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nightmare on elm street

If you asked me back in February about which movie I would have the most fun at this year I’m sure I would have a bunch of different answers. Trailers touting The Hulk, X2, The Matrix: Reloaded, etc. all would have me enticed with the thought of comic book heroes coming to life on the big screen, or huge sequels to some of my favorite movies. I wouldn’t even have dreamed that Freddy vs. Jason could be a shinning spot in an otherwise lacking summer movie season, but here we are, days after the film’s release, and I can’t stop thinking about just how cool the film actually was.

Even if you aren’t a fan of both series, or either of them, you know who Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees are. For the unenlightened the film gives origin sequences to each character, but true fans will see the joining of two huge horror series into a bloodbath of gratuitous nudity, decapitation, disembowelment, and, my favorite, dismemberment.

Jason (Ken Kirzinger, from the Friday the 13th series, when not getting killed by underachieving teenagers, hangs around Camp Crystal Lake, the site of this drowning nearly 35 years ago. In classic Friday fashion anyone who goes skinny-dipping, does drugs, or has premarital sex is marked for death. Freddy (Robert Englund), on the other hand, is the polar-opposite of the lumbering, mindless Jason. Mr. Kruger was an intelligent child killer who was burned alive by the townsfolk after being released from custody. He seeks children in their dreams (a place you are left defenseless) and kills them there.

After the children of Freddy’s former stomping grounds are given a drug that inhibits dreaming, he is left powerless. Since almost no one remembers his name, they no longer fear him, and without fear, he has now power. So, by way of trickery, Freddy conjures up an image of Jason’s mother and tells him to begin killing and instill fear in the hearts and minds of children once again. This plan works all too well for Freddy, as Jason doesn’t stop once he gets going, leading to a confrontation of two of horrors biggest antagonists.

The film, although very poorly acted on the part of the supporting cast, really gets its spark from the wit of Freddy and the excellent kills provided by Jason. As with every Friday film, we are treated to a number of glorious un-doings, including a rather painful romp on a folding bed. The movie doesn’t skimp on the gore either, no cut away shots, although some blatant MPAA based editing can be seen. With each detached limb comes a fountain of the red stuff that makes Mortal Kombat look like a flesh wound. In fact one scene of the film reminds you a lot of the Monty Python classic.

Freddy and Jason meet twice during the film for a balls out fight to he death, once in Freddy’s decrepit basement lair and again on the shores and docks of Camp Crystal Lake. The film takes into account that you know who these characters are, and who doesn’t, but then asks you to forget every move in each series, more so Friday the 13th than Nightmare on Elm Street. Those wondering how Jason X fits into the picture can figure that it is either a splinter storyline, or happens after the events of this film.

Director Ronny Yu is not stranger to the pairings of weird killers, he directed Bride of Chucky, and shows us that he isn’t afraid to deliver above average special effects, buckets of blood, and a touch of humor to keep you occupied through the movies very few slow parts.

With a cast mainly comprised of no-namers who are just there to become canon fodder in the crossfire you look forward to the next kill and the next confrontation of these two killing machines. Freddy vs. Jason gave me a lot more than I expected to get after reading some preliminary so-so press about the film, but after seeing it for myself I can honestly say I haven’t had a better time at the movies all summer and I certainly can’t wait for the DVD.