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What happens when the central villain of a gory and indulgent horror series faces off with the central villain of another similarly crass franchise? Just what you'd expect: twice the gore, twice the vulgarity, and twice the revelry in baser behaviors.

It also becomes the most popular film at the box office: $36.4 million in its first weekend. The amount would have been higher if not for the nation's largest power outage on record. Nevertheless, these numbers make it look like the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchises are bound to march on, undead.

Tom Snyder (Movieguide) says the movie is "filled with gruesome violence and gore. It also contains a barrage of foul and vulgar language. Scenes of explicit nudity and depicted sex round out the reasons why everyone should avoid this abhorrent movie, which also features a nominalistic worldview with occult elements."

"The film is driven by a repulsive impulse to treat graphic violence as entertainment," says David DiCerto (Catholic News Service). "Serial killers are treated like rock stars, cheered on by enthusiastic fans every time they rack up another notch on their machete, earning bonus points if the method of slaughter employed is exceptionally gruesome." He is also troubled by "the film's promotion of substance abuse and casual sex … [and] a disheartening suspicion of and antagonism toward authority figures, especially parents."

Mainstream critics chalked this film up as yet another "nightmare," and learned again how little their warnings to the public affect a film's box office. Paul Farhi (The Washington Post) compares the clash to Bush vs. Hussein: "It's overlong, it's hard to tell which one's the bad guy, and it's filled with lots of senseless carnage on ...

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August 2003

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