CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES: THE COMPLETE...
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Sean S. Cunningham
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
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
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.
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.
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!