ANTHONY MASI (producer, writer; HIS NAME WAS JASON: THIRTY YEARS OF FRIDAY THE 13TH) interview



INTERVIEW: Christian Sellers

How did a Black Christmas and two Halloween documentaries prepare you to tackle the Friday the 13th legacy?
“HALLOWEEN: 25 YEARS OF TERROR was my training ground. From a creative perspective I learned so much about how to present information that spans 25 years. From a business perspective, I learned about licensing, how ego plays a big part in the Hollywood game, and so much more. I didn’t go to film school but that project certainly felt like a great substitution! The second documentary, “THE SHAPE OF HORROR” was a 15-minute theatrical promo that screened before the original HALLOWEEN when it was released in 2006. I directed that, and am quite proud of it. These projects definitely primed me for HIS NAME WAS JASON: 30 YEARS OF FRIDAY THE 13th. Most of all, I learned what NOT to do in the production, and those things are sometimes more valuable than what TO do. Anchor Bay gave us exactly 13 weeks to get the production shot and delivered, and to say that it was challenging would be an understatement! Producing H25 definitely gave me the experience to keep my head together, and fortunately I was working with a very skilled and dedicated team of people.”

What is it about slasher movies that you find so appealing, and what kind of reaction did you when you explained your project to those who were not fans of the series?
“That’s kind of like asking me why I like fast food! It’s just part of our culture, and I grew up on horror movies. You can’t really avoid them because horror movies never go out of style, and when I was a kid I was captivated by every single horror movie I saw. I had no judgment and nothing was “bad” in my opinion when I was a child. So I’ve carried that love of horror movies into adulthood and I can always appreciate a horror movie, simply because it IS a horror movie. My love for Friday the 13th made it very easy to pitch “HIS NAME WAS JASON”. The folks at Anchor Bay have the same appreciation for these films, so it wasn’t difficult at all for them to “get” the retrospective idea. By the way, the DVD comes out on Feb 3rd, and Starz is airing it on Feb 13th, the day the new movie is released.”



How do you even begin to tackle such a project - having to gather together so many people who once appeared in a movie twenty-plus years ago and then have them reminisce about them? Did you find that, after already discussing their experiences in two recent books (Crystal Lake Memories, Making Friday the 13th), they were any less enthusiastic?
“The interviewees were very enthusiastic! You have to picture it… we did the bulk of the interviews at a soundstage in Burbank over a 10-day period. That’s 10 non-stop 8-10 hour days where every hour on the hour a Friday the 13th actor or crew member walked through the door. I pretty much saw my childhood flashing before me over those 10 days, and the actors coming in were bumping into each other after not seeing each other for many years, and so there was tremendous excitement to be there, and everyone recognized that this was the first epic documentary on the ENTIRE franchise. When we started “HIS NAME WAS JASON”, we only had three months to work with to get it filmed and completed, so I just told everyone we had a month of pre-production, a month to film, and a month of post-production. I have to be honest and say that I was met with tremendous resistance from a few people on the crew who respectfully told me that I was nuts! Even though I agreed with them to a certain extent I told them to have faith and just go with it. I can’t say enough about the talented production crew, everyone from Vanessa our make-up professional, to Monica our editor, to Blake our co-producer, to Thommy, my writing/producing partner in crime, and everyone else in between, we pulled off a huge amount of work in a very short amount of time, and to say I’m proud of this documentary is only a fraction of how I feel about it!”

Why make a documentary about Friday the 13th? What is about this particular series that made you want to study it?
“I made this documentary for one reason: Everyone in the world knows who Jason is! You show a hockey mask to anyone and they’ll say something about Jason. That’s why. He’s iconic. The film series is going strong three decades after the first movie was made, that’s more than enough reason to stop and take a look back on all of the films that came before!”

What kind of structure will the documentary follow? Will it follow the franchise through each film chronologically, will fans get to see deleted footage (such as the infamous alternative ending from Part 3 or The New Blood’s graphic murder scenes) and will there be much behind-the-scenes footage?
“We do not go chronologically. We did that in H25 and personally I wanted this project to have a different feel so I suggested that we address “topics” or “chapters”… we summarize the storylines of all the movies in the first 10 minutes just to get everyone up to speed, and then from there we delve into Jason’s history, what ingredients are needed for a successful Friday the 13th movie, we get to see Jason’s “greatest hits” - a compilation of Jason’s best kills with actors and crew members describing how they were done, etc. The actors who played Jason get their own chapter, the final girls get their own as well, and we even cover topics such as how Jason penetrated pop culture, and we explore the ambiguities and inconsistencies that riddle the series. The new movie gets the spotlight as well, and it’s all hosted by Tom Savini who appears between the segments to lead us out of one topic and into another. Tom was a total pro, and I was honored to meet and with with him. As all of this is happening, fans will be treated to never-before-seen photos and rare footage, and will probably have to watch it a few times to absorb the slew of information we’re crunching into 90 minutes!”

