10 Most Tenuous Versus Movies

This Friday, Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus explodes all over our cinemas.

We've already seen (opens in new tab) it so you don't have to, but since it joins a long and not always illustrious list of "versus" movies, we thought it was worthwhile to look back at the maddest match-ups from the past in honour of this crazed nonsense...

Freddy Vs Jason (2003)

The Fighters:
Dream demon and former kiddie fiddler Freddy (in the shape of original brand Krueger, Robert Englund) goes up against masked monster Jason Voorhees.

Freddy's original idea, of course, was to use Jason to unleash havoc on the local teen population. But his plan goes awry when the hulking brute decides he's going to be top dog.

What Started The Fight? Horror movie audiences had been awaiting this sort of duel for a long time and New Line duly obliged, bringing together the two titans.

It's a madcap affair, full of in-jokes and all the chaos you could hope for.

The Loser: Anyone awaiting Freddy Vs Jason Vs Ash - with New Line intent on relaunching both Friday The 13th (already out) and A Nightmare On Elm Street (coming next year with Jackie Earle Haley in the striped jumper), there's not much chance of seeing it before Bruce Campbell is too old to run around as Ash.

There's a comic based on the idea, but no sign of a movie. Yet.

Oh, and Freddy loses in the movie itself when Jason impales him on his arm and the kids cut his noggin off.

Next: Ecks Vs Sever


Ballistic: Ecks VS Sever (2002)

The Fighters:
Cool, laid back FBI agent Jonathan Ecks (Antonio Banderas) has been locked in mortal combat with the deadly rogue NSA agent known as Sever (Lucy Liu) for years.

But when the pair discover they have a common enemy boasting a micro device that can be injected into victims and used to kill them on a whim, they decide - naturally - to team up for an uncomfortable partnership.

What Started The Fight? It probably seemed like a good idea at the time - Liu was breaking out after the Charlie's Angels films and Banderas could bring the swaggering charm from his Desperado days to an action thriller.

The Loser: Pretty much everyone involved and anyone who saw it.

Directed by Wych Kaosayananda under the superbly pretentious short-form name "Kaos", it failed at the box office and got scathing reviews.

Notably, Kaosayananda has directed exactly zero films since Ecks was flushed into cinemas.

Ballistic? b******s, more like.

Next: Joe Vs The Volcano


Joe Vs The Volcano (1990)

The Fighters:
Joe Banks (Tom Hanks) is a depressed office drone who finds even more reason to loathe life when he's diagnosed with an incurable brain problem.

So when he's offered the chance to end it all spectacularly by jumping into a volcano as an offering to stop the fire gods destroying a pacific island, he literally leaps at the chance, even though he also finds love with Meg Ryan.

What Started The Fight? Joe was the first script to create the Hanks/Ryan comedy partnership, though they were possibly attracted by the fact it was playwright John Patrick Shanley's first film.

It wasn't quite as respected as last year's Doubt, though.

The Loser:
The volcano, but not by much. Its eruption ends up spitting out and sparing the lovebirds, but it does get to destroy the island.

Oh, and Warners didn't exactly make a lot of money on it.

Next: King Kong Vs Godzilla


King Kong Vs Godzilla (1960)

The Fighters:
The giant, super-strong ape and former resident of Skull Island and the world's most famous massive, radiation-infused walking lizard beast.

How do they end up meeting/fighting? Glad you asked.

Seems a pharmaceutical company learns of giant, health-boosting berries growing on an island and, upon discovering the locals worshipping its heaviest resident, decide to capture the giant ape and take him to Japan for experiments.

Godzilla, meanwhile, is defrosted from a glacier and the rest you can probably figure out for yourself.

Suffice to say, it includes lots of collateral damage.

What Started The Fight? Kong's original animator, Willis O'Brien, who first wanted to make a sequel to the first film in which he battles a creature made from other beasts.

But when no American studio would back it, Toho stepped in and decided to make it a smack down between the ape and their most famous creation.

The Loser: Logic. Kong kills Godzilla by drowning him.

Godzilla. Who can live under the ocean. Drowning. Sigh.

