Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th BEHIND THE SCREAMS!

The Phantom of the Ville sits down by the campfire with documentary director, Daniel Farrands, and producer, Thommy Hutson, to hear the tale of how they made the ultimate “Friday 13th” documentary!

Good evening, horror fans and seasonal plastic machete slashers, it’s the Phantom of the Ville coming to you from our weekend getaway campsite in Wessex County, New Jersey. I’m here at Camp Crystal Lake with documentary director, Daniel Farrands, and producer, Thommy Hutson, the creative madmen behind the new 420 minute film, “Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th.”

The day is fading quickly into twilight and the three of us have been gathering wood for a fire to keep the autumn chill at bay. Later, some girls are going to be dropping by and we have a keg of beer ready to tap, but in the meantime Daniel and Thommy have agreed to answer all my questions regarding their film which just hit store shelves on Friday, September 13, 2013.

Based on the coffee table book of the same name by Peter M. Bracke, the “Crystal Lake Memories” Blu-ray/DVD combo documentary covers everything you could ever want to know about all twelve films in the “Friday the 13th” series. Unlike Farrands’ and Hutson’s earlier, “His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th” (2009), the new documentary covers each film in the series with equal time and detail from the original 1980 slasher classic through the Michael Bay produced 2009 reboot. Even the TV series is given equal consideration.

“Our first documentary was really more just about the evolution of Jason through the series, and his place in popular culture” says Farrands. “While this new project goes into much greater detail about all the films themselves.”

Daniel Farrands and Thommy Hutson are not only diehard horror fans. They both have serious horror street cred. Hutson got his career started working in the animation department at Warner Brothers Studios where he worked on the scripts for the feature length animated films, “Scooby-Doo in Where’s My Mummy?” (2005) and “Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!” (2007). Farrands cut his teeth in the horror business with another iconic screen boogieman, Michael Myers, when he wrote the screenplay for “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” (1995).

Together, these two spookmasters have collaborated on a series of detailed, fan oriented documentaries about classic horror film series beginning with “His Name Was Jason” (2009), and continuing with the highly regarded, 240 minute Nightmare on Elm Street documentary, “Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy” (2010) and “Scream: The Inside Story” (2011). Hutson also produced “More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead” (2011), a documentary about the Louisville set zombie favorite and its sequels.

“We’re huge fans ourselves,” says Hutson, “and we hope we’ve made a tribute to this iconic series that other fans will enjoy.” The documentary includes approximately 150 interviews with cast and crew members from all twelve films including Kane Hodder, Robert Englund, Sean S. Cunningham, every series director, every final girl and everyone who ever wore the hockey mask.

“The whole project took around 19 months,” says Hutson. “Daniel and I dedicated almost two years of our lives to Jason Voorhees. We had somewhere near 200 hours of footage to piece together.”

“Crystal Lake Memories” details the box-office successes, and occasional failures, of each sequel in the franchise in great detail, and it doesn’t avoid the controversial aspects of the series. For example, the film examines the fallout over the recasting of Jason Voorhees in “Freddy VS Jason” (2003) when fan favorite, Kane Hodder, was suddenly replaced after appearing as Jason in the previous four films and winning the hearts of Friday the 13th fans worldwide.

“It was a mistake,” says Farrands. “Don’t misunderstand me, Ken Kirzinger did a great job as Jason in that film, but the fans loved Kane, and he deserved the chance to face off with Freddy.”

“It was going to happen someday anyway,” he continues, “but perhaps that wasn’t the best time to recast. The fans are still sore about it today.”

One of the more popular reoccurring characters in the series is that of Jason’s nemesis, Tommy Jarvis, who was played by three different actors over the course of three films. The first actor to play the young Tommy Jarvis, Corey Feldman (“The Lost Boys,” “Stand by Me”), returns to the fold here as narrator of the documentary and also appears in a wrap-around campfire sequence telling the story of Jason Voorhees to a clueless group of teenagers. Rumors have swirled around the Internet in recent months that Feldman was trying to garner Hollywood interest in a “Tommy VS Jason” sequel, but neither Farrands nor Hutson could confirm any truth to the story, writing it off as likely fanboy speculation.

