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Freddy Vs. Jason

A Match Made In Hell


Ryan J. Downey, with additional reporting by Greg Kaplan

Kelly Rowland has been having nightmares. You see, Freddy Kreuger is trying to slice and dice the Destiny's Child singer before Jason Voorhees gets a chance to splatter her blood all over his hockey mask.

Next summer's "Freddy vs. Jason" won't be the first time Jason has swung his machete or Freddy's taunted a victim with sadistic one-liners. But for Kelly Rowland, it was her first movie-making experience period, and frankly it scared the crap out of her.

"I was afraid of Freddy and Jason. I was actually afraid of them my first day on the set," Rowland recalled. "There are actually some scenes in the movie that freaked me out. ... It is a little scary being on the movie set, because there are nights where we're shooting in the cornfields and it's dark and it's scary outside.

"I could not watch the Freddy [or] Jason movies because I was scared, all my life," she continued. "But I did see a piece of [one], and I had a nightmare that night. I woke up and prayed."

It's years later now and scaredy-cat Kelly is confronting her nightmares, even getting cozy with Robert Englund, the 53-year-old actor who's endured hundreds of hours in the makeup chair to play Freddy in eight terrifying movies.

"I want to tell you about one weird thing, though," Kelly recounted. "Freddy was talking to me about Destiny's Child, and [with] his voice and dressed up like Freddy that was just odd to me. I've been afraid of this man all my life and [now] he's like, 'So, what's up with the girls?' "

"Well, I must tell the fans of Destiny's Child out there," Englund said, relaxing in his trailer on the film's chilly Vancouver, British Columbia, set, "yes it's true, I'm chasing the lovely Kelly Rowland out of the woods, and it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. I only knew that Kelly, you know, that sexy video Kelly. And it's funny because in real life she looks younger and she's like Audrey Hepburn to me."

Excited to again slip into Freddy's bladed glove, the black fedora and the dirty red-and-green sweater, Englund talks animatedly with his hands as he dishes plot secrets and some of the intimate moments he shared with the second Destiny's Child singer to turn actress.

"The other night Kelly and I had worked all night together," he said, "and she [was] covered in fake blood and [had been] dragged through the mud ... and I heard in the back seat this [snoring sound]. And I looked over the back seat and there she was, all curled up, so beautiful, snoring. She was gone. She was out. So now I can tell people, 'I watched Kelly Rowland sleep.' And I guess in a way, it was sort of my extension of Freddy."

"She's so classy," Englund went on. "She has that Grace Kelly/Audrey Hepburn aspect to her. I'm just waiting for someone to capture that. I would love to see her in a Cinderella story or a 'Roman Holiday'[-type] film."

Englund pointed to a snapshot of a bloody and bewildered-looking Rowland taped to his mirror. "That's a great photo," he said, twisting his face into a sly grin.


Despite Englund's more idyllic aspirations for Rowland, the fact is her first role finds her smack in the middle of a long-awaited onscreen matchup between filmdom's most famous sequel-spawning slashers. It teams them up only long enough to dismember a few teens then they're at each other's throats.

And really, "Freddy vs. Jason" was inevitable. After 10 gore-filled "Friday the 13th" movies and seven "A Nightmare on Elm Street" flicks, what was left for these two to do die? Been there. Jason in space? Done that. Freddy meets Roseanne? Don't ask ...

Freddy and Jason share a love of killing, but beyond that, they don't have much in common, so it's not that far of a stretch for them to fight. Freddy's a disgustingly articulate child killer who spends his evenings haunting the dreams of the teen children of the vigilante mob who torched him to death. Jason is a silent and mindless killing machine who favors knives, axes, arrows or whatever's handy to dismember his victims.

Freddy hangs out in a smoky supernatural boiler room inhabited by noisy lambs, human-faced pit bulls and plenty of pipes to sharpen his claws upon. Jason lives in the woods near Camp Crystal Lake, where inexplicably year after year fresh counselors and sex-crazed teens arrive in droves for his slaughtering pleasure.

