Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th
Crystal Lake Memories runs a punishing 400 minutes, which signals two things:
1. It’s not required to be consumed in one sitting.
2. It’s not for the casual
Friday the 13th fan. Based on Peter Bracke’s 2006 book of the same name, this documentary comes from Daniel Farrands, the director of 2008’s His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th, which ran a mere 84 minutes. This is essentially a super-sized version of that, examining each and every entry in the series, from 1980 original to 2009’s remake, and every machete-slicing spree in between.
Fans will delight in getting glimpses of gore scenes cut by the MPAA, although their quality resembles third- or fourthgeneration VHS dubs. It grows self-congratulatory at the end, but that’s easy to forgive, given its thoroughness, scope and entertainment value. — Rod Lott
Fright Night 2: New Blood
Charley (the unappealing Will Payne) and his pal Evil Ed (the more unappealing Chris Waller)
take a class trip to Romania where they run afoul of a hot, British college professor who’s also a vampire. She’s played by Jaime Murray (TV’s Spartacus), the only thing keeping Fright Night 2 from being a total bust. She’s also, to quote Ed, “like, the ultimate she-bitch, bro!” Said she-bitch requires the blood of not only a virgin, but a virgin born at the stroke of midnight — geez, the specifics of cinematic vampire lore these days! — which is where Charley’s ex-girlfriend comes in. The boys lean on “reality”-show monster hunter Peter Vincent (Sean Power) for help; conveniently, he’s in town.
Lacking fun, Fright Night 2 is further hampered by dreadful performances from Payne and Waller. Only Murray approaches the material from the proper wavelength, giving it more juice than it deserves. — RL
In an Arabian Nights-style wraparound, an abducted schoolgirl must tell her captor stories to stay alive. The best comes first with “Don’t Answer the Door,” in which a two young siblings awaiting Mom’s arrival home find their apartment infiltrated by … wait and see. The scariest scenes reside here, as do jolts of genuine humor.
Aboard a plane, “Endless Flight” pits a flight attendant against a serial killer. A wicked fairy tale updated for our celeb-obsessed age, “Secret Recipe” pits stepsister against stepsister, and takes more than a big bite of inspiration from “Dumplings,” the sickest of Asia’s 2004 terror triptych, Three … Extremes.
Enough good exists in Horror Stories overall to merit a recommendation for Halloween viewing.
A sequel — Horror Stories 2, duh — was released in the Far East over the summer. Here’s hoping that follows soon. — RL
House of Wax