Freddy vs. Jason

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Freddy vs. Jason
Freddy vs. Jason movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ronny Yu
Produced by
Written by
  • Damian Shannon
  • Mark Swift
Based on Characters 
by Wes Craven
& Victor Miller
Starring
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography Fred Murphy
Edited by Mark Stevens
Production
company
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
  • August 15, 2003 (2003-08-15)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million[1]
Box office $114.9 million[1]

Freddy vs. Jason is a 2003 American slasher film directed by Ronny Yu and written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. The film is a crossover between the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises and pits Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger against each other in the eleventh and eighth installments in their respective series. The film is also the last film in both the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises before they were both rebooted.

In the film, Freddy (Robert Englund) has grown incapable of haunting people's dreams as the citizens of Springwood, Ohio, have mostly forgotten about him. To regain his power, Freddy manipulates Jason (Ken Kirzinger) into resurrecting himself and traveling to Springwood to cause panic and fear, leading to rumors that Freddy has returned. However, while Jason succeeds in causing enough fear for Freddy to haunt the town again, Jason angers Freddy by depriving Krueger of his potential victims. This ultimately sends the two undying monsters into a violent conflict.

This film marked Englund's final appearance to date as Freddy Krueger, and it was the first since Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood not to feature Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees. The film was the debut of Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland as an actress.

Plot[edit]

Freddy Krueger has been rendered powerless and trapped in Hell as the residents of Springwood have forgotten about him. Under the disguise of Jason Voorhees' mother, Freddy manipulates Jason into killing Springwood teenagers, to rebuild the populace's fear of him and restore his strength.

Lori Campbell now lives with her widowed father at 1428 Elm Street. Her friends Kia, Gibb, Trey, and Blake, are spending the night there. Jason kills Trey by stabbing him and folding him in half. The murder's gruesomeness and the fact it happened in bed cause police to speculate Freddy was responsible. Later, following a nightmare, Blake awakens to discover his beheaded father beside him before Jason appears and kills Blake. The next day, the police say Blake committed the murders then committed suicide, hoping to prevent Freddy from regaining his stength.

Lori's ex-boyfriend Will Rollins and his friend Mark Davis, the last people to have had contact with Freddy, are patients at Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital, forced to take Hypnocil to suppress their dreams. A news report of the murders prompts Mark to devise a successful escape plan. He and Will return to Springwood, where Mark informs Lori and the others about Freddy. Mark later learns of the city's plan to erase Freddy by making the population forget about him and realizes he may have ruined their plan. That night, Lori and the others attend a rave at a cornfield. A drunken Gibb believes she sees Trey and follows him to a silo that turns out to be a dream trap set by Freddy. But before Freddy can kill Gibb, Jason, who has arrived at the rave to slaughter partygoers, kills Gibb in the real world. Dismayed at the loss of his victim, Freddy realizes Jason will not stop stealing his potential victims.

Linderman, a classmate with a crush on Lori, and stoner Freeburg escape the rave unharmed along with Lori, and Kia. Lori confronts her father about her mother's death and traps him in a lie. She and Will go to Mark's house, only to discover Freddy attacking Mark. Deputy Stubbs suspects there is a copycat Jason murderer, but his suspicions fall on deaf ears. He approaches Lori and her friends, who piece together Freddy's plan. Learning of the Hypnocil, they steal a supply of it from Westin Hills. But Freddy possesses Freeburg and disposes of the drugs. After electrocuting Stubbs, Jason is tranquilized by the Freddy-possessed Freeburg, whom Jason cuts in half before succumbing to the drugs.

The teens devise a plan to pull Freddy from the dream world and force the two killers to battle each other. They take the unconscious Jason to Crystal Lake; should he defeat Freddy there, he'll already be back home and will not come after the teens. Meanwhile, Freddy battles Jason in the dream world. Freddy has the advantage of his dream powers but even here, Jason seems indestructible. However upon discovering Jason's fear of water, he uses it to pull him into a nightmare of his drowning as a child. Lori enters the dream world to retrieve Freddy, saving Jason in the process. Enraged, Freddy attacks Lori, and reveals he was the one who killed her mother.

In the real world, Jason awakens and chases the others into a cabin. Linderman is mortally wounded. The cabin catches fire, and Lori's hand is dragged through flames, causing her to wake up and pull Freddy from her dream into the real world. Jason begins to fight Freddy while the others escape, and throws Freddy through the roof of another cabin.

Linderman dies, and Lori, Will and Kia encounter Freddy. Kia distracts Freddy by taunting him until Jason suddenly appears and kills her. As Lori and Will escape, the two monsters begin their final battle. An attempt to ram a mine cart into Jason goes wrong and both of them are hit and land on the boardwalk. There, Jason tears Freddy's arm off while Freddy manages to stab Jason's eyes. Lori and Will ignite propane tanks that blow Freddy and Jason into the lake. Freddy climbs out and makes one final attempt to kill Lori and Will. Before this can happen, Jason saves them by using Freddy's own claw arm to impale him through the chest, before collapsing back into the lake from his injuries. After yelling "Welcome to my world Bitch!" (Freddy's quote), Lori decapitates Freddy before dropping the machete into the water where Jason is sinking.