Next: Earth Vs The Flying Saucers


Earth Vs The Flying Saucers (1956)

The Fighters:
Atomic age terror and cold war paranoia fuel a tale where hostile alien bastiches in spinning saucers first attempt to quietly invade our planet.

When they're told to sling their slimy hooks by our outraged heroes, the villains launch a full-scale assault on humanity, knocking over several American landmarks on the way.

What Started The Fight?
Saucers was a cash-in on the 1950s obsession with all things sci-fi.

While it might not be quite as respected as, say, the original The Day The Earth Stood Still, it boasts some fun Ray Harryhausen work on the saucers and overcomes its cheesy tone with spectacle.

The Loser: The alien bastards are fought off thanks to a handy magnetic weapon.

ET, piss off back home!

Next: Dracula Vs Frankenstein


Dracula Vs Frankenstein (1971)

The Fighters:
More iconic horror chaos as Dracula (sporting, for no other reason than it's the seventies, an embarrassing afro) goes up against Dr Frankenstein's famous creation.

In reality, however, we spend most of the time following some random girl as she searches for her sister - it's a pointless mission as her sibling has already been decapitated by Dr F.

Oh, and the monsters do eventually fight. But it's a rubbish, awkward, slow scrap.

What Started The Fight?
We're going to go with director Al Adamson, who had a dream to unite the pair and actually managed to pull it off.

He even convinced Lon Chaney Jr to mask up as Frankie.

The Loser: Anyone who expected a quality film.

The lower than low budget and the awful production values, coupled with a meandering, pointless plot mean that it's largely a lame affair.

Next: The People Vs Larry Flynt


The People Vs Larry Flynt (1996)

The Fighters:
Porn baron Larry Flynt (Woody Harrelson), a strip club owner who launched Hustler magazine, goes up against moral crusaders who want him and his mag shut down.

He argues that he's protected by free speech, and flies around the country defending himself in various court cases whilst also struggling with paralysis from a mixture of a botched assassination attempt, health issues and drug use.

What Started The Fight?
Larry Flynt. He also won it.

While he really did win the case, Milos Foreman's film paints him as much more of an American hero than reality might actually support.

Other winners include anyone who loves porn, since Flynt's real-life victory paved the way for the last 30 years of mag-and-'net-based smutty fun.

The Loser:
The American "Moral" Majority and family values groups, who fought and lost the original case and then failed to raise much of a storm about the movie.

Next: Kramer Vs Kramer


Kramer Vs Kramer (1979)

The Fighters: Brutal, brittle custody drama ensues when overworked ad man Ted (Dustin Hoffman) discovers that his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) is leaving him and their son to "discover" herself.

Ted does his best to care for the boy, but finds single fatherhood tough going.

When Joanna returns to claim custody of the kid, Ted puts up a strong fight in court.

What Started The Fight?
Rising divorce stats, a depressing phenonemenon which had a positive result in this instance, The film emerged as a triumph, scooping Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Benton and gongs for Hoffman and Streep.

The Loser: Feminism.

For all the movie's great qualities, the portrayal of Joanna as a narcissistic loser who ends up handing over her child doesn't exactly help the women's lib cause.

Next: Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla


Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla (1974)

The Fighters: Ape-type aliens decide to destroy Japan.

Instead of using conventional weapons ,their plan involves building a giant, cyborg/mechanised version of the country's most famous beast and sending it stomping into the big cities.

Naturally, the citizens fight back with the big G himself, but when it looks like he might not be enough to take down the robo-monster, humanity summons King Caesar (sounds like a wrestler, looks like a cross between a dog and a lion) to help in the conflict.

What Started The Fight
? The success of every other brilliant Godzilla movie.

The Loser: American audiences, who saw a trimmed-down version of the film thanks to the MPAA.

And Toho didn't exactly hit it big with the film, though it did do better business than the film before it, Godzilla Vs Megalon.

Next: Alien Vs Predator


She's got a point...

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Freelance Journalist

James White is a freelance journalist who has been covering film and TV for over two decades. In that time, James has written for a wide variety of publications including Total Film and SFX. He has also worked for BAFTA and on ODEON's in-cinema magazine.