Written by Patti Pauley
I recently had the immense and honored privilege to check out a screener for To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story, and holy shit guys; I really can’t wait for every single horror fan to be able to watch this documentary.
I guess you can tell where this is going, but humor me anyway. Now let’s all tilt our heads in unison…
As you and I are firmly well aware as dedicated horror heads, the community can be a rather fickle one just like any other pop culture genre. However, I think the contrast here between the horror genre of fans compared to any other fan-based community is that we are severely loyal to each other no matter our backgrounds in the genre and respect each other even harder. And that’s exactly what we have here in To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story as literally every major horror icon rounds up to help tell the harrowing tale of how Kane Hodder became the icon he is today. As cool as it is to see the likes of Robert Englund, Bruce Campbell, and Cassandra Peterson weigh in on stories and connections to their genre comrade, it really all takes a backseat when Kane himself is telling these emotionally gripping stories and becoming vulnerable on screen.
Directed by Derek Dennis Herbert and soon to be released by Masterfully Macrabe, The Kane Hodder Story is so much more than about the guy who plays Jason Voorhees and Victor Crowley among numerous other roles. This is about a man that truly HAS been to hell and back, and came out stronger than he ever imagined he could be. From being severely bullied in his younger years, his life-threatening burn accident, and a sense of disappointment in not being involved with Freddy vs. Jason Kane takes his fans on an emotionally gripping roller-coaster filled with tears, chuckles, and a true look inside of the man behind the mask; who is about as much of a true American success story as I’ve ever heard in recent years.
If you’ve ever read Kane’s biography “Unmasked: The True Life Story of the World’s Most Prolific Cinematic Killer”, then you may be already well aware of some of Kane’s hardships before and during his rise to horror infamy. However, it’s truly one thing to see the words on paper, and then see them expressed physically on screen, and for an empathetic person such as myself, its as intense as it gets and can leave you in a hot mess of tears.
Who is peeling onions in here?!!
Visits to locations that serve as a backdrop and help capture the essence of the story such as Kane walking through the burn ward he was sent to after the now infamous interview accident stunt gone horribly wrong along with his childhood home in Kwajalein, add that cherry on the top visual to really bring you in the heroic tale of this living legend. Hodder’s willingness to go all the way in this open book on his life documentary is truly a breath of fresh air and if you’re already a fan of his, you’re going to love the gentle giant even more after a viewing. But I think the greatest thing I personally took from this film, is to humble yourself and count every blessing you have in this rocky road trip we call life. And that my friends, is why I would put this documentary high on the list as one of my favorite biography films of 2017.