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Crystral Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (2013)

Studio: 1428 Films / CAV

Blu Ray Release: September 13, 2013

Director: Daniel Farrands

Not Rated

Review by James Klein





I will make no qualms about it; I am a Friday the 13th fan. Even some of the worst entries in the series I can find something to enjoy (that doesn't include the insulting 2009 remake). I grew up on these movies. When I was a young boy growing up in the 80's, these films were banned in our household. I was told, in fact warned, that I could not see these films. So of course I made it my mission to sneak around and watch any Friday the 13th film I could get my hands on. While some of my friends had hidden VHS tapes of pornos, I had one of Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter. I still even remembering watching late at night on a black and white TV in my room Friday the 13th Part III and telling all the kids at school the next day what I had seen. Sure, even at a young age I could tell these films were cheaply made and didn't offer much of a plot but it was the make up effects, the numerous ways these teens died, the constant sex, and of course that hockey masked wearing maniac that to me was just really cool.

It was a tradition that every spring/summer a new Friday the 13th film would arrive in theaters and it was my mission to try and sneak into one of these (I chickened out on sneaking into Friday the 13th Part VI and got kicked out not even minutes into Friday the 13th Part VIII). When I was dating a girl back in high school and our one month anniversary came up, I begged her to go see Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday on opening night. When I was dating another girl in my mid-20's (who I happened to eventually marry)  I dragged her to go see Jason X as well as Freddy vs. Jason a few years later. These films seem to mark a certain moment in my life, a memory that has stuck with me. When I say "I grew up on these movies" that is honestly true.

The 2009 documentary His Name Was Jason, about the history of the Friday the 13th films was a huge disappointment to me. The documentary was horribly edited and confusing, jumping around between each films in no chronological order. With documentaries like Never Sleep Again and Need More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead which were long, informative and really well made; I felt that my Friday films got cheated. All of that has now been corrected in Crystal Lake Memories, based on the book by author and Friday fan Peter M. Bracke. Clocking in at 400 minutes (!) this is what fans have been waiting for. Each entry, including the remake, are given a complete run down with interviews, deleted scenes, and rare photos. Sure some well known stories are recycled but there is plenty of new stories that I have never heard or had known that is now revealed.

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Narrated by Corey Feldman, the opening of this documentary had me nervous at first with Feldman and a bunch of 20-something's in the woods at night sitting around a camp fire as Feldman tells them the history of Jason. Thankfully this is short and quick and the documentary begins. Feldman's deep voice and knowledge of the series works rather well thus doing a competent job talking us through each entry.

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Pre-production, production, and post-production on each Friday film is discussed as well as juicy stories, rare photos, and some deleted scenes. Everyone knows about how certain Friday the 13th films were butchered by the MPAA and thankfully some of that footage still exists which we do get to see. However, some of the deleted scenes are now gone and what is left are either still photos or memories by the film makers and actors. While I have seen footage of some of the gore that was deleted out of Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, I have never seen the extra gore or the alternate ending for Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter which is now shown here for the first time.

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Crystal Lake Memories also goes into great lengths to get interviews from almost every actor and film maker that worked on these films. Almost all of them talk lovingly about the films they were a part of. It was also nice to see some of the final interviews with the now late Richard Brooker (Jason from Part III) Danny Steinmann (director of Part V) and James Isaac (director of Jason X). There are also quite a few actors who have now passed away over the years which is both sad and shocking to hear.

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Now if you are a fan like myself, you may have already heard about certain stories on the making of these films such as how creator Sean S. Cunningham came up with the idea for the original Friday and so forth but there are little facts on the Friday series that surprised me: Adrienne King talking about her stalker that put a gun to her head after the success of Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th Part III was the film to knock off E.T. from the #1 spot in the summer of 1982, the cast and crew's much dislike for Steinmann and the outcome of Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, and how Friday the 13th Part VII: A New Blood was called by many as "Frigay the 13th" since most of the cast was gay.

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Crystal Lake Memories even comes with an audio commentary track by director Farrands and if you order the blu ray set directly from 1428 Films, an extra disc is included with even more interviews. Sorry folks, I didn't get the extra disc for review so can't say too much about it. But judging on how good Crystal Lake Memories is, I'm sure its worth it.

Even non-Friday fans will find something interesting or likable about this well made, detailed and informative documentary that requires repeat viewing due to an overload of information regarding the series. The insult that was His Name Was Jason is now corrected. Jason has finally won.

[Rating: 4.5]

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