TTC: “Freddy vs. Jason” (2003)

“Your eyes say ‘no, no.’ But my mouth says ‘yes, yes.'” ~~Freddy Kreuger

Right about now, fellow lovers of godawful movies, I’m feeling the unsquelchable urge to cast off these rusty shame shackles, come tearing out of the Closet of Chagrin and proclaim, loud enough for all the world to hear:

Not only did I see “Freddy vs. Jason” in the theater (twice), I bought it (full-price) and watch it often enough — Halloween; Easter; after various and sundry horrendous bad life experiences — that I can quote the dialogue.

Whew. That was a gargantuan platter of truth that just got dropped, right there. (Mind the sharp edges.) Sometimes it’s necessary to stop hiding true feelings about wretched-fun movies. Hence “Freddy vs. Jason.” Because Ronny Yu’s chipperly crappy horror-comic showdown of epically stupid proportions is a piece of Terrifically Terrible Cinema that deserves much revelry. After all, this is a motion picture that manages to accomplish three goals:

1) Loads of teen-agers doing bone-headed, cliched teen-ager things get killed in loads of gore-tastic ways.
2) It’s FREDDY KREUGER. And he’s FIGHTING JASON VOORHEES.
3) There’s a delightfully shocking amount of dialogue that, with little manipulation, turns into double entendres (examples: “I’m dying to see what skeletons are hidden in your closet”; “the first time tends to get a little messy”).

Perhaps this trinity of rules didn’t convince you of the awesomely fun bowl of badness that is “Freddy vs. Jason.” That’s understandable, as it’s naturally a very fine line between stupid-good and just, well, stupid. More convincing may be in order. Let’s begin with a rundown of the (ha! ha ha!) plot: Child killer Freddy Kreuger (Robert Englund) has been stewing and smarting in the bowels of Hell — owing to what he did, probably in a two-bedroom Jacuzzi suite he shared with Stalin or Amin — because the good townsfolk of Springwood have covered up his crimes and found a way to prevent Freddy from sneaking into children’s dreams. Death he could handle, but being forgotten? That’s a bitch. This forlorn murderer needs a way to strike fear back into the hearts of Elm Street’s little ones, and fast. Then Freddy finds none other than Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger), that hockey mask-sporting maniac killed only 1,986 consecutive times before descending to the fiery pits. It’s the beginning of a beeyootiful friendship, and no sooner does Freddy spring Jason from H-E-double hockey sticks than the lumbering oaf start running afoul of the King of Striped Sweaters’ plan, going Iron Chef on every teen he sees. 

Happily for us viewers, there are nothing BUT teen-agers in Springwood. (Parents are but a nuisance in these kinds of movies, no?) The heroine is Lori Campbell (Monica Keena), surrounded by her air-headed pals Kia (Kelly “I Ain’t No Jennifer Hudson” Rowland) and Gibb (Katharine Isabelle). So young she is, and yet her heart cannot forget the boy she loved so long ago, Will (Jason Ritter), stowed away in a mental hospital with friend Mark (Brendan Fletcher), the resident expert on Kreuger lore. Once Jason comes around, memories of Freddy start coming back, and dontchaknow it’s only a matter of time before The Man in Red-n-Black is creeping into the kidlets’ dreams, making kid pranks — “got your nose!” — into shameless puns. Various plots are hatched by various people, including New Deputy in Town Scott (Lochlyn Munro), and there is drinking and smoking and teen sex. Oh, you kids. Always with the tomfoolery, never bothering to watch “Scream” to find out it’ll get you cleft in twain with a machete. Tsk tsk tsk.

There is little need to speak of “acting,” except to say that it’s the pits (that was a compliment). Story? Silly reader — the plot is beside the point. If it made any sense or was in any form/shape original, “Freddy vs. Jason” might face the unthinkable fate of ascending to “mediocre.” Indeed, as with so many awesomely awful movies, there’s a willingness of the actors and the director to go past bad and back to good again, and a lack of care for “quality.”

But really, it boils down to this: We should not, on principle, avoid any movie where Robert Englund actually says the words “how sweet … dark meat.”

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