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Film Review: To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story (2017)

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SYNOPSIS:

To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story is the harrowing story of a stuntman overcoming a dehumanizing childhood filled with torment and bullying in Sparks, Nevada. After surviving a near-death burn accident, he worked his way up through Hollywood, leading to his ultimate rise as Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th series and making countless moviegoers forever terrified of hockey masks and summer camp. Featuring interviews with cinema legends, including Bruce Campbell (Ash vs. Evil Dead), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), and Cassandra Peterson (Elvira: Mistress of the Dark), To Hell and Back peels off the mask of Kane Hodder, cinema’s most prolific killer, in a gut-wrenching, but inspiring, documentary. After decades of watching Kane Hodder on screen, get ready to meet the man behind the mask in To Hell and Back – an uniquely human story about one of cinema’s most vicious monsters

REVIEW:

“On Friday July 13th, Epic Pictures, as part of their label Dread Central Presents, is proud to release the acclaimed documentary TO HELL AND BACK: THE KANE HODDER STORY on VOD and as well as on a fully loaded Blu-Ray / DVD combo pack.”

“I still think that it’s accurate to say I’ve murdered more people on film than any actor in history.” KANE HODDER

TO HELL AND BACK: THE KANE HODDER STORY on Blu-Ray/DVD. Actor, Stuntman and all around true, real deal bad ass, Kane Hodder and some of his friends tell his story. Kane talks about everything from his childhood and being at the mercy (only momentarily) of bullies and his career that has spanned the legend we know today.

Everyone from Robert Englund, Bruce Campbell, Adam Green, Cassandra Peterson (AKA ELVIRA), and many more are included in the Blu-Ray. Robert Englund speaks so well on how Horror films have impacted us and how we look at death.

As Adam Green talks about how some actors do get labeled “Horror Icons” may be difficult for some actors. But, in reality Kane Hodder is a talented, kind, smart, sweet (I met the man more times than I can count!) Also, Harrison Smith talks about Kane and the history of Kane’s name. It is in fact his real name. The one thing I love about this and I think this a story that every single person should watch. Not just horror fans but everyone. You should hear this man’s story. The genuine tone in which he speaks. The stories he tells about his life.

Past and present he speaks the truth. He may scare the shit out of you but he is doing his job. I have never met anyone who took so much time to speak with each person. He listened to stories, he gave a little advice, and he spoke with truth. To see him reliving some of his personal experiences you get the feeling that Kane Hodder is purely brave and ready to kick ass at any time.

“He was a troublemaker.” I think if you ask Author Michael Aloisi whom I had the honor of meeting and even being a part of both Kane and Michael’s books. Michael could probably tell you Kane may be like a big kid. He seems to love that thrill of not only scaring but getting a fun reaction from people. You can tell this man is genuine.

Kane Hodder was bullied. This is something you would never expect? But, a lot of people are bullied. The sad thing is that people have to go through this. They have to deal with nonsense bullying and it can beat you down. Kane talks about this. He is not just an example. This man is a leader. He showed that despite what you are going through? You can defeat it. You can be the good example. The bullying is sad because there are kids in the world who cannot get the fancy sneakers or the expensive book bag and that should NEVER matter. Kids should learn and know kindness. Kane talks about the stresses of bullying and how he overcame this. When you feel “worthless” as Kane talks about. That is a horrible feeling.

This story is just so incredible Kane Hodder has conquered and made an impact not only on the horror community but the world. During the story the calmness, the talking and the stories he begins to tell about he got into the film industry.

Not only did he discover acting, he discovered stunt work. He talks about this and his face just lights up. Of course after working hard and continuing to build characters. Kane would play Jason Voorhees. This man is JASON VOORHEES. You cannot watch a “Friday The 13th” film and not think about Kane. The way he moves, the subtle looks, the way he kills. His kills alone are the greatest in Horror history. He could stand there and just stare with such fierce horror that it leaves you startled and struck with fear. That is how you know he is doing such a good job.

No one has portrayed Jason Voorhees the way Kane Hodder has portrayed him. He gave Jason that fear and the deep, dark lurking that leaves the actors who have starred in films with him so terrified. Kane legit brought the “rage.” He talks about working on the film and what playing Jason Voorhees means to him.

His natural and personal self seems to come out. There were six “Friday the 13th” films before Kane came along but this man did it justice and beyond. He has an intensity that makes Jason Voorhees scarier. His eyes show the rage and fear he instills in people. The breathing moments also instill fear. He looks like he is going to lunge at you in a fit of rage.

Robert Englund describes him as a predator. It is almost like Kane as Jason is almost like a great white shark. They also discuss his safety and how he maintains physical condition and being careful. Fellow stunt men and directors talk about this.

Kane Hodder also talks about staying in character. How amazing would it be if they had this on film? “The sleeping bag.” One of the greatest kills on-film. KANE HODDER did that! Makes you want to run out and go camping right now. They discuss this in-depth and also the burn. Kane was engulfed in flames in part seven. Kane almost died from fire burns. This man spoke with my mom about scars. He called them “battle wounds.” My mom Betty Spiegel agreed after she admitted all her scars to Kane and her bilateral knee replacements.

