Friday the 13th: From Crystal Lake to Manhattan
Film Length: varies
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1/2.35:1)
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono, DD Surround, DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Retail Price: $79.95
In 1980 an unknown horror film opened up and quickly word of mouth got around making it one of the year’s biggest hits. As it is in the horror genre, if a film makes money then a sequel is bound to follow and we got one a year later but the torture didn’t stop there. Instead, nearly twenty-five years after Friday the 13th opened we’ve had ten sequels, a television show plus various other rip offs, which ranged from decent to downright horrid.
When Friday the 13th opened back in 1980, critics took their turns ripping the film apart due to its graphic violence and infamous gore scenes created by the one and only Tom Savini who had previously worked on the ultra-gory Dawn of the Dead, which critics held very highly. Not only were the critics ripping the film to shreds but various soccer mom’s were getting upset that their loser kids might accidentally walk into the movie and come out wanting to kill people.
Friday the 13th was a very small film that turned out to be a goldmine and a legion of fans were born and would continue to follow the series to this very day. The film was certainly nothing new, movie wise, so it’s curious to see how or why this series became what it has. Although the critics hated it, readers of Fangoria Magazine voted it the best horror movie of 1980 and interestingly enough, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining was voted the worst. Looking at the first film there’s really nothing to get excited about and I’m rather certain had the critics kept their mouths shut and the soccer mom’s gone to see something else, the word of mouth wouldn’t have been very strong and the film would have faded into oblivion like various others.
Since those groups wanted to complain about what others watch, here we are waiting for Freddy vs. Jason 2.
Friday the 13th (1980) kicks things off at Camp Crystal Lake where a new owner plans on opening the summer camp after years of strange murders, all of which went unsolved. The main guy gathers up your average teenagers so that they can have the camp opened by summer. Both the owner and the teens laugh off all the legends and rumors but sure enough, when the sun drops the bodies start to pile up until we’re left with our hero Alice (Adrienne King) must try to survive the night as well as kill the crazed stalker.
Friday the 13th 2 (1981) picks up a few years after the events of the first film and a new owner has a group of kids back at Camp Crystal Lake so that they can learn what it takes to be a camp councilor. Once again the group gets various warnings to leave the camp but being the pot-smoking, beer drinkers they are, the group decides to stay so that the viewer can have the thrill of watching them be slaughtered one at a time. This time we get the young and naïve Ginny (Amy Steel) to battle the deranged killer.
Friday the 13th 3 (1982) offers a very different plot, not really but this time we get the murders in 3D. The day after the events in the previous film, more kids head out for some good sex and wild parties only to encounter Jason and his new hockey mask, which would soon become an icon. This time out we get various horny teenagers led by our hero Chris (Dana Kimmell) who seems to have met Jason many years earlier.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) features even more stupid kids moving in on Jason’s homeland so naturally the guy must strike out and kill more of them so that the world will be a safer place. This time out we have Trish (Kimberly Beck) and her younger brother Tommy (Corey Feldman) going up against Jason while the house next door features a wild party full of teens getting stoned and having lovely sex. Although Jason has a large amount of weapons, they really can’t compete to what young Tommy has.
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) takes place several years after the previous film and thankfully everyone seems to be peaceful since young Tommy destroyed Jason once and for all…or did he? Just when people thought it was safe to go out, various bodies begin piling up and everything points to Jason who seems to have come back from his grave to rid the world of more horny teens. This time the story takes place at a mental hospital for troubled teens including Tommy (John Shepherd).
Friday the 13th 6: Jason Lives (1986) once again features Tommy (Thom Mathews) who is still suffering from nightmares all these years after he destroyed Jason. Tommy is convinced Jason is still alive so he goes to the graveyard and digs Jason up just to be sure. After the grave is opened, Tommy sees that Jason really is dead but before the dirt can be put on, lightening strikes down from the skies hitting Jason and bringing him back to life. You just know Jason’s going to be pissed after all those peaceful years in hell but thankfully a new group of councilors are at a local camp so he has some to kill.
