Now Streaming in Austin: Friday the 13th
When Camp Crystal Lake came to the ATX
By Richard Whittaker,
2:43PM, Fri. Apr. 17, 2020
Welcome to Now Streaming in Austin, highlighting locally made titles to watch while self-quarantining. Remember in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan when Jason Voorhees got from landlocked upstate New Jersey to Times Square on a boat? Still not the strangest geography of the franchise.
Director Marcus Nispel had sensibly brought his 2003 revamp of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre back to the ATX, and in 2009 he turned Town Lake into Crystal Lake when he was charged with bringing Jason Voorhees back from the grave for his version of Friday the 13th.
This was the middle of Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes studio remaking classic Seventies and Eighties horror franchises, and Austin – most especially Austin Studios – was their go-to location. They'd shot much of The Hitcher here, and so they returned for this gory resurrection of one of the most confusing horror series ever made.
The original timeline makes zero sense (Did Jason drown? How did he hide in the woods all those years? When did he become a zombie?). So Nispell and writers Damian Shannon and Mark Swift took it all back to the bare essentials that everyone thought it was all about. Hot twentysomethings, a lake, and a big, bad slasher in a hockey mask. This is also the film that gave us the second-best Jason (even Derek Mears, who gave the killer a gangly evil, would probably admit that Kane Hodder was the definitive man behind the mask).
And if the scenery doesn't look much like the Garden State, that's because it was shot out of Austin Studios, with Lake Bastrop filling in for Crystal Lake, and locations around Wimberley, Round Rock, and Austin adding a dusty level to the greenery of the original.
And, if that's not enough for you, don't forget that this was an early appearance of Supernatural star and future Austinite Jared Padalecki as Clay Miller, the hero who may (or may not – no spoilers) finally take down the rotting butcher.
Friday the 13th