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His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th (2 Disc Splatter Edition)
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30 years ago, a small horror film gave birth to 12 sequels, an endless body count and one of the most terrifying icons in horror history. Gore FX legend Tom Savini is your host for the ultimate documentary on everybody's favorite hockey-masked momma's boy and his three decades of cinematic carnage, featuring classic clips from every FRIDAY THE 13TH movie, rare behind-the-scenes footage, and over 80 interviews with filmmakers, actors, stuntmen, FX artists, journalists and fans.
"Jason has no expiration date," as someone observes in the exhaustive His Name was Jason, a touch-all-the-bases approach to chronicling horror's blankest killer. Yep, it's all too true. Timed to mark the 30th anniversary of the Friday the 13th franchise, but probably more to serve as publicity for the 2009 remake, His Name was Jason is a two-disc set containing the 90-minute title doc plus a bevy of shorter, themed extras. Jason gives a quick run-through of all the Friday the 13th installments, filled out with detailed analysis of Jason as a cultural phenomenon and copious memories from the various casts and crew. (The better-known actors who have passed through the series--namely Kevin Bacon, Corey Feldman, and Crispin Glover--aren't around for interviews.) Special-effects gore maestro Tom Savini's wry delivery guides us through the story, with a few newly-staged murders along the way. Extensive clips are used to illustrate the grisly single-mindedness of Jason's killing, and various directors, including franchise guru Sean S. Cunningham, weigh in on the heaviness of guiding the various episodes. It all seems surreally weird, in the light of the movies' general lousiness and the trashy elevation of the empty-vessel killer to icon status. The 90-minute documentary is just the beginning, it turns out: fans can delve deep into the nuances of life (and death) at Crystal Lake. A 45-minute featurette on the actors who played Jason fills out disc one, and a plethora of other shorts (most of them culled from the same interview sessions, this time without the supporting clips) crowd disc two. There's another hour and 20 minutes of stories from directors, and 30 minutes of screenwriter anecdotes. "Dragged from the Lake" gives light to some amusing discrepancies in the series, as well as detailing actress Adrienne King's horrifying experience with a stalker. Fourteen minutes of fan films give parodistic views of the Jason experience, and "Friday the 13th in 4 minutes" gives a tongue-in-cheek shorthand account of the entire saga. Director Joseph Zito and actor Erich Anderson re-visit the set of The Final Chapter, and actress Gloria Charles takes a tour of the deadly barn from Part 3. Shorter extras include a 5-minute Crystal Lake survival guide (i.e., interviewees reciting the worst mistakes you can make while in proximity to Jason), a quick trip to a Comic-Con, and a tour of Universal Studio's Friday the 13th horror house. Things round off with a funny bogus ad for the law offices of a character from Part 3, Shelly Finkelstein, the kid that introduced the hockey mask into the series. It's a lot of effort for a low point in horror history. --Robert Horton
Stills from His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th (Click for larger image)
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Top customer reviews
Admittedly, I have been spoiled by the Crystal Lake Memories documentary. If you want a more expanded documentary on the Friday the 13th then buy that instead. You get 2 disks with in-depth discussion of each movie.
Unlike many of these horror documentaries I've been seeing lately I was very happy they didn't try to make a bunch of political nonsense out of all of this, why that is happening all of sudden I don't know, I mean seriously, does anyone go see low-budget slasher films for political commentary? Anyhow, this was very entertaining and it was a good price too. Lot's of fun for fans of the series.
Having been reviewed many times over let me just say that this 2 DVD set covers many aspects of Jason that fans already know while giving us something new & unexpected. At some interviews I was surprised to hear actors talking negatively about directors (from Part 4), and cast members making fun of themselves. The fan films (or whatever they're called) are an interesting touch as they show us just how people have been affected by the series. Overall, its a great thing to add to your collection.
And really, I'm shocked that Betsy Palmer was still alive!!!