Throughout the years there have been various debates with regards to the movies (who really played Jason vor the majority of Part 2, who thought of giving Jason the hockey mask). Will any of these mysterious finally be unearthed?
“Yes, all of this is addressed in both the feature documentary as well as in the bonus features that will be on the DVD. Lots of questions will be answered, and lots of “stuff you never knew” will be bestowed on the unexpecting viewer!”

Did you find that your work on Halloween: 25 Years of Terror lent you a certain ammount of credibility as you tried to develop this project?
“Yes, H25 opened a very big door for me and I am very lucky and privileged and thankful to have produced/written that project. It definitely was influential to the birth of HIS NAME WAS JASON.”



What kind of special features will be in store for the fans? There are so many lost treats that should be re-discovered, such as Alice Cooper’s music video for Part VI, or Jason’s appearance on Arsenio Hall’s chat show. What are you hoping to include in the package?
“We tried to include Cooper’s video but the licensing *cough cough* made it impossible. We do include the Arsenio clip as well as a bunch of others in the feature documentary, and our bonus features include extended interviews, on-location Friday the 13th tours with actors and crew members, fan films, spoofs, and other goodies. This is a DVD package that will take a lot of time getting through!”

It was recently revealed that your documentary will be released on DVD the same day as the long-anticipated 3D release of Friday the 13th Part 3. Are you concerned that this could take away some of the attention from your own feature, or do you think this will just increase the interest in all things Jason?
“I don’t feel any competition at all. This is the only retrospective documentary on the entire franchise that celebrates a landmark anniversary with close to 90 interviewees… I would have to believe that any Friday fan would want to see this! Personally, I’m running out to get the 3D release myself, and if I didn’t produce “HIS NAME WAS JASON” and saw it sitting on the shelf next to the 3D movie, you’d have to physically throw me out of the store to prevent me from buying it! Hopefully other fans will feel the same way.”

There are so many iconic franchises left to explore (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play, Hellraiser, etc.), what plans do you have for the future?
“My good friend Rob Galluzzo is directing the definitive documentary on the PSCYHO series called “THE PSYCHO LEGACY”, and I am producing the project. Rob’s vision is also epic, and the project will satisfy anyone who wants to know anything about the PSCYHO films. I am also embarking on another project for the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series. I can’t say much about it but hey, it won’t be difficult for anyone to deduce what’s what after looking at my track record! I am also very excited about a trilogy I’m producing called PRANK, a horror anthology series directed by scream queens. Check it out at PrankMovie.com!”




About the Author

Christian Sellers

Writer for UK horror magazine GoreZone (www.gorezone.co.uk) and moderator of Friday the 13th interview/news site www.myspace.com/fridaythe13thfranchise

13 Responses to “ ANTHONY MASI (producer, writer; HIS NAME WAS JASON: THIRTY YEARS OF FRIDAY THE 13TH) interview ”

  1. I love the interview. Very cool, I will be buying this and the trilogy on the next day it comes out. I just hope to save up enough cash to see the remake.

  2. This is going to be sweet. They even interview the fat hitchhiker chick from part 4!!! Far out!!!

  3. Great, really cool interview. I have to saythat between the up coming dedux and the re-release special edition boxset, I am so most looking forward to this the most.

    Big thanks, truely.

  4. very very cool.i love everything friday the 13th and this just sweetens the pot for me.febuary may very well be the best month for 2009.

  5. Ocean freight from China
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  6. Sweet! I love Friday the 13th, but was just wondering aboot shipping for China!!!!

  7. Yeah I was confused about the Chinese bit at as well. Maybe the next one will be Jason Takes Beijing

  8. The cover artwork has been posted here (looks sort of funny to me, but it works):

    http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com/news/topnews.php?id=8547

  9. Ooh two disc, that’s what I like to see!

  10. i cannot wait got alot of friday the 13ths to get the 3 disc boxset (of the last 3) all 3 of the first delux editons and his name was jason AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH CANNOT WAIT!!

  11. Is that Shavar Ross (played Reggie in pt.5) in the first pic?

  12. Images are of as follows -

    Betsy Palmer (Pamela Voorhees; Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th Part 2)
    Shavar Ross (Reggie; Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning)
    Tom McLoughlin (director; Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives)
    Bonnie Hellman (Hitchhiker; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter)
    Joseph Zito (director; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter)

  13. Very cool interview. This only makes me want to watch it even more! FINALLY we get the definitive “Behind The Scenes” look we’ve wanted for so many years.

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