• Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th

    Released by: 1428 Films
    Released on: 9/13/13
    Director: Daniel Farrands
    Cast: Dozens and dozens
    Year: 2013
    Purchase from Amazon

    The Movie:

    No matter your interest level in the Friday the 13th movie franchise, unless it’s the interest level of an old lady who doesn't like those bloody movies, don’t bother reading any more about this documentary. Just get it. If you’re a know-everything about the history of the series, it’s hard to say what you can learn from the program. But if you’re a fan of maybe the first four movies and then part 6 because of how shitty part 5 was, but then got frustrated with them and gave up on Jason movies (just as a totally made up example), this documentary is fantastic.

    This monster of a show is pushing the seven hour mark, spread out over two discs, and broken up into, yes that’s right, thirteen chapters: one for each of the twelve movies, in order, plus an epilogue. The television program is also in there somewhere. Each feature is discussed at length with interviews from a number of cast and crew members, including directors, SFX artists and music contributors (Harry Manfredini’s score MADE that first movie), and in a typical documentary style presentation. Unfortunately, some cast members don’t contribute to the documentary at all, for whatever reasons (that you can probably correctly guess). You’ll notice them missing, and it’s the one thing that keeps this from being as complete as it can be (other than maybe finding some lost cutting room footage). Clips from the films are used, some deleted footage can be seen, behind-the-scenes footage and photos are on display, and some location visits years later help spice up the mixture. Each movie gets extensive coverage, from the pre-production difficulties to the audience reaction and critical roadblocks. And of course a lot of attention is given to the men who play Jason over the years, as well as the decline in the sleaze and gore content that became a series-long battle between the producers and the censorship Gestapo.

    People who have seen/purchased “His Name Was Jason” might recognize some of the interview footage from that program, which makes sense since it was made by the same director. Those same people might wonder if or why they would need to even bother with this one. Well, this one is far superior to the 2008 Anchor Bay release in more ways than one. First, it doesn't have those God-awful Tom Savini intros. It does have Corey Feldman doing a little homage to the campfire story from Friday part 2, and then at the end of the 7-hour marathon to wrap it up, but other than that its straight up narration all the way courtesy by Mr. Feldman, and he does a great job. It’s easy to forget that the man talking is the same dude who dressed up like Michael Jackson and danced his way to the land of the craptastic. Another reason this one is better than the ’08 one is that new interview footage is also present (take a look at the BIG difference in the appearance of Tom McLoughlin, director of F13 Part 6, from 2008 to now…).

    One of the most attractive things about this 7-hour beast over the aforementioned inferior effort is that it’s broken up by film. As a result it’s much more satisfying to sit and watch a couple of hours at a time, and really get a comprehensive look at each movie. The previous doc mixed the movies all up into categories of sorts and was more of an overview than an in depth discussion. Just when you find you might want to hear more about one movie, they jump around to another. That’s more of a VH1-style than a Discovery Channel style (which is this newer doc’s style), which to this viewer is much more appealing.


    (Please Note: The following article reviews this documentary using a screener DVD. It is assumed that it mirrors the final product. If we are sent the finished goods, we’ll update the review.)

    As with most documentaries, different grades of the quality of footage available are used, but the interviews look great. Skin tones look perfect, colors are really striking. The 16:9 anamorphic widescreen presentation delivers a very nice but typical looking interview-style documentary. The interviews are nothing fancy, but the backgrounds are nice and non-intrusive. The show runs over two discs, so no compression troubles are evident from crowding it all on one disc. The sound is a 2.0 channel track, and does its job. There is nothing real interesting to mention, but its void of any noticeable problems. Everyone sounds clear and the music doesn't drown out the talking. Extras are a few trailers for other projects from 1428 Films, the same people who produced the equally fantastic Nightmare on Elm Street history piece “Never Sleep Again”. And there is an audio commentary with the film’s makers that runs the entire length. Why a commentary is necessary is something the producers could probably address, but it seems like overkill. But hey some people will surely dig it.

    The Final Words:

    Excellent. Comprehensive. Exhaustive. Required.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. sukebanboy's Avatar
      sukebanboy -
      Yeah...Seeing a LOT of stuff come up from HIS NAME WAS JASON was annoying...but there was more than enough extra stuff to make up for it....ALSO, the inclusion of lengthy FRANK MANCUSO JR interview was FANTASTIC..Shame no CRISPIN GLOVER, KEVIN BACON or STEVE MINER on board though!!