Friday the 13th 7: The New Blood (1988) takes place…..does it really matter when it takes place? Going from the storylines this one here would have to take place sometime around the setting of Jason X. This time out Jason has been in his watery grave for years but a teen girl with psychic abilities accidentally brings his back to life and once again a group of kids are having sex and drinking beer so who ya gonna call? Jason of course who shows up with a large amount of weapons ready to kill anyone in his sight. Tina (Lar Park Lincoln) is the young girl who brought him back so it’s up to her to destroy him.
Friday the 13th 8: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) starts off with our hero Jason resting at the bottom of the lake but a couple teens on a boat have it a rockin’ and soon Jason is back from the dead. This time he manages to get aboard a boat full of teens heading for New York City and with such a long ride, Jason gets bored and starts killing them off. Once in the big town Jason finds even newer victims as well as an ending, which makes no sense to anyone other than the screenwriter.
Note: Film ratings are out of four and are on a “F13” scale.
Friday the 13th ( ) really doesn’t offer anything new and even the director admits that this was a simple cash in on the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween. Even the storyline wasn’t anything new and borrowed quite a lot from Mario Bava’s 1971 shocker Twitch of the Death Nerve, which was actually praised by critics then and today. So why did the unoriginal Friday the 13th become a hit? If I had to guess I’d say it was due to all the critics running their mouths begging people not to go see the movie.
The film’s biggest highlights are the wonderful effects by Tom Savini who was doing wonders in 1980 with this film and the other highly controversial shocker, William Lustig’s Maniac. Special effects were always a big part of horror movies but this was the first time that the mainstream got to see what was going on at local drive-in’s where various director’s made names for themselves by using the red stuff. In this film Savini does wonders with the young cast who are nothing more than victims. We get the infamous Kevin Bacon meets arrow as well as one scene with a hatchet to the head, which looks very realistic even today.
My father, mother and various others in my family saw this film on opening night and apparently hadn’t heard all the controversy surrounding the film. As I rewatched this film I kept asking myself if critics were a bit too mean towards the film and I personally feel they were. While the film is nothing more than a money machine, at the same time there’s some very well directed moments and the suspense is certainly here. However, the biggest key that people seem to overlook is that there is a wonderful mystery throughout the film that most people would be stumped by if they knew nothing about the series.
Today it’s hard to watch this film without knowing the ending but from everyone I’ve spoken with, the ending was rather shocking back in 1980 and no one saw it coming. I also believe had there been no sequels then people might look back on this film and give it a little more credit. Yes, some of the performances are very wooden and the screenplay borrows from various films but the direction is right on the mark throughout. If the studio was embarrassed by the controversy surrounding the film then what Kevin Bacon must feel. It’s hard to believe this guy refuses to talk about the film yet he has the guts to charge people to buy his CD.
Friday the 13th 2 ( ) was certainly rushed into production due to the money that the first film made and in some ways this here could have been a different movie on its own. There are flashbacks to the first film as well as an opening which closes out the first movie but people usually forget about the first film since this one here actually started the Jason saga. While this film again offers us very little new it does however feature a wonderful looking villain, which manages to be quite creepy.
The biggest key to this film and its success is the look of Jason, which appears to have been borrowed from The Town That Dreaded Sundown. People often also overlook this film when it comes to Jason’s look but instead of the hockey mask we got Jason wearing a white bag over his face and I personally feel this is his greatest look. The white mask is used throughout the film by the director, usually in long shots where we really can’t tell what we’re looking at. During the climatic chase sequence, the director then goes for a jump scare when Jason jumps up from the floor and we get a good look at this mask, which is creepy and makes this one of the better films in the series.
Another key point to this movie is that the cast members are all likeable and make the downtime (ala: no murders) worth sitting through. Amy Steel is one of the most liked heroes of the series and she does a wonderful job at playing off the shyness during the opening moments as well as playing terror later in the film. As with the previous film this one here also needs murders and this second film offers some very memorable ones. The hatchet to the face is one of the most talked about but the double impalement to the lovers is one of the most remembered from the series, although both were lifted from Bava’s Twitch of the Death Nerve.
