Saturday, January 18, 2014

CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES: Ten things I learned from the Friday the 13th documentary

I love horror movies.

I love good horror movies.

I love bad horror movies.

I love ridiculous horror movies.

No horror movie franchise, though, is the equal to the Friday the 13th franchise for me.

I’m not 100 percent sure why Friday the 13th is my favorite. As a standalone, I prefer the first Halloween movie to all other slasher movies – and yet, as a series, I gravitate towards Friday the 13th.

I guess that’s why, when I stumbled across Crystal Lake Memories – the 6.5-hour documentary series based on the book of the same name – I was understandably intrigued.

I’ve seen documentaries on Friday the 13th before – but nothing compares to this thing. It took me three nights to watch it – and it was well worth the time.

Not only is it well presented, but the producers managed to get so many stars from the movies in for interviews that I was genuinely flabbergasted. We’re talking people that had basically fallen off the face of the Earth in the intervening years from the time between their movie until today.

So, what are the top then things I learned from Crystal Lake Memories:

10. The character of Jason was recast multiple times in multiple movies. Kane Hodder, who played Friday the 13th Part VII, Friday the 13th Part VIII, Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X is the actor that donned the mask the most times. Fans are still up in arms that he was not cast as Jason in Freddy vs. Jason – and Hodder himself says he’s a little bit bitter about it.
Jason in

9. There seems to be some ongoing argument – between various parties – about whether or not Jason Goes to Hell or Jason X is the worst entry in the franchise. I’m here to tell you, Jason Goes to Hell is hilariously bad and full of plot contrivances. Jason X might be out there, but at least it’s fun. There’s nothing fun about Jason Goes to Hell – except the final shot of Freddy’s hand (really Kane Hodder wearing the Freddy glove) sucking the hockey mask down to hell.

8. A lot of cast members have died throughout the years, but the big surprise for me was that the producers of the documentary managed to get Jennifer Cooke for an interview. Cooke was in Friday the 13th Part VI and, before that, she was Elizabeth in V: The Series. After a few guest-starring roles in the 1980s, Cooke virtually fell off the map. There were a lot of online rumors about her – including her participation in a cult – but I’m happy to say she seemed both healthy and effervescent during her interviews. She didn’t talk about what she had been doing in the intervening years, but she had definitely aged a lot better than some of the other actresses in the series.

7. At least three different actresses were “replaced” because they refused to do nudity. In one case, the actress (Darcy DeMoss) that was replaced showed up in a different role in the next film (where they asked her to do nudity again). Apparently, there were a lot of women out there that thought they could argue the producers out of the nudity when it came time to film – but the producers were always adamant: A Friday the 13th movie IS going to have nudity. 

6. At a certain point, every Friday the 13th movie was supposed to be the last. The original movie was supposed to be a standalone without a sequel. The third movie was also supposed to be the last movie – as was the fourth movie, which actually killed Jason off. While Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, was supposed to take the franchise in a new direction, fans were so disgusted with it the director is still derided as an “amateur” to this day. My philosophy is: At least there was ambiance in the fifth movie. Jason turning into a deformed kid because of toxic waste in the eighth movie was the biggest insult to cinema in the franchise.

5. The actors and behind-the-scenes people interviewed regarding the 2009 Friday the 13th reboot were not exactly happy with the fans. Some complained that the movie didn’t do as well as it should have because the fans were constantly badmouthing it. One of the actresses even said that if fans wanted the old Friday the 13th, they should watch those movies and stop badmouthing the reboot. Here’s a hint, you’re not going to win any friends if you say things like that. And here’s a hard fact: Most horror reboots bite. Sure, there are a few that aren’t terrible. Friday the 13th, though, falls into the terrible realm (still better than A Nightmare on Elm Street, though). Even if you want to ignore Jason running around the woods like a moron – something that deviates from the original series – Jason certainly wouldn’t be wandering around protecting a pot field or setting “traps” in the woods with little bells. Pffft.

4. Steve Dash, one of the actors that played Jason in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, said he hated Corey Feldman from the day he met him. He said he was arrogant and troublesome and he didn’t want anything to do with him. He also said that there were times – even when he wasn’t playing Jason  – that he wanted to do bodily harm to Feldman. Just for a point of reference, Feldman was a relatively small child in the flick.

3. The original script for Freddy vs. Jason was to revolve around both Freddy and Jason being Hell’s assassins – and their fight to the death was a way for one of them to remain on Earth and the other to be sucked down to hell. Thankfully, that idea was scrapped early on. Movie producers and directors admit that they were scared to make either one of the movie villains a clear winner – that’s why Jason gets Freddy’s head – but Freddy gets the wink – at the end of the movie. The original ending – which was filmed – had Jason Ritter’s character becoming the new Freddy six months after the events of the main movie. I’m thinking the wink was a better ending.

2. The end of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives was supposed to have an entirely different ending – one that would have knocked the entire franchise off kilter. The original scripted ending showed a dark figure paying off the cemetery caretaker (who didn’t die in the original script) to take care of his son’s grave – and they were standing in front of Jason’s tombstone. The writers involved with the project said they wanted to show that Jason got his homicidal tendencies from both sides. That ending was scrapped and never filmed.

1. Jason existing at all is something of a fluke. The only reason that the character of Jason was even
introduced at the end of the first movie – which is the one where Pamela Voorhees is offing camp counselors (with a little prodding from her imaginary friend in her head) – was that Sean Cunningham wanted one more scare. The final scene, where a childlike Jason jumps from the water and attacks Alice was meant to signify a dream sequence and nothing else. Jason himself was never intended to be an actual villain in the franchise. Sean Cunningham's son was supposed to portray the childlike Jason, but his mother nixed the idea. He admits he's still ticked about it.

What do you think? What’s your favorite horror movie franchise?


Blogger steve said...

Jason in the reboot was running around like a moron, really? even though in the reboot hes smart in the film, he lives off the land, hes a mountain man, sets traps, knows multiple ways of using different kinds of weapons so his character is exactly what I would expect someone living off the lands. So to say (he was running around like a moron in the reboot, something that deviates from the original series) really? he was running around in part 3 and part 4, and he was more retarded in the original, and smarter in the reboot. I am having a hard time seeing what was wrong in the reboot? its exactly like allot of the old friday films

September 4, 2016 at 9:06 AM 

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