“To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story” [Film Review]

by Joe Meyers

“To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story” is a documentary directed by Derek Dennis Herbert about the journey of stuntman Kane Hodder’s life overcoming several challenges to become the stunt coordinator, actor, director, producer, and man he is today.

Kane

I was lucky enough to attend the Los Angeles premiere of the film at the TCL Chinese Theatre on 10/17/17 during Screamfest, which included a post-screening Q&A with the director and Kane himself moderated by Brian Collins of Birth.Movies.Death. Kane Hodder has been my favorite Jason Voorhees for years, but that honestly may be one of the least interesting things about him after seeing this movie.

This is less of a documentary about a horror icon, and way more of a tale about the human condition and the power of perseverance. I highly recommend it to horror fans and non-horror lovers alike. I identified quite a bit with Kane’s stories regarding being bullied as a child growing up in Sparks, Nevada. While I didn’t have any life experiences to identify with his horrible, near fatal, burn accident, Derek Dennis Herbert did a fantastic job giving the audience just enough information to empathize with the absolute Hell Kane endured as a burn victim without overwhelming them. The recounting of his accident, and his struggles during his lengthy and traumatic recovery process, was chilling.

Throughout the documentary we’re treated to Kane’s own words about his life, as well as interviews with his friends and coworkers (including Bruce Campbell, Cassandra Peterson, Robert Englund, Danielle Harris, Adam Green, Felissa Rose, and Bill Moseley) as well as his wife and children. They all do a wonderful job painting us a portrait of an incredible, complex, and compelling individual. Kane Hodder may have been shaped and molded by near insurmountable obstacles during his life, but this films proves he refused to be 100% defined by them.

As of the Q&A after this screening back in October, distribution rights had not been settled. As soon as they are, and this film becomes available, this documentary will be a worthy addition to anyone’s movie collection. It’s a must own for Friday the 13th fans for sure. Until then, check out the official theatrical trailer to this inspiring film below.

 

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