I love Freddy vs Jason. I truly do. I adore the slasher epic that pitted the bane of the Springwood Homeowner Association against Crystal Lake's worst camp counselor. And not in a "Now, I know it's not a GOOD movie" way either. I believe that if you love something, no matter how much of a guilty pleasure it is, you love it because there are aspects that you think are legitimately good and entertaining. And I love Freddy vs Jason.
Released on August 13, 2003, Freddy vs Jason turned 15 this week, which means it's officially time for some kind of retrospective. In some ways, it has aged incredibly well. The premise of taking multiple pop culture characters and cramming them together, something that seemed downright revolutionary to me in 2003, is commonplace in 2018. I'm not saying that Captain America: Civil War is a ripoff of Freddy vs Jason, but also, I am.
So, in honor of Freddy vs Jason's 15th anniversary, I'm going to list the 15 best moments from the movie, in no particular order.
The Freddy montage
There are a lot of complaints that Freddy doesn't get much to do in Freddy vs Jason. He spends the first half of the movie hiring and then complaining about Jason, and only really gets in on the action later in the movie. But he gets the coolest set up in FvJ, with a montage of some of his most gruesome moments from the Nightmare on Elm Street flicks. It makes even the worst of those films look downright horrifying.
The fold-up bed
Despite the fact that the beginning of the movie sets up the Freddy and Jason plotline, the first real villain of the movie is Trey. He is basically a cartoon of an awful boyfriend, and his only good quality is that he likes... beer? Basically, the movie really wants you to want to see Trey get machete'd, and by the time it happens, you're practically dancing in the theater aisles in joy.
Blake is Trey's best friend. I don't know how they fit together because Blake is meek and awkward and Trey is like a roaring wave of sewage, but after Trey dies, Blake swears to get revenge. And then he falls asleep on his porch and when he wakes up, he finds his decapitated Dad beside him. Then, when Jason attacks Blake, Blake uses his Dad's head as a shield.
This entire character arc happens in literally two minutes, but that's the beauty of Freddy vs Jason. A lesser movie would make Blake's quest for revenge and his demise into an actual subplot. It would try to say something unnecessary about Blake's hubris. Freddy vs Jason presents the idea and then immediately counters with "No, that's not gonna work out, lil' buddy." I only wish that other movies could be that efficient in their storytelling.
Using a rave to grieve
Above all things, Freddy vs Jason did a great job of tricking me into thinking that I would be invited to way more parties in high school. The main characters, after losing two of their friends at a small get-together, decide to go to a party in a cornfield less than 24 hours later. Even when you're desperately grieving, you're still throwing down every day, apparently.
The dude that tries to beer Jason to death
This is a small detail, but I really appreciate the extra that starts to toss light amounts of beer on Jason when the killer confronts him. I don't know what his grand plan was, as running away would've been a much more effective option, but, as they say, some geniuses aren't appreciated in their time.
The closest that Freddy vs Jason gets to being an actual horror movie is in the scene where Freddy kills Mark. It stands out, mainly because the rest of the movie is full of jokes and Freddy karate and then we get two minutes of gore and misery and abject terror.
The highs and lows of Freeburg
I've written about Freeburg before, but I didn't mention;how little connection he has to the rest of the cast. Every other character in the main group has some kind of established relationship, but Freeburg was just the dude passing out flyers about the rave party. So, he's kind of hanging out with the lead characters while they try to find a way to stop Freddy and Jason. I'm sure that he could've picked a chiller way to spend his evening, but hey, sometimes you have to play the hand that you're dealt.
In this case, he was dealt the "Get high while the other characters are doing important stuff, have a hallucination of Freddy as the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, get infested by Freddy, ruin the other characters' goal, and then get cut in half by Jason." So, like, the worst hand possible.
The first fight between Freddy and Jason takes place in the dream world, which is Freddy's turf. Jason doesn't really stand a chance, and Freddy knows that, so Freddy uses this opportunity to humiliate him. He turns Jason into a hockey-masked pinball and pings him around the boiler room for a bit.
If you had any hope that this would be a film that takes itself seriously, this scene beautifully dashes them. But also, if you went into Freddy vs Jason hoping for a deep, introspective take on the nature of two franchise slasher villains finally colliding, I'm sorry to say that you might need to reevaluate how you approach movies in general.
Why was this look not used more in the movie? It reminds me of Freddy's appearance in Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Anyway, I love it. A bunch of thumbs up. And the Academy Award for Everything goes to This.
The guitars that slam on when Freddy is pulled into the real world
I'm a simple creature. I like manga, tequila, my cattle dog Elmer, and I like when rad early 2000s guitars suddenly smash their way into the soundtrack to indicate that a fight is about to happen.
Freddy's head smashes through multiple windows
(See #10 for video)
In high school, I wrote a script JUST so I could include a scene where a character runs another character's head through a line of windows. Freddy vs Jason actually inspired me artistically. It is literally my muse.
(See the video for #10 again. There's a lot happening here.)
Usually, the geeky character in a slasher film dies being impaled in the face by something. They very rarely slowly bleed out to death by themselves in the woods while creey piano music plays in the background. Mind you, this creepy piano happens immediately after that rad battle guitar explosion, so I'm not sure how to feel anymore. This movie is a rollercoaster.
Can one describe the beauty of a sunrise? How about the first time you saw the love of your life? Can you accurately explain the way that you felt when you first laid eyes on your child? No, you can't.
And that's why any explanation of this clip will be doing it an injustice. You just have to watch it and experience it for yourself. Eat it, Stanley Kubrick. You WISH you could've made Freddy vs Jason.
Death by your own arm
Freddy Krueger gets impaled by his own arm at the end of this film. I remember seeing this scene in theaters, and as soon as the camera tilted down to reveal that it was actually a hand sticking out of Freddy's chest, the girl behind me whispered "Oh, it's his HAND? THAT'S cool."
Same, girl sitting behind me in a movie theater in rural North Carolina in 2003. Same.
Sadly, there was never a Freddy vs Jason 2. Apparently, there were plans for one where Ash from the Evil Dead series showed up and knocked off Freddy for good, but they could never quite put the thing together. A comic series, Freddy vs Jason vs Ash was published in 2007, and while it was pretty entertaining, the overwhelming geek inside of me wishes that it had been a movie.
So the wink is what we're left with, and it makes me wonder: What would Jason do with Freddy's head? Would it just sit on his mantle as a trophy? Or would he keep it around and use it kind of like an Alexa. I think that would be pretty awesome, if a little limited.
"Freddy, play Dokken's 'Dream Warriors' again, as it's the only song you can play."