Documentary Week – Crystal Lake Memories (2013)

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This nearly seven-hour documentary from the director of recent alternate history thrillers The Haunting of Sharon Tate and The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson gives us a look at the legacy of one of the greatest horror film franchises and its most iconic figure, a man by the name of Jason Voorhees.

It all started with a title, but no concept. When producer Sean S. Cunningham came up with the title of a horror film entitled Friday the 13th, he never would imagine what would happen next. Hiring Victor Miller to write the script, the idea was to come up with an accidental death that would lead to a series of murders at a summer camp. When the idea was for a killer to return after the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake, no one would imagine the legacy it would hold.

With the original film being a hit in its release of 1980, Ron Kurz was hired to write a sequel and Cunningham’s protégé Steve Miner took over helming. The idea was to now have the adult son whose death caused the murders of the original film. Since then, Jason Voorhees has slashed his way, first sporting his iconic mask in Friday the 13th Part III, dealt with the same arch-nemesis in Tommy Jarvis in Parts IV, V, and VI; meeting his match in a telekinetic girl in Part VII; stowing away on a cruise to the Big Apple in Part VIII; possessing innocent people in what was the final Friday, before heading off to space in a tenth installment. This would all result in a movie that pitted the hockey-mask sporting killer against another iconic movie killer in Freddy vs. Jason and a 2009 remake that revolved around Jason himself.

Daniel Farrands, whose feature films have attracted attention, did this amazing documentary. What’s even more astounding is the fact that he delves into the entire legacy of the Friday the 13th franchise with excellent narration by Corey Feldman, who immortalized the role of playing Jason’s biggest arch nemesis, Tommy Jarvis in the fourth installment, The Final Chapter.

Farrands takes us on an intimate journey through each installment of the film franchise, complete with interviews with cast members and filmmakers. The film also had almost every actor who played the iconic Jason Voorhees. They are Ari Lehman, Warrington Gillette, Steve Dash, Richard Brooker, Ted White, CJ Graham, the legendary Kane Hodder, Ken Kirzinger, and Derek Mears. While some of the interviews were taped before some of the deaths of some cast members, the documentary also delves into actors from the franchise who are no longer with us, with all positive words from their castmates.

Aside from the film series, the documentary also takes a look at the three-season TV series, which didn’t have Jason, but more of a horror style adventure involving relics and their backstories. Interesting enough, lead actor John D. LeMay would end up transitioning from the series to the male lead in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, considered not exactly one of the best concepts for a Friday film due to a rookie director at the helm. And there are times when even Kane Hodder, the man who played Jason four times, admitted some difficulties in terms of some of his work. However, one of his proudest achievements is the longest body burn stunt in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, and that’s considering the fact he nearly was killed from a mishap with the same type of stunt a decade earlier. Just shows that Hodder is one to face his fears and go for it!

Crystal Lake Memories is well worth spending nearly 7 hours, especially if you’re a fan of the Friday the 13th franchise. While it may be insane to watch the 7 hours straight through (took me 4 days), it’s worth checking out.

WFG RATING: A+

A 1428 Films production in association with Panic Productions and Hutson Media Group. Director: Daniel Farrands. Producer: Thommy Hutson. Writer: Daniel Farrands; based on the book by Peter M. Bracke. Cinematography: Buz Danger Wallick. Editing: Andrew Kasch, Michael Benni Pierce, and Luke Rafalowski.

Cast: Corey Feldman, Sean S. Cunningham, Victor Miller, Ron Kurz, Frank Mancuso Jr., Adrienne King, Amy Steel, Dana Kimmell, Kimberly Beck, Melanie Kinnaman, John Shepherd, Thom Matthews, Jennifer Cooke, Lar Park Lincoln, Jensen Daggett, Monica Keena, Ari Lehman, Warrington Gillette, Steve Dash, Richard Brooker, Ted White, Dick Wieand, CJ Graham, Kane Hodder, Ken Kirzinger, Derek Mears, Betsy Palmer, John D. LeMay, Steve Monarque, Tom Savini.

 

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