Once again we get a sequel that was rushed into production but this time it really hurt things. Friday the 13th 3 ( ) is best remembered for being in 3-D and this too hampers the film when watching it normally. Various scenes look so incredibly stupid on television because objects are simply walking towards the camera for no apparent reasons. Of course this was done for the 3-D effects but since we can’t view the film that way then we haven’t much use for it.
This film here will always remain famous for being the part where Jason gets his hockey mask but outside that it really doesn’t offer anything too enjoyable. I’m really not sure what it is about the film but director Steve Minor seems to be sleepwalking through every scene because nothing interesting really happens. We get the typical teenagers and the typical murders but everything because the murders and naked girls is just pure boredom, which I believe is due to the leading lady.
Dane Kimmell was certainly a drop down from King and Steel and she offers nothing to the role and makes the film all the more boring. The supporting victims aren’t too interesting either so we’ve got nothing fun added outside the murders, which once again are quite good including one scene where a man is split in half. Director Miner also seems to be going for more humor since one of the characters is an actor and we also get a quite humorous scene inside a grocery store where a motorcycle gang gets involved.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter ( ) had fans mouths watering because the director, Tom Savini and the studio promised this would be the final film in the series and that Jason would get mutilated in the end. If you’ve seen the film or are familiar with the series you’ll know that only half of that is true. However, Tom Savini honestly believed this would be the final film in the series so he returned to the movie after he thought he’d get a chance to kill what he created.
This here is without a doubt one of the best in the series and all of this is due to the screenplay, which offers up so much fun with Jason as well as the people he’s wanting to kill. All slasher movies are rather simply. You get a group of kids together and watch them get killed. That works just so much because I’ve seen various slashers that use that formula and fall apart. Why is that? I think the key to a great slasher is the teenagers because they will be taking up a lot more time that the actual killer. In this film the screenplay offers us various teens and the thing is that all of them are downright loveable where the viewer hates seeing something bad happening to them.
In the previous three films we were giving one “hero” and a lot of other “bad” people that we didn’t care what happened to them. In this film everyone of the teens from the good guys to the bad guys are fun, energetic and makes for a more watchable movie since we have such a great time with them. Liking the characters so much also helps when it comes to the murders. We know this people are going to die but at the same time we also hope that certain character will be around to the end. When one of our favorite characters get picked off it’s usually in a very grisly way thanks to the master Savini.
Savini turns in some of his greatest work here, which is saying a lot especially if you’ve seen most of his filmography. Things start off with a bang when a doctor gets his throat slashed only to then have his head twisted off. Another highlight comes with a poor fat girl sitting on the side of the road trying to enjoy a banana. Every other death scene offers up something new, original and in some ways a lot more graphic that what we are used to. However, the victims of this film get it easy when it comes to graphic deaths because that there is saved for Jason himself.
Even without the great gore effects, the ending to the film ranks as the greatest in slasher film history. Director Joseph Zito is right on the mark throughout the ending building up the history of the characters as well as building up Tommy to be the final hero. The suspense is also very high as Trish and Tommy run from room to room, each time thinking they’ve killed Jason who just keeps returning. The final chase from house to house is so remarkably well done that even the mainstream critics should have realized it. The actual slaughter of Jason is everything fans could have hoped for.
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning ( ) is probably the most hated film in the series because fans just don’t like the fact that we get a
Technically, this is without a doubt the worst film in the series and you’ve gotta wonder if the director was even aware of the previous four films. If you really look at this film is appears that the director knew there were four previous films but he just guessed at what they had in them and tried something new here. Everything from the story to the acting to the director is among the worst you’re ever going to see but why do I enjoy this movie? Because it’s so incredibly bad that you’ve just gotta laugh your ass off while watching it.
I’m sorry but this is without a doubt one of the funniest movies ever made. I know the director wasn’t going for that but with so much badness you had better be laughing or you’re going to be in for a bad time. What’s so funny? Everything. Just look at the overacting of Vic right before he kills the fat kid. Vic’s huffing and puffing is just so funny and the look of the fat kid when he gets an axe to the back of the head is just as funny. Another funny moment happens with the redneck mother and son who are so overly stupid that you can’t help but laugh.
