His Name Was Jason: 30 Years Of Friday The 13th (2009)

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> Worst Films of 2009
Overall Rating 62%
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Connections: Friday The 13th

A documentary exploring 30 years of the "Friday The 13th" film series featuring all new interviews with cast and crew from all 12 films and various horror fans and filmmakers. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: February 6, 2009
Friday the 13th is unquestionably one of the few legends in the world of horror. Here's a movie that played a huge part in building the popularity of the slasher genre, a film that created a pop culture icon in Jason Voorhees while popping out nine sequels, a versus movie with that other horror icon, and yes, even a remake / reboot / whatever the hell the kids are calling them these days. Throw in hundreds of on screen murders with special effects from some of the masters of the craft, cult icons behind the mask, controversy, unanswered questions, unseen footage, and yes, even a handful of appearances from characters who would go on to become hot shit in Hollywood, and you've got yourself a film that certainly deserves a definitive documentary. It's just a little unfortunate that it still doesn't have one.

Now, let me be upfront with you fine readers: I love Jason. I consider myself to be a hardcore fan of the character, I've had countless marathon nights where I'd kick back and watch the series from start to finish, and I know most of those interesting nuggets of trivia that surround the films. I hoped to possibly pick up one or two new pieces of information from this documentary, but truth be told, I went into it expecting to learn nothing new. With that said, I was looking forward to hearing the stories from the mouths of those who were there, I expected to hear the various takes on the legacy of Jason, and I was hoping to hear some explanations regarding a handful of those terrible decisions that were made in some of the films.

When you look through the guest list, you have to wonder why this didn't happen. Who all is on hand, you might ask? Well, they got together every man who has ever played Jason, they got damned near all of the writers and directors, and of course, they got a good chunk of the notable actors who have appeared in the films. Everybody has a favorite Jason and everybody has a soft spot for at least one of the actresses who managed to knock off Jason (until the next sequel), and it doesn't matter which names you put into those slots as they were probably involved here. Yes, this film had all the potential in the world, but it came up short and turned out to be nothing more than a glorified fluff piece.

Will we ever see the numerous cut scenes from the various films in their unedited glory? What about the drama between Ted White and director Joseph Zito on the set of The Final Chapter? These questions and the hundreds of others that Friday fans want to see answered are ignored in favor of softball questions ("Who is Jason and why does he kill?") and shameless promotion for the upcoming remake. Look, it's all explained in the first movie: Jason's mom knocked off a bunch of camp counselors for "screwing" around while her little boy drowned, she ended up getting decapitated, he came back for revenge. How simple is that, and why was half of this documentary devoted to rehashing it? I knew that certain pieces of the story were going to be old to me, but even the most casual of fans have at least seen the first film and know how the story came together.

There are some juicy morsels to be taken from these ninety minutes, but it seems as though every time a topic of interest comes up, the editors decide to jump ahead to something else in the "quick cut" fashion that MTV has popularized. One section of the documentary deals with controversy and notes of interest from the filming of these movies: this section had some nice pieces of information, but it lasts all of two minutes and each topic is breezed over with little effort to simply give the actors and filmmakers time to talk. Another piece deals with Jason's place in the world of pop culture, and just when it starts to get interesting, it skips away to a section that I like to call "THE NEW FRIDAY THE 13TH IS GOING TO BE SO TOTALLY AWESOME AND OMG YOU'LL LOVE IT!" I'm not sure what the formal title of this section was, but if I had to title it based on the content, that would be my first choice.

Remember how I pointed out all of the people who appeared in this documentary to weigh in on the series? Yeah, they're here, and some more than others. Diving back into the "stupid decisions" pool, why was Ari Lehman given the same amount of time as Kane Hodder? Why was Steven "Uncle Creepy" Barton given the same if not more time than Betsy Palmer? I don't have a problem with either man personally, but you can't tell me that a guy who appeared for all of thirty seconds in one movie and a guy whose claim to fame is writing for an online horror rag have more to contribute here than, say, the guy whose name is synonymous with Jason Voorhees or the woman who brought the character into the world. Again, these are but two examples, and those of you who sit down with this film will find plenty more.

