Back when I was in High School, I was tasked with writing a portfolio piece. You had to make a stance on a topic. Everyone in the class did the typical stuff; abortions, gun control, and teen pregnancy. I didn’t want to do the usual piece, so I choose something that I really knew something about. Freddy and Jason. So, sit back as I remake my old portfolio piece!
There is no bigger rivalry in horror films like the franchises of Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Fans have always been split, which slasher is the best out of Freddy and Jason? Well, I have been team Jason since I was a kid. Yet, I have a huge respect for Krueger and the Elm Street series. Let’s take a look at the history of the terrifying franchises.
The year was 1980, Sean S. Cunningham released a film called “Friday the 13th”. The film was a success. Towards the end of the film, we are introduced to Jason Voorhees. One year later, Friday the 13th Part II hits theaters with Jason as the main antagonist. With Friday the 13th Part III, Jason’s appearence would change with the addition of a hockey mask and would cement his status as a pop culture icon.
1984 brought us what was supposed to be the last film for Jason with Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. Later that year, Wes Craven brought us the first A Nightmare on Elm Street, which introduced us to dream killer, Freddy Krueger. Both films were successful and both franchises would return the next year with Friday the 13th: Part V: A New Beginning and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Both films are considered the black sheep of each series.
Freddy would take a rest in 1986 while Jason would return from the dead in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. The two went head to head in 1988 with A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master and Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. The films would take a decline in 1989 with Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.
Paramount Pictures would sell the rights to New Line Cinema, the company who owned the Elm Street franchise. They would hold off on releasing any films featuring Jason. Years pass and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare would kill Freddy off. Two years later, New Line brought back Sean S. Cunningham to kill Jason, once and for all. Jason goes to Hell: The Final Friday releases and finally teases us with a potential mashup. Krueger’s hand pulls Jason’s mask to hell.
Fans believed that we’d get the film we’ve been waiting for. But no, creator of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven, would return for New Nightmare. The film would feature an ancient entity using the guise of Freddy Krueger to bend reality. Both franchises would lay dormant for years, chatter was all around for Freddy vs. Jason. Jason would see his return in the new millenium with Jason X. It was a sci-fi horror film that saw Jason in the future and in space. It was made to keep Jason relevant.
2003 is the year that we got Freddy vs. Jason. Fans of each series picked side and argued for each. The film had Freddy Krueger in Hell wanting to return, but the fear was not there. So, he brought Jason back to make people talk. Yet, Jason would not stop killing folks which angered Krueger. So the fight was on. No one won. You’d anger fans if one or the other won.
So, lets take a look at the stance from an Elm Street fan. Why do folks love Krueger over Voorhees? Well, everyone that I’ve spoke to that favors the Elm Street series is that Freddy is a different kind of killer. One who preys on you when you are at your weakest. Freddy’s personality is another reason. While Jason is a slow stalker, Freddy speaks and plays around. The last reason is that the Elm Street films are better written and the possibilities are limitless.
Okay, all are very good reasons. So, from a Friday the 13th fan’s perspective, I’ll take that apart. First, Freddy kills in the dream world. Freddy is all powerful, except when someone places a mirror in front of him, then he gets pulled apart. Two, Freddy’s personality, well it’s a breath of fresh air that ran it’s course. Freddy standing around punning off can be a bit too much. The Elm Street films are better written. While I’m not disargeeing, I have to attack it. The films may be well written, but sometime the fun is taken out. Yeah, you have fun with 3 and 4, but 5 was just too edgy for it’s own good and 6 is bleh. New Nightmare was nothing more than a ripoff of Last Action Hero. Of course, Nightmare 2 is considered one of the worst out there for completly ignoring the mythos.
Now, why does a person prefer The Friday the 13th series over Elm Street? Well, the films are more enjoyable. The characters are fun. The Friday films showed that lower budgeted film can be enjoyable and look amazing. First, the films are more enjoyable. We’re not preached to about dreams and junk. We get great characters that are very fun. They party and seem like they’re a hoot to be around. They just don’t worry about not sleeping. Now, we get to the film’s budget. From 1980 to 1989, Paramount Pictures released Eight Friday flicks. All with smaller budgets than the next. The films still remained the same in spirit while doing mostly different things in each film.
The Friday the 13th series is the straight up winner. I know all the Elm Street fans are ready to burn me alive in a boiler room. Jason would go on to do a lot of stuff before Krueger. Jason appeared in a music video first, then a year later Krueger would do it. Friday the 13th gets a TV show, Freddy’s Nightmares comes a year later. Jason gets a video game? A year later, Krueger gets pixelated. It seemed as if New Line was peeking over Paramount’s shoulder. While Freddy had better merchandise, Jason and the Friday the 13th rose above low budgets and red tape to be one of the most successful horror frachises of all time!
So, you’re asking yourself? Who is the winner? Well…..We are. I give Elm Street hell. But, I love Krueger. So, Happy 13th Anniversary Freddy vs. Jason.