When geek goes wrong: Freddy vs Jason

Matt kicks off a new occasional series, looking at what happens when all the ingredients for great geekdom go sour. Freddy and Jason, step forward please...

Freddy vs Jason: A Geek Travesty (TM)

The year was 2003 and like, many other geeks, I was buzzing with the kind of excitement that cynicism has since all but robbed me of. This was the year it was finally going to happen. The teaser at the end of Jason Goes To Hell had not only re-invigorated the near decade old argument of ‘who would win in fight – Freddy or Jason?’ but hinted that an answer might be forthcoming. A further decade later and finally the contention of many fans would become a cinematic reality.

I was there for the first showing on opening day when Freddy Vs. Jason was finally released. The chances of this film being any good were slim to none. Many people had noted how difficult it would be to bring the separate mythologies of both characters into a story that would make any sense. The project had been in development for years (you can find several very different scripts that were developed for the film online). But this was my first chance to see either villain on the big screen and I was excited.

What I’m sure you’d expect to read here is that I was left heartbroken by the film, none of my expectations met. I wasn’t. I was thrilled. It had been a great big adrenaline rush, a wrestling match between two super villains in silly costumes with over the top bloody violence. I enjoyed it so much that I went to see it again and even recommended it to friends.

It was only a few weeks later that I got the DVD, due to the lag in release dates between England and USA. I still had the buzz and went through not only the film but also all of the extra content on the 2 disc set in a single evening.

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A few months later I was flipping through my DVDs and decided to give the film another watch. Through calmer eyes I was able to make an observation that had eluded me on previous viewings; “Wait a minute…this isn’t good!”

I was right, of course. It wasn’t good. Truth be told, it never had been. The story really doesn’t make a great deal of sense. The acting is painful to watch, in spite of the inspired idea of casting a member of Destiny’s Child as an idiot. The fight scenes are ridiculous, fun but at the same time completely stripping the characters of any dignity they may previously have had. And the most annoying part? They had sold us a lie, opting to leave the story open to a sequel rather than giving a definitive winner.

I had embarrassed myself and lost the respect of some friends, but had also learned an important lesson; don’t get too excited, nearly everything is shit. It’s with this in mind that I’ll be mindful of the upcoming Friday the 13th remake (from the writers behind Freddy Vs. Jason and the director of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake).

Because, if we’re honest, it will probably be shit.