More funny stuff happens when Tommy is being picked on and his various hallucinations aren’t any help to the film either. However, the biggest laugh occurs after your first viewing of the film. Everyone knows the “mystery” by now but going back through the film its rather shocking how many clues are giving to the ending. In fact, the ending is given away within the first five minute and other clues are passed throughout the rest of the film. What was the director thinking? The first film worked wonders as a mystery but this one here really dropped the ball. Hey, I enjoy the fact that they tried something different but c’mon, what’s with the mystery?
Fans were outraged after the previous film so the studio knew they had better deliver a wonderful film and that they did with Friday the 13th 6: Jason Lives ( ), which introduced “zombie Jason”. This film was directed by Tom McLoughlin and apparently he shot this film three times. Each “version” featured a different amount of gore and this theatrical cut was apparently the least gory and that’s why I enjoy this film so much. Instead of your typical mindless gore flick, this one here actually has a very good story as well as some wonderful characters to tell it.
Thom Mathews as Tommy is the real highlight and especially his chemistry with co-star Jennifer Cooke. The two of them together make for a wonderful combo and it’s highly entertaining seeing them run around trying to figure out a way for them to kill Jason. Her sheriff father is also very well written as are the rest of the teens even though most of them are only here to be killed. With a soundtrack including songs by Alice Cooper, this film seems to be taking itself with a grain of salt and not only giving murders but giving the fans a good time all around.
What really sets this film apart from the previous ones is that the director seems to be trying to make a great movie and not just a movie full of violence and gore. This one here really isn’t a slasher because we’re spending a lot more time with Tommy than seeing murders. Yes there are still murders but all of this stuff takes a backseat to Tommy and his story. The director also kicks things off with a huge bang, the opening cemetery scene is full of rich atmosphere and the emerging Jason is something wonderful to see. The director knew fans were wanting to see Jason returns and he handles the scene very well.
Friday the 13th 7: The New Blood ( ) was another film hated when originally released but over the years fans are finally starting to come around to it. I first saw this in theaters and didn’t care too much for it but over the years even I have come to liking it. At first you’re rolling your eyes because our female hero is nothing more than an 80’s version of Carrie but after you’ve seen the previous six films over and over, seeing her is somewhat fresh air because we’re getting a different and new story.
Nothing in the film really works too well, although most of the teens are likeable and the death scenes are pushed way over the top making them interesting as well. If you watch this film on its own then you’d probably get a few yawns but if you’ve ever watched the previous six films in order and followed it up with this one then it plays a lot better. Why? Simply because it offers us something new and instead of a regular person fighting Jason, we get a Carrie type girl The ending is so over the top that you can’t help but laugh, which is a good thing because it means you’re having a good time.
I guess it would be fair to say that 1988 was the year that killed the legendary horror figures of the decade. In this one year, the likes of Michael, Freddy and Jason would release films, which would all be bashed by fans and helped turn the genre on its face. Friday the 13th 8: Jason Takes Manhattan ( ) looked like a dream come true especially with the promo poster and Jason ripping through a “I Love NY” sign.
This was the second Jason film I was able to view in the theater and at the time I really hated the film. I still have a lot of hatred towards the film but this isn’t because of the actual film. The film itself isn’t too bad and you’ve got to respect the fact that the director was trying to add new life to a series but the series had already been worn thin. The biggest grip I have with the movie is that they didn’t take advantage of a wonderful idea.
Another problem with the film are all of the characters who are so obnoxious that you can’t wait for Jason to get them off the screen. This film and the previous were trying to do different things with the story yet they continued to use the typical teenagers. The performances are all rather dull, especially the leading lady, which has to be one of the worst in the series.
Eventually Paramount grew tired of the series or just weren’t happy with the money being brought it so the rights were sold off to New Line who have since released three films but to me there is only one real Jason series and that’s the eight films released by Paramount. The New Line creations are something new and totally different but the original series to me will always be the first eight. While going through this set I had various friends and family over because I was in the middle of moving and several of them kept asking me why anyone would want to watch this type of violence. I kept asking why a film buff such as I would be entertained by this films full of bad acting and lack of any original ideas.
