Happy Friday out there to all of you! Is it Friday? I mean, maybe? Anyway, I spent six hours and forty minutes watching a mega documentary about the Friday the 13th series and I am here to give you my take on it.
Let me start by saying that I am a horror fan and one of the series I have fond memories of is this series, so I am somewhat predisposed to enjoy this documentary. That being said, I think that anyone who has an interest in film making at all, would get a lot of value out of this film too.
Perhaps it’s a little twisted but I loved as a kid, to watch something that just scared me so bad that I couldn’t sleep and Jason was one of those movie monsters that often haunted my dreams. I think there is a deep human need in all of us to allow ourselves to be frightened. I think we need these movie monsters and we need to see our fears on screen and then see them defeated. And I think we still have a deep need to think that at any time, that fear we thought was gone, could come back. It’s cathartic to watch these movies if you ask me, and I don’t apologize for being a fan of horror. But still I recognize that not everyone would want to watch these or to watch a documentary about them. But if you are interested in horror, I am not sure I have seen a more extensive and well done documentary than this one.
The series goes into the extensive history of all the films, including the originals, Freddy VS Jason and the Friday the 13th (2009) reboot. But it also includes some talk about the comic books, novels, toys and even goes into the often forgotten Friday the 13th television series. And as if that wasn’t enough, it is hosted by none other than the original Tommy Jarvis himself, Corey Feldman. It’s got interviews with nearly everyone you would want to hear from that had something to do with the movies. It is quite the time commitment though, so you’ll probably want to break it up by chapters unless you happen to have nearly seven hours to sit there at once. Okay, yeah so one sitting might be fine in this day and age…
I really found this documentary fascinating and informative. Everything from how the shoestring budget original film came together, to how Freddy and Jason finally got pitted against one another. It pulled back the curtain on a lot of the effects, and a ton of the choices that went into making each movie. It also showed how the struggle with the MPAA was a running theme through everything they did. It’s got Kane Hodder giving his take on the films he was in and how he (in my opinion) totally got ripped off when it came time for Freddy VS Jason. It delves into the controversies surrounding some of the films and it surprised me just how aware the film makers were of the parts that fans did not react well to. Whether you love or hate these movies, it’s apparent everyone was trying to make the best films they could, and it’s a gripping look at how it was done.
I don’t want to spoil too much in this so I just want to give you my favorite moment from the whole thing. Ted White who played Jason in one of the films was doing a stunt where he was near the final fight of the movie. The actress was supposed to bring Jason’s iconic machete down onto a pick-axe he is holding. The head of the pick-axe was supposed to meet the blade of the machete. That’s the shot you see in the film. But, when they did the stunt the first time, the actress was a little too fast and Ted White hadn’t yet rotated the pick axe up. As a result the machete cut his finger and he needed to go to the hospital for stitches. Well, being that this was a movie and near the end of Jason’s final battle, Ted had a prop machete sticking out of his shoulder with all this fake blood on him. He goes to the emergency room and walks up the nurse there and everyone is freaking out over it. As soon as he gets to the nurse he calmly says, “Do you have anything for headaches?”. To me, that moment just summarizes the horror, the humor and the the perfect reaction to the best of Friday the 13th. And honestly, that’s just one in a ton of great stories in this documentary.
I know it’s a long time commitment but I can’t recommend this movie enough. If you haven’t yet gotten Shudder you can sign up for it on Amazon Prime for a free trial. To me Shudder is worth it for their Friday the 13th collection alone, but they have a bunch of other good stuff on there too. I believe that you can still get a free trial of it for 30 days if you use the code SHUTIN too, so you don’t have much to lose other than time. (Not trying to give the hard sell here, just saying that I really like Shudder)
I’ve watched the entire Friday the 13th collection on Shudder and while they don’t have every movie in the series, they definitely have the best one (the first four). But out of all the movies in that collection, I enjoyed this one the most. I hope you’ll take some time and check it out.
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