Happy Hallowe’en my fine feathered freaky friends. Today I would like to briefly discus and compare two of the biggest horror franchises of all time: A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. I have recently completed rewatching both series, and while I love both, I would say both are not equal. Both series are iconic: show someone a cheezy goalie mask or a glove with knives as nails and most likely they will know what movie franchise it came from.
Friday the 13th, the original movie, was released in 1980, taking the horror world, and pulp culture in general by storm. It tells the story of a young, mentally challenged boy who drowned due to the negligence of counsellors at the summer camp, Camp Crystal Lake, and the revenge extracted by is crazed mother. This movie introduced us to the character of Jason Voorhees (just Jason from now on), but what many people forget (or don’t realize) that Jason isn’t even in this first film. It’s the second film that we finally get to meet Jason, but even then he’s not wearing his Goalie mask – he acquires that in the third film when he takes it from the ”Prankster” of the group. The Friday the 13th Series continued for 11 movies, including the cross over film Freddy Vs. Jason – 12 if you include the 2009 remake (or re-imagining). Along the way Jason evolves a little, going from a creation of his mother’s sick and twisted mind to a burlap sack wearing killer, then gaining his mask. At one point he’s able to from body to body as an evil spirit. Hell – he even ends up in space. Some things that don’t change are the facts that no matter how slow he lumbers, Jason will catch his victim and no matter how dead Jason seems to be – he’s not. Jason is a relentless killer, but not an intelligent killer. He gets the job done, but he doesn’t think much – but he doesn’t need to. At first it’s not apparent that he’s a supernatural being, but soon it becomes apparent that he’s not mortal, seeing that he cannot be killed. Many, if not most of Horror’s cliches have originated from this series. He’s the original unkillable killer.
A Nightmare on Elm Street debuted in 1984 and introduced the world to Fred “Freddie” Krueger, a vicious child killer, murdered in a fire by residents of his town seeking justice when a legal loophole set him free. Freddie has found a way to infect the minds of his victims by entering through their dreams. Sporting his now famous gloves with knives on the tip of each finger as his primary weapon, if Freddie kills you in your dreams, you’re dead in real life. The Nightmare series had 8 stand alone films as well as the crossover film, Jason Vs. Freddie and a remake/reimagining of the film from 2010. Freddie, from the start is a supernatural being that haunts the dreams of his victims, and unlike Jason, has a working mind – he’s devious, and taunting. Yes he has a working mind, though it doesn’t seem to work that well. Just a side note: the original film starred a young Johnny Depp – He dies in a extremely bloody scene.
Both series are great. Sure, not each movie of each series is great (hell, some are just downright bad), but as a whole, each are important to the horror genre – changing the entire genre in their own ways.I have to say I prefer the Friday the 13th series over the Nightmare series for one main reason: Remember when I said that Jason was mostly mindless and Freddie had a mind? Well Freddie’s mind, while working, is a silly mind. His taunts are silly and his puns are worse. With Jason, he’s just going to kill you – he’s not going to make some dumb, silly pun or taunt you in a ridiculous manner. He’s just going to keep coming until he gets you. Still – I like both series and say that if you are a fan of horror then you should watch both series. If you don’t then I argue that you really can’t consider yourself a connoisseur of the genre.
What’s your view on the two series?