One member of the Friday the 13th family they were very excited to work with on “Crystal Lake Memories” was composer Harry Manfredini, who composed a completely new and original score for the film. “It has been 12 years since Harry has composed a Friday the 13th score,” explains Hutson, “and we were really pumped to have him scoring our film.”

“I totally agree,” Farrands adds, “He even wrote and composed a new version of the Friday the 13th disco theme from ‘Friday the 13th Part 3D’ that I loved as a kid!”

Since Thommy, Daniel and myself are all from the same generation of horror fans, each of us psychologically scarred from seeing the original film in theaters as kids and coming of age watching each successive sequel, I knew they must have some prized geek collectibles in their toy chests. I decided to ask each of them to name their favorite piece of Friday the 13th memorabilia.

“I like a lot of the toys,” says Hutson. “I like the Macfarlane toys and the NECA toys. I guess my favorite figure is my 18 inch baghead Jason figure from ‘Part II.’ However, I also have the original one sheet poster from the first film, and that’s probably my most treasured possession.”

“That’s an easy question for me,” admits Farrands. “I have the original vinyl first pressing of Harry Manfredini’s score for ‘Friday the 13th Parts I,II and III.’ I made my mom drive me from my home to Tower Records in San Francisco to get it. It was the only store in California to carry it. When we got there, the space in the rack was empty! I was heartbroken. But my mom started browsing other music sections and she found a copy of it misfiled in the wrong category. I went from brokenhearted to the happiest kid on earth in 10 minutes.”

As I watched “Crystal Lake Memories” the other night, it was like traveling through time and watching my life as a horror fan pass before my eyes. “Friday the 13th” has been part of my life for 33 years. As an underage horror fan, I snuck into a screening of the original film in 1980, and had nightmares for a month afterwards. Like all fans, I have my favorites and I have entries I hate. I still think “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter,” with its Tom Savini special effects and the appearance of both Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover, not to mention Jason’s best onscreen demise ever, is the ultimate Friday the 13th film.

I still hate, hate, hate “Friday the 13th: A New Beginning.”

I needed to know how Thommy and Daniel, two of the biggest Friday the 13th obsessives on earth, felt about the good, the bad and the rebooted.

“My favorites are ‘Part II’ and ‘Part VII: The New Blood’,” says Hutson. “I thought giving Jason a nemesis with psychic powers was a great idea. My least favorite is ‘Part V: A New Beginning.’ I just didn’t get it.”

“No question,” says Farrands, “My favorite is ‘Part IV: The Final Chapter.’ My least favorite is either ‘Jason X’ or the Michael Bay reboot.”

At this point, we had run out of time for our interview, but frankly Hutson didn’t care. “Well, we’re going to be late for our next interview,” he said, “because I’ve got to know how on earth you think the reboot is worse than ‘Part V: A New Beginning’!”

“Because it is! It’s terrible,” responded Farrands. I sat back on my log in front of our campfire as Thommy and Daniel engaged in a fanboy argument for the history books. As they screamed and made lewd gestures at each other, I tapped the keg and poured a few cups of beer. Then we all drank a toast to Sean Cunningham and sang some campfire songs.

It was then that we thought we heard a noise coming from somewhere in the woods just past the light of the campfire. Thommy and Daniel decided to investigate.

“We’ll be right back,” they said. With that I decided to pack up and head back to Louisville. I haven’t heard from either one of them since, but I hope they’re okay.

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th” is available in a 4 disc set that includes 2 Blu-ray discs and 2 DVDs. You can order it from the official website at for $29.95 where you’ll also receive an EXCLUSIVE bonus DVD with four hours of extended interview material. As of today (09/19/13), Wild and Woolly Video, Louisville’s best cult video store, at 1021 Bardstown Road has it in stock to purchase for only $19.99!

The Phantom of The Ville

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