Every major critic in the world ripped these films apart and many look at the fans of the series as some sort of freaks but in the end, no one really gets it. No one, outside the fans will ever understand the appeal of these films and that’s there lose. Are we fans killers in the making just studying these films as a blue print? Of course not. The appeal of this series lies in the fact that it gives us the chance to see something that we won’t see in our normal lives. The violence, unlike certain Hollywood films, isn’t graphic nor is it meant to be cruel. We fans know that these characters are born to be destroyed and in the end the good will overdo the bad. The appeal of these films is the innocence that they contain through all the gore.
What else is there to say? Some cult fan groups enjoy seeing Darth Vader but let’s see him take a visit to Crystal Lake and mess with Jason. I’d bet my last dollar Jason would end up kicking his ass so are us fans in the wrong for watching him instead?
VIDEO---All the films are shown widescreen (1.85:1) and enhanced for 16x9 TVs except for part 3, which is shown 2.35:1 and also enhanced for 16x9 TVs. If you’re one of the unlucky souls who have only seen these films on cable or on video then you’re going to experience a real eye opener when you pop any of these films on. I must have watched these films at least ten to fifteen times before I viewed the original set of DVDs and the beauty of these transfers makes it seem like you’re seeing the film for the very first time. On video, the films always looked rough and dirty with faded colors and not too much detail but Paramount took care of that and delivered some wonderful transfers.
Some people were worried that cramming two films on one DVD would effect the video quality but rest assure, that hasn’t happened. I went through all eight films and viewed them side by side and there weren’t any major differences except for part one and four, which appear to have been taken from a new source. The rest of the films however appear just like they did on the previous releases and I couldn’t notice any new flaws. Each film still has a fair amount of speckles that appear on the prints but other than that everything is very crisp and full of wonderful detail. The clarity is the most shocking thing about these transfers because we can see so much more new detail than ever before.
Just take a look at part 2, which has always been overly dark to the point you could never really get a clear look at what was going on. This was especially true of the ending but the DVD makes it look night and day. The final battle is so clear and beautiful looking that the scenes, appearing lit by the moonlight, come off better than most transfers of its era. The rich light blues really adds to the atmosphere and best of all is that all the dirt has been removed making the film look all the more impressive. Another good note is the very end of part 2 when
Seeing part three in its original 2.35:1 is another very exciting thing. This here probably has the weakest transfer since it was originally shot in 3-D. Some of the scenes appear a bit worn out but overall, like the previous films, colors are quite amazing and just look at how clear and shiny that hockey mask is since its yet to get any abuse. Part 4 appears to have been fixed in a very minor way. I’ve often brought up the shower murder, which in the original release looked so incredibly grainy that it appeared they took the scene from a VHS print. It was strange but Blue Underground released another Joseph Zito film from this era with a shower scene and that too was extremely grainy and a lot more so than the rest of the print. The scene in part 4 still has some grain and dirt but it’s a lot less than the previous disc. Outside of this I didn’t notice any difference and those first time viewers are in for a treat because there is so much detail here missing in the video and cable viewings. Seriously, just pause the frame whenever Jason gets his mask cut off because you can clearly see all the work Savini done on the creation. Also the colors are very important here and something that really impressed me. The inside of Tommy’s house is very colorful, which we hadn’t seen previously and makes the ending all the better. The scenes at night are free of any dirt and look very well.
Part 5 look remarkably clear with only some minor speckles appearing throughout. Again, the color detail is the most impressive thing and skin tones are very accurate throughout. What’s even better is that the dirt in the nighttime scenes have been removed. Part 6 looks so freaking stunning that fans are going to have a new reason to cheer. The gothic look of the opening was never really noticed because of the extreme darkness but here the image is perfectly clear and the dark blue tint is so easy to make out that it certainly adds a lot of atmosphere. The muddy look of Jason’s skin also looks remarkably well and once again, those colors just leap off the screen. On the previous releases part 7 and 8 had the worse looking transfers due to a few scenes with a large amount of dirt and those prints are used here. These two transfers aren’t bad but they’re just not as good as the previous six, which were among the best I’ve seen for such a low budget horror film.
