REVIEW: Christian Sellers

Thanks to Michael Moore, Metal: A Headbangers Journey and Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film, the documentary is no longer something that is reduced to a DVD featurette and has now become a movie in its own right. The one movie that gorehounds have been counting down the days for is His Name Was Jason: Thirty Years of Friday the 13th, a retrospective of the most successful horror franchise of all time. It seems that the filmmakers got everyone in on the act – writers, producers, directors, stars, FX artists, extras and even fans – to reminisce on their memories and thoughts of Jason’s three decade-long killing spree, which would take him from the legendary Crystal Lake to New York, Hell, space and back again.

Let’s cut to the chase – this is a fanboy’s wet dream. Viewers are not only treated to interviews with the cast and crew of each movie, but the filmmakers also treat us to location visits, achieve footage, uncut death scenes (despite the MPAA refusing to release the Paramount sequels as they were intended) and much more. So those who have never seen Jason’s face slide down the machete at the end of The Final Chapter or Tina’s empty eye sockets in A New Beginning will finally get to see Jason handiwork in all its blood-soaked glory. It’s basically a visual companion to Peter Bracke’s excellent book Crystal Lake Memories, which of course is no bad thing.

The structure of His Name Was Jason helps to make the feature more digestible, with the first ten or so minutes giving a brief overview of the franchise and each movie before literally being split into chapters of sorts – first they explore the character of Jason, before discussing what makes a Friday the 13th movie, the inventive kills, the make-up itself, the victims, Jason’s place in popular culture and the future of the franchise. So after fans are given a brief reminder of the events of the previous eleven movies, we are then taken on a ninety minute journey through Camp Crystal Lake’s bloody legacy.

As with anything, there are a flew flaws, though these are minor. As many of the filmmakers had already discussed this series in various documentaries and books they have almost created a script that they recite each time (the best example of this is Sean S. Cunningham, whose recollections are reused almost word for word each time he is asked to discuss the series), though for those who have never read up on the franchise before then they will find what he has to say very interesting. Unfortunately, due to copyright issues, there are a few elements that do not make it into the film, most notably Alice Cooper’s hit single He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask), which was released to coincide with the success of Jason Lives. It would have been a nice little extra for the fans but, again, this is only a minor criticism.

But what is right with the documentary more than makes up for it, as director Dan Farrands (whose previous slasher experience was scripting the 1994 movie Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers) and writers Anthony Masi and Thommy Hutson’s love for the project clearly shows with the level of detail that each interviewee gives when recounting their memories of their involvement in the series. And the list of horror celebrities that appear in the film is also impressive. So not only are fans treated to the likes of Kane Hodder, Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Larry Zerner, John Carl Buechler and Todd Farmer, but the feature itself is narrated by none other than Tom Savini, the man responsible for Jason’s original look in the first movie. Others on hand to show their love include directors Adam (Hatchet) Green, Joe (Wrong Turn 2: Dead End) Lynch and Bloody Disgusting editor Brad Miska. Though it is a shame that Corey (The Final Chapter) Feldman and Robert (Freddy vs. Jason) Englund are absent as it would have been fun to have heard their thoughts as well.

What makes this little package even more exciting is that it comes in a well presented ’2 Disc Splatter Edition,’ with a bonus disc full of juicy goodies. There are additional interviews with the writers and directors, a Men Behind the Mask featurette that focuses on the actors who have played Jason, The Camp Crystal Lake Survival Guide and loads more. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with a booklet but there is a nice fold-out poster of the front cover (it would have been nice to have seen Jason Craig and Thomas Mason’s poster that they had drawn for the release – now used as our profile picture – but the artwork is still impressive). That said, His Name was Jason is the ultimate retrospective of this ground breaking series and a must for Jason fans everywhere. Order your copy now from the likes of Amazon, as the DVD will be receiving a region 1 release on the 3rd of February.

