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Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (2013) - Blu-ray Review

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Crystal Lake Memories - Blu-ray Review

4 stars

Chronicling Friday the 13th’s tenure in popular culture, Crystal Lake Memories is an entertaining documentary that is as eye opening as it is extensive.  There really should be no questions left to ask as it comes its conclusion after 400 minutes of Jason-themed analysis.  From its humble beginnings to its most recent resurrection, the documentary takes viewers on an epic journey through time that dares to go inside this landmark horror franchise.  Inspired by the critically acclaimed book, Jason Voorhees has – once again – been successfully unearthed thanks to the efforts of filmmaker Daniel Farrands. 

Narrated by Corey Feldman, the documentary features new interviews from over 150 previous members of the cast and crew as they discuss its humble New Jersey summer camp origins in 1980 to its wildly successful reboot in 2009.  Stars Adrienne King, Amy Steel, Dana Kimmel, Melyssa Ade, Loyd Albin, and Kane Hodder, this is one documentary that dares to engage any fan of horror and the slasher genre.  Even Harry Manfredini and his score get a special spotlight throughout the coverage.

Throughout the feature, Farrands effectively combines hundreds of rare and never-before-seen photographs, film clips, outtakes, archival documents, conceptual art and behind-the-scenes footage into a whole new experience that seamlessly blends from one film to the next.  Both the highs and the lows of the franchise are discussed – with a very cool look at Part VI: Jason Lives getting special mention (and a much deserved warm reception).  Covering all twelve films and the television series, Crystal Lake Memories is the ultimate tip of the mask to one of the most iconic and enduring horror franchises.

Featuring some serious input from creator Sean S. Cunningham, the documentary recalls its Halloween-inspired origins and its “branching off” upon the completion of Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left.  And to think it all started with merely a title and some promo art.  That’s how franchises are made, folks.  Yes, indeed, Jason Vorhees and his mother – even before there was a screenplay – were introduced to filmgoers through a poster only.  Talk about having an “if you build it they will come” vision. 

For about 25 minutes in total (with a few extended looks), each film is chopped up, dissected, and discussed.  This is truly a monumental feat, as the film and its contents never become tedious even when the actual films do.  Jason Takes Manhattan anyone?  Crickets.  Even the filmmakers talk smack about that one.  And the fashions!  While it could be argued that the Voorhees clan will never be out of fashion, it is painfully obvious that some of the films – securely grounded in the era of their birth – are often exactly that the further into the 1980s they go.   

Brought to you by the team responsible for Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, this 400-minute journey invites audiences to go behind the mask.

Crystal Lake Memories - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 8, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: English,Spanish
English: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps)
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (2 BDs)
Region Encoding: A

Presented in 1.78: 1 ratio by 1428 Films, the 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer is solid throughout.  Although the various interviews differ in quality from location to location, the image is crisp.  Interviews are full of details and great texture.  Colors – coming from all sorts of images – are strong.  While some degree of quality is to be expected from the archival footage, this is a solid release.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track found in the film has a perfect mix for a documentary about a horror film franchise, adding tension to already nerve wrecking scenes and providing that echo sound needed at those gotcha moments that we all know and love.



  • Director Daniel Farrands, author Peter M. Bracke, and editor Luke Rafalowski fill the ENTIRE 400 minutes with companion piece commentary.  They dig the material that much.  Enough said.

Special Features:

Do you really need anything more?  The answer is NO.

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