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.

F/x guru wiz Tom Savini

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.

Jason actor Kane Hodder.

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!!

My Summary:

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

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11 Responses to “Horror Documentary: His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th (2009)”
  1. autumnforest says:

    Thanks for the review, buddy! I have to say that I would really just have liked to hear the behind the scenes stuff with the Jasons. That’d make me happy.

  2. l3pr3chaun says:

    Now this is a franchise that got real stale real fast for me. The original is a classic and the “birth” of Jason in Friday 13th Part 2 was alright but then literally we got sliced and diced through so many bad sequels. They all begin to run together after a while with the exception of 1 and 2. Thoughs on any hidden gems between 3-whatever they stopped at or are currently up to?

    • Agreed Bill … FRIDAY THE 13TH got stale quickly but I must admit that I really like parts 1-4. 5 is the flick that didn’t even have Jason in it and that one killed the franchise for me. I also admit that I liked JASON TAKES MANHATTAN …. I saw that opening day, which happened to be the same day as our high school prom!!

      Luckily for us they plans for a new FRIDAY THE 13TH flick was axed. As far as I know the entire new franchise is dead in the water. We really dodged that bullet!!

  3. Deggsy says:

    Scott, I agree with you 100% about this. Watched it myself, and was struck by how much could have been cut from it without the viewer missing anything. Like you pointed out, some of the interviewees, whose only claim to fame was their tiny contributions to the movies, act like they inspired Orson Welles to name the sled Rosebud. I might have included more people who may not have direct connections with the franchise, but who could make a clearer overview of the directions the movies took, and why they did, like film historians. Still, it was worth watching.

  4. Midnight says:

    Where on earth can I get that poster of all the different Jasons thats above? Its so freaking cool!

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Check out what others are saying...
  1. [...] times when those being interviewed come off sounding arrogant (like in HIS NAME WAS JASON; see my review) and sometimes the material isn’t really examined in enough detail (again, HIS NAME WAS JASON).  [...]

  2. [...] all been about films.  There’s NEVER SLEEP AGAIN about the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise; THEY CALL HIM JASON about the iconic killer Jason Voorhees; and THE SPLAT PACK about the rise of the torture-porn [...]



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  • Some of my favorite horror movies:
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)

  • Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1987)

  • Martyrs (2008)

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