For further reading check out our interviews with Anthony Masi and Thommy Hutson.

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  1. Too cool; beyond cool. :D

    As I’ve said before, I’m looking forward to ths the most as a ahrdcore early (parts 1-5 in the Cashamount cannon) Friday/Jason Voorhees fanatic, I’m so counting on liking this.

    I’m gonna get mine a bit cheaper from DeepDiscount, where I do the bulk of my ordering these days (it’s always DeepDiscount or a 3rd party seller on Amazon for me; I never shop retail over the last 5 years myself). Plus the Deluxe Editions of all of them coming with new extras, and the remake, February is gonna kick off the Year of Voorhees, baby!

    Big thanks again for the review. I SO can’t wait to sit down early in February and go over this DVD, both discs, during one of my long off days. ;) *wicked grin*

  2. man this is great!

  3. Uncut scenes…wow this might be good! :) Fuck Paramount, those bastards soes not understand how much profit they could gain from giving us the uncut version to the entire series. I work with a Hollywood Company in West L.A. and I’m just happy that someone is finally giving the fans a part of what they always wanted from the series.

  4. So are these uncut death scenes something we’ve never ever seen before? Dug out of an archive somewhere? If not, I’m still skeptic. :(

    Anyway, nice review there, mine’s already been shipped from deepdiscount (so I didn’t technically have to wait until the third for it to be on retail). I’m especially looking forward to seeing all the Jason actors on camera, and the ladies. :D

    Hate to be a whiny one, but any chance we might see those comparisons soon? Keep up the good work guys, the Derek interview caught me so much I missed this review at first sight!

  5. It’s not long lost deleted footage. Some countries have less censored versions. For instance, the shot at the end of The Final Chapter where Jason’s face slides down the machete blade was uncut on the region 2 Paramount DVD, yet the VHS was severly cut. Some countries still use that old version, so not everyone has seen the full FX. They’re not these rumoured long lost footage but it’s still a treat to see

  6. Just as I thought, thanks for clarifying. :)

  7. No problem, it would have been nice to have seen long lost footage but it’s still an excellent documentary and great to see all those actors almost thirty years later. A great bonus DVD too. One featurette that’s especially interesting is one which interviews some of the writers. Todd Farmer states how disappointed he was that his original script for Jason X was turned camp and comical as he wanted a darker and more horror orientated script. And the guys who wrote Freddy vs. Jason state how disappointed they were at how camp that movie became and have tried to avoid that with the new movie. Well worth looking out for (and regulars to this site will notice your webmaster’s name in the end credits twice!)

  8. is walmart or target stores going to carry this my bestbuy here is the smallest bestbuy in the state and they aren’t getting it

  9. walmart has it online idk about in stores i hope so

  10. Christian, thanks for the review.

  11. So does anyone know if friday the 13th ’09 is getting a soundtrack ??

  12. Steve, there’s a section on the website for the new movie marked ‘Soundtrack’ but it’s not been updated yet but I am presuming there will be one. No idea whether it will be a score or the annoying post-Scream punk rock (Scream 2) or nu-metal (Freddy vs. Jason) ones that seem to dominate the genre these days. After all, this movie will be attempting to cash in as much with the OC and One Tree Hill crowd as the horror fans.

  13. Hey Christian,

    congrads on getting mentioned twice (whoa, twice!) in the end credits. Stay cool man. :D

  14. Not it wasn’t me unfortunately, it was John who got the mention. For his services to the franchise by running this site I think. Nice work :-)

    But thanks for the kind , captain_brandon1980

  15. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh HELL YES! xD
    I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
    My sis and I will definitely be watching this together since we’re both F13 freaks.

