Thursday, April 29, 2010

Elm Street Week Day 6: The One With Jason

I know, I know...I'm late.  I should have had this one up last night and I never got to it thanks to a large buildup of Netflix discs and long rehearsals....we're doing our spring musical right now, so I obviously have no life.  So I'm just gonna cheat and do this one today and part 7 tomorrow, which should work just fine.  Anyhoo, this is part 8 of this series, but also part 11 of another.  Yes, the infamous match-up between Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger...an idea that had started as a fanboy's wet dream (no pun intended) and then morphed into a real idea that was trapped in development hell for years.  Many of us thought it would never happen, and for a long long time it didn't.  However, when Scream revived horror in the 90s and the 80s icons like Michael Myers began being brought back...then it seemed that the time was ripe for Freddy and Jason to retake the scene.  Finally in 2003, almost 20 years since the original Elm Street opened, horror fans got to see the battle they had been waiting years for.  The only question was, was it worth the wait? Lets find out as we examine Freddy vs. Jason.

It has been years since Freddy last terrorized the children of Springwood.  All of the evidence of him has been covered up and no one speaks his name anymore.  Turns out, fear of him kept him alive for all those years and without the stories and whispers of his existence, he wasn't able to draw power from the fear.  So he has been confined to wandering Hell, where he has found the perfect tool for continuing his reign of terror...Jason Voorhees.  It seems that Jason, for all of his evil deeds, has been rewarded with an endless killing spree in Hell that looks just like Camp Crystal Lake.  Freddy creeps into his subconscious and impersonates his mother, telling him to go to Springwood and kill the kids there.  Jason starts killing, and the adults naturally assume that Krueger is back.  The whispers start, and the lead kids led by Lori and her friend Kia begin to dream of Krueger...giving him the power to come back.  However, when Jason starts taking victims from Freddy and hogging all the carnage, Freddy decides that this town isn't big enough for the both of them.  This gives the kids the idea to pit the two monsters against each other, setting the stage for a battle of epic proportions.  Freddy vs. Jason...place your bets.

Freddy vs. Jason is one of those horror sequels, like The Rage: Carrie 2, that is much better than it has any right to be, considering its concept.  I mean the whole idea is an excuse to get two horror icons together in a battle akin to the Universal Monsters pairings back in the day, and yet the screenwriters really took the time to make the story plausible.  Well, plausible within the realms of the slasher film.  I mean, we are expected to believe that one can drive from central Ohio to Crystal Lake, New Jersey (yes, that's where Crystal Lake is) in a matter of hours and that Jason, who cannot be killed, can be tranquilized.  However, the setup is very clever...I thought...having Freddy use Jason to kill kids for him like Frankenstein's monster, and then finding it very hard to turn his monster off once he's started.  Also, the screenwriters sneak in some fun references to fans of the Elm Street series, such as having all the kids at Westin Hills (the hospital from Part 3) on the dream suppressant Hypnocil (which Nancy used in Part 3).  They also are sure to have Lori living in the newly remodeled 1428 Elm Street (Nancy's and Freddy's house).  There are some things that weigh the movie down, like a subplot involving Lori's father who may or may not have killed her mother (did we really have any doubt about the turnout?) and the stoner character who is a rip off of Kevin Smith's Jay character.  It also would have been nice if they had gotten Betsy Palmer to return as Mrs. Voorhees, but I understand she wanted too much money to do it.  It also moves a little too fast, I'd have liked to see a film that was two hours long rather than a brisk hour and a half...it would have given us more time to get to know the characters and might have saved us a few illogical jumps.  However, as I said before, for a film that was just made for fanboys...it was surprisingly good.  I still enjoy watching it even now...and the battle at the end is everything that you would hope for.  I won't spoil the ending, but I will say that its a lulu.  Tomorrow, I'll backtrack to part 7 and explain why I saved it for last and also why its my favorite of all the Freddy films.  Until then, enjoy life and get plenty of rest...because tomorrow, the terror doesn't stop at the screen.

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