DVD Review HTF DVD REVIEW: Friday the 13th Part 2: Deluxe Edition

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Matt Hough, Jan 26, 2009.

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  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Friday the 13th Part 2: Deluxe Edition
    Directed by Steve Miner

    Studio: Paramount
    Year: 1981
    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic
    Running Time: 86 minutes
    Rating: R
    Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, 2.0 mono English, Spanish, French
    Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
    MSRP: $ 16.99

    Release Date: February 3, 2009
    Review Date: January 26, 2009


    The Film

    2/5

    If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the original creators of Friday the 13th should have been feeling the compliments down to their toes. Friday the 13th Part 2 is as close to a copycat of the original concept as it’s possible for a film to be. Meaner and leaner, but already feeling repetitive and predictable, Friday the 13th Part 2 takes what was fun about the scares and surprises of the original and cheapens and demeans them resulting in a rather depressing film with a nihilistic aura that‘s fundamentally oppressive.

    The film’s first six minutes rehashes the climactic story of Alice Hardy (Adrienne King) who was the sole survivor of the Camp Crystal Lake slaughter in the original film. The rest of the pre-credit sequence dispenses with her before moving on into the new story set five years later with another group of counselor wannabes being trained at the same lake (but a different camp) with a mysterious stalker tromping through the woods spying on their every move. As with the first film, various pairs of lovers hook up during the evening, some meeting their maker together while others go it alone. Because some leave the camp for a night of drinking in town, they’re spared the knife, spear, or machete, but most aren’t so lucky.

    Ron Kurz’s screenplay is not solidly constructed. We’re given no background on how Jason survived during those decades when he was thought to be dead by his mother, nor does he or director Steve Miner play exactly fair with the geography of the camp layout or with the staging and shooting of various murders. With the execution of the wheelchair bound Mark (Tom McBride), for example, we are put in Jason’s point of view creeping up behind him, but when the camera turns around to film Mark from the front, there’s no one there, impossible if Jason was as close as his point of view shots indicate. In fact, Miner uses Jason point of view shots so much that it amounts to overkill (no pun intended) in the film quickly turning those potentially suspenseful moments into clichéd irritations. The ending with the film’s two nominal stars (Amy Steel as Ginny Field and John Furey as camp head Paul Holt) is a thoroughly botched affair with Furey’s fate unclear (we assume he’s dead but why not make it clear; for a film that revels in gory killings, why not take advantage of every opportunity?).

    In the bonus features, we learn that original director Sean Cunningham and original creator Victor King had a different idea completely for a continuation of the franchise but that Paramount would have none of it; the studio only wanted to offer more of the same bloodletting that had been so popular the first time around. Paramount got its way and the great box-office returns, but it missed what could have transformed the franchise into something special and instead turned it into a formulaic grab bag of violence, of continuing interest only to fans of slasher films and gore.


    Video Quality

    4/5

    The film has been framed at 1.78:1 and is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. Though some low lit scenes bring out a heavy amount of grain and murkiness, much of the picture is very sharp with surprisingly impressive color, accurate flesh tones, and very good black levels. A couple of early shots are smeared and look dated, but once those pass, most of the remaining images are impressive indeed. The film is divided into 14 chapters.

    Audio Quality

    3.5/5

    The English tracks offer a choice between a remastered mono recording and a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The mono track is solid and may be the track of choice for purists. I listened mostly to the repurposed 5.1 Dolby track. Though a few ambient sounds are sent to the rear channels (mostly rain effects) and the music occasionally lands there, too, most of the soundfield is spread across the front three channels with dialog expectedly turning up in the center channel. The LFE channel might as well not exist for this title.

    Special Features

    2.5/5

    “Inside Crystal Lake Memoriesis an interview with author-critic Peter Bracke whose book Crystal Lake Memories celebrates all that is Friday the 13th. Though lasting 11 ¼ minutes and filmed in anamorphic widescreen, the interview only scratches the surface with information on the second entry in the series. Some good information is here, but one wishes it were two or three times the length offered.

    Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions” is a 6 ¾-minute featurette on Scarefest, a horror convention which featured many participants from the Friday the 13th series of films. It’s also in anamorphic widescreen.

    “Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 2” is a continuation from the Deluxe Edition of the first film, part two of an unnecessary and not very pleasant little slasher short this time finding a stranded couple wandering through the woods attacked by a killer. The 9-minute feature is presented in anamorphic widescreen.

    “Jason Forever” is a 29 ½-minute panel discussion hosted by Peter Bracke and held at the 2004 Fangoria horror festival. Four actors who have played Jason over the years comment about their experiences playing the character with clips from each of their appearances in the films. It’s presented in 4:3.

    The film’s original theatrical trailer is presented in anamorphic widescreen and runs for 2 ¼ minutes.


    In Conclusion

    2/5 (not an average)

    Not very original and not nearly as playful and entertaining as the original film, Friday the 13th Part 2 gets a very good DVD transfer in this Deluxe Edition with some acceptable bonus features adding extra value.


    Matt Hough
    Charlotte, NC
     
  2. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    They must have done something right. More sequels than any other films series in history, possibly ... going for three decades, and a new one opening up in a couple of weeks!
     
  3. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    No question about it. But that doesn't make them good films, only money-making ones. Which is what the business of show business is really all about anyway.
     
  4. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I agree that money was the only reason this thing was made but I always enjoyed this one. I thought the look of Jason here was a lot more fitting than the hockey mask. It's doubtful I'm going to rebuy this one but I'll rent it at some point. I don't want extras enough to make it worth triple-dipping on.

    The ending is certainly a mess. I'm not sure how true it is but I've read the actor walked off the film and that's why he just disappears in the final act without an explanation.
     
  5. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    I agree. I watched them again over the weekend (shameless plug, I have the review for Part 1 on my site today and will have the reviews for 2 and 3 in the next two days) and still think 2 is the best.

    One thing about the interview on this DVD. While I agree it is very good, and too short, Bracke mentions that one scene (the spear killing) was originally a minute longer. He also talks about the alternate ending. Why isn't that footage on the DVD?
     
  6. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    It really is frustrating to be a FtT fan. So many unanswered questions, DVDs that are still light on insightful bonus material, extremely coveted missing footage that will probably never see the light of day, a book that went out of print like two days after it was released.

    It will be nice to see Part III with a 3-D representation, even if it is Red/Blue, but still....
     
  7. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    One can argue that it doesn't include "sequels", but the Bond series clearly trounces "Friday" in terms of longevity and number of films.

    But you're right that the folks behind "Friday" must be doing SOMETHING that pleases people or else they wouldn't make more films.

    Personally, I liked "Part 2" more than the original. Yeah, it's essentially the same movie, but I thought it was tighter in general. Oh, and Kirsten Baker looked REALLY good naked! [​IMG]
     
  8. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    The description and running time match the BB disc exactly so I think it's safe to assume it's the same featurette.
     
  9. Mark Hawley

    Mark Hawley Second Unit

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    Miner also denies the story about Furey walking off.

    Apparently, as detaled in "Making Friday the 13th", what was supposed to happen was that it was to cut from Ginny asking "where's Paul?" to a shot of Pamela Voorhees severed head opening her eyes and smiling (it is actually played by an actrees with her body hidden in the temple part), showing that she proud of her son for killing Paul and fooling everybody.

    Doesn't really make alot of sense but that's what screenwriter Ron Kurz says in the book.

    Personally I like the ending as is. When we see Ginny being led out on a stretcher, we immediately think that Jason coming back alive and attacking her was just a dream, but when she asks about Paul and no one answers, we think "maybe not", leaving it up to us to decide whether Jason's alive or not and whether Paul's been killed or not. And it's certainly better than Mrs. Voorhees severed head opening her eyes and smiling!

    It's similar to the end of the first one: We don't really know if Jason really jumped out of the water or if it were just Alice's halluncination.
     
  10. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Thanks Travis and Mark.

    I always assumed Paul was alive and Jason never did that final attack.

