The slasher was the most prominent horror genre film of the 1980s. Inspired by John Carpenter's 1978 film Halloween , the slasher became notorious by flooding the horror market as studios cashed in on the latest Hollywood craze. The premise was relatively simple: a group of teenagers venture out for a fun time and are methodically killed off by a masked assailant, before a lone survivor dispatches the killer. The films were light on plot and made with a low budget with no name actors, making it easy for studios to crank out a slasher and earn a profit at the box office. With so many imitators trying to emulate Carpenter, three franchises stood out: Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and The Evil Dead. These franchises produced two memorable antagonists and protagonist respectively in Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and Ash Williams. Over time, these characters gained a cult following in popular culture, mostly due to the performances of Bruce Campbell and Robert Englund (Jason being played by various stuntmen, most notably Kane Hodder), becoming embedded in the public consciousness with numerous sequels of varying quality (The Evil Dead has the least number of films its franchise with four and a sequel TV series, Ash vs. Evil Dead ).
In 2003, New Line Cinema released Freddy vs. Jason , a crossover between the two franchises, pitting the famed antagonists against each other for the first time. However, an earlier treatment of the movie had included plans for Ash Williams from The Evil Dead to appear as well. The original screenplay would form the beginning of the comic, Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash , a sequel to Freddy vs. Jason and The Evil Dead Trilogy , published in 2007-2008.
Following his defeat at the hands of Jason, Freddy Krueger now exists in Jason's mind. Using visions to manipulate the mindless killer, Freddy commands Jason to locate the Necronomicon, the only book capable of resurrecting him. Meanwhile, Ash Williams travels to Crystal Lake to shape up some unruly teenage employees at the local S-Mart.
Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash was published by the now defunct Wildstorm comic book imprint, first released in six issues, beginning in November 2007 and running until March 2008. The comic was written by James Kuhoric and illustrated by Jason Craig, based on Jeff Katz’s original film treatment for Freddy vs. Jason .
Five years after the events of Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash and 16 years after Army of Darkness , Jason Voorhees kills a group of teenagers at Crystal Lake, before entering into a trance where Jason's mother, Pamela Voorhees and Freddy Krueger appear to him. After his defeat at the hands of Jason, Krueger is now trapped inside Jason's mind and using visions of his mother, commands Jason to retrieve the Book of the Dead, the Necronomicon, which has the power to resurrect Krueger and is hidden in the old Voorhees residence. Jason's "mother" informs his son that if he finds the book, Jason will become a "real boy" (Pinocchio it ain't). In another part of town, the store manager of the Crystal Lake S-Mart has called in Ash Williams to sort out a group of rowdy teenage employees. However, Ash has an ulterior motive for coming to the infamous town: to find the Necronomicon and put an end to the Deadite menace that has plagued his life. Ash's speech to the teenagers about working as a team initially falls on deaf ears, but is quickly interrupted by a Jason murder, which Ash interprets as the work of the Deadites. Tracking Jason to the Voorhees home, Ash and the group find the Necronomicon in the basement, making a narrow escape with the book from the undead murderer. Returning to the S-Mart, Ash and the employees begin to make a plan on how to deal with Jason. Unfortunately, Jason follows them, killing the majority of the group and takes the book with him. Now in possession of the Necronomicon, Krueger uses its power to resurrect himself, confronting Ash and the survivors in their dreams and taunting Ash with his past memories. Unleashing the full power of the Necronomicon, Krueger gains reality warping powers, breaching the physical world as the group desperately attempts to flee from him. Realising the deception, Jason turns on Krueger as the dream killer laughs, summoning all of Jason's past victims to attack him using his new omnipotent power. Jason, being torn to pieces, has his mask removed, revealing his misshapen zombified appearance, attacking Ash in a blind rage. Ash convinces Caroline, one of the survivors to read a verse from the Necronomicon, sending Krueger to the Deadite dimension, while Ash manages to trap Jason and the book underneath a frozen Crystal Lake. The nightmare over, Ash and Caroline drive off as Jason opens his eyes.
Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash is an entertaining story that brings together three horror movie icons for the first time. Freddy vs. Jason was a romp for fans of the series and it would have been interesting to see how Ash would have factored in to that movie if the original plan had gone forward. Being a comic about two serial killers, Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash pulls no punches on the gore and language, meaning that if you weren't a horror fan beforehand, then this comic will not change your mind. The comic is narrated by Ash and the writing does a great job of capturing his sardonic dry wit, coupled with a world-weary attitude, where the supernatural has become his "normal". Jason is unmasked for the first time, revealing a deformed visage, similar to his appearance in the first Friday the 13th movie, but with a more emaciated, monstrous look. Moreover, whenever Jason is on the page, the iconic "Ch Ch Ch, Ah Ah Ah" sound is included, making it feel like an actual film. Taking advantage of Jason's low intellect, Freddy Krueger enacts his plan to reform himself using the Necronomicon, achieving near invincibility, before he is brought down by his own pride and ego, cast off to the Deadite dimension. Other nods to the films include the "One, two…" Freddy rhyme, further enhancing the comic’s dedication toward authenticity. A follow-up series was released in 2009 entitled, Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors , once again written and illustrated by Kuhoric and Craig respectively. If you're a fan of any of these horror series, then Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash is a fun read and will give you some good entertainment.