Recently our Editor in Chief Andrew Grevas hosted a panel discussion between four 25YL staffers on Freddy vs Jason, the 2003 film that finally pitted the horror icons against each other, after years of rumors and anticipation. The panel for this discussion (Martin Hearn, Anthony Divers, Holiday Godfrey and Jason Sheppard) had a wide variety of opinions which made for a lively discussion. Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments.
Andrew: The rumors of a Freddy vs Jason film date all the way back to before Friday the 13th Part 7. When New Line purchased the Friday the 13th franchise and released Jason Goes To Hell, the film ended on a cliffhanger teasing the match-up and then there was silence on the rumor front for years. Did you think we would ever get to see these two horror icons clash in a film?
Holiday: I was 5 when Jason Goes To Hell came out, so I didn’t have many opinions on it for a while. When Freddy vs Jason finally came out, it seemed like the natural path had been followed. Since horror has never been as well funded as other genres of film though, when I see a good horror film that has an ending that could lead to a sequel, I regretfully don’t hold my breath.
Anthony: I’m the same as Holiday in that I didn’t remember the hint from Jason Goes To Hell, so I didn’t know that it was a possibility until the film was announced. I used to read the Alien vs Predator comics a lot though when I was younger—I was obsessed with Alien—and I remember discussing with my nerd friends who we would like to see face off. When the trailer came out, it was like a childhood dream come true.
Jason: I believe it was the success of Scream in ’96 that lead to studios wanting to look at the “let’s slice up some pretty teenagers” genre again. At the same time, New Line, who owned both franchises, was moving away from horror and more towards films like Austin Powers and Boogie Nights but Scream was ushering in a new generation of horror and I figured it wouldn’t be long until Freddy vs Jason was finally made. I think Jason X did well enough to get the wheels in motion for the only film fans of both Jason and Freddy really wanted to see.
Martin: I always suspected it would happen in some respect, not necessarily a full-blown film like what we got. I thought it might be a series of cameos like we had already seen. Some horror franchises don’t know when to stop and both of these were in high numbers so I suppose it was inevitable the crossover would happen.
Andrew: Once the film was announced, what expectations did you have for the film?
Martin: I must admit I had very few. By that point, I think both franchises should have called it a day as there’s only so much you can do and so far you can take them.
Jason X was a truly awful film and we hadn’t seen Freddy in a full movie for almost ten years. It felt like Freddy VS Jason was an attempt to reboot both franchises into something new which didn’t feel necessary. This was why my expectations were practically none existent—I’d given up on both series by this point.
Anthony: Again, because of the Alien vs Predator comics, I expected over the top action and gore. Buckets full of blood and cheesy one-liners and it didn’t disappoint. I also expected them to kill each other so that there was no ultimate “winner”. I was really excited to see it just because I expected it to be fun. Nothing too serious, no Oscar nomination, just all out fun and it didn’t disappoint.
Jason: This was a Freddy/Jason movie so of course it wasn’t going to be The Godfather. I’m not a horror/slasher obsessive but I did grow up with these movies. Honestly, I gravitated more to the ‘Friday’ movies than the Freddy ones (Freddy was just not someone I could get all that into). Let me answer the question like this: remember the restaurant scene in 1995’s HEAT where Pacino and De Niro squared off for the first time across from each other in film history? That tense feeling of electricity and audiences going “Oh my God, THIS is something!”? I imagine to real hard-core horror lovers, the meeting of Freddy and Jason after 20 years would be like that. My expectations were not nearly that high though. Especially after the ridiculous Jason in space movie.
Holiday: Honestly, I didn’t have many expectations, especially being so young. I do remember when watching the film, that I assumed either both would die, or neither would.
Andrew: What were your first impressions after seeing the film?
Anthony: Amazing. Let me watch that again. I need to see Pamela again. So much blood. I loved it. Let’s see it again!
Jason: There was certainly a lot of blue in it (laughs). The color palette of this movie (which was a product of early 2000’s movies for sure) seemed wrong for a Jason movie, which I remember being set in damp, brown and green areas throughout the ’80s. I felt this was trying to look more like a rock video than any kind of tribute.
Martin: I agree with Jason, it looked nothing like the movies it was meant to be a part of which is a shame. I remember not enjoying it at all.
Holiday: I remember thinking how I laughed during parts that I didn’t think were intended to be humorous. When all the kids burst out of the house screaming their brains out, I thought it was hysterical but I’m not sure if it was meant to be. It had more horror comedy vibes like Scream, than campy slasher horror. The scene where Freddy uses Jason’s fear of water against him, my immediate thought was “Okay, this dude is a real dick, completely disregarding the emotional and physical torture of children” and from that point on I cheered for Jason, against my brother who had always been a Freddy fan. That scene was the equivalent of the audience not caring about random people dying in a film until someone kills a dog, and then being mortally offended. I’d had it with Freddy’s shenanigans at that exact point.
