''Welcome to my world, bitch. I should warn you, princess... the first time tends to get a little... messy.'' - Freddy Kreuger, Freddy Vs Jason (2003)
When Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees came together for a clash of the horror titans in 2003's Freddy Vs Jason, fans were understandably delighted. We'd seen Jason in 2001's marvelously campy space romp Jason X, but Nightmare on Elm Street lovers had been waiting nearly a decade for Freddy to reappear since his last outing in Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994).
In true slasher movie style, the ending very much allowed breathing space for a Freddy Vs Jason 2...
Thanks to Bloody Disgusting, fans can crack open Freddy Vs Jason and peer inside -- just imagine what Mr Voorhees would like to do to your skull and you'll be on the right track -- via a cool interview with Freddy Vs Jason's writers, Damian Shannon and Mark Swift.
First, though, remind yourself of the developmental hell that Freddy Vs Jason went through. As Bloody Disgusting eloquently put it:
New Line Cinema would go on to spend roughly $6 million on several unused scripts from over a dozen screenwriters. Tons of ideas were tossed around. From plots that ranged from the implausible (Freddy was once planned to be a camp counselor at Camp Crystal Lake who molested Jason) to the ridiculous (Jason on trial for his crimes), New Line Cinema just couldn’t manage to nail down a premise as to why these two icons of horror would just so happen to be in the same film together.
Freddy Vs Jason writer Swift says that, although filming multiple endings to keep fans guessing a la Clue may have been effective, he's glad that route was never traveled:
''We never discussed having multiple endings like that. Personally I think that would have been a terrible idea. It would have sent the message that we didn’t care about the ending and were just looking for an extra cash grab.”
Swift & Shannon took an approach that fans of both Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees will be heartened to hear:
“We had a very strong take from the beginning on what the movie should be (and what the movie should not be)... We came from a place where we didn’t want to change their backstories at all; we didn’t want to ‘throw out’ the other movies. We wanted everything to ‘count.’ We pitched what we as fans would want to see.''
Do you feel that Freddy Vs Jason was the horror icon match you wanted to see?
What's super interesting from a fan's perspective -- and knowing that Freddy Vs Jason did perform well at the box office -- is hearing Swift & Shannon's fears about whether their movie would resonate with fans:
''You have to understand, this is around the same time that Jason X came out and bombed at the box office. [New Line Cinema Head of Production] DeLuca had been the champion of that movie, and he was the champion of Freddy Vs. Jason…and now he was gone. We had to re-convince New Line that even developing Freddy Vs. Jason was a good idea, and believe [us], it took some convincing. We had to re-pitch a whole new set of execs, write summary documents about how and why Freddy and Jason were in the same movie and what they were fighting about. We had to do a beat sheet. We gave them a list of rules about things Freddy and Jason should and shouldn’t do. On and on. All this before we even wrote the script.
The studio hired a consultant to test the concept with the public, to see if there was any interest in the movie….they sent teams to malls with a questionnaire. They found that there was indeed some interest, but recommended that it be rated PG-13. When we heard this, we wrote an impassioned email to the head of marketing at the studio, begging him to not only to back the movie, but to keep an R rating.”
Oh, and remember that ending that paved the way for a sequel? Despite the controversy of Jason's aquaphobia, Swift and Shannon thought that out like the proper fans they are:
“The intention was — if Jason has any fear at all — it would be rooted in his drowning. This is what Freddy exposes — Jason’s memory of his childhood at Crystal Lake. However, the way it was shot, it could be interpreted that Jason is afraid of water. After all, he doesn’t cross the water stream, right? But remember, this is taking place in Jason’s psyche. In his dream. Ronny was being symbolic.”