Retrospective: 20 Years since ‘Freddy vs. Jason’ By Jesse Striewski

After years of endless rumors and speculation, the concept of pitting horror titans Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund) and Jason Voorhees (this time portrayed by Ken Kirzinger) finally came together for fans on the big screen in 2003. For many a fan of the genre, the waiting finally paid off.

Released on August 15, 2003, fans lined up (yours truly with my girlfriend at the time included of course) to see the latest additions to the A Nightmare on Elm Street (eighth entry) and Friday the 13th (eleventh) franchises, which the crossover idea was initially teased at the end of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday ten years prior in 1993.

The movie starts off promising enough; first audiences are given a brief rundown of the plot (complete with clips from previous entries) before a perky, young skinny dipper (Odessa Munroe) bares all before becoming the film’s first victim via Jason. From then on, it’s one long continuous bloodbath that accumulates in an epic Kong vs. Godzilla type-war.

Monica Keena, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland, and Katharine Isabelle help round out the cast, while metal acts like Slipknot, Hatebreed, Ill Nino, and Killswitch Engage add to the film’s youthful appeal via the its soundtrack album (the track “Beginning of the End” from the slightly obscure Spinshank is one of the most underrated tracks found on it).

Looking at it now, the film might be a tad on the cliche and even corny side, but at the time, it was the perfect movie for a 22-year-old to get a buzz on and go see on the big screen with a group of friends. It almost feels as though it was the last of its kind now, as each franchise has since gone on to be rebooted with all new cast and crews (to this day Freddy vs. Jason marks the last time Englund has portrayed Kruger on screen). As the old saying goes, “They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.” I’m glad I was around for at least some of when they actually did, though.

Original Freddy vs. Jason ticket stub from opening night from the author’s personal collection.

Album Review: Hatebreed – Weight of the False Self (Nuclear Blast Records)

By: Jesse Striewski

It’s been four years since hardcore heavyweights Hatebreed unleashed new material upon the world, and if 2020 needed anything, it was new music from them. On their eighth full-length effort, the band have perfected their own unique style of metalcore that they started so long ago.

True to form, Weight of the False Self is instantly relentless, with “Instinctive (Slaughterlust)” kicking things off as brutal as ever. From then on, it’s one unforgiving track to the next. Numbers like “Set It Right (Start with Yourself),” “Cling to Life,” and “This I Earned” are testaments to inner strength, while “Wings of the Vulture” and “Invoking Dominance” are among some of the band’s best work in years.

I’ve been lucky enough to see Hatebreed live, and equally lucky to even (briefly) meet frontman Jamey Jasta. Hatebreed are undoubtedly a breed all their own, and should not be taken lightly; proceed with caution in the best way possible.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars