December 13, 2013

Movie Review: Crystal Lake Memories - The Complete History of Friday the 13th (2013)

A few years ago the team of Daniel Farrands, Thommy Hutson, and Andrew Kasch made a Friday the 13th-centric documentary called His Name was Jason. It was an entertaining film, but it was not terribly in depth. It seems to have been made for the casual fan. It does feature Tom Savini acting as host, and he is always entertaining on camera. It was not exactly what they wanted, to my understanding there was some conflict with the studio over the content, as Paramount wanted to use it to push the impending release of the remake. Fortunately, this was not their only chance at documenting the storied history of the Friday the 13th franchise.

Before they were able to return to the hockey masked slasher, they took a side trip into the history of another slasher horror icon, Freddy Krueger. This trio delved into the deep cuts, getting people who had never spoken on camera before to film comments. The four hour documentary, titled Never Sleep Again, was absolutely fantastic and an absolute must for any fan of the Elm Street series. Seriously, if you are interested in horror film making it is a must have. Now, they have done it again.

The story of Crystal Lack Memories began some years back. Author Peter Bracke went and interviewed virtually everybody involved with the Friday franchise. The result of all his work was the book, Crystal Lake Memories. I have yet to read the bulk of it, but I do have it on Kindle, I would have loved to have the hardcover, but I was completely unaware of it when it first came out. Perhaps I will find an aftermarket copy...

Well, Daniel Farrands and his partners teamed with the book's author, Peter Bracke, and together they did more interviews, spoke to even more people than appeared in the book. The result of these efforts is an absolutely massive documentary bearing the same title as the book. There is stuff here that has never been revealed anywhere else.

The film, which clocks in at nearly 7 hours, does require quite the investment of time, but it is well worth it. It runs even longer if you got direct from the filmmakers during its first print run, that release included a bonus disk with nearly four more hours of interview material.

Corey Feldman acts as host and narrator of the documentary, as well as one of the subjects when discussing The Final Chapter and A New Beginning. Among the people seen on camera are usual suspects like Sean S. Cunningham, Kane Hodder, Richard Brooker, Amy Steel, Adrienne King, and Tom Savini. You also get virtually every victim, every director, every Jason. Notably absent are Kevin Bacon, from the original, and Crispin Glover, who appeared in The Final Chapter.

I am not sure how to really discuss this documentary, as I really don't want to get into the content. Perhaps I should just cut it short by saying that it is seriously entertaining and informative. It is a quick watch, despite its long run time you will be left wanting more. It is edited briskly, contains plenty of clips from the series as well as other referenced films. Basically, strap in and prepare to learn a lot about the making of these movies, from set stories, to near miss accidents, to rejected stories, to pretty much whatever you can think about with relation to the franchise.

Highly Recommended.

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