Review: CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES

clm2010’s NEVER SLEEP AGAIN, a comprehensive documentary about the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise, was a major hit with fans, and a true turning point in genre documentaries. The Daniel Farrands/Andrew Kasch-helmed film left not a single thing to the imagination, revealing all there was to know about the series and each of the sequels that followed. With a running time of four hours, and featuring interviews with just about every single person involved in the series, fans of slasher Freddy Krueger smiled from ear to ear. Though fans of the FRIDAY THE 13TH series and its machete-wielding, hockey mask-wearing killer Jason Voorhees had a decent doc in 2009 with HIS NAME WAS JASON, Farrands and co-writer Thommy Hutson decided to go all out with the 2013 force of nature, CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES: THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF FRIDAY THE 13TH. Newly re-released by RLJ Entertainment on a 2-disc DVD or Bluray set, CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES takes a cue from NEVER SLEEP AGAIN, and gives fans of the FRIDAY THE 13TH series what is quite possible, the most epic genre doc of all time.

Clocking in at a monumental 6-hour running time, Farrands’ doc is a sight to see, giving fans the story behind one of the most beloved franchises of all time, and is a must own for every horror fan. Narrated by FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER‘s Tommy Jarvis himself, Corey Feldman, the documentary features everyone from series creator/director of the original Sean C. Cunningham, series producer Frank Mancuso, Jr. and basically everyone else involved in the series and tells the stories, secrets and even some dirty laundry regarding each film in the series, as well as the short-lived FRIDAY THE 13TH TV series that we all loved so much.  There’s such a level of fan awareness to the film, with over 150 people involved in the interviews, behind the scenes photos/outtakes and various other nuggets of series’ trivia, that even the most diehard FRIDAY THE 13TH fan will find themselves surprised here and there.

Inspired by the massively comprehensive book by Peter M. Bracke, the doc features stories of THE FINAL CHAPTER‘s Jason, Ted White, wanting to strangle the then-child Corey Feldman on the set of the film, notorious sequels like JASON GOES TO HELL and JASON X getting their share of explanation, and so much more that is seems almost like a disservice for any fan NOT to check out. Farrands and Co. went all out with this one, wrangling in key actors, crew members and even people behind the scenes to talk, good or bad, about the experiences of making the series, and how during the beginning, the was a certain confusion about where to take the character of Jason, something that always seemed to be a question within the franchise.

Though the original A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is, in my opinion, a better film, there’s a love in my heart for the F13 series that is unparalleled by any other series, and CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES is easily the most important look at one of the best and most beloved horror characters and franchises in history. Thought it’s six hours long, it’s easy to lost track of time with this one, with the doc never having even a single dull moment. Kane Hodder, Betsy Palmer, Corey Feldman, and even the cast/crew behind the 2009 remake are all featured in it, pleasing fans of every single entry into the series and making the doc a definite must own for fans of our favorite slasher. With Freddy and now Jason being tackled in epic documentary form, it’s only a matter of time before Michael, Pinhead or Leatherface to get series docs as intensely pleasing as this one is.

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