Horror Documentary: His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th (2009)
Directed by Daniel Farrands, the writer, director, and producer of NEVER SLEEP AGAIN, HIS NAME WAS JASON is a horror documentary that explores the evolution of both the character of Jason and of the entire FRIDAY THE 13th franchise. Farrands gets pretty comprehensive as far as the interviews go. Interviewed are all the actors who’ve played Jason, all the directors and producers of the various FRIDAY flicks, and pretty much all the “final girls” as well. It’s hosted by f/x guru Tom Savini (who I love watching in front of the camera; his love of the genre is obvious and this love always comes through in his on-camera performances).
But where Farrands succeeds with NEVER SLEEP ALONE he fails with here in HIS NAME WAS JASON. Farrands may have gotten some of the big names in the franchise’s history, but many of the interviews were pretty superficial. Everyone seemed to talk about how great it was to be a part of this franchise, how amazing it was to be a part of history, what a great opportunity it was to work with such creative people … blah blah blah; you get the idea. It got to the point where everyone said they’d love to come back and do another FRIDAY movie, even actresses whose characters were dead. Adrienne King said it would be great to have her, Amy Steel’s, and Lar Park Lincoln’s characters come back to fight Jason. Really? Sweetheart, your character died in the first 10 minutes of the second movie. Only Jason gets to come back from the grave.
There were other interviews that should have just been left out altogether because they took away credibility. When talking about favorite kills, Felicia Rose from SLEEPAWAY CAMP fame(?) said her favorite was when the couple screwing got skewered with the spear. She loves this because “it [was] so original.” Come on, really? That gag was done back in 1971 in Mario Bava’s BAY OF BLOOD. I don’t expect Ms. Rose to know that but the producers should have caught it. Mistakes like this kinda makes everyone involved seem arrogant like they all thought they were the first ones to do everything in any horror film.
After all the back patting and ego stroking, this documentary gets fun when they finally get around to the various Jason actors. We get to hear some pretty damn interesting and funny behind the scenes stories and anecdotes. But everyone talked about Kane Hodder like he was the be-all Jason. Honestly he was not my favorite. My favorites are Warrington Gillette, from part 2, and Derek Mears from the fucking horrible FRIDAY THE 13th remake (yeah I know; I absolutely hated that fucking remake but thought Mears had a really great interpretation of Jason).
Even though this is marked with some shallow interviews from people who haven’t worked since they appeared in their FRIDAY installment, this is overall a fun little trip down memory lane (despite some glaring oversights). If you can get past all the schmoozing and networking by the interviewees you’ll find yourself enjoying this documentary … but trust me, this is no NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!!
Director: Daniel Farrands
Plot: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer