Review: Kane Hodder Unmasked

There may not be a lot of people out there that realize what an impact Kane Hodder had on my childhood while playing Jason Voorhees. When he took over the role of Jason in Friday The 13th Part 7: The New Blood, I was just starting to really get into the franchise. Sure, I had seen the previous films, but it was around 1987 when I truly dove into the films.

Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter was at the time, and still is the definitive film in the franchise for me, personally. However, when I went to the theater that May 13th in 1988 and saw Kane completely own the character, I was hooked on his performance and the subsequent years after that, I truly believed Kane was Jason. Of course, years have passed since that time, and Kane donned the mask three more times. He was eventually, and controversially, replaced in a movie that he had worked hard to perform in, but his spirit always carries itself in the films.

Even when Derek Mears took over the role in Friday the 13th 2009, I still felt a little bit of Kane was with that film. Derek did a phenomenal job and certain aspects of his performance remind me of what Kane did with the character.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that a biographical book about Kane's life and career was being developed by Kane and author Michael Aloisi. This site has been covering the book during the process and I was very lucky to get an advanced copy of the book to review. Before I give an official review of the book, I will say that it takes a lot for a person like Kane to put his life out there in the open for everyone to read. His life is a journey that only a very few have probably traveled, filled with tragedy and victory.

The Review
Getting a man like Adam Green to write the Foreward for Kane's book is perfect as not only has Adam worked with Kane in films, but he grew up idolizing him as a young kid. Adam's story about the night he traveled a long distance with his Dad to meet Kane at an event was heartbreaking in that he just missed his chance to talk to Kane. As any boy who grows up idolizing a person can attest to, meeting your idol can be the biggest joy in the world, but missing out after being so close can be devastating. It's this sort of perspective that Adam writes about that really sets the tone for the book and how Kane has effected so many fan's lives.

The book is a hold-nothing-back account of Kane's early years growing up with a physically absent father, do to his work in other countries, and his life on a small island learning to control his aggression amidst countless instances of bullying and abuse at the hands of much larger boys. Kane's eventual obsession with stunt work in Hollywood led him to one of the most traumatizing periods in his life, where he was burned over 50% of his body. For the first time, Kane reveals the absolute true story of his burn accident, which he mentions only a handful of people truly have known until this book was written.

His rise to super stardom among genre fans is one of hard knocks, tragedy, and success. Some people may think that Kane was an overnight success with his role as Jason Voorhees, but he truly cut his teeth in the stunt world beginning to learn his craft in a gym with other stuntmen and women who would teach him on their own time. One of those stuntmen in particular would actually play Jason Voorhees himself, before Kane was offered the role! 

Unmasked is an engrossing read that moves you from one period of Kane's life to another, giving you a Fight Intermission along the way to inject even more insight into his life and experiences. The number of actors and stuntman that Kane has encountered in 30 years in the industry is astounding as one section of the book is dedicated to naming just a few of the famous people he has had the pleasure of working with. Kane's life is intriguing to read about and that is all before the book begins to dive into his role as Jason Voorhees!

Most of Kane's adventures during the filming of his Friday The 13th films are pretty much stories of legend, such as his walking through the swamp lands of Alabama During the filming of Part 7 by himself in costume looking to scare some folks. More tales similar to this story are explained in the book with a few especially funny moments in Vancouver while filming Jason Takes Manhattan. All I can say is that you must read the book and be entertained by Kane's hi-jinks, something he freely admits to enjoying whenever he gets the chance. The entire section on his Friday The 13th films is worth getting the book all by itself.

Co-author Michael Aloisi helps construct a well designed account of Kane's life and career in Unmasked and something tells me that there could have been so much more, however the flow of the book is exceptional. I started reading the book and easily finished it in one day. You will not be able to put it down as Kane, as is his life, is truly engaging. Although Kane was very hurt by his lost opportunity to play Jason in Freddy vs Jason, he did what he has always done in his life, and that is pick himself up, utilize his passion for film and continue onward. Now he has a whole new fanbase to scare as Victor Crowley, but this fan will never, ever forget him as Jason Voorhees.

Unmasked is released on October 1st, 2011
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