People roll their eyes at me when I say it, but I love the Friday the 13th franchise. I don’t know if it’s because Jason Vorhees scared me more than any of the other big horror icons, or if it’s because I saw more of the Fridays early on and had more intimate knowledge of the series over others, or if it just comes down to Jason being the most aesthetically pleasing to my sensibilities. I own the whole franchise, I’ve seen the documentaries, I own the video games, and I have the action figures on my shelf…I’m a fan.
Kane Hodder was far from the first actor to don the hockey mask, but he came to represent the franchise. Not only is he the only actor to do more than one film (he did four), but he also provided Jason with some of his most iconic kills and moves. He also portrayed the most unique versions of Jason, from the more graphic 2nd version of zombie Jason in The New Blood, to the slimy version in Takes Manhattan, to the tumor ridden, hulking Jason that Goes To Hell, and finally uber-Jason in Jason X.
But Friday the 13th is only a part of Kane Hodder’s story and Derek Dennis Herbert’s documentary, To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story from Dread Central Presents is a touching and intimate look into the career and private life of one of Hollywood’s scariest icons. We get to know Hodder the kid who suffered brutal bullying as a child, the young stunt man who suffered a near fatal burn stunt gone wrong, before we get into the highs and lows of Hodder’s life post F13, including his having a hand in launching a whole new iconic horror franchise with Hatchet.
I hadn’t read Hodder’s biography, so I was vague on a number of details of his life. The details of his burn accident are excruciating to sit through and then to see this big man who has given me nightmares break down on camera is pretty intense. But there are funny moments and there’s plenty of triumphs to offset the tragedy. To Hell and Back will take you through a full range of emotions and there are a number of interviews with Hodder’s friends and peers, including Danielle Harris, Adam Green, Sid Haig, Robert Englund, and even another former Jason, Ted White, among many others.
To Hell And Back is being distributed by Dread Central presents, who have really been doing a great job of releasing a diverse slate of films. To Hell is their first documentary and it’s one that I think will be near and dear to the hearts of horror fans.