The "King Kong vs. Godzilla"-style matchup was hinted at not-so-subtly way back at the end of 1993's "Jason Goes to Hell," when Freddy's glove was seen clutching at Jason's equally distinctive hockey mask.

"I've been signed, sealed and delivered on this for a couple of years," Englund explained. "And it went through a lot of incarnations, both with scripts and with directors." It wasn't until "Bride of Chucky" director Ronny Yu came along that Englund felt "Freddy vs. Jason" could be made into a picture as fun as the title suggested, without robbing either character of their scariness via " 'Abbott and Costello Meets Freddy and Jason' kind of crap."

"I always thought the real trick of 'Freddy vs. Jason' [is that] you had to get into Jason's nightmares. We've got to see what makes Jason tick," Englund offered. "In this movie we get in there. And Freddy's walking around in there, getting his feet dirty. And it's pretty sick stuff."

Buried in the plot of "Freddy vs. Jason" is (gasp!) a bit of social commentary. The Elm Street folks have managed to escape Freddy by stuffing their teens with pills to prevent them from dreaming. Freddy uses Jason to get around all that, and get back to the killing.

"[It's] a metaphor about how easy it is to medicate society these days," Englund said, chewing on his spectacles. "And it's discovered that people need to dream. ... Freddy's at loose ends to get people afraid of him anymore, [because] if you don't dream, Freddy can't hurt you."

"Freddy's trying to regenerate himself and he's using Jason to instill fear in the relatives of the offspring of the original Elm Street vigilantes," he said. "Freddy needs to manipulate Jason, and when he's in the dreams he can. What happens is that Freddy creates a Frankenstein. ... Freddy kind of spoils him, gives him a little too much dog food and he kind of turns on his master. And that's the gist of the plot."


Ambitious metaphors aside, the fun for the audience will be watching the carnage unfold as Freddy and Jason wreak havoc.

Picture this: Lights are flashing, techno's pumping and girls are wearing very little. That familiar "choo-choo, ha-ha" whisper is heard as Jason appears on the dance floor. Opting not to cut a rug, he cuts the rave party short instead, hacking apart the kids and halving the keg with his machete.

After filming the scene, cast and crew had to dodge police on their way home for fear of having to explain the blood and beer stains all over their clothes. It's just one of the fan-pleasing scenes Hong Kong director Yu has put together. "Freddy vs. Jason" also revisits the characters' back stories, giving Englund a chance to do some makeup-free scenes a la "Nightmare" installments 2, 6 and 7.

"Now it's [like the TV show] 'Millennium' serial-killer creepy," he promised. "It's Freddy's scrapbook. It's what Freddy was doing [in the boiler room] before they threw the Molotov cocktails. I'm also going to do this scene right when he gets off with the hung jury, when my lawyer gets me off. I'm trying to get a suit for Freddy. I see him as being kind of like a rockabilly Lee Harvey Oswald."

Take that, mix-it all up with a little bit of "Matrix"-style wirework (!) and something-or-other involving demons, and there just may be a little something in "Freddy vs. Jason" for everybody.

"The hat, that filthy sweater, obviously the claw and the universality of it all," Englund said, listing off the keys to Freddy's continued appeal. "Everybody's had nightmares. And then with Jason, it's just the nihilism of Jason. He's just this relentless killing machine. And both characters have a certain kind of punk aspect. They are sort of punishing suburban adolescent America. And I think that on a subliminal level, the kids respond to that. I think that is part of the fun of those characters. So together you are getting sort of a heavy-metal, speed-punk dose of horror icons."

And of course, there's also Kelly Rowland.

"My character, Kia, is really mouthy, [and there's] a scene in the movie where everybody is going to enjoy it," Rowland promised. "It's a part where me and Freddy have got some interaction going on. It's really cool."

"I want you [fans] to know I've dispatched Kelly Rowland from Destiny's Child already," Englund croaked, slipping into character as he left the makeup trailer for the boiler room. "Nelly, look out! You're next! Then I'm on to the boy bands!"