Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Letter To Jason Voorhees: What I Learned After Watching Crystal Lake Memories

Dear Jason:

Hey, it's Chad. You know, that guy who has talked so much crap about those 12 movies you've starred in over the course of 33 years? Yeah, for years I've just ripped you a new one and decided at an early age that I was strictly Team Freddy(who totally won at the end of Freddy Vs. Jason, btw.). And while you found your way around my childhood including the NES video game and afternoon viewings of Friday the 13th movies on Saturday "Creature Features" double features, I still felt you were the weakest character in slasher history. It was never anything personal, I just like my villains with charisma and characteristics that I can find entertaining. And you, well, let's be fair, do not have those qualities. So you can see where I'm coming from.

However, last night I popped in the Crystal Lake Memories. In case you haven't seen it, it's the documentary that covers your entire cinematic career. I have to admit, as a lover of documentaries covering pop culture, I was heavily intrigued. The team behind the Nightmare on Elm Street documentary "Never Sleep Again" was in charge of covering all your movies, so I knew it would be a great 7 hours. And between last night and this morning, I haven't been able to watch all of it, but I've gotten through a good half of the dvd.

And I have to admit, I have a brand new respect for you...

From your small beginnings to massive success to your crazy fights with the MPAA board and your transition from Paramount to New Line and everything in between, I feel that your story from script to screen is definitely just as important as your story on the screen. I never even knew half the malarkey you had to go through and half the problems you've had. Also, having a fresh new way of looking at your origin story of being a child bullied and picked on was needed for me to accept you as a true-blue slasher with an important story. So, I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The origin story and your relationship with your mother and why you kill definitely opened my eyes to a point that I no longer feel your below Freddy or Jigsaw or other charismatic icons of cinema. Because, your own right, your silence after being constantly picked on is kind of your own personality on it's own. And I can respect that. So no longer will I mock you for a silent killer.

And a point I've never understood was the huge backlash against Ken Kirzinger being casted in Freddy vs. Jason. I always knew everyone loved when Kane Hodder played you for a few movies. And I don't blame them. Kane added a brutality and a emotionless killing machine mentality to make you stand out from the normal, boring, cookie cutter slashers of the day. And that's how most fans wanted to see you portrayed on the big screen. And while I do think Ken did a great job, Kane's downright nasty nature would've been amazing to see. That and the diehard fans deserved to see their favorite Jason fighting Robert Englund as my hero, Freddy.

I also was never aware of your incredible struggle with the MPAA. Through all the edits your movies had to go through just to get to the big screen. I never knew how many scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. And some amazing scenes ended up on that floor. I have to say between your big screen debut to your field trip to space, you just haven't been able to catch a break. That kinda blows. All things considered, it seems you couldn't even get respect from them either. And while Siskel and Ebert blowtorched your movies, you never gave up on the fight to stay true to yourself and pave the way for all slashers. And that's the mark of a true champion!

So, while I won't be the world's biggest Friday fanatic and will always be Team Freddy, I have a lot more appreciation for what you've accomplished and why you are cinema's favorite silent killer. And now, with this new found respect, maybe I'll be a lot more open to looking at placing your movies on my dvd shelf next to Freddy and Jigsaw.

So, let's leave the past in the past and start over. Is that ok? I can admit when I'm wrong and can be closed minded on certain things...

Maybe it'll take time for wounds to heal.


Chad E. Young

You can order Crystal Lake Memories by visiting the official site here.

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