Andrew: Looking back on it now, do you think the film could’ve been any different than what it was and pleased fans of both series?
Martin: I don’t personally think it would have been possible to please the fans on both sides. If Freddy was the stronger character it would have annoyed the Jason fans and vice versa. It would be hard to have a balance for them both especially a balance that would actually work.
Anthony: I agree with Martin on the fan base thing. It’s Alien vs Predator all over again. If there was an ultimate winner, 50% of the fan base would get butt-hurt. So I think it ends perfectly. As a fan of both series, I do genuinely love this film. It’s gory, funny violence. And it has Pamela Voorhees. Hello!? I have all the time in the world for Pam V.
Jason: Well, the title of the movie was Freddy Vs. Jason but most of the movie was basically a bunch of very annoying teens Vs. Jason. Even for a horror movie, these teens were awful. I still can’t believe they did that whole stoner Jay from Kevin Smith’s movies rip-off guy. All the writer did there was remind me of better movies. And don’t even get me started on the whole Kane Hodder being replaced as Jason thing. That more than anything hurt this movie.
Holiday: I’m of the pretty firm opinion that it’s impossible to please everyone, with one film. While it would take far too long to pick apart everything that could have been altered in the film to fit into everyone’s expectations, I do think far more people would have been pleased if the dialogue and various situations were a little less silly. That all being said, Kane Hodder being replaced was in my eyes, sacrilege.
Andrew: How do you think this compares to other films in both the Nightmare on Elm Street & Friday the 13th series? Low end, middle of the road or high end?
Anthony: Compared to a lot of the Friday the 13th films I rate this pretty highly. It’s better than at least 3 of the Friday’s. I do love the Nightmare films but again they get pretty ropey towards the end so if say Freddy vs Jason is better than some of those two. So overall I’d rate it quite high up if we had to rank all the films together. Definitely better than Friday 13th Part 5. God I hate that film. That fucker Roy.
Martin: It was sadly low end for me but then so were many of the later movies in both franchises. This movie could have potentially relaunched both series into something amazing and current but it fell very flat.
Holiday: On a scale of 1-10 it was a solid 3 for me. Lacklustre dialogue, characters that were caricatures of teenagers, lazy writing. Just not my cup of tea.
Jason: It was low end for me too. They spent more time on Freddy’s make-up rather than coming up with a decent script, many of the kills were downright ludicrous, the characters personalities were lifted from other movies and while Monica Keena was a decent final girl, the whole thing felt like it was ten years too late.
Andrew: Final Question. Would you guys like to see either a sequel to this film or perhaps a different pairing of major horror villains in another “showdown” type film? Could the concept work today, perhaps with different characters or a different approach?
Anthony: I’d love to see more villains face off. Michael VS Leatherface. Ghost Face Vs Saw. Or go the whole hog and make Terror Dome into a movie like the Mortal Kombat films. No plot, no polish, just horror legends kicking the shit out of each other. I’d buy that on Blu Ray. These films were never going to win Oscars and I think the creators knew that. So if you take it for what it is, a stupid, over the top gore fest with your favorite killers, the possibilities are endless. Or to update the already existing one, they could make the comic Freddy Vs Jason Vs Ash into a film. Bring back some of the survivors. Throw in Tommy Jarvis. That would be awesome!
Holiday: Michael vs Jason if done properly and given a low and dark score could be phenomenal. I’m actually thinking about it in my head right now and I want to call someone and tell them to make this movie. Since neither of them speak, it would be so much fun to see how that would be used and produced. I don’t think I’d actually want to see a sequel made to Freddy vs Jason, unless it’s going to rock the horror genre by its core, I honestly just think they need to leave that alone. I just had another thought, what if they did a Monster Squad type movie but it’s Jason, Michael, Freddy, Leatherface, and Candyman, and they’re being hunted by all the survivors of their films. Sorry, I’ll stop talking about that.
Martin: I agree that if it’s done again it definitely needs to be done in more of a darker way. Freddy doesn’t work well as horror nowadays as he’s more humorous and jokey than scary, that’s just the way they went with the character over the years, so maybe they need to drop him from these kinds of movies. I definitely agree that pitching Jason against someone like Michael or Candyman would probably be a much more satisfying horror movie. They need to drop the over the top, campy humour and go full on dark horror.
Jason: If something like this were to be done I would pit the more human killers against each other. Michael and Leatherface for example. That would be a good contrast cinematically as Michael silently sneaks up on his victims while you can hear Leatherface coming a mile away. I think a lot of fun could be had there.
What did you think of the panel’s responses? How would you answer the questions? Be sure to comment and let us know!