REVIEW: ‘HIS NAME WAS JASON: 30 YEARS OF FRIDAY THE 13th’

HIS NAME WAS JASON: 30 YEARS OF FRIDAY THE 13th
Directed By: Daniel Farrands
Writers: Thommy Hutson, and Anthony Masi (Though, it’s a documentary, so…writers??)
Cast: Just About Everyone EVER In Every Friday The 13th Flick

A Synopsis From The ANCHOR BAY Press Release:

He first became known to audiences on May 9, 1980. Over the course of nearly three decades and eleven films (soon to be twelve with next year’s remake), he has inspired terror in the hearts of film fans the world over. He redefined the concept of immortality and invincibility. He gave horror a new face…by not having one. His name is Jason Voorhees and this is his story.

His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th, the ultimate tribute documentary about one of horror cinema’s most enduring icons, has been acquired by Anchor Bay Entertainment, the leading horror programmer, for North American DVD distribution. It will be released as a “splatter edition” DVD on February 3, 2009. Then, on February 13th, 2009, Starz will host the broadcast premiere of the documentary – in celebration of the infamous date and its most famous posterboy. In addition, the documentary will have its World Premiere Friday, November 14 at the 31st Starz Denver Festival during The Watching Hour, the festival’s midnight film series. Ari Lehman, the “first” Jason and other special guests will be in attendance.

Produced by Anthony Masi (Halloween 25 Years of Terror, The Psycho Legacy) and Thommy Hutson (Prank) and directed by Dan Farrands (The Girl Next Door, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers), In addition to the full-length documentary, the DVD is anticipated to contain over four hours of bonus features, including additional interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and more.

Hosted by legendary special effects make-up artist Tom Savini – whose (literally) eye-popping prosthetics were featured in such gorefest classics as 1979’s Dawn of the Dead, Creepshow, Maniac, and the original Friday the 13th – His Name Was Jason is the definitive look at the history and cultural legacy of this 20th Century boogeyman. Extensive interviews were conducted with over eighty people involved throughout the entire Friday the 13th franchise, as well as filmmaker and fan testimonials.

Jason fans who watch His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th will be treated to reminiscences and ruminations spanning Jason’s entire film history, as well as a virtual “who’s who” of contemporary film horror, including:

Actors: Betsy Palmer (1), Adrienne King (1 and Part 2), Larry Zerner (Part 3-D), Bonnie Hellman and Judie Aronson (The Final Chapter), Shavar Ross and Debi Sue Voorhees (A New Beginning), Darcy DeMoss and Vincent Gustaferro (Part VI), Lar Park-Lincoln, Elizabeth Kaitan and Diana Barrows (Part VII), Peter Mark Richman and Jensen Daggett (Part VIII), Lawrence Monoson and Camilla More (The Final Friday), Lisa Ryder (Jason X), Seth Green and Travis Van Winkle (2009 remake);

Jason Voorhees portrayers: Ari Lehman (1), Warrington Gillette (Part 2), Richard Brooker (Part 3-D), Ted White (Final Chapter), C.J. Graham (Part VI), and Kane Hodder (Part VII, Part VIII, The Final Friday, Jason X);

Filmmakers: Sean S. Cunningham (Director, 1), Victor Miller (Writer, 1) Danny Steinmann (Writer/Director, A New Beginning), Tom McLoughlin (Writer/Director, Part VI), John Carl Buechler (Director/Special Makeup Effects, Part VII), Joseph Zito (Director, The Final Friday), Greg Nicotero (Special Makeup Effects, The Final Friday), Marcus Nispel (Director, 2009 remake), and Composer Harry Manfredini, creator of Jason’s signature musical cue “Sh-sh-sh-sh, ha-ha-ha-ha.”

This documentary (in an UBER-DELUXE 2-Disc Set, by the by) is an absolute MUST for Friday the 13th completists.  While watching HIS NAME WAS JASON, I couldn’t help but think that this is the sort of thing that should’ve been included with the Friday box set Paramount put out back in ’04 and should DEFINITELY be included with the upcoming Blu-Ray box set Paramount’s releasing (if it can be finagled with Anchor Bay).  Any true fan of the series will not be learning anything new here as the writers, directors, and stars remenisce about the good ‘ol days of making the Friday films.

If you’ve never seen any of the Friday films or are just getting into the series, HIS NAME WAS JASON serves as an excellent primer for the series and will definitely get you pumped about seeing the films.  Tom Savini hams it up as only Tom Savini can do as the Hostest with the Mostest in a semi-wraparound bit that also features a girl running around screaming and, at one vital point, boobies.  BOOBIES!!!!

Really, this flick is much like the HALLOWEEN: 25 YEARS OF TERROR Doc that came out a couple of years back.  In fact, I believe some of the same parties are involved in this as well.  The doc could’ve had a few more people involved to make it fully all-inclusive (NO CRISPIN GLOVER?), but overall, the filmmakers did a pretty damn good job of gathering the majority of everyone who ever had a hand in the making of the legend of Jason Voorhees and Friday the 13th to talk about their memories and experiences.

I could’ve done without a few of the talking heads who had nothing to do with the films.  I can understand it to a degree, getting “famous fans” to talk about their favourite Friday memories, but overall it was relatively filler and useless.  I could have ALSO done without the last 10 or 15 minutes of the film being devoted to the new “re-imagining” of Friday the 13th (see review HERE).  I suppose it was necessary for completion’s sake, but as the film wasn’t even released when this Doc was made and because it’s not a part of the original canon, it could’ve easily been left out.  So could the FREDDY VS. JASON segment for that matter (a truly terrible film in and of itself).

Definitely a flick for fans and completists, but not necessarily for everyone.  If you’re visiting Backwoods Horror.com, though, there’s a good chance you’ll get something out of it.

OR

DEPENDING ON YOUR LEVEL OF FANDOM (A PERSONAL 2 and 1/2 SKULLS FOR ME)

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