Sunday, October 28, 2018

He May Get the Blood, but I'll Get the Glory...

Fans had been clamoring to see Freddy Kreuger battle Jason Vorhees for a good decade, ever since Jason Goes to Hell (1993) ended with Freddy’s claw pulling Jason’s mask into the Earth. At first, pitting these two against one another sounds like a simple matter, but Freddy and Jason really occupy different narrative spaces. Jason is a killing machine that bulldozes his way through other characters’ stories. He’s a walking morality play, there to punish people for their transgressions. Freddy, on the other hand, weaves himself into the lives of other characters. He is as often interested in corrupting as he is in killing someone. Jason very much occupies a visceral world of meat and blood. Freddy exists somewhere ephemeral that becomes real. How do you get them together? We’ve seen Freddy in the real world, but does Jason Vorhees even dream?

With that in mind, Freddy vs. Jason (2003) had a tough balancing act: tell a coherent story with two very different characters, and do them enough justice to keep fans engaged while not totally alienating someone who didn’t know the ins and outs of both killers. Of the two, Jason gets the most rewriting to make the story work. He’s more sympathetic and he’s afraid of water, but Jason is mostly a blank slate of a character so if there was a sacrifice to make this was probably the best place to do it. I think the most important thing the film keeps in mind is that Freddy fighting Jason is inherently kind of goofy and it treats its subject matter accordingly.

The ultimate question is who really won?

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