Horror bash draws new blood

Freddy, Jason leave H'w'd preem attendees in stitches

HOLLYWOOD — The talk at last Wednesday’s premiere of deathfest “Freddy vs. Jason” was all about new life and fresh blood.

At the ArcLight bow of New Line’s monster mash, director Ronny Yu, who cut his teeth with Hong Kong actioners before trying horror with 1998’s “Bride of Chucky,” recalled: “My agent and manager said to me, ‘Ronny, you always want to do a mainstream American movie. Here, you’ve got two American icons to work with.’ ”

Yu likened the long-awaited showdown between the villains of the “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchises to a WWF wrestling match, with the rawness of the original “Rocky” battle.

“This is not a spoof,” Yu said. “I wanted to get back to the first Freddy and Jason pics … not make fun of Freddy or Jason.”

Robert Englund, star of eight Freddy pics, showed no sign of hanging up the razor-tipped glove and trademark sweater of the character. He talked up plans for a “Nightmare” prequel and other horror team-ups days before the pic topped expectations and landed $36.4 million in its opening weekend.

“We’re breaking the ice,” Englund said. “If this one does well, (maybe) they’ll send Bruce Campbell of ‘Evil Dead’ against both of us to vanquish us.”

Even New Line topper Bob Shaye was looking forward to new life from the horror franchises, joking before the screening about still receiving residuals checks from cameos in three of the “Nightmare” pics.

Guests at the Wolfgang Puck-catered Highlands after-party sampled, appropriately enough, plenty of meat, plus an assortment of camp-themed sides like baked beans and s’mores.

Pic stars Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland, Monica Keena and Ken Kirzinger mixed it up with “Friday the 13th” creator Sean Cunningham plus guests John Ritter, Michelle Williams, Lance Bass, Tisha Campbell and Jessica Biel.