Director: Daniel Farrands
Starring: Corey Feldman, Sean Cunningham, Kane Hodder, Judie Aronson, John Carl Buechler
On May 9th, 1980 a new low budget horror film from Sean Cunningham and the Paramount Pictures company would make its mark on American cinema and become the starting point of one of the most recognizable horror icons ever created for the big screen.
That movie was Friday the 13th. Made on a small budget of only 550,000 dollars, the film would end up making nearly 40 million dollars in box office, create nine sequels, a TV series spinoff, a remake and even a showdown between the popular Jason Vorhees and another great horror icon Freddy Krueger in their very own versus film.
Crystal Lake Memories is the newest documentary by the brilliant people of 1428 Films and Panic Productions together with Hudson Ranch. The trio has each on their own and together become responsible for some of the best documentaries on horror franchises ever created with More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead and the fantastic Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy.
Since they try to cover as much as possible in order to be the definitive documentary on the franchise, the running time becomes around 7 hours and if you have pre-ordered it you also get a bonus disc with over 4 hours of extra stuff to watch. It is a lot of time to spend watching people talk about a movie franchise, but it feels like it goes by quickly, even feels at times like there should be more to cover on these films.
Each film gets around 30 minutes each in the main documentary and people involved in each film, regardless of how big of a role they played, gets to speak their mind about their involvement and the final result. While it is entertaining to watch these people talk about the Friday the 13th saga, I couldn’t help but think of just how much more fascinating the Never Sleep Again documentary is, but that is not the fault of the filmmakers here but rather the subject matter. There’s really not that much of a backstory behind the characters in these films and Jason Vorhees himself is quite simple to understand and doesn’t need, or get, a lot of discussion time in this.
Die-hard fans of the franchise will also not find that much new in this documentary and some of the interviews feels very rehashed, especially if you have already seen His Name Is Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th, also made by the same people who were behind this one. While the first four movies are the best of the series and has been covered more in different earlier stuff, it is actually quite interesting to hear what went wrong with the following sequels that never reached the heights of the original four in my opinion.
The filmmakers could perhaps have tried to go more into details regarding what went wrong with some of these films, but the atmosphere during this production is very fun and casual, so maybe it just wasn’t fitting to go more in-depth to some of the flawed entries. It was also interesting to hear about the Friday the 13th TV spinoff that doesn’t have that much to do with the movie series and since I’ve never seen any episodes of it, it becomes interesting just to hear what it was about.
Crystal Lake Memories delivers the goods and it is as complete of a documentary about this horror franchise as we probably ever will get. Fans of the series will be very happy to put this on their shelf and even if it takes half of a day to get through, it is never boring and keeps your interest throughout the entire running time. It’s not like 7 hours of talk about Jason Vorhees could ever be boring, right?