Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th
Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th is an incredibly in-depth documentary that explores the making of one of the landmark horror franchises of the twentieth century. The film analyses the series from its low budget 1980s origin at a New Jersey summer camp to the blockbuster release of its 2009 “reboot.” It combines hundreds of rare and never-before-seen photographs and film clips, as well as outtakes, archival documents, conceptual art and behind-the-scenes footage. There is also a wealth of interviews with more than one hundred and fifty cast and crew members, spanning all twelve films and the television series.
This documentary is pretty much the last word on the Friday the 13th franchise. Clocking in at over five hours it follows a set pattern exploring each movies development, casting, production and subsequent release. Narrated by Corey Feldman (of Tommy Jarvis fame) it is presented in an engaging and informative fashion. The personal anecdotes from the cast and crew prove to be extremely interesting and often reflect the reality of low budget film making. The documentary also catalogues the regular battles the producers had with the MPAA and shows a variety of out-takes and deleted material. Sadly some of the more violent content has been lost forever, as a memo from Paramount ordering the destruction of surplus footage shows.
Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th also shows the great sense of camaraderie among the actors and crew that worked on these movies. It is often erroneously thought that appearing in such material is a low point in any actor’s career but this is not the case. Many in the acting profession embrace the practical realities of their industry and see merit and virtue in the most humblest of their work. They also see value in being part of a wider fan culture. Stuntman and actor Kane Hodder is especially gracious about the importance of fans and honest about how seriously he takes his work. Friday the 13th is a franchise that has always been driven by the enthusiasm of its audience. It is a shame that the current rights holders seem to have forgotten that.
The director Daniel Farrands previously made His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th, but this new documentary puts that to shame. The sheer volume of information here is prodigious. However due to the sheer running time of Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th it is not for everyone. For those with only a passing interest and less time available I would recommend the directors previous work. For the more dedicated film fan or Friday the 13th aficionado Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th is the ultimate tribute to one of horror’s most iconic and enduring franchises.