Monday, June 4, 2018

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th review

    I have a confession to make: I absolutely love the Friday the 13th series. I was born a little too young to be part of when it was a mega-sensation (i.e. I was a teenager in the 90s rather than the 80s) but I came to lose Jason Voorhees through the magic of VHS. Which, for those of you who have no idea what those initials means, were magical boxes that contained images as well as the souls of dead unicorns.

    Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th is a novel which contains collected anecdotes and a rough timeline for the creation of the original Friday the 13th to Freddy vs. Jason. We get to hear from virtually every single cast member, member of the production staff, and the writers. Their perspectives are almost uniformly positive and, honestly, include a bit of lying since poor Adrienne King (Annie in the 1st movie) quit show business due to a crazed F13-inspired stalker that goes completely unmentioned in the book.

    The anecdotes are quite candid in places and sometimes contradictory, which is good for the book's humor value. For example, one creator spends a long time explaining how ridiculous the concept of "if you have sex you die in a F13" movie is, only for the next to say, "Sex equaling death was clearly a major part of our idea for the movie." Plus, there's more than a few lurid innuendoes about how the actors tended to hook up during the long shootings.

    The biggest contribution this book may have made to F13 fandom is the fact it resulted in the creation of the identically-named documentary that's available for purchase on That was hosted by Cory Feldman and, frankly, does the book's job a great deal better. The Kindle Edition may be much longer but the content tends to be a bit on the repetitive side with many actors somewhat embarrassed about their roles despite their pleasant memories. The lack of pictures also hurts it versus the coffee-table version that was at least visually stimulating. The book also lacks any coverage of 2009's reboot, perhaps because it's a bit harder to get in touch with Amanda Rhigetti and Jared Padalecki (but apparently not Kevin Bacon or Crispin Glover).

    In the end, the book is a little dry and on the technical side. It's amazing the author managed to get seemingly every single person involved in the production of the movies interviewed. However, the anecdotes dominate everything when I think the book could have benefited from maybe summarizing the films or adding some bits for the laymen. It's basically 11 or 12 ComicCon panels in text form.


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