B-Sides: Freddy vs. Jason – Whoever Wins, We Boogie
You know a horror character has truly achieved iconic status when his likeness has become a staple of Halloween costuming and he gets mainstream musical acts singing songs about him. Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees both achieved that status back in the latter half of the 80’s, and they did it with a little help from The Fat Boys and Alice Cooper.
First up, it’s time for Freddy. See, he’s a popular guy. If you don’t know that yet, you’re gonna find out why.
There are those who argue that the undoubtedly corny rap song and music video for “Are You Ready for Freddy?” by The Fat Boys, featuring Robert Englund himself dropping some dope rhymes, was something of a jump the shark moment for Freddy Krueger’s cross over from horror movie villain to bona fide pop culture phenom. It is true that Freddy’s popularity peaked with 1989’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, and from there it was a quick downward slide for America’s favorite child molesting serial killer. Still, I have to ask: How can anyone hate something as delightfully dopey as this Scooby Doo-ish music video?
In the blue corner here are The Fat Boys and Robert Englund/Freddy Krueger asking the million dollar question, “Are You Ready for Freddy?”
Jason Voorhees appeared to have been killed once and for all at the end of 1984’s The Final Chapter. Many a hardcore Friday the 13th fan was angered by the fake Jason of 1985’s A New Beginning that dared usurp their anti-hero’s signature hockey mask. In 1986, just in case the Jason Lives subtitle wasn’t convincing enough, the producers wanted to make absolute certain that everyone fully understood their beloved Jason was coming back, and it wasn’t just another wannabe with a machete pulling a bait and switch. Who better to herald the return of Jason Voorhees to the land of the unliving than horror rocker Alice Cooper? Even the song with its title, “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)”, is designed to make you understand this is the people’s Jason and not another new Coke Jason like that of Part 5.
The official music video for this song has pretty much toiled in obscurity since airing on MTV a quarter century ago. The picture quality on this copy isn’t quite pristine, but that is to be expected considering the rarity of it. Would it have killed Paramount to include this music video on any of the multitude of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives DVD releases over the years?
In the red corner, from Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, here’s Alice Cooper with a song about Jason Voorhees that never actually mentions Jason or Camp Crystal Lake or Friday the 13th by name, oddly enough. If the video for “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” doesn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense to you, then just wait until the final seconds when a very Beetlejuice-esque Alice Cooper spells it out for us.
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