Who would have thought that one little low-budget horror
flick, impressive and notorious as it was upon its original
theatrical release in 1980, would spawn more sequels than
any other franchise within the genre. Furthermore, as the
climatic scene/epilogue at the end of Friday 13th -
when the Mongoloid boy rises from the lake - was added to
the script very late in the proceedings, it's incredible to
think that Jason Vorhees has become our most enduring fictional
Lake Memories - The Complete History of Friday 13th is
a large and colourful hardback book - written by USC School
of Cinema-Television graduate and lifelong horror enthusiast,
Peter M. Bracke, and published by Titan Books - which analyses
the rise and rise of the hockey mask-wearing, machette-weilding
maniac through the recollections of more than two-hundred
of the people who have worked on the films, either in front
of or behind the camera.
Like Jason Vorhees himself, the Friday 13th films refuse
to die... And why should they? I loved every single one of
them (except perhaps Jason Goes to Hell - What were
you thinking of Mr Cunningham?). Like Columbo or Scooby-Doo,
they conform to a particular pattern; to a certain extent
you know what you're going to get but, as far as I'm concerned,
that's part of the charm. A silent and faceless killer is
much more effective than one with which you can communicate.
However, whereas Halloween (and masked killer Michael
Myers) is subtle, full of style, clever lighting and inferences,
Friday 13th and its ten sequels are unashamedly bloodthirsty
and inventive in its portrayal of violence.
enough about my observations on the films; this is supposed
to be a review of the book. Being an age-long connoisseur
of horror myself, I think this tome has been a long time coming.
As a keen follower of Jason's exploits, I was interested to
discover if Crystal lake Memories truly does significant
justice to the characters and situations. The simple answer
to this is yes; the attention to detail in collecting and
collating these stories and anecdotes from so many people
is incredible. The first noticeable thing is how some of the
interviewees come across as enthusiastic and honest, whereas
others obviously saw there experiences as akin to a fun day
out at the Blue Peter studios making plasticine dinosaurs.
But whether they viewed their time on set as Shakespeare or
a lark, there's a significant amount of pertinent information
which can be garnered from the conversations. It also comes
as a great relief that the recollections are anecdotal rather
than expository; it makes for interesting rather than heavy
The pull-out quotes are immediately attention-grabbing. For
Miner said, 'Don't ask me what your motivation is, just kill
her!'" - Richard Brooker.
may be a sick and sad thing to say, but Jason is the most
comfortable I've ever felt playing a character. I put the
mask on, and it just felt right." - Kane Hodder.
"If you count the five offscreen deaths, my total is like
twenty-four kills in this one." Kane Hodder.
kept asking the actor who was going to kill me to let me check
his ax, because the real one and the fake one looked so alike.
I was scared he might pick up the wrong one by mistake." -
"My last day on set was to shoot my death scene. The day before,
I called my mother, and she said, 'Russell, don't you think
that's a little odd? Are you sure this is legitimate?' She
thought it was a snuff film. I said, 'Mom, this is Paramount.
They're not going to kill me!" - Russell Todd.
and too many more to mention. Instead of listing each interview
separately, there is a logical continuity. There is an individual
chapter relating to each Friday 13th film, and paragraphs
are lifted from each relevant person, so that the subjects
under discussion do not jump all over the place. There are
many colour photographs included - the majority previously
unseen - which offer behind-the-scenes glimpses, as well as
publicity stills and film snapshots.
If I have one niggle about this book it's in the specifications.
At the back of the book is a "Coroner's Report", giving such
data on each film as dates and box office takings. It rather
makes you wish for more detailed statistics. Also, I remember
coming across a fan website a few years back, which contained
listings of every victim of Jason and their manner of death.
It would have been nice to see something like that here. But
that's a minor complaint. Crystal Lake Memories serves
its purpose and serves it well.
This book will without doubt appeal to Jason fans and general
followers of the horror genre, provided they are not turned
off by the price. Peter M. Bracke is apparently the foremost
authority on the Friday films, and his collaboration
with Titan Books shows a mutual respect for the franchise.
Now all we need is an ultimate authority on Michael Myers
and Halloween... That'll be me then!