Freddy vs Jason

Freddy vs Jason ⭐️⭐️

Director:

Director: Ronny Yu. Cast: Robert EnglundKen KirzingerMonica Keena, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland, Chris Marquette.

I’ve seen many stupid films in my life, but this one must get the crown. To be honest with a title like “Freddy vs Jason” one can’t really expect Shakespeare. It turns out that this is an average Friday the 13th film and a pretty bad “Nightmare on Elm Street” mashed together with a half coherent plot serving as an excuse for the ultimate battle at the end. Needless to say, all the bits with the teen-agers are just expandable as the victims who get knocked off one after the other and the film only comes alive when the two ultra-villains are on screen and especially when they finally come face to face. The final battle is so over-the-top and so stupid that one cannot do anything else but cheer.

This was obviously a film designed for the fans and them alone. The moment during the main titles where the “Nightmare on Elm street” tune turns into the “Friday the 13th” iconic notes is actually a wet dream for any horror fan out there.

It came at a moment when both franchises were at such a low point (in fact pretty much dead) that not even this bad film couldn’t make them any worse, so I guess they had nothing to lose. In fact the film was quite a hit, though I don’t think I know many people who can claim it’s good. And the film-makers certainly knew this, so in order to compensate with the ludicrous storyline, they decided to really go to town with the gore, the idiotic one-liners, the gratuitous breast-naked girls running scared and a few cheap but effective jump scares.

There isn’t a single original idea in it, but it just about gets away with it.In fact there’s a certain silly pleasure in watching this, cheering and drinking every time a cliché hits the screen but it’s all done with great affection for both icons (though clearly Freddy is a more fun character to play with and the film is more of a Freddy film than a Jason one) and it never takes itself too seriously.

This was my first watching and even though I’m sure it’ll be my last, I’m happy I saw it, just as a curiosity guilty pleasure thing.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Wes Craven Cast: Wes Craven, Jeff DavisHeather LangenkampMiko Hughes, Robert Shaye, Robert Englund

I have mixed feeling about this one.

Of course the most interesting aspect about the film is the “meta” layer.A film within a film, where everyone is actually playing a version of themselves. And so the director is actually Wes Craven himself, the head of New Line Cinema is indeed Robert Shaye, the actress who played Nancy in the first movie, Heather Langenkamp, is actually playing the actress Heather Langenkamp and of course Robert Englund is playing the the real actor behind the mask, acting as a showman in front of his fan all screaming for Freddy (though there isn’t enough of him in this film).

It not only brings a breath of fresh air to a very stale franchise, but also brings back that dark edge and mystique into the proceedings making it actually a lot more clever than a slasher has any right to be. Though while on one hand it’s trying to be too clever for its on good (raising things it’s never able to explain) on the other it doesn’t quite go deep enough into exploring the most interesting premises raised at the start and eventually the film falls into the clichés it was trying to avoid so well and becomes just like the films it was questioning at the start (especially in the very weak last act).It’s clear that Wes Craven hates the sequels and he is trying to dissociate himself from them as much as he possibly can, but by doing that he’s also making some changes he didn’t really needed. Freddy’s make-up for a start is possibly the worse of the entire series, looking more rubbery and fake that it’s ever been.

The rules of “the game” are also a bit too fast and loose by now and they show their weaknesses particularly towards the climax where Freddy gets beaten like a real man, delisted the fact that he’s in a dream. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense. There are some decent scenes throughout the movie (a particularly tense one as a child sleepwalks crossing a highway), though most of them are real photocopies of things we’ve seen before in the original: a body being dragged to the ceiling and slashed open by the invisible Freddy, a tongue sticking out of the phone, some stairs melting under the weight of the feet of whoever is running, snakes and worms melting into a puddle, and so on… Some people may call it “homages”, I see it more like a lack of any new ideas.

With all its good intentions to re-invent the wheel and give back some credibility to the scary monster, it has to be said that the “New Nightmare” doesn’t add much new.Wes Craven will of course refine this meta-horror-technique with the various “Scream” movies, finding the right balance of scare, fun and self-references, making the final product less inscrutable and a lot more crowd-pleasing.

Right now it’s just a very clever idea, only half developed.

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare ⭐️

Director: Rachel Talalay Cast: Robert EnglundLisa ZaneShon Greenblatt 

So just when you thought the series couldn’t sink any lower after the terrible part 4 and 5, this “final chapter” comes along adding a whole new dimension of idiocy, ludicrousness to the proceedings. It makes me almost want to add an extra star to all the previous episodes in retrospect.Let’s just say that best thing in this film is probably the New Line Cinema Logo at the start. I honestly cannot find a single redeeming feature aside from some pointless cameos, including one from Johnny Deep but let’s be honest, this is definite the weakest in the series and possibly the worst film I’ve seen in the last few years (I was almost tempted to give it zero stars!).

