength and resiliency.  They're typically about nine feet long and are cylindrical in shape.  So basically Jason has a stack of solid metal blunted spears dropped onto him.  Many actually penetrate Jason's limbs. 

And in traditional Jason style, this is just enough to slow him down.  He removes them himself.  Pulls them from his legs and continues on as if nothing had happened.  The brawl continues for some time to a climax that I won't give away, and with the addition of a surprise twist ending.

The DVD features deleted scenes which aren't necessary to the plot, and an additional ending which has even more of a surprise twist.

Some really interesting stuff makes an appearance throughout the movie...have a look around and see if you can spot these:

  • Children and their fear equal power for a matched pair of demons.an earlier installment of Nightmare on Elm Street declares all fans of Freddy as "his children."  Is this a surprise commentary from the directors on the nature of Hollywood's movements?

  • Goats appear occasionally with Freddy.classic Satanic harbingers.  Is this a hint about the nature of Freddy or something more sinister behind him?

  • 1428 is the first house number that appears in the film.  1+4+2+8 makes fifteen, or three fives.  Numerologists acknowledge the number five as the number representing death.

  • Ten missing child posters appear in a police lobby. One of the ten at the lower left corner is blank.  Again as before, we have the appearance of two fives, or two deaths.

  • A girl appears with her eyes destroyed makes a prophecy about upcoming events.  Why would Greek mythological characters make appearances in a movie geared toward an audience who likely isn't versed enough in Greek myth to catch the reference?

  • Mass-scale child druggings take place to prevent the kids from dreaming using a drug called "Hypnocil" from the Greek hypnos.  Again an appearance from the Greek.  Or is this a commentary on using drugs like Ritalin in schools?  When you watch the film, note that the children are handed Hypnocil in secrecy, never revealing the purpose of the medication.  What would be some ramifications if a school, or a town government, decided to do something similar to children today?

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line. 

Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com

Also: Check out Freddy, Jason and Me by Wil Forbis




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