Surprisingly, it is the lattermost that is the topic of New Line Cinema's latest outing, the ironically titled Freddy vs. Jason. FvJ begins, as all the great tales do, with Freddy Kreuger giving a lot of exposition. It seems that Mr. Kreuger, having survived seven films of his own, has found himself in a bit of a career rut, and needs the advertising muscle that only another washed-up slasher-film character can bring.
This is because, in contradiction to the logic of his earlier films, he can only enter the dreams of those who have heard of him. Seeing as there hasn't been a Nightmare on Elm Street film in nine years, he's not exactly showing up on the People Hot 100 List, and thus, today's teens are getting night after night of undeserved, dismemberment-free sleep.
Clearly, this cannot be tolerated, and so the horribly scarred Kreuger scours hell for a slasher-character who has some more recent credits to his credit, and he comes upon Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees. Now, to be fair, nobody in slasherville has had a good run of late, the slasher flick being an art form that really peaked during the decadent, teen-hating Reagan years, and which petered-out in the more teen-loving Bush/Clinton/Bush years (and by Bush/Clinton/Bush I'm not referring to the succession of U.S. presidents, but Bill Clinton's preferred position in regard to young women).
Jason, though, unlike most of the other '80s slasher villains, actually had a film out last year, giving him a total of 10 movies and the silver medal for number of sequels (the even more violent and woman-hating James Bond has the gold). Freddy thus releases Jason from hell and sends him up to the world of the living (How? Who cares!) in order to get people thinking of slasherly things again, and thus, of course, of Kreuger.
After the opening sequence explains the characters' history and the basic plot of the film, things really get moving in standard slasher style when we see the biggest star of any slasher flick: unclothed teen breasts. It's not clear who owns these breasts, because she's rapidly killed off by the breast-hating Jason, who then goes to find his favorite thing in the world: teenagers who do drugs and have sex.
I have to give some credit to Jason's Friday the 13th movies for inventing the essential element of the '80s slasher film: The sluttiest teens must die. If you think about it, this is the perfect capo to the Cold War era in which capitalism triumphed over the communal sharing of property. Here in capitalist America, every man is entitled to absolute ownership of his woman, and any woman who goes slutting around might as well be a hammer-and-sickle-wearing agent of Uncle Joe.
Jason thus finds himself at 1428 Elm St., an address you may remember É from your nightmares! Of course, at this address, there are five teens engaged in either drinking, taking drugs, having sex or being the chaste virgin who will eventually kill off the slasher character.
In the latter role is Monica Keena as Lori Campbell. Miss Keena is surprisingly good. She can scream with the best of them, and she's more than pretty enough to kill a machete-wielding mass-murderer or a razor-fingered hell-fiend. Sadly, though, Lori Campbell is sad, because her boyfriend moved away and never wrote her any of the sad and weepy letters that sad teen lovers are supposed to sadly send to their slasher-killing sweethearts.
This is because Lori's swain is in psychiatric lock-up due to his previous encounters with Freddy. Of course, he's so handsome that he's able to escape in order to help out in the running and screaming and bleeding departments. Thus, Lori and her beloved Will (Jason Ritter) team up with The Nerdy Teen (Chris Marquette, who looks and acts a lot like a young John Cusack) and The Other Chick Who Hasn't Gotten Killed Yet (Kelly Rowland). Together they sort of Scooby-up by getting in a van and riding around looking for the killer--only it turns out Jason and Freddy aren't old Mister Swenson who lives at the mill, but rather two undead hell-monsters who squirt lots and lots of blood.
While none of this makes for the sort of film that the Merchant/Ivory fans shell out their anti-American, elitist, liberal money to see, it all works perfectly well for the true supporters of American cinema, i.e. under-aged kids who like to sneak into R-rated movies. There's not only plenty of violence, nudity and drug use, there's also a plot which, while not exactly the work of Nabokov, does at least manage to explain why it is that Jason is trying to slice off Freddy's arm. You really can't ask for much more, and if you're a fan of Jason and/or Freddy and/or blood-spattered nipples, you're sure to enjoy this unpretentious team-up.
I can only hope it's a harbinger of more such films, like the long awaited Aliens vs. Predator (which has actually been in the planning/legal wrangling stage for over 10 years now), the oft-rumored Batman vs. Superman and the Madonna/Hayek vehicle Evita vs. Frida.