It’s badly directed, shoddily paced and edited, lacks of any tension or ideas: it’s not funny (all the laughs are at the film) and definitely not scary: by now Freddy’s become a joke within a joke, except that he’s not even funny, looking more like Wile e Coyote than a scary boogieman. The special effects are pedestrian to say the list and not just for the standards of today. I remember thinking that they were terrible even back then. The story (if we can call it such) is very very weak, giving Freddy some lame backstory which nobody really needed and the ending is so badly conceived and staged that it’s probably not just one of the most embarrassing moments not just in the whole franchise, but in horror films in general. It was supposed to be “death” for which we had been waiting for 6 films, but when it actually happens, it comes across so abruptly and it passes by so quickly that it’s not just embarrassingly bad, but a real insult to all the fans who’ve been there from the start.

To try to make it more interesting they added some badly done 3D to last reel (about 15 minutes or so), which I vividly remember looking just as bad as it looks on the DVD today, even in 1991 on the big screen).

Over the credits they play a montage of some of the best bits from the previous films, which really only contribute to make you wish you were watching any of those instead.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. ⭐️⭐️

Director: Stephen Hopkins Cast: Robert EnglundLisa WilcoxKelly Jo Minter

I don’t know if it’s because by this time, after the dreadful part 4, I was so deflated and bamboozled by how bad it was that my expectations were set very very low, but I think I’ve somehow managed to enjoy part 5 a little bit more than the previous instalment… Well, OK… “Enjoy” is a bit too strong as a term, let’s just say that I was awake, at least. There was a little bit more of a story (albeit very convoluted and a bit stupid) and a mystery around Freddy using the dreams of an unborn child in the womb to haunt his victims was at least original. There were also a few interesting visuals (the stairs sequence towards the end, ripped off from Labyrinth was nicely done), some good gross-out special effects which considering how low the budget was, were actually quite effective and a couple of fun jump-scare moments. But let me be clear, this is a TERRIBLE film nonetheless, veering more towards the 1-star pit of doom than anything worth recommending to anyone.

By now Freddy is so exposed and so clownish (here dressed like a chef overfeeding one of the girls, or even skateboarding) that his presence has stopped being scary altogether, so it’s now just about reverting back to the old slasher B-movies formula waiting for the next kill of the whatever the disposable actor/actress is while enjoying the design of the nightmares around the kill.

The film today is most famous (or infamous) for its “It’s a boy” line.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master ⭐️

Director: Renny Harlin. Cast: John BeckmanKisha BrackelBrooke Bundy, Robert Englund, Rodney Eastman, Ken Sagoes.

Amazingly at the time this was the highest-grossing entry in the series (in fact the highest grossing horror too!). Clearly taste in horror must have changed a lot since 1988, because watching it tonight in 2021, I found it absolutely abysmal. Boring, predictable, not as funny as it thinks it is and crucially not scary at all.

This was basically done just for the fan to cheer at the screen and to capitalise on Freddy as a new horror Icon of the 80s.I had seen it before but I only remembered some of the deaths, which are still the most “entertaining” parts of the film, some more inventive than others (the girl’s transformation into a cockroach is nicely done and gruesome enough and so is Freddy’s death at the end), but despite Renny Harlin’s direction with “Pop-video-like” visuals and a constantly moving camera to try to keep the pace up, I found myself almost nodding off waiting for Freddy to do his business.By now the way Freddy is portrayed is a complete betrayal to Wes Craven’s original intentions, but I guess Robert Englund didn’t care too much, as he was now the star of the film (he even got top billing). However having now lost any edge, I honestly found his camp Freddy quite flat and actually not outrageous enough.

As for the plot, nothing makes a lot sense and it’s basically just an excuse to knock off one by one the various bad actors along the way.Apparently the film was brought into production at the same time of the writer strike in Hollywood, which lead some of the actors to come up with their own lines of dialogue (though I struggle to imagine how some good dialogue could have made this any better).

I think your enjoyment of this film really depends what your expectations are. If you’re attached to the original (as I am) and the idea of scary Freddy, lurking in the dark, haunting your dreams, well this is the furthest you can be from it. If however you want to watch this with some friends, cheering at the various deaths seqeunces and drinking every time Freddy says one of his one-liners or looks as cool as a superhero (there’s a close up shot here where he’s on a beach and he puts on his sunglasses which is probably the further we can ever be from Wes Craven’s first film), then just go for it, but don’t try to convince me that it’s good stuff.

I can’t even get myself to give it two stars.

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