Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

To complete this week of an unholy trinity of ‘Friday the thirteenth-ness’, that is after revisiting the original ‘Friday the 13th’ for the first time in twenty five years and watching Marcus Nispel’s reboot of ‘Friday the 13th’ in his brand new remake of that highly regarded classic, we have now just finished watching Daniel Farrand’s documentary on the series ‘His Name was Jason’. I almost feel like a brandy snifter holding, tweed jacket sporting, Peterson pipe smoking film snob because I liked this documentary talking about those movies way more than the movies themselves.

I’ve told the story before but I’m more than old enough now that I can begin to repeat myself without recrimination, but I was twelve when the first Friday the 13th was released and couldn’t convince anybody to take me to go see it. When I finally did get to see it when it was finally released on video tape… the word to describe my viewing experience would have to be anti-climactic, less the fault of the movie and more due the my over amped expectations. None of this stopped me from seeing every single sequel after that, including the remake which I saw just a day ago and I’m still not a fan, just an obvious glutton for punishment.

That being said this film, as hosted by make up master Tom Savini who was the first make up guy for the series, covers all of the movies, from the inception of the first film which the first films director and producer Sean S. Cunningham said was simply an idea to help pay some overdue bills, all the way to speaking to Marcus Nispel, director of the much hyped remake. We also get the privilege of sitting in on interviews with all of the actors who played Jason from the little boy Jason in part one to Kane Hodder who represent the water bearer of Jason’s, but I gotta say the most interesting dude in my opinion was Warren Gillette who looked like his interviews was being broadcast from prison, and along with his heavy Brooklyn accent seemed like the Jason you would least care to tangle with out of make up.

Another thing that was cool about this doc, and something that drummed up some fond memories, was a snippet they played from Roger Ebert’s review of the ‘The Final Chapter’ on ‘Sneak Previews’ or ‘At the Movies’, and man do I remember watching him and the late Gene Siskel just RAIL on these movies back in the day. The interviewees were right about one thing in this movie, because by the time the fourth movie came around I could get into R-rated movies with very little resistance from inattentive movie clerks, and though I had no plans of dropping a whopping $3.50 to see the movie initially, after Roger Ebert virtually puked on the set after reviewing it, I had to no choice but to check it out… and I liked that version just as little as I like all the other versions. You see I enjoy horror movies, I just never liked these.

But the hits in this little documentary don’t stop there as we get a ton of interviews from the actors that were in those movies, and though it seemed perhaps a few them tended to overstate the importance of these films just a little bit, the actors that they chose for the interviews were funny, insightful and they all had interesting things to say about whatever version of the movie that they were in, including all kinds of KRAZY flawed psychology about how these flicks empowered women. Yeah… nothing says ‘power’ like watching an oppressive dude standing over your nude body, D-cups jiggling and dropping a spear in your forehead. If that’s not power I don’t what is. Another thing the actors seemed to be doing was stumping for another gig. Almost all of them had a fresh idea on how they should be stuck back in the series to do this or that. Outstanding. We must say that we were particularly fond of the More Twins Camilla and Carey from ‘The Final Chapter’ who are two young women, or maybe not so young anymore, but STILL look like they are more fun than a barrel of monkeys on crack. Speaking of titties… we were talking about titties weren’t we, I believe this is also the first doc I’ve seen that has gratuitous tits in it. I’m not talking about tits from the certain scenes in the series, because it has that, but there were original cut scenes running behind Savini while he was narrating, with one being a recreation of the ‘Strip Monopoly’ scene from the first movie. But of course in the original we didn’t get to see any tits because Mrs. Vorhees was on a rampage and she hates tits anyway, but in this thing… yes… the girl corrects horrible past wrong and loses her bra. Completely gratuitous and unnecessary. Stupendous! Yet another fine example of female empowerment in the ‘Friday the 13th’ series.

The only issue I probably had with this documentary is that there are so many movies and so many people involved in the series that it is spread rather thin, but that’s what Disc 2 of the DVD is for if you really want to get down, and I’m am curious why James Roday from ‘Psych’ and that ‘Sleepaway Camp’ chick were in this thing. But like any good doc you don’t have to be a fan to enjoy ‘His Name was Jason’… hell, I’ll bet my man Roger Ebert would probably enjoy this.

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