Freddy vs. Jason
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|Freddy vs. Jason|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ronny Yu|
|Written by||Damian Shannon|
by Wes Craven
|Music by||Graeme Revell|
|Edited by||Mark Stevens|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$114.9 million|
Freddy vs. Jason (alternatively known as A Nightmare on Friday the 13th) is a 2003 American slasher film directed by Ronny Yu and written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift. The film is a spin-off crossover between A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th series, and pits Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees against each other in the eighth and eleventh installments in their respective series. The film is also the last in both A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th series 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 following his death and subsequent imprisonment in Hell for his sins. To regain his power and freedom, Freddy resurrects Jason (Ken Kirzinger) and manipulates him into 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 him of potential victims. This ultimately sends the two undead monsters into a violent conflict.
Freddy vs. Jason was released in the United States on August 15, 2003. It grossed $114 million, making it the highest-grossing film in the Friday the 13th series and the second-highest-grossing film in A Nightmare on Elm Street series. It is however the second highest-grossing film in the Friday the 13th series but the highest-grossing film in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series with $174 million when adjusted for inflation. The film is Englund's final canonical appearance as Freddy Krueger, though he did appear as the character in an episode of The Goldbergs.
In September 2003, four years after The Final Nightmare and three months after The Final Friday, Freddy Krueger is rendered powerless in Hell because the people of Springwood manage to make the youth forget about him. Disguised as Pamela Voorhees, Freddy manipulates Jason Voorhees into coming back to life and start killing Springwood teenagers to generate fear of Freddy's presumed return. In Springwood, Lori Campbell lives with her widowed father and has her friends Kia Waterson, Gibb Smith, Trey, and Blake staying over. That night, Jason kills Trey, and the police suspect Freddy, fearing his return. Following a nightmare where Freddy tries to kill Blake but fails due to not being powerful enough, Blake awakens to find his father beheaded before Jason kills him as well. The next day, police claim it to be a murder–suicide, hoping to contain Freddy.
Lori's ex-boyfriend Will Rollins and friend Mark Davis are patients at Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital. They take Hypnocil to suppress their dreams due to previous contact with Freddy. A news report about the murders motivate Mark and Will to escape and return to Springwood in order to warn Lori about Freddy. That night, Lori and the others attend a rave at a cornfield. Freddy tries to kill Gibb in a nightmare, but Jason kills her in the real world along with several other attendees, which causes Freddy to realize that Jason's rampage will deny him victims.
Charlie Linderman and Bill Freeburg escape the rave along with Will, Lori, and Kia. Later, Will explains to Lori that the reason he was sent to Westin Hills was because he saw her father murder her mother, before going to Mark's house. However, they discover Freddy killing Mark and leaving a message on his body that declares his return. Deputy Scott Stubbs approaches Lori and her friends, who realize Freddy's plan and convince him of the truth. Learning of Hypnocil, they attempt to steal it from Westin Hills and see many teenagers in a coma-like-state due to prolonged Hypnocil use, but Freddy possesses Freeburg and disposes of the medicine. Having followed them, Jason electrocutes Stubbs to death but is tranquilized by a possessed Freeburg, whom Jason kills before falling asleep.
Taking Jason's body with them, the teens devise a plan to pull Freddy from the dream world into reality and force him to fight Jason. They take the unconscious Jason to the now abandoned Camp Crystal Lake. Meanwhile, Freddy battles Jason in the dream world. where Freddy has the advantage due to his dream powers. Freddy learns that Jason is afraid of water (a plot device that contradicts earlier Friday the 13th films with the exception of "Jason Takes Manhattan") and uses this fear to render Jason powerless. Meanwhile, Lori goes to sleep and tries to save Jason. Freddy attacks her and reveals himself as her mother's killer, having possessed her father to do it.
Jason awakens at Camp Crystal Lake and chases the teens into a cabin. Linderman is killed after trying to fight Jason and the cabin ignites. Lori is awakened and manages to pull Freddy into the real world where he is confronted by Jason. As the two begin to fight, the remaining teens escape the cabin.
Freddy escapes Jason and goes after the teens, but he is distracted by Kia—until Jason suddenly kills her. The two killers resume their battle until they reach a dock on the lake, where Freddy stabs Jason's eyes, and Jason tears off Freddy's clawed arm. Lori and Will attempt to kill the two by pouring gasoline on the dock and setting it ablaze. Some propane tanks explode nearby, blasting Jason and Freddy into the lake. Freddy climbs out and attempts to kill Lori and Will, but is impaled by Jason with his own clawed arm before the latter falls back into the lake. Lori decapitates Freddy, avenging the deaths of her friends and her mother. Freddy's body falls into the lake and sinks to the bottom. Lori and Will leave Camp Crystal Lake as the only survivors.
The next day, Jason emerges from the water, holding his machete and Freddy's severed head. However, Freddy winks to the audience before laughing off-screen.
- Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger
- Ken Kirzinger as Jason Voorhees
- Monica Keena as Lori Campbell
- Kelly Rowland as Kia Waterson
- Jason Ritter as Will Rollins
- Chris Marquette as Charlie Linderman
- Lochlyn Munro as Deputy Scott Stubbs
- Katharine Isabelle as Gibb Smith
- Brendan Fletcher as Mark Davis
- Zack Ward as Bobby David
- Spencer Stump as Young Jason
- Kyle Labine as Bill Freeburg
- David Kopp as Blake
- Jesse Hutch as Trey
- Tom Butler as Dr. Campbell
- Garry Chalk as Sheriff Williams
- Paula Shaw as Pamela Voorhees
Zack Ward makes an appearance as Bobby Davis, Mark's older brother. A then-unknown Evangeline Lilly has a brief walk-on role as a high school student, and professional wrestler Óscar Gutiérrez, better known by his ring name Rey Mysterio, briefly serves as Englund's stunt double for a sequence set in Freddy Krueger's iconic boiler room lair. New Line Cinema studio chief Robert Shaye, who served as producer on every preceding A Nightmare on Elm Street film, appears as the school principal, credited as L.E. Moko.
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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. 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 Nightmare on Elm Street. 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. 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. Cunningham's "frustration" with the delayed development of the Freddy vs. Jason project forced him to create another sequel titled Jason X in an effort to keep the series 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. 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 series at the domestic box office; it also held the distinction of having the largest budget of any of the previous films at that time.
According to writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon, several endings were considered for the film. One of the unused endings involved Pinhead of the Hellraiser franchise; however, New Line was discontent with securing the rights to the character. New Line believed Freddy vs. Jason needed a fresh start, and chose a new actor for Jason. Cunningham disagreed with their decision, believing Kane Hodder was the best choice for the role. 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. According to Hodder, New Line didn't 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. The role eventually went to Ken Kirzinger, a Canadian stuntman 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, but also believes he was simply sized up and handed the job. 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.
Douglas Tait portrayed Jason for a reshot ending. In an interview, Tait explained the reason for the reshoot saying, "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." 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."
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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, soundtrack promo 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. 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.
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On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 41% based on 158 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." 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". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
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.
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