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Director: Daniel Farrands
Cast: Corey Feldman, Sean S. Cunningham, Adrienne King, Amy Steel, Dana Kimmel
Length: 400 min
Region: All Region
Discs: 4 (2 BD, 2 DVD)
Label: 1428 Films
Release Date: September 13, 2013
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
- Audio commentary with writer/director Daniel Farrands, author Peter M. Bracke and co-editor Luke Rafalowski
- Extra disc including four hours of bonus material
A six and a half hour-long documentary may sound a bit excessive in theory, but in the case of Daniel Farrands’ cinematic adaptation of writer Peter Bracke’s book of the same title, Crystal Lake Memories is worth every second that you’ll spend on the couch devouring this scrumptious fan candy.
Covering a 12-part horror franchise that spanned over 30 years AND including a never- before-seen recollection of the television program that had nothing to do with the series itself, but greatly benefited from its iconic title, was definitely no easy feat; it’s a labour of love in the truest sense. The deep affection that Farrands holds for the franchise oozes from every single frame, every interview, and every last bit of Friday the 13th nostalgia presented in this definitive documentary.
Upon news of its release earlier this year, Voorhees zealots were mostly excited about the film, eagerly awaiting the chance to see such an ambitious addition to the Friday the 13th empire. Yet, a lot of us also expressed skepticism regarding the revealing of fresh material, thinking, ‘what could Farrands possibly bring to another Friday the 13th documentary that wasn’t already covered in his previous revisiting of Camp Crystal Lake in his 2009 documentary, His Name was Jason?’ Well, the answer to that, dear readers, lies within the hours upon hours of additional facts, retrospections, and precise details that Crystal Lake Memories offers. Although some of the interview material and behind-the-scenes footage was recycled from His Name was Jason, Crystal Lake Memories is an all-encompassing miscellany of the small universe that Pamela, Jason, the campers, counselors, and the residents of Crystal Lake built around that very special day that horror fans never forget to circle on their calendars.
The scope of information presented in the documentary is as vast as one would imagine six and a half hours could contain. Without reciting the surplus of information that was shared in Diabolique’s wrap-up segment of our seasonal Camp Carnage column, I will say that viewer’s will be submersed in a very thorough history of the Friday the 13th franchise, right from its very inception with the Variety magazine ad that director Sean S. Cunningham placed to clarify prior ownership of the title.
The majority of cast and crew members of each of the 12 entries in the franchise are given adequate screen time. Additionally, a roster of other horror filmmakers, actors, journalists, and fans, all of whom had no direct involvement in any of the entries, are also given an opportunity to share their Crystal Lake memories — individual chronicles of how the series has impacted their personal and professional journeys, memories of the media hype that has surrounded the franchise for over three decades, and insight on how one of the most venerated and lucrative slasher sagas in the history of horror has had such a colossal impact on the landscape of genre cinema. With over 100 people who were involved in the construction of the Friday the 13th empire providing their insight and personal memories of the franchise, there is no ground that remains un-trekked. Everything that there possibly is to know about the series is covered in explicit detail. Every single person who makes an appearance in Crystal Lake Memories does so while beaming with nostalgia, adding to the overall captivating nature of the documentary, and even allowing viewers to feel as though they’ve actually shared some of these experiences with them.
Worth noting is the inclusion of the televised Friday the 13th (AKA Friday’s Curse) series that ran from 1987 to 1990. Although not connected to the film series in any way — aside from sharing actor John D. LeMay who appeared in Jason Goes to Hell — the series featured some great writing in the way of televised anthology-style shorts. It also gained a loyal fan base, which existed right from the inception of the show as a result of sharing a title with one of the most recognized and beloved horror film franchises to date. It’s peculiar that Farrands chose to include the television series in Crystal Lake Memories, but nonetheless interesting and informative.
Although even some of the most die-hard Friday the 13th fans might grumble at the thought of dedicating six and a half hours of their time to viewing Crystal Lake Memories in its entirety, the film is broken down nicely into individual chapters for each of the series’ entries. So while you could easily pop it in and watch a chapter or two at a time, you’ll likely find yourself reaching the end of the first disc before realizing that you’ve just spent approximately three hours watching the first half. Crystal Lake Memories fares well as a both a one-time viewing experience and the kind that you can keep coming back to between your banal everyday activities for as long as it takes to get through the whole thing. The DVD/Blu Ray sets also include an extra disc that contains an outstanding four hours of bonus material, mostly consisting of extended interview footage. Time flies when you’re immersed in sheer unabashed fandom, and simply put: it’s time well wasted. Crystal Lake Memories is easily one of the most awe-inspiring horror documentaries ever made, and one that deserves a spot in every Friday the 13th enthusiast’s collection.