Now that the Phillies are bringing Game 3 of the World Series home for Halloween, I’m reminded of growing up in Philadelphia and why watching “Freddy vs. Jason” is my pre-game Halloween pick.
In the mid-70’s, I would sit in front of my television every Saturday between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. On Channel 17, a little girl named Bubbles would walk across the studio with a large toy mallet toward a casket lying in the center of a sparse room. Upon reaching the casket, she would bang the mallet on the casket lid. When the casket opened, a man looking like the bastard child of Creepy (of magazine fame) and Shemp (from The Three Stooges) would climb out of the casket, close the lid, sit on the casket, and greet Bubbles. Though he looked like he was on acid, he was a doctor. Dressed in a black suit, he looked more like a mortician. He was friendly when he spoke to Bubbles. Bubbles was not afraid of him; she was happy to see him. We, as horror movie fans, were happy to see him too. His name was Doctor Shock.
To prepare myself for the Fightin’ Phils hammering Houston, I’ll watch the more recent ‘titans-of-terror’ battle it out.
As movie monsters, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees’ back stories are simple enough: Freddy worked as a school janitor. When some of the school kids started dying at the hands of a serial killer, Freddy was accused (falsely, according to Freddy) and was burned alive in the basement’s incinerator by some irate, and vaguely creative, parents. Since you can’t keep a good man down, Freddy decided to exact his revenge by popping into the neighborhood kids’ minds while they slept, creating “a nightmare on Elm Street” by slashing them with a glove sporting long steel blades (the “one-glove” thing I credit to Michael Jackson’s influence in 1984).
Jason, on the other hand, was just a kid who drowned at Camp Crystal Lake. On one dark and stormy Friday the 13th in the summer of 1980, Jason’s mom decided to teach the negligent camp counselors a valuable lesson (and, indirectly, have the camp owners reflect on beefing up their lifeguarding practices). After the melee of slaughtered teens, the sole survivor gives Mrs. Voorhees her comeuppance and gets the ultimate shock as Jason emerges from Crystal Lake. For a dead, badly-decomposing child, he’s none-to-pleased at Mommy’s demise, and continues to be after all these years (some people just can’t untie themselves from the apron strings).
Do we really need to see Freddy and Jason fight one another? If you’re like me, loving the campy horror movie match-ups, yes. Remember “Godzilla versus the Smog Monster?” “Frankenstein versus the Wolf Man?” How about “Dracula versus Frankenstein?” This particular battle between Dracula versus Frankenstein was so elaborate, they didn’t fight each other until 1971-a full 40 years in the making. Unfortunately, they fought as ‘flower-power’ was waning. Their battle consisted of Dracula, who wore a lot of mascara and looked more Hispanic than Transylvanian, confronting Frankenstein, who looked like the big loser in the local potato sack race (i.e.-the sack), in the middle of foggy forest. Dracula bellows, “I’ll take you apart as your master created you!” and proceeds to literally rip Frankenstein limb-from-limb. Then the sun comes up. Dracula, who never wore a watch or got too “into-the-moment” of disassembling Frankenstein, has forgotten all about sunrise and bellows yet again as he slowly turns to dust.
Don’t remember that one, huh? I can tell you exactly where I was. I was with Doctor Shock.