Finally at peace with their past, Lori and Will leave Crystal Lake together. Later on, however, Jason emerges from the lake holding the severed head of Freddy, which winks at the audience and laughs.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Influenced by fans' desire for a crossover film depicting a fight between the two icons, New Line and Paramount tried to make a Freddy vs. Jason movie in 1987. But the two studios failed to agree on a story or what to do with the two franchises. When Jason Takes Manhattan failed to perform successfully at the box office, Sean Cunningham decided that he wanted to reacquire the rights to Friday the 13th and start working with New Line Cinema on Freddy vs. Jason, as New Line owned the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The concept of a fight between Freddy and Jason was not new; Paramount had approached New Line about filming a crossover years before the latter had gained the licensing rights to Friday the 13th. At that time, both companies wanted the license to the other's character so that they could control the making of the film. Negotiations on the project were never finalized, which led Paramount to make The New Blood. After Jason Takes Manhattan was released in 1989 the rights reverted to Scuderi, Minasian and Barsamianto, who sold them to New Line. Before Cunningham could start working on Freddy vs. Jason, Wes Craven returned to New Line to make New Nightmare. This effectively put Freddy vs. Jason on hold, but allowed Cunningham the chance to bring Jason back into the spotlight with Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.[2] The ninth installment "turned a healthy profit", though it was only intended to open the door for a crossover with Freddy Krueger, rather than start a new series for New Line.[3] Ultimately, the film series would go through another sequel before that would happen. Cunningham's "frustration" with the delayed development of the Freddy vs. Jason project forced him to create another sequel in an effort to keep the franchise in the minds of audiences. Based on Jason Takes Manhattan's concept of taking Jason away from Crystal Lake, the tenth film would put the titular character in space.[4] The film suffered from the loss of its biggest supporter, President of Production Michael De Luca, when he resigned from his position. Lack of support forced the finished film to sit for two years before finally being released on April 26, 2002; it would go on to become the lowest grossing film in the franchise at the domestic box office; it also held the distinction of having the largest budget of any of the previous films at that time.[5]

After more than fifteen years of off-and-on development and approximately $6 million spent in eighteen unused scripts from more than a dozen screenwriters, New Line finally produced Freddy vs. Jason for 2003. One of the biggest hurdles for the film was developing a story that managed to bring the two horror icons together. Potential stories varied widely, from 2 different drafts: 1 was titled "The Millennium Massacre" where Freddy was revealed to at one time be a counselor at Camp Crystal Lake and molested Jason as a child, and another dealt with a cult called the "Fred Heads" who were going to sacrifice a little girl to Freddy, leading to the girl's older sister putting her dead boyfriend's heart in Jason's body to fight Freddy and rescue her younger sister.

According to writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon several endings were considered for the film, one of the unused endings involving Pinhead of Hellraiser fame, and finally producer Robert Shaye came up with his idea which was acceptable for everyone.[citation needed]

Casting controversy[edit]

New Line believed Freddy vs. Jason needed a fresh start and chose a new actor for Jason. Cunningham disagreed with their decision, believing Hodder was the best choice for the role.[6] Hodder did receive the script for Freddy vs. Jason, and had a meeting with director Ronny Yu and New Line executives, but Matthew Barry and Yu felt the role should be recast to fit Yu's image of Jason.[6] According to Hodder, New Line failed to provide him with a reason for the recasting, but Yu has explained he wanted a slower, more deliberate Jason, and less of the aggressive movements that Hodder had used in the previous films.[7] Yu and development executive Jeff Katz recognized the outcry among fans over the replacement of Hodder as Jason, but stood by their choice in recasting.[6] The role eventually went to Ken Kirzinger, a Canadian stuntperson who worked on Jason Takes Manhattan. There are conflicting reports over the reason Kirzinger was cast. According to Yu, Kirzinger was hired because he was taller than Robert Englund, the actor who portrays Freddy Krueger. Kirzinger stands 6' 5" (196 cm), compared to the 6' 3" (191 cm) of Kane Hodder. Yu wanted a much larger actor to tower over the 5' 9" (175 cm) Englund. Kirzinger believes his experience on Part VIII helped him land the part, as Kirzinger doubled for Hodder on two scenes for the film,[6] but also believes he was simply sized up and handed the job.[7] Although he was hired by the crew, New Line did not officially cast Kirzinger until first seeing him on film. Kirzinger's first scene was Jason walking down Elm Street. New Line wanted a specific movement in Jason's walk; Kirzinger met their expectations and signed a contract with the studio.[6] Even though Hodder expresses some resentment at not being chosen, he and Kirzinger are still good friends, and some fans think Kirzinger's Jason surpasses Hodder's Jason.[8] However, even Kirzinger did not perform the role throughout the entire film. In the memorable final scene where Jason emerges from the water holding Freddy's head in his hand, the role was played by another actor, 6'5" (196 cm) Douglas Tait. Almost a year after originally auditioning for Yu, Tait was called in for the reshoot of the climactic closing sequence.[9][10][11]

Regarding Hodder, Yu says he had no problems about him and says he likes his work as Jason in the previous films. However, he says it was ultimately New Line's decision to exclude Hodder, not his. Many of the New Line executives working on the film persist on stating that excluding Hodder was Yu's idea. These conflicting statements may imply New Line regrets not hiring Hodder.[12]

In an interview, Tait explained the reason for the reshoot. He said, "Unfortunately for me, it was the only scene I was hired to do. The test audiences were confused about the original ending, they thought Jason Ritter’s character was becoming Jason [sic]. You can see it in the deleted scenes, that is why they decided to reshoot the ending. Originally I was being considered for playing the role of Jason in the entire film. It was actually between me and Ken. When they took the film to Canada, I was out of luck. There was no way they were going to pay for my flight and hotel stay when Ken was a local. Also, Ken is older than me and he was a lot more established in the business than I was at the time."[13] Describing the scene, Tait said "I was on the film for a couple days. The water sequence took a lot of preparation. They realized that when I got wet, I looked too skinny in the clothes, so they had to bulk me up with pads and extra clothing so it would look like I was still big. Being with all this extra weight, one eye covered, a machete in one hand, Freddy’s head in another hand, and being totally submerged in water, made that scene very difficult. Also, Ronny Yu wanted me to walk like I was walking on land. He wanted it to look like I could walk through the water without it making me rise to the surface. To do this effect, they had a rope tied under water that I held onto with my left hand (with Freddy’s severed head in it also), and I held myself down on the ground so I could pull myself and walk forward."[13]

Music[edit]

Distribution[edit]

Novelization[edit]

Publishing company Black Flame released a novelization of the film on July 29, 2003.[14] It was written by Stephen Hand, who also penned the novelization for New Line's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre the next year. The book, as with many other novelizations Black Flame published for New Line, follows closely the plot of the film with a few alterations. For example, the novelization utilizes the original ending where Will turns into Freddy when he is about to have sex with Lori.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS and DVD as part of New Line's Platinum Series on January 13, 2004. The DVD release featured a second disc of bonus content that included: audio commentary by Ronny Yu, Ken Kirzinger, and Robert Englund, deleted and alternate scenes with commentary, Ill Niño's music video to "How Can I Live", trailers and TV spots, and behind the scenes featurettes.

The film was released on UMD on October 4, 2005 and on Blu-ray September 8, 2009. The Blu-ray contained the same features as the original Platinum Edition DVD.[15] The film was also released as part of a 9-disc pack of all twelve Friday the 13th films on Blu-ray and a Triple Feature Blu-ray pack with the Friday and Nightmare remakes.

The film's distribution rights were transferred to Warner Bros. in 2008.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend, Freddy vs. Jason grossed $36.4 million, finishing first at the box office. It went on to gross $82.6 million in North America and $32.3 million in other territories for a total of $114.9 million, against a $30 million budget.

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 41% based on 153 reviews and an average rating of 4.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Fans of the two horror franchises will enjoy this showdown. But for everyone else, it's the same old slice and dice".[16] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has an average score of 37 out of 100 based on 29 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[17]

Accolades[edit]

Doug Chapman and Melvin Martinez were nominated for the Best Fire Stunt in the Taurus World Stunt Awards 2004 for the double full body burn and wire stunt. Doug Chapman doubled for Robert Englund as Freddy and Glenn Ennis doubled for Ken Kirzinger as Jason in the stunt.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Freddy Vs. Jason"
  2. ^ Bracke, Peter, pp.218–219
  3. ^ Bracke, Peter, pg. 238
  4. ^ Bracke, Peter, pp.242–243
  5. ^ Bracke, Peter, pp.263–264
  6. ^ a b c d e Bracke, Peter, pp. 280–286
  7. ^ a b Grove, David, p. 217
  8. ^ His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th
  9. ^ Best Creature Performers. The Top Tens. 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  10. ^ No Long Faces Allowed!!: The Exclusive BGHF Interview with Freddy Vs. Jason's Awesome Douglas Tait! Big Gay Horror Fan. December 18, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2011.[unreliable source?]
  11. ^ Full Cast and Crew for Freddy vs. Jason (2003) Internet Movie Database. 1990-2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  12. ^ Crystal Lake Memories: pg. 281
  13. ^ a b Interview: Douglas Tait (Jason Voorhees, ‘Freddy vs Jason’) fridaythe13thfilms.com October 14, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  14. ^ "Freddy vs. Jason novelization". amazon.com. Retrieved November 12, 2010. 
  15. ^ Calonge, Juan (13 May 2009). "Warner Announces Ten Catalog Titles for September". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  16. ^ "Freddy vs. Jason Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Freddy vs. Jason: Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  18. ^ Taurus Award Archive

External links[edit]