His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th
Exploring the legacy of a villain who’s fueled a franchise for nearly 30 years and is on a first-name basis with horror fans everywhere, this documentary pays tribute to Jason Voorhees, the hockey-masked star character of the Friday the 13th films. Hosted by special effects legend Tom Savini, the film includes movie clips, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with actors, filmmakers and devotees.
Itâs hard to believe that itâs been nearly thirty years since âFriday the 13thâ first hit theaters. It introduced us to one of the best slasher films in history, as well as a franchise that has lasted for eleven films and a remake, re-imagining, or whatever you want to call it.
Anchor Bay is behind this two disc set (just like the âHalloween 25 years of Terrorâ set that was released a few years ago), and they pulled out all the stops for this release. The main documentary is hosted by Tom Savini as he wanders in and out of the âUniversal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Friday the 13th Camp Bloodâ attraction, offering little tidbits and lead-ins for each segment. Every actor who played Jason is interviewed, as well as nearly all of the directors and writers for each film. Cast members and a few online journalists round out the intervieweeâs, with everyone offering some sort of interesting commentary about the series.
Of course, this isnât a perfect film by any means, as the whole thing comes across a little more like a Discovery Channel special with more swearing than a real documentary, like âHalloween: 25 Years of Terrorâ or âGoing to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Genreâ. Hearing three different people argue about who came up with the concept of putting the hockey mask on Jason is both hilarious and silly. Each personâs account of the story is completely different than the others and at this point it doesnât even matter who came up with the idea.
Itâs nice to see so many people who were involved with the film speaking about it, but itâs the fans that are in the film that help bring to light how important this series is. Seth Green makes an appearance, as well as Felissa Rose (Angela in âSleepaway Campâ), and Tony Timpone, the fearless leader of Fangoria Magazine, sits around chattering like he actually knows something about horror movies.
Where the film itself is lacking, Anchor Bay totally makes up for it with special features, such as extended interviews with all the Jasons and most of the writers and directors, including the director and writers of the new Friday reboot/remake. Thereâs extensive odd ball bits that made small appearances in the film itself, but are more fleshed out as their own sub-features. People nitpick things about the films, and Dread Centralâs âUncle Creepyâ gives a speech about horror films and expressing the need to introduce the next generation of fans to series like âFriday the 13thâ.
What else does this disc have, you ask? A free fold out mini poster, a $5 movie cash coupon good toward a ticket to see the new âFriday the 13thâ, and a small collection of fan made âFridayâ films and a full walk through of the âCamp Bloodâ attraction at Universal Studios.
Nerd that I am, I loved watching the interviews with the directors and writers. I mean, who doesnât want to hear what Sean Cunningham has to say about the first film? Personally, I think one of the best interviews on the disc, with regard to the directors, is with Tom McLoughlin, the director of âFriday the 13th Part 6: Jason Livesâ. He offers some of the best insight into what he was trying to do with the film and where some of his ideas came from, that it makes me want to dig out my copy of âJason Livesâ and watch it again.
For all you fans who hate the team who wrote âFreddy vs. Jasonâ and the remake/reboot of âFridayâ that just came out, they do offer up a pretty good interview where they explain that they didnât write anything about Jason being afraid of water. That was something even they thought was weird when they saw the film and that they donât see the new Friday as being a remake or a reboot, but more inline with just being another sequel.
If youâre a die hard Friday fan, this DVD needs to be on your shelf as soon as possible. If youâre just a fan of horror documentaries, then you need to get this. If youâre just a casual fan, or even someone whoâs not really a slasher fan, then youâll probably find this movie boring as hell and not worth your time, but this was made for the hardcore fans and it shows that even though Anchor Bay loves to f*ck the fans over when it comes to multiple âSpecial Editionâ releases of films, that when they want to, they can put out a hell of a release.