Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th does exactly what it says on the tin. It provides an in depth look at each installment in the series, including the television series, Freddy vs. Jason, and the 2009 remake. It is directed by Daniel Farrands, who also co-helmed the insightful Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy doc. Farrands shows the same loving attention to the Friday the 13th franchise with this film as he did for the Nightmare franchise with The Elm Street Legacy.
If I have one major criticism of Crystal Lake Memories, it’s that it’s a bit long. Granted, there is a lot of ground to cover and it does so in painstaking detail but clocking in at just under seven hours, it’s not the kind of thing you’ll likely watch over and over again or even be able to tackle in one or two sittings. I had to revisit it no less than three times to get through. And while it was well worth the time investment, I’m just not sure if I have it in me to revisit any time soon.
Another complaint (and this is by no means the fault of director Daniel Farrands) is that the people that have gone on to make it big after their involvement with the Friday the 13th franchise were noticeably absent from the documentary’s commentators. We don’t get the chance to hear from the likes of Kevin Bacon, Jared Padalecki, or really any other performer that’s enjoyed a significant level of mainstream success post Friday the 13th. It’s disappointing to see people seemingly unwilling to revisit their roots.As for what works well about this horror doc, the answer is nearly everything else. The fact that members of the creative team and on camera talent were from every single installment are interviewed is no small feat and it makes the film come off something like a definitive encyclopedia of the Friday the 13th franchise. His Name Was Jason accomplished a similar feat but it’s nowhere near as comprehensive. A happy medium might have been something between His Name Was Jason (which just scratches the surface) and Crystal Lake Memories (which is a bit daunting to get through from start to finish).
As for the commentators that do appear, every single one of them seems to recall their time on set fondly and they all seem to appreciate the notoriety that their involvement with the series has brought them. It’s nice (and reassuring as a fan) to see that the final girls and victims alike from one of the most beloved franchises in horror history are appreciative of the way the series has changed their lives.
Nearly no stone is left unturned in Crystal Lake Memories. Everything from fans lovingly referring to Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood as “Frigay the 13th” (because of the lack of chemistry between its leads and the large number of gay and lesbian performers to appear in the film) to the so bad it’s good appeal of Jason X, nothing is off limits here. Every single installment in the franchise (and the television series, Freddy vs. Jason, and the 2009 remake) are lovingly examined. My only criticism about what’s discussed is that the film seems to shy away from talking too terribly much about the reasons why certain entries may have failed. It’s not as if it’s not discussed but I would have really liked to have seen more focus on what went wrong. That’s a small criticism and it’s entirely possible that additional discussion about the misguided entries was cut to keep the film from being even longer than it is.
This is definitely a picture that fans of the franchise need to see. Don’t plan on being able to digest it in a single sitting but do check it out as soon as your are able to do so. It is out on DVD and Blu-ray today (September 8th) from RLJ Entertainment.
WICKED RATING: 7/10
Director(s): Daniel Farrands
Writer(s): Peter Bracke (book), Daniel Farrands
Stars: Corey Feldman, Adrienne King, Amy Stell
Release: September 8, 2015 (Blu-ray, DVD)
Studio/ Production Co: RLJ Entertainment
Length: 400 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Horror Doc