    I always wondered if that scene at the back of the VHS box was actual cut footage or just a publicity still.

    If anyone wants to watch the uncut version of the sex/spear scene then just check out Mario Bava's TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE.

    As for Cunningham and Miner, I personally don't put too much stock into what they say because for years they both denied ever watching TWITCH. Years later after people starting showing certain scenes side by side they went back and admitted to lifting more than a few things. There's certainly nothing wrong with paying homage to a film but I never understood why they denied it for so long. It's not like they were getting critical acclaim for something here and wanted to claim it as their own.
     
  11. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Wow. Some tough talk about my favorite film in the series. It's true the first was probably supposed to be a one trick pony, but darn it the following 3 sequels are just so much fun[​IMG].
     
  12. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    For what it's worth, I like almost everything else about the movie but the very end.
     
  13. JeffMc

    JeffMc Supporting Actor

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    I have to agree with this statement. I remember seeing the original Ft13th at a sneak preview and the audience went nuts at the final shock scare (SPOILERS IF ANYONE HAS STILL NOT SEEN THIS) where Jason jumps out of the water. However, the entire film prior to that was a pretty boring sub-par giallo horror slasher mystery. I vividly remember that preview screening and the audience seemed relatively subdued and bored throughout - until that end-shock scene. Everyone left in a crazed giggle-state because of that final scene and then the word-of-mouth spread like wildfire for a very mediocre film, making it a huge hit. My biggest beef with the first film is that it doesn't even have the intelligence to be a true horror-mystery or giallo at all. It tries to make the viewer guess or figure out which one of the characters may be the killer through the entire running time of the film, but then in the last few minutes, it does an ultimate CHEAT by introducing a completely new character who turns out to be the killer. That's a really dumb and manipulative screenplay maneuver that I'm sure didn't bother most teenagers at the time, but it sure looked like the ultimate idiotic screenwriting cheat to me.

    At least FRIDAY THE 13th - PART 2 didn't try to be anything more than a straightforward slasher thriller. Jason is simply a maniac and he wants to kill stupid teenagers. Good for him! We know who he is and there's no silly fake poorly-written mystery to any of it with a cheat revelation at the end. Believe it or not, a simple maniacal killer scenario can actually create more suspense than spending the entire film trying to guess which character may be the killer, and then have a new ridiculous character introduced as the killer in the last few minutes.

    Parts #2-4 are way more suspenseful and fun than anything in Part 1.
     
  14. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    It's been a long time since I've seen TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE (I think I'll place it on my Netflix queue) but the one time I did, I just didn't feel it was as much an inspiration for F13 as everyone claims it was.

    I don't know the history of the stuff about Cunningham and Miner denying the influence and then later admitting it... I'd need proof of that first. But as I always say, some of these ideas of different ways to slice, impale, dice, and stab people don't exactly sound like rocket science or anything that is so patently original. If you've got a maniac with an axe, a knife, or a machete -- where's the best place to hit a person with it? Why, right smack across the face! You don't have to be Mario Bava to originate that. Also, if you have a film where a couple is making love in bed, and a killer walks through the room with a spear, it seems that a double-impalement is a natural conclusion. So I can easily see how anyone, even not having seen TWITCH, could "make up" these scenarios.

    Now -- of course, I may be wrong. I think I've heard from other sources besides Michael that the crew of F132 admitted they were influenced by TWITCH; I'd just like to see the admittance for myself, so I can let this rest.
     
  15. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    For me, I saw FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 in the theater when I was 19 years old (I'd missed the original). At that time it was the first "body count" movie I had ever seen, and I became an instant fan, even though as a rule I preferred the older Universal classics with such stars as Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. It was just that the F13 films gave me a chance to check my brain at the door and just have a rollercoaster ride. From 1981 onward, I'd go to see every future FRIDAY installment in the theater, and almost always on opening night with an appreciative crowd. These were great times where a hardcore "Jason fan" audience would go to see the films, and they'd cheer Jason and applaud and laugh and whoop it up every time a teenager was killed. It was really a lot of twisted fun.