Pick this up if you saw a trailer for the upcoming Friday the 13th remake and decided that you should go see it even though you've never actually seen any of the previous movies. It'll tell you who Jason is, why he matters, and it'll even give away the highlights of all the previous films. If, however, you've seen at least some of the movies in the series and if you knew that Jason didn't get the mask until Part III, you might want to stay away from this one. It's really nothing more than a ninety-minute fluff piece designed to raise interest in the upcoming release, and it's a damned shame that we couldn't get a definitive documentary on a series that truly deserves one. 3/10 for this documentary, and while there are some nice bonus features on the two discs, those extras are not the topic at hand and don't count towards my score.
Nirrad #1: Nirrad - added February 6, 2009 at 11:31am
Well thats too bad. I did hear that it pretty much had information that most fans already knew of though. As for the drama on set of The Final Chapter, I don't think it was that much of a big deal to have in the documentary. Although then again, it would have made sense...hmmm. But really all it was was the director was treating the actors poorly making them work harsh hours and making one girl do the scene in the raft over and over in the middle of December in the cold water. Ted threatened to leave if Zito didn't smarten up. Anywho, I'm gonna watch this shit tonight, I hope I like it more.
Nirrad #2: Nirrad - added February 6, 2009 at 10:22pm
After watching the DVD is disagree. This documentary was great fun, but not quite perfect. It did talk about some of the edited scenes like that double impalement in part 2 and everything. I personally believe that the footage is lost from these movies besides part 7. Oh, and they did mention the drama between Ted and Joseph. 8/10
Chad #3: Chad - added February 6, 2009 at 10:24pm
I know what happened, I was just saying that it would have been nice had it been covered in a little more detail. As it is, there was a single line referencing it, and I actually think that was in the bonus features. In a documentary about the series, you'd expect to hear stories like that instead of the softball topics that we got here.
Chad #4: Chad - added February 6, 2009 at 10:26pm
Way to reply at the same time. Also, not all of the footage is lost - there's workprint copies floating around and all sorts of bootlegs.
Nirrad #5: Nirrad - added February 6, 2009 at 11:22pm
Just watching the feature Men Behind the Mask, and it contains much more information on what went on behind the scenes. So far the segments with Ted and Steve have been really interesting. Especially Teds opinion about Corey Feldman which I thought was hilarious.
Chad #6: Chad - added February 7, 2009 at 12:47am
3/10 for this documentary, and while there are some nice bonus features on the two discs, those extras are not the topic at hand and don't count towards my score.

Those were good though. You think Corey sent him a Christmas card?
Nirrad #7: Nirrad - added February 7, 2009 at 1:27am
I'm sure he'll now get around to it. I was actually shocked with Adrienne King's interview. I realized she had a stalker, but wow, she had a gun to her head. Poor woman even cried on camera. Yet after all of that, she still makes it to conventions.

P.S I did read the review and I was merely saying that the bonus features were great and I enjoyed them and nothing more. Not saying that it should make the score higher.
Tristan #8: Tristan - added February 13, 2009 at 8:26pm
I didn't watch any of the bonus features yet, only the main feature. Very disappointed. It was just one big jerkoff to get us pumped to see the remake. Any real Jason fan - probably the only people out there buying this - knows absolutely everything that was touched upon in this documentary. I always love seeing all the familiar faces again, but for $20, I expect something with a little more meat in it. Hopefully the bonus features fair a little better.

Cryptorchild #9: Cryptorchild - added February 16, 2009 at 10:15am
$20? Damn. I got mine at Wal Mart for a little less than $10. I happened to enjoy this documentary. I have not watched the extras yet but I plan on to soon enough. It's by no means perfect bu it's was more than decent. And it came with a free ticket to see the remake so I can't complain too much. All in all I'd give it a 6.5/10, give or take.
Crispy #10: Crispy - added January 4, 2011 at 7:26pm
I'm with Chad on this one. Nothing substantial to see here.
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