Brooklyn Horror Film Festival Review: TO HELL AND BACK: THE KANE HODDER STORY (2017)

Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the horror themed documentary TO HELL AND BACK: THE KANE HODDER STORY by director Derek Dennis Herbert.  To best describe the story, I will use my own plot summary:

“Kane Hodder recounts tales of childhood bullying, how an accident left him with burns over most of his body, how he reinvigorated the role of Jason Voorhees, and how a stuntman became a horror icon.”

Allow me to be honest for a moment here; I did not know much about Kane Hodder’s personal life before watching this documentary.  Sure, I knew his career and I had met the man before so I knew his kindness, but I was completely unaware of some of the majority of his personal struggles.  This made some of the less career focused, more life focused moments of this documentary a slam dunk for me personally.

It is during some of these more personal stories that we can really get a glimpse at the heart of Mr. Hodder.  To me, the conversations about how he got his burns and his subsequent recovery were some of the most interesting parts of this documentary.  It is during these moments that we learn about the consequences of his hubris, see his struggles with depression, hear about how he persevered through a medical nightmare, and how he learned from his mistakes that he had to be a more cautious stuntman.  Seeing him get emotionally invested in these stories formed the real backbone of this documentary as we could finally see the real man who has been behind a mask for most of his career.

If I had to make one critique of the documentary, it is that I would have loved to spend more time learning about Mr. Hodder’s family life.  Near the end we get a small peek into this aspect of his personality and that taste left me wanting more.  Obviously this is not a deal breaker since there is a lot of other, interesting information presented, but it the little bit we do see is definitely intriguing.

All in all, fans of Kane Hodder should definitely check this out as seeing him talk about his struggles is worth the cost of entry.  While there are more areas that could have been explored, the areas they focused in on were well handled and impactful.  Fans of documentaries like That Guy Who Was in That Thing (2012) or To Be Takei (2014) will find this to be of a similar flavor.

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