  16. Sounds cool. I’m definitely gonna buy a copy, thanks for the info Christian.

  17. Well, here’s to hopping Wal-mart will carry IN-STORE. I get off of work tonight @ 10:00…I am going to Wal-mart afterwards and will be back there in a desparate frantic search while making sure the employees go out of there way for “great” customer service. lol! SO, if it will be available after midnight-I WILL let you all know. Until then, let’s keep the fingers crossed and machettes raised high for eachother guys! ….I noticed walmart.com has it, but I hope the store actually has it in stock TONIGHT AFTER MIDNIGHT!

  18. Wal-mart is carrying this DVD, at a cheap $9.96 price tag!

  19. This is going to be awesome. Can’t wait to see it. Haven’t been this excited since Crystal Lake Memories came out.

  20. Sorry I couldn’t post sooner-but as bP said-yep…$10 …NOT BAD I almost fell over since I figured it’d be $ 20 @ least considering all the goodies including a $10 voucher towards the new movie-and a poster…not bad-I wonder if they’ll do a “His name was Freddy” now?

  21. HIS NAME WAS JASON is the definitive documentary on the entire series, and anybody who considers themselves to be a fan of the films or a fan of Jason HAS to run out and by this DVD right away!

    The special features on the second dics are kick-ass, and I love that they included The Angry Videogame Nerd’s video where Jason forces him to play the old crappy Nintendo FRIDAY THE 13TH game.

  22. I’m glad you all liked it, it is an amazing treat for fans and makes up for the crap re-releases that Paramount hve tried to bluff passed us

  23. Anyone know if there will be a “bigger-better” Re-Release of the films series? Like 1-8 and then New Lines 9-Remake? I hope so… To bad they couldn’t ALL come together in one big package to reveal a “Jason” or something like the ORIGINAL Freddy Kreuger Set had…remember that guys? I think it was VHS…but it may have been DVD as well. Anyways, It would be nice to get the ENTIRE JASON set TOGETHER with exclusive goodies…

  24. To calirfy: The Freddy we could see after having ALL ANOES films was on the spines of the casing.

  25. I just picked up a copy at walmart and am excited to watch it

  26. I just picked up a copy at walmart and am very excited to watch it

  27. I’ve watched disc 1 (pretty much the core feature) and I must say although I haven’t seen everything on disc 2 it was definately worth the $12 bucks I paid at walmart. Amazing to see so many people that created these movies on one documentary.

  28. I’ve watched this dvd twenty times already, I fucken LOVE IT!! the bonus features are great, specially the easter eggs on disc 2. I lost it when during Ted White’s interview he said he hated Corey Fieldman.

  29. That was hilarious when Ted White said he hated Corey Feldman! I couldn’t stop laughing!

  30. I think the documentary sucks. It was mostly just a bunch of people talking about how the movies turned out, not how they were made. It focused too much on the annoying people I don’t care about, like the guy from psych. And didn’t focus enough on people like Richard Brooker and Lar Park Lincoln. Adam Green and Joe Lynch should NOT have been in this, I don’t give a fuck what either one of them thinks or has to say. Hatchet was fuckin’ stupid, one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen Wrong Turn 2, but I know damn well it has nothing to do with Friday the 13th… Their should’ve been more info about the original ending for Part 3, instead of just a couple of pics and only a few seconds spent talking about it. The films should’ve been brought up in order so I could’ve skipped past the ones that suck, like parts 8,9,10 and Freddy vs Jason… But what bothered me the most, is how none of these people took it serious. Parts 1,2,3,4 and 6 are solid movies that deserve more respect. And if the MPAA hadn’t butchered Part 7, it might have been solid too, it’s still a fun movie though. The people involved in these films should be proud. It would be nice if they would take the interviews a little more serious and show some respect for the movies they were in or were a part of. Like how the people from the Halloween and Elm Street series did in the extras for those DVDs.

  31. Looks like your question thing at the end of the post worked. Also not having to sign in is nice too. Good job. Nice list. Thanks.

  32. 950711 beers on the wall. sck was here

  33. You got a very good website, Gladiolus I located it via yahoo.

  34. a concise post

  35. thanks for the perception

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