Freddy Vs. Jason
***.7 BM
Starring: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland, Jason Ritter, Lochlyn Munro, James Callahan, Katherine Isabelle, Chris Marquette


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"Fred Krueger's a myth, or Fred Krueger's a man, it doesn't matter cuz I'll still rap about him, understand? So sit back, Jack, I'm gonna bust a rhyme, grab a hold o' your friends, it's Krueger Time!"

Freddy Krueger is a vicious child molester and psychotic murderer that got to rap with The Fat Boys. Thought I'd throw that one out there.

"He got style, yellow teeth for a smile! Fred Krueger don't need no fingernail file!"

Now I've never been a huge fan of horror movies. I remember being surly as a youngster at the never-ending franchises of stupid slashy stuff, one of my rare and sporadic expressions of actual quality control in my filmgoing habits back before I got old enough to realize that there may be a flaw or two in "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane." True, it was more likely just my own queasiness about gory stuff that provoked the disdain rather than an actual snootiness about the genre. However, I had friends who were really into the "Nightmare on Elm Street" flicks and an older brother with huge "Friday the 13th" posters in his bedroom, so I became familiar with them more as larger-than-life icons than through any actual involvment in the films.

I've seen "Nightmare III: Dream Warriors" over a decade ago, and that was more because I was a pubescent kid with access to an R-rated movie with boobs in it and a VCR with a pause button, not to mention the fact that you're always rockin' with Dokken. I've seen bits and pieces of other "Nightmare" flicks as well. I get the gist of Freddy, the shit-talkin' dream-stalkin' extra-crispy, fedora-wearin' claw-gloved bastard. Good ol' Robert Englund. Whenever the guy shows up, I still think "'Ello, 'Ello," which is quickly followed by "C'M-OWN, Smiley!" Thank you, "Ford."

Jason Voorhees is a slightly different story. I liked the idea of Jason a bit more - the silent tank-like superhuman monster man with a hockey mask. The first time I watched a "Friday the 13th" all the way through was part of a deal I had to make with my friend. "You give me a ride to see 'Jurassic Park,' and I'll sit through 'Jason Goes To Hell.'" Appropriately enough, this is the one that ended with Freddy's claw dragging Jason's mask into the ground. I've seen bits and pieces of both franchises here and there, and my favorite part was always the one point in "Jason Takes Manhattan" where a guy cornered on a rooftop barks at Jason to 'take his best shot,' and Jason proceeds to knock his head clean off with one punch, sending it soaring out over the city. That's the kind of over-the-top insanity I want out of a movie like this.

Finally comes "Freddy vs. Jason," which horror nerds have been clamoring for since ALF started pestering Ochmoneks, and it manages to deliver on my level - can't say how it'll do for the big-time Freddy Freaks and Jason Argonauts. The story is as plausible as it'll get to shoehorn these two moidelizers together: Freddy is powerless in the dreamworld because all the people on Elm Street he used to terrorize have, through a drug-and-mental-ward cocktail, managed to completely forget about him, which puts a monkeywrench in his ability to feed on their fear. So Freddy skulks through the bowels of Hell and finds Jason, who went there, you may recall, in the one where he goes to Hell. He figures "hey, if I can get this Jason guy to go to Elm Street and start murderin', my name's bound to come back and then I'll get fear and power again! Mwa-ha-hah!" So he does. Trouble is, once Jason shifts into killin' gear, he don't shift back for nobody, and this pisses Freddy off once Jason starts killing the attractive teenagers that Freddy wants to toy with first and THEN kill. Thus, the fighting begins, and caught in the middle are the criminally cute Monica Keena, one of Destiny's Kids and a handful of other schmucks.

I mean, that Monica Keena is goddamned adorable. Disturbingly so. She gave a reasonably good performance with a some iffy bits, but c'mon, in a goofball horror movie, you're gonna have iffy bits. I've seen her and thought she was cute in other things, but this time I was totally angry that I wasn't dating her in real life. Yes, it's THAT kind of cutey beauty going on. I don't get that kind of reaction to an actress often, and I'm glad, because it's also a rare thing that I actually root for the main character in a horror flick to stay alive. Usually they're so annoying and snotty that I can't wait for Jason to knock their heads clean off, especially if it's a Scream movie.

Overall, the movie's pretty fun, maybe an inch or two shy of being a total blast. Lots of goofball giggly moments, some pretty cool fight sequences and some relatively fake-looking splatter gore to keep things tame enough for the squeamish, not to mention a bit of gratuitous nudity, a horror staple (unfortunately, not Monica Keena, but hey, ya can't win 'em all). Slasher movies are so weird, though - so contrary to expectations for some reason, although that reason is probably because I haven't watched many slasher flicks. You just sit around and wait to see who gets chopped and who manages to be worthwhile enough to survive until the end, and who's cool enough to get an amusing death scene.

I saw it with a friend of mine who lives for slasher flicks, and who has seen all but one of each franchise, and he absolutely adored it, claiming he came six times. I think that's your vote of approval.

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