For many years a Freddy vs Jason movie has always been in the works. It has taken many forms with various different plotlines, not to mention many, many re-writes. Would it take place in Freddy’s world or Jason’s? Would it be like the classic monster movies of the black and white days, or more of a blood bath reminiscent of the 1980’s when these villains rose to fame? Perhaps the biggest question of all; how do we pull these two big bads together in one film while still staying true to their history, and even more importantly; staying true to the fans?
The obvious snag that prevented these two villains from duking it out for so long dealt with the production companies. It is nearly impossible to make a film when the two movies you want to combine are owned by different production and distribution companies.
In this case Friday the 13th 1-8 were all distributed by Paramount Pictures, which is why you see these eight movies packaged together on the sales shelf. Unlike Friday, the Elm Street series has always found its home at New Line Cinema. It wasn’t until Friday the 13th part 9 when the distribution company changed from Paramount to New Line Cinema, and this is when a real opportunity arose for these two horror titans to come together on the silver screen.
This journey to the final movie released in 2003 was not an easy one. Supposedly New Like spent 6.8 million dollars in more than a dozen screenwriters and eighteen different scripts over the course of ten years! Talk about development hell!
Finally a director was assigned to the project; Bride of Chucky director Ronny Yu. This was the first inkling of what type of direction the movie would take, and fans weren’t impressed. With a director who took the scary out of Chucky and substituted it with cheesy one liners and a hokey concept of the infamous killer doll finding love, fans were skeptical where Yu would take two of the most beloved horror icons. If you were to finally bring these villains together they wanted to see Wes Craven or Sean Cunningham at the helm.
While fans began to speculate in what direction the film would take and who would ultimately win, a shockwave of true horror rocked the internet. Legendary actor and stuntman Kane Hodder who donned the hockey mask in Friday 7, 8, 9, and Jason X would not be redeeming his role as the machete wielding Jason Voorhees. Even now, fourteen years later, no one really knows why Kane was canned, not even Hodder himself. The most popular reason circulating the interwebs, whether true or not, is because the powers that be were looking for a Jason with more “expressive eyes,” which is a complete crock of shit because Jason only has one eye!
Another reason circulating the rumor mill was because Yu wanted someone taller and more imposing when standing toe to toe with Freddy. This is also completely bogus since the actor and stuntman who replaced Hodder, Ken Kirzinger, is only one inch taller than Kane! Whatever the reason for Kane not being able to redeem the role he has claimed to be so near and dear to his sadistic heart, fans were livid. Like any horror loving fan would do, they hit the internet to let anyone who would listen know their extreme disappointment in this casting choice.
Unfortunately the opinions from the fans fell upon deaf ears and production moved forward. To try and drum up support New Line hit the advertising hard, spending a whopping $25 million on advertising the movie alone! That is more than the advertising budget for ALL of the Friday the 13th films combined! Watch their Las Vegas promotional event here.
Despite the skepticism from fans this was still the battle they had been clamoring for since the 1980’s and ‘90s. Upon its opening weekend Freddy vs Jason brought in a record breaking 36.4 million dollars. At the time this was the largest sum any slasher movie had ever made during its premiere weekend. However, with the money spent on production and advertisement this achievement did not make much of a profit from opening weekend sales.
Now that more than a decade has passed Freddy vs Jason hasn’t exactly found its place among the cult classics of its predecessors that have come before it. While the line has been set for die-hard fans of the franchise, most of whom fall among the popular opinion of not liking the film, there has been a movement over the years from the younger crowd who find the film entertaining and acceptable when quenching their blood thirst.
What do you think? Did you enjoy the clash of the horror titans in Freddy vs Jason? Let us know in the comments!