I always preferred Freddy to Jason. Most of this is due to obvious reasons of quality; the Elm Street franchise contains one classic, one near-classic, two very good entries, and a few middling ones, while the Friday the 13th series consists of a couple good films and a heap of mediocre-to-awful efforts. (Despite that, I do enjoy even the worst Jason movies at times, because sometimes it’s fun to see a masked killer punch a guy’s head clean off.)
And, of course, part is due to the characters themselves. I’m not the first to notice that a wisecracking bogeyman with a flair for theatrics is more exciting than a hulking, silent, brute absent of any sort of personality. Sure, Freddy’s a homicidal maniac, but he’s a homicidal maniac with flair!
Part of my preference, though, is entirely because of the timing. By the time my teenage years rolled around, the Jason series had already grown stale, while the Freddy series was just getting going. Dream Warriors was released in 1987, the year I turned thirteen, with two more sequels released during my high school years. Freddy spent the last years of the decade as a phenomenon the level of which Jason, Michael Myers, and/or any number of knock-offs were able to achieve. For a kid that age soaking in all that pop culture, it’s easy to see why Freddy trumped the rest.
It also helped that the Elm Street films inspired a trio of pop hits, including rival Freddy raps pitting DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince against the Fat Boys (I still prefer the former, and by a mile, thank you), plus a hair metal monster in the form of a Dream Warriors theme song by Dokken.
Ah, yes, the Dokken video, with all its Aqua Net cheese and shredded guitars, is the look and sound of my youth*. On behalf of Generation X, you’re welcome.
*(Fun fact! My sophomore year of high school, the Homecoming theme was “Dream Warriors,” complete with Freddy Krueger-themed parade floats. So that’s something you can add to the “what could’ve happened long ago to make Dave so screwy?” file.)