Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Phil celebrates the 13th Anniversary of FREDDY VS. JASON from New Line Cinema - August 15, 2016

In the 1980's there were two titans of horror that fans rallied behind and cheered for. In one corner there was the unstoppable killing machine Jason Vorhees from the FRIDAY THE 13th franchise from Paramount Pictures. Directed by Sean S. Cunningham, Mrs. Vorehees' special little boy from Camp Crystal Lake had been slaughtering teenagers and camp counselors since 1980. Then in 1984, a new player entered the arena. Created by the late, great filmmaker Wes Craven, 1984's A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET unleashed the sadistic Springwood Slasher himself, Freddy Krueger onto an unexpected audience who were ready for a new kind of slasher film. Throughout the decade, these two icons were the topic of every horror fans conversation. Who would in a fight between them? In 2003, fans got their answer in the New Line Cinema film FREDDY VS. JASON, which was released back on August 15, 2003.

Original Movie Poster (2003)
The film's official synopsis: It's been nearly ten years since Freddy Krueger terrorized people in the dreams, and the towns folk want to keep him erased from their memory. Freddy still has one more plan on getting back to Elm Street. He resurrects Jason Voorhees and sends him off to kill. The more bodies which fall to the ground, the stronger in which Freddy becomes. This is until, Freddy realizes that Jason isn't going to step aside easily, and must be taken down himself.

With the release of 1989's FRIDAY THE 13th PART VII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, Paramount Pictures no longer saw the series as a profitable asset due to its declining returns after each sequel. As a result, the studio released the rights back to its creator Sean S. Cunningham, who then brought it over to New Line Cinema, now known as "The House that Freddy Built." With both franchises under one roof, it seemed like fans' prayers were finally going to be answered, as everyone eagerly awaited the fight of the century between Freddy and Jason. However, the film then entered what Hollywood likes to call "Development Hell" as there were several issues plaguing the project, namely finding the right script. For over twelve years, there were numerous scripts submitted to New Line but none of them were right. Then, the unthinkable finally happened.

Screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift turned in a script that perfectly combined both franchises' mythos and their respected villains. The next step was finding a director to helm the project. Enter Hong Kong born filmmaker Ronny Yu, whose previous films include LEGACY OF RAGE, CHINA WHITE and his 1993 masterpiece THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR. After successfully rebooting the CHILD'S PLAY series with THE BRIDE OF CHUCKY for the company in 1998, Yu was brought on board to direct the film.

Kwan Hodder had portrayed Jason Vorheees in the last four films: FRIDAY THE 13th PART VI: THE NEW BLOODFRIDAY THE 13th PART VII: JASON TAKES MANHATTANJASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY and JASON X. By this time Hodder had become synonymous with the character and fans couldn't wait for him to star with Robert England's Freddy. However, there was a casting change and Hodder was out as Jason. Whether it was Yu or New Line that wanted to recast Jason remains unknown (there's still debate about today), but this move outraged fans immensely. A decision was made and Ken Kirzinger was cast as Jason for the film. Kirzinger already had experience portraying Jason having been Hodder's double on FRIDAY THE 13th PART VII. With the rest of cast that included Monica Kenna, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland from the R&B group Destiny's Child, Katherine Isabella, Chris Marquette and Brendan Fletcher in place, production on the movie finally became a reality! 

The film became a huge hit at the boxoffice. On its opening weekend it grossed $36.4 million dollars and become the number one film in the country for that week. In the end of its theatrical run, the film grossed a total of $114.9 million against its $30 million budget. Eventually the film was released on both Blu-Ray and on DVD.

For myself, it was a long overdue dream come true. The movie lived up to my standards and was everything I wanted it to be: scary, bloody, funny, gory, but more importantly, it was highly entertaining! I loved every minute of the film and I thought the cast was great. Robert was fantastic as always as Freddy. Now I might get some flake for this but I thought Ken was awesome as Jason. He was the old school Jason: extremely tall, slow, brooding personification that we saw in the older FRIDAY THE 13th films. Both Kenna and Ritter has great on-screen chemistry and the overall product was stupendous! In fact, I saw the movie twice on opening day! I saw at my local theater with my best friend and then I saw it again with a bunch of my friends at the drive-in! Like I said, I'm a huge horror movie fan!!

FREDDY VS. JASON was and remains one of the greatest horror movie crossovers of all time!! It's hard to believe that it's been 13 years since the movie was released! The acting, the story, the directing, the gore, it all still holds up well and continues to attract new fans to the genre who may have of Freddy and Jason, but maybe never saw them before. Or maybe they know the remakes but never saw the original films. What's great is that it'll get the younger generation to watch these classic slasher icons and learn more about these legendary franchises and then go watch them like I did when I was younger. Both Jason Vorhees and Freddy Krueger are two old friends of mine and I wanted a very long time for them to battle it out on the big screen! And you know what? It was freaking awesome!! 5 out 5 stars!! Highly recommended viewing!!

FREDDY VS. JASON is currently available on both Blu-Ray and DVD at your local retailer. The film is available on the FRIDAY THE 13th: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION Blu-Ray Boxset as well as on THE NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET COLLECTION DVD Boxset. The movie is also available on Netflix, iTunes, On Demand and Digital Download.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

No comments:

Post a Comment