    What was weird about my seeing PART 2 was that a friend of mine at the time - who absolutely HATED horror and slasher films - was the one who urged me to see it. Somehow he'd seen the first movie and wanted to know what was going to happen to the boy from the original -- in fact, he briefed me going in as to what transpired in the first movie.

    My opinion of PART 2 is that it's decent enough, but I think I prefer THE FINAL CHAPTER and certainly JASON LIVES (my favorite of the bunch), and maybe even PART 3 (especially in 3-D -- what a riot that was! One of the most memorable moviegoing experiences of my life, back in 1982! The place was mobbed, and even though my girlfriend and I were FIRST online, the stampede to be first in the theater was so huge that we almost didn't get a seat as people were trampled, shoes and sneakers came off and were strewn throughout the theater corridor, and the shocked ushers couldn't control the crowd). I want to see PART 2 again to see where I stand on it these days -- it's one of the more middle-of-the-road entries for me today, and while I prefer Jason doing the killing to someone else, I have to say that the first F13 is probably technically a better horror movie.
     
  16. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Like the original movie's new mix, the 5.1 mix on this disc is relatively good. It's not and shouldn't be a flashy mix but it's cool hearing the music in 5.1. My only nitpick with it is that in the party scene (when Ginny and Paul are playing chess and Scott is dancing with Muffin the dog), the source music was mixed lower than what I'm used to from the mono soundtrack.
     
  17. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Now, I'm not claiming F13 was a major rip but there's no doubt Cunningham and Miner were "borrowing" or paying "homage" at least. I always lean towards the borrowing slant since, as I said before, both denied seeing the Bava movie but then later admitted it. Of course, at one time, I've read, Cunningham denied ever knowing about Bergman's THE VIRGIN SPRING.
     
  18. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I've been coming more around to believing Cunningham & Company ripped off stuff from TWITCH, for reasons I will get into later .... though I still would like to see where Cunningham or Miner admits it -- as I say, it doesn't seem to me to be the most unique idea when you're doing a movie involving dreaming up different ways to slaughter people, to have a couple making love in bed and then trying a double-shishkabob.

    But in watching a lot of extra features lately in HIS NAME WAS JASON as well as the new FRIDAY THE 13th Blu-ray, there are inconsistinices with things Cunningham is saying. The guy who wrote the original FRIDAY THE 13th, Victor Miller, says over and over again that Sean Cunningham came to him after seeing HALLOWEEN and blatantly said to Miller: "HALLOWEEN is making a ton of money - let's rip it off". And Miller repeats this story every time he's interviewed, yet Cunningham's take on the idea never says anything like that. It could be just my imagination, but it strikes me that Sean Cunningham is not always very reliable in his stories. So I can see how Cunningham may have shamelessly swiped from TWITCH but might never admit it.

    I wanted to put TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE on top of my Netflix queue for a second look (I haven't seen it in many years), but they say it's unavailable, or something. Netflix does have the version known as BAY OF BLOOD, but it's from an inferior Simitar release and I don't want to see it under that title anyway. But it's no problem, since I have a couple of friends who are Mario Bava fans and they both have TWITCH. So I'll get it from one of them.
     
  19. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    Did Cunningham have anything to do with Part 2? If he had seen TWITCH, he wasn't involved with the writing of 2 to copy from it. Ron Kurz wrote it. He may have stolen from it. But Cunningham didn't return for Part 2.

    As for the spoiler tag, I don't think that is all that similar to call the two as rip offs. They admit to stealing from HALLOWEEN in the extras on 1.
     
  20. Jeff Swindoll

    Jeff Swindoll Supporting Actor

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    I think what they're talking about is that Cunningham was just wanting to continue making horror movies just using the Friday the 13th name as the name of that series of horror films (sorta like Wes Craven presents [​IMG]). There was no intention that Jason would return from his watery grave. He was just a gotcha moment in the first film. They do mention that one of the things execs wanted on Part 2 was that Jason was to return (can't remember if it was on the docs on this set or on His Name was Jason - that's a nice set too btw).
     

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