Kane opens up about this and it is such a powerful story. From July 13, 1977 this is such a moment in history. Kane talks about this moment of being engulfed in flames. This brought tears to my eyes. It is just unbelievable what he went through. It takes a lot of strength to relive horrific things that have happened in our lives. Kane has been through a lot and that has never stopped him.

“You have to get rid of the pain so you can heal.” Kane

Kane Hodder doesn’t just deserve respect. He has EARNED IT! Over and over again. He has shown the world that his talent, perseverance and trials and tribulations. He is such an icon, a legend. People don’t often think of everything he went through. But, he has made a life and created characters like Victor Crowley and Jason Voorhees. Kane talks about the importance of taking care of people with burns.

“You are just trying to survive.” Kane Hodder

They talk a lot about the importance of properly taking care of people who have suffered burns. Kane goes back and visits places. He reminisces but it was more than that. His memories. He is sharing and telling these stories that are his life. I have never watched a story like this and just cried. (I am a horror fan, I lack feelings. I should be mean and not crying but its KANE HODDER)

I feel like Kane is doing more than telling us his life story. I feel like he is teaching us, giving us knowledge and lessons that we all need in life. There is more talk of Jason with Director Sean S. Cunningham. Kane talks about meeting with Wes Craven and more. Kane talks so respectfully about Robert Englund. Robert Englund and Kane Hodder are also hilarious together off-screen. As a lifelong horror fan, I myself was so disappointed that Kane was not a part of “Freddy vs. Jason.”

Everyone talks about the homage to the sleeping bag in “Jason X” and of course the frozen head smash. It was epic. The disappointment of Kane not playing in “Freddy VS Jason” was just sad. Ken did a good job but Kane is Kane. No one can do what he does. The soul searching seems to be sad. It feels like the film could have been so much more if Kane had been involved.

I agree with Michael, KANE made Jason Voorhees iconic. KANE made the character, he brought the fear. They talk about “Hatchet” and the importance of Kane Hodder finally having a character that truly belonged to ONLY HIM. Again, another legendary character. Victor Crowley has become another Horror icon.

The stories Kane tells about how he works with the actors are amazing. Oh, just Kane Hodder running around the woods. Maybe it is a form of therapy for Kane? Bruce Campbell calls him the “ultimate badass.” The prank stories are great. This Blu-ray is a must have. If you do not own it, go buy it right now. Kane’s small, little laughs are the greatest. He is like a kid that got caught in a candy store and you just love him.

We also learn that Kane likes more hands on, creative kills. Danielle Harris also talks about Kane. It is great to listen to what she has to say. Kane also shows he is able to play such an emotionally, loving and brilliant character. He plays Victor’s father. He shows a beautiful side in the film and he shows that he is more than just the monster or the stunt man. He is so talented. His talent is beyond.

In the Blu-ray the actors and Kane talk about conventions and more. He also talks about choking. The first time I met Kane, I was so excited and probably sounded crazy. I looked at him and said, I want to be choked. He obliged and I was thrilled. My quote made it into his book, “You haven’t lived until you have been choked by Kane Hodder.”

I think one of the reasons people like to be choked by Kane is because Kane is a legend. You feel like this is a childhood hero. A man that is so bad ass and so cool. You just want to take part in this legendary act and especially as a horror fan. It is almost a sentimental act. It is something that Kane has created and as fans we love him for it. You also learn that Kane is hilarious. He is funny and he can act.

Kane also did an amazing job in the film “Monster” with Charlize Theron. It is also beautiful to see Sid Haig talk so wonderfully about Kane. Kane portraying Ed Gein and the B.T.K. killer. He did a great job. Harrison Smith talks about “Death House” and it is just incredible. Bill Moseley is also incredible. He talks about Kane with realness.

“I don’t give up on anything.” Kane Hodder.

Kane talks about family and more. He is such an inspirational person. He talks about his family and his kids and wife talk. It is amazing to see his family and how he truly loves them. Tate Steinsiek also speaks about Kane. Ted White even speaks. There are so many incredible people that speak about Kane.

This story is the best. Kane Hodder is the greatest. He is Jason Voorhees, he is Victor Crowley, and he is a LEGEND. He is an ICON! This man is beyond what anyone could ever imagine. I have waited in line for hours to meet Kane. I know people who have traveled from far and beyond to meet him, talk to him and just see him. He is kind, fun and equally nice to every single person who walks up to him.

This story is emotional, sad, funny and beautiful. Horror fans and the horror community is one of a kind. The Horror fans are also some of the best people you will ever meet and the younger generation is learning. Kane Hodder will never ever be replaced, go away or any of that. He is forever. He has been to hell and back and he proved that he can stand forever.

You need to watch this Blu-ray! You need to buy it right away. No one will be Kane Hodder. Okay, so when is the next documentary? Keep kicking ass Kane and THANK YOU!

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