In honor of today being December, FRIDAY the 13th, 2013, what better way to celebrate than by watching the ultimate documentary entitled Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday The 13th. That’s right the successful book that came out in 2006 has now spawned this evil documentary that occupies over 400 minutes of your time. If you are a fan of this film series, this is a must own, it would look great in any horror movie collection, serving as a tribute to the series that changed the direction of the horror genre. If that doesn’t entice you, how about the fact that this is from the same people who brought you the acclaimed award winning documentary, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, the history of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Keep that in mind, the same people who spear headed that documentary are back, but this time, paying homage to Jason Voorhees.
Now, if you committed yourself to viewing this documentary, make sure you have enough time because it is comprehensive. That’s a good thing if you are an avid fan of this franchise. The documentary is two discs and is over six hours long. That’s alot of talking about 30 years of hacking and slashing. However, what else would you expect from a film series that has proven to be a box office success time and time again. This film has amassed a fan base that expects it to keep on coming back for more blood. To date the Friday The 13th series has spawned 12 films, a television show, books, music, action figures and a countless array of merchandise (I don’t mean to brag but I do own a special zip up hoodie that allows me to live vicariously through Jason whenever I see fit- or have to go to work). Simply put, there is much content to go over here and this documentary kills it (pun intended).
So why did this documentary even get made in the first place. Well, for one, the creators had much success with their Nightmare on Elm Street documentary. Hell, whatever works for Freddy Krueger should work for Jason. Friday the 13th is no slouch and it has an interesting story to tell to say the least. After all, Friday the 13th is a cash cow earning more than 600 million at the box office, however, it wasn’t always this way as it went through many bumps in the road. Furthermore, it turned a horrific, axe-wielding mongoloid into a pop-culture phenomenon (kids even sleep with Jason Voohees dolls now, seriously watch the documentary there is footage). Fans of Jason need to view this just to see how this series came to be so popular.
So how comprehensive is this documentary? Well, I was extremely impressed with the filming of this documentary. It takes fans on a “Hobbit” style journey through Crystal lake uncovering the mystery from the man behind the mask. Starting from the inception of the series in 1980, through the epic confrontation with Freddy Krueger, all the way up to the reboot in 2009. Even the future of the series is discussed. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the documentary was the exclusive interviews with over 150 former cast and crew members from all 12 films, featuring people who were on and off screen. It was cool to see footage of these people who haven’t been seen or heard from in quite awhile.
It gets really interesting to hear from the directors of the not so successful Fridays (Jason Takes Manhattan) and they have to answer for all their mistakes. The film is also narrated by Corey Feldman, the star from Friday The 13th Part 4, who adds a bit of comic relief throughout the documentary (spoiler alert: Feldman taps into his inner Jason at the conclusion). Also, if that’s not enough for you, there are countless rare photographs, clips, outtakes, rehearsals, documents, posters, concept art, and footage sprinkled throughout the entire documentary. My favorite moments were watching the unedited, extended scenes from Fridays part 6 and 7 that show you excessive blood and gore (stuff the censors put an axe to, never to be seen again, hitting the cutting room floor).
Extensive historical documentary: Every Friday is covered here in full force, every one of the 12 films is dissected in great, extensive detail with interviews from all the important cast members.
Corey Feldman narrates: the only person I would’ve chosen over Feldman for this job would be Jason Voorhees himself but all we would have gotten out of him is KI KI KI KI, HA HA HA HA
Extended scenes: watching these were my favorite part. I got to see scenes that were too brutal for the theaters, forcing the censors to step in. Sadly much of the footage was destroyed and this is the only place you can see it.
Every Friday is covered: I know I listed this as a positive, but since Friday has 12 film installments, it also serves as a negative. This is because the not so successful Fridays like Jason Takes Manhattan, goes to Hell and Jason X get too much screen time devoted and made it a little boring. I don’t need to sit through 45 minutes of how badly this movie sucked.
To sum it up, I had a blast sitting through the 6 plus hours this documentary entailed. If you are a fan of the book by the same name, Friday the 13th, Jason Voorhees, even the slasher genre itself, you will love this documentary and it is a must watch. I personally wasted little time purchasing this and put it right on the shelf next to my A Nightmare on Elm Street documentary by the same crew. Anytime, I have 6 hours to kill or can’t go to sleep, I will pop this in and relive the gory days of the slasher films and perhaps one of the most successful of all time, Friday The 13th, long live the 80’s!