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CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES: THE COMPLETE...
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Daniel Farrands

Starring:
Corey Feldman
Sean S. Cunningham
Adrienne King
Amy Steel
Dana Kimmel

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Peter Bracke's excellent tell-all book about the Friday the 13th series has been turned into an extensive documentary that covers every film in the series (from the guys who brought you the excellent NOES documentary, Never Sleep Again), including Freddy vs Jason and the 2009 remake.
Is it good movie?
Recently, I reviewed the new Friday the 13th blu-ray set that was released. In doing so, I noted the unfortunate lack of any new features that we hadn't already seen, since everything had been ported over from previous releases. If Crystal Lake Memories had been released alongside the set, it would have been an absolute, no question buy. If you're a hardcore fan of the Friday movies, this is a complete and utter no-brainer.

Narrated by (who else?) Corey Feldman, this set is absolutely exhaustive. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that if you're not really into the Friday movies, this one probably won't be for you. Essentially broken up into episodes (complete with neat, movie-specific graphics and copycat themes), there's usually close to 45 minutes spent on each movie.

What is it that you'd like to know about these films? Who wrote them? How about how the director was chosen? Finalizing the budget? Struggles with the studio? How each "Jason" came to the role (which can be a pretty controversial tale)? How about the legendary "party" stories from the sets of the 80s sequels? Struggles with the MPAA? Box office grosses (is that how you say that?)? Soundtrack choices (Manfredini is the man)? Apologies and confessions from cast and crew?

I can't possibly stress how much information you're going to get here, and how candid it is. There's no accurate way for me to tell you about everything you're wondering about. Does everyone hate part 5? Who couldn't stand Corey Feldman in the final chapter? How did Adrienne King's life become negatively affected after the first film was released? Why did Adam Marcus decide to have Jason body-hopping? What does Kane Hodder really think of Ken Kirzinger as Jason? How did the MPAA really chop part 7 to pieces? What seedy career did director Danny Steinmann hold before directing a New Beginning? How did part 8 become "Jason on a boat"? Which kills were the toughest to pull off?

This is just the tip of the iceberg here, people. Besides some of the stuff more hardcore people might already know the answer to, it's just really great to hear from the actors and actresses who are looking back fondly on that time in their lives and sharing candid moments which range from downright hilarious to sometimes heartbreaking (sadly enough, a lot of people involved with these flicks have passed away). Some people didn't get along, some people got along really well (if you know what I mean). This is just a true wealth of knowledge.

If I had any reservations, they'd be minor but worth mentioning nonetheless. First (and I say this with about 90% certainty), I'm pretty sure that some of this footage comes from the insubtantial "His Name was Jason" flick that came out with the release of Friday 2009. With that said, don't sweat it- I didn't find it a huge deal, seeing as how that documentary was only about 90 minutes long, and this one is close to 7 HOURS long. Secondly, just an advisory- unless you've cleared your calendar, you're not watching this in one sitting. I split my viewing up into three parts and felt it worked quite well, because each flick deserved my attention and I wasn't feeling bored. Just know that if you're planning to "binge watch" this bad boy, you'll be in for a long day!
Video / Audio
Video: 1.78:1 widescreen, looks pretty solid (though some older archival footage ranges from passable to hideous). Perfectly serviceable video presentation here.

Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital is the order of the day, and it's admittedly a bit disappointing because it's uneven. Some video clips are really low, while interviews can go up and down. Not great, but it's nothing that'll make you constantly reach for the remote. It's only okay.
The Extras
Unfortunately the extras are a bit lacking here (though a DVD copy is included), but this whole thing is essentially a long extra (what else could they really add? It's so long already!). The only inclusion is a Commentary track with director Daniel Farrands, author Peter M. Bracke, and editor Luke Rafalowski. There's plenty of "book to documentary" comparisons, love for the franchise, and discussion of editing the piece together. Not an easy thing to listen to for 6 hours, but an impressive feat that the guys manage to stay upbeat and entertaining for pretty much the whole time.
Last Call
I can't recommend this enough. I absolutely love the book, so I was pretty pumped to get my hands on this..and it delivered! If you're a new fan to the Friday series (and have some cash to burn), I suggest picking up a box set (blu-ray or DVD, depending on your preference), the beautiful hardcover book from Peter Bracke, and this set. You'll likely never have another question that can't be answered between all three! I know I'll be rewatching this one for years to come. Check it out!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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