Last month’s Friday the 13th was a pretty awesome one for fans of the franchise that shares its name with the notoriously unlucky day. Not only did that day see the release of the Friday the 13th: Complete Collection Blu-ray set – which collected together every film Jason has ever appeared in, for the very first time – but it also saw the release of a documentary called Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th, based on Peter M. Bracke’s incredible book from several years back.
To say that the documentary lives up to its name would quite frankly be an understatement for the ages, a comprehensive and exhaustive package that runs a whopping 400 minutes long. For those who don’t have calculators handy, that adds up to a grand total running time of nearly seven hours, making this the most extensive retrospective on the franchise (or any franchise, for that matter) we’ve ever seen. Nearly 45 minutes is spent on each and every film that Jason slashed his way through over the years, including Freddy vs. Jason and the 2009 remake, and a special 10 minutes is even devoted to talking about Friday the 13th: The Series, which had no connection to the films other than sharing a title. In other words, no stone is left unturned.
I finally completed the documentary earlier today, and I can’t even begin to express how blown away I am by the work that went into this thing, which plays out like Bracke’s amazing book literally come to life. Chock full of interesting facts, never before seen photos & video footage, and interviews with cast and crew that I’ve never seen interviewed before, Crystal Lake Memories is an absolutely mind blowing piece of work, doing for the Friday the 13th franchise what Never Sleep Again did for the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, back in 2010. It should come as no surprise that both documentaries were put together by the same people, and we should all be incredibly thankful to Daniel Farrands, Thommy Hutson and all involved for both of these wonderful gifts. Just as Never Sleep Again was the best thing to ever happen to diehard Freddy fans, so too is this documentary the best thing to ever happen to those who can’t get enough of the hockey mask wearing mongoloid.
I figure it’s kind of pointless to go on and on about how amazing the documentary is, because you really don’t need a review to know that you need to pick this bad boy up if you haven’t yet. So I’ve instead decided to relay to you ten of the more interesting facts I learned from the seven hours that I spent on the couch earlier today. Just when I thought I knew everything there was to know about the franchise that I’ve loved my whole life, along came these little nuggets of info!
1) One of the original ideas for Friday the 13th was that the killer would have a finger chopped off during the opening flashback sequence of the film, so that the audience would realize later on, when Mrs. Voorhees is shown comforting Alice, that she was in fact the killer seen during the opening. Since it just wasn’t in the budget to pull off the effect, Mrs. Voorhees got to keep all ten of her fingers.
2) Towards the end of Friday the 13th, when Brenda’s corpse is thrown through a window and lands at Alice’s feet, that was actually Tom Savini that served as actress Laurie Bartram’s stunt double. Great makeup artist… not a great looking woman!
3) Speaking of Tom Savini, did you know that he wasn’t originally going to be the makeup effects artist on Final Chapter? The studio initially hired Oscar winning artist Greg Cannom to do the effects, who was eventually let go due to what is described in the documentary as “personality differences.” It was at this point that Savini was brought in, who had previously worked with the film’s director on The Prowler. Since Cannom was already in the process of designing the look of Jason’s face when he came on board, Savini wasn’t actually responsible for that makeup, though Cannom did base it on the makeup Savini had done on young Jason in the original film.
4) Savini played double duty on Final Chapter, not just doing the makeup effects for the film but also playing Jason in one scene. When the banana eating hitchhiker gets a knife stuck through her throat, that was Savini filling in for Ted White!
5) Darcy DeMoss was originally up for the role of Tina in A New Beginning, a role that required her to expose her breasts. Director Danny Steinmann rejected her for the part, solely based on the fact that he felt her boobs weren’t big enough. Former Playboy Bunny Debi Sue Voorhees was then hired to play the part, and DeMoss ended up playing Nikki in Jason Lives. Though not mentioned in the documentary, it’s also interesting to note that DeMoss was a dancer in addition to being an actress, and she actually appeared in the same series of exercise videos that Axel is seen watching in Final Chapter!
6) Jason Lives writer/director Tom McLoughlin originally wrote an ending for the film that would feature an appearance from Jason’s father, a character that has still never been seen in the Friday the 13th films. At the end of the movie a mysterious man was going to hand a wad of cash to the caretaker of the cemetery Jason was buried in, implying that the caretaker was the one responsible for keeping Jason’s grave safe. That mysterious man would be revealed to be Jason’s father, which producer Frank Mancuso Jr. felt wouldn’t be a smart decision, because it would take the focus of the series away from Jason. Jason’s father did however end up appearing in the novelization of the film.
7) The character of Robin in New Blood was supposed to meet her demise by getting cut in half by Jason, a death scene that was filmed. When the crew returned from the shoot, they realized the effect looked far too phony, so her death had to be reshot in California. The new death scene, where Jason throws Robin out of a window instead of cutting her in half, was filmed in the very same cabin that was used as the Jarvis home in Final Chapter!
8) At the end of Jason Takes Manhattan, a bizarre scene was conceived wherein the child version of Jason would crawl out of adult Jason’s mouth. A massive replica of Jason’s head was built to pull off the oddball sequence, though it was ultimately decided that it was too silly and just wouldn’t work. Thankfully, the sequence ended up on the cutting room floor.
9) In an attempt to find a logical way of connecting the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, and bringing the two iconic villains together, many different ideas were considered in regards to how to execute Freddy vs. Jason. One of the more bizarre ideas presented was to reveal that Freddy had molested Jason as a kid, and that he was the one who had drowned him all those years ago, so that he wouldn’t ever be able to tell anyone what had been done to him. Yep. Freddy molesting Jason… can’t make this stuff up!
10) Stuntman Ken Kirzinger, who played Jason in Freddy vs. Jason, had actually donned the hockey mask in one of the franchise’s previous installments. There’s a scene in the latter portions of Jason Takes Manhattan where Jason gets hit by a car; that was Kirzinger in the costume, doubling for Kane Hodder!
These fun facts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the knowledge and information Crystal Lake Memories relays, and I highly encourage you to snatch up a copy for yourself and dig in. You can order it through Amazon or, the latter of which is more expensive but comes with an exclusive disc containing an additional 4 hours of interviews. Not that the documentary needs to be any longer than it is, but a few extra bucks is a small price to pay for such a jam packed bonus disc!