On August 15th, 2003, one of the greatest monster movies was released. Two of horror’s titans would finally battle to the death, but I’m not talking about Godzilla and Mothra. The long-awaited Freddy vs. Jason was finally became a reality, but was the wait worth it for the fans?
The dream first started in the last few moments of the 1993 film Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, where, after his being dragged back down to Hell, we see a close-up shot of Jason’s hockey mask sitting on the ground. Without warning, a certain green and red sleeved razor-glove grabs the mask and pulls it into the ground, then we hear Freddy’s maniacal laughter. This random tease would set horror fans on pins and needles for the next ten years while the development process in of itself would be an unimaginable kind of hell. Many ideas and scripts were flying around until the filmmakers finally settled on the final product that we all know and love today.
Being one of the fans eagerly waiting for the film’s premiere, I took to the internet of the early 2000’s to look for the script drafts. Of the versions I read online, my two favorites were ones that showed Jason and Freddy fighting to the death in a sort of gladiator pit, and another where it would be revealed that Freddy was the camp counselor responsible for Jason’s drowning (an idea that was possibly referenced in the final product during the scene when Lori (Monica Keena) is in Jason’s nightmare and she sees Freddy in a Camp Crystal Lake shirt). To this day, I still feel the latter bit would’ve been neat to see onscreen.
Freddy vs. Jason was released August 15th, 2003, starring Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger and replacing Kane Hodder as Jason with Ken Kirzinger (known for doing stunts on earlier X-Men films). Portraying the innocent teens caught in the middle was Monica Keena (2009’s Night of the Demons), Jason Ritter (Gravity Falls), Chris Marquette (Fanboys), Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps series) and Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland. With an estimated budget of $30 million (the largest in the Friday the 13th series), Freddy vs. Jason just managed to break at a little over $36 million opening night in American theaters and would go on to gross about $82 million in the country. Fourteen years later, the film has continued to receive mixed opinions: some fans feel that the film was worth waiting ten years for, while others feel that it fell short of their expectations (especially after having to deal with Jason X as a placeholder until they could finish the film).
After Freddy vs. Jason was released, fans started wondering who else should join the mashup. Popular opinions included Freddy vs. Jason vs. Michael Myers, or even Freddy vs. Jason vs. Chucky! A few years after the film’s release, fans were treated to such a continuation in comic book form, only the third member of the story was none other than Ash Williams from the Evil Dead series, in Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash. I managed to read most of the first of two story arcs of the trio, and what I read was entertaining and worth owning if you are a fan of the film. The comic series picks up where Freddy vs. Jason left off, we see Will and Lori getting murdered by Jason, who is being controlled by Freddy yet again, but this time to look for the Necronomicon. Enter Ash Williams, S-Mart employee, to save the day.
Freddy vs. Jason is treasured by many horror fans worldwide today. Personally, I feel the film was a good blend of ideas from the previous drafts and was worth the years of development. Just like the title characters, this film came out of Hell swinging and kicking ass!