Now comes part 1, which has gotten a new transfer from the previous release. I was able to compare this box set part 1 to the original release as well as the Warner overseas disc. For starters, the previous R1 DVD contained Annie’s full death scene but the ending was missing a few frames of gore. This new R1 disc is the real theatrical cut meaning we’re missing a few frames from Annie’s death but the ending has been restored. As for the transfer, I’m sure there’s going to be some controversy so I’m just going to sit back and let the readers pick which transfer they prefer. The biggest difference is that the transfer here is a lot brighter than the previous R1 but I’m really not sure which version is “correct”. There was some controversy over the recent Halloween release and I’d compare this to that. I personally prefer the transfer on the previous edition but that there had a few problems that have been corrected here. The “axe to the face” death on the previous disc had a line running down the frame, which is now gone here. I compared both R1 releases to the Warner disc and both are better. The overseas disc is so faded and full of dirt that it makes the viewer rather unpleasant even if it’s uncut.
Again, each film has some speckles that could probably be fixed but if Paramount used these transfers on the next release then I really wouldn’t mind. The beauty of these transfers adds so much to each film that fans should be very happy.
AUDIO---Parts 1-5 get a Dolby Digital Mono track while 6 and 8 get a Dolby Surround and part 7 gets a Dolby Surround as well as a new 5.1 track. The first five Mono tracks sound remarkably well and just shows you don’t need a 5.1track to “show off” your systems. The clarity in the voices, sound effects and music score are quite stunning and when the logo breaks through the glass in part 1….just beautiful. The music score really packs a nice little punch and the opening score to part 3 also sounds remarkably well. All the death scenes also have an added touch because of the clarity of the weapons hitting the flesh. Part 6 benefits in various scenes including the lightening strikes as well as the ending with the motorboat. The 5.1 on part 7 really isn’t too special but it sounds nice. The Surrounds are mainly used for the music score and various sound effects but overall sounds pretty much like the Surround track. Part 8 sound very nice without any problems, although don’t expect too much action from the Surrounds.
From what I could tell these tracks are the same as the previous releases.
EXTRAS---For those who already own the single disc additions then the big question for a double dip comes from the extras and while you can say more should have been added, there’s no way in hell anyone could say what’s here isn’t a goldmine full of wonderful information that is bound to have to most jaded fans wagging their tongues. There’s rumors of a possible third set coming and I’m certainly not going to tell anyone they’re crazy for passing this set up but for a possible $60, there’s no doubt it’s worth the upgrade and I’d go even further by saying the bonus disc itself is worth the double dip price. Either way, enough of my yacking and on to the good stuff.
Part 3--- This track features moderator Peter Bracke, Larry Zerner (Shelly), Paul Kratka (Rick), Dana Kimmell (Chris) and Richard Brooker (Jason). Bracke does a wonderful job keeping things going as he asks all the right questions and knows when to stay out of the conversation and let the cast do their thing. During the opening footage from part 2 Bracke does a nice job at setting things up by asking the group if they were familiar with the previous two films and none of them were. Also during the flashback sequences we get to hear how everyone was cast in the film. When things get to the current film we hear all sorts of wonderful behind the scenes footage including accidents on the set and how some of the death scenes were done. The track is all talk throughout and it’s clear the members are having a lot of fun. This is certainly a track you’ll listen to more than once. Other highlights of the conversation includes:
--No rehearsal time.
--Seeing the film for the first time in 3-D.
--Brooker discussing being dressed as Jason.
--Parties behind the scenes.
--How the film was shot.
--Actor’s death scenes in film.
--Various scenes that are re-shoots.
--The alternate ending.
--Kimmell coming back for part 4.
Part 6--- This track features director Tom McLoughlin on his own and he does a very good job at keeping the track active. There are only a few dry spots but overall there’s a lot of good talk about the making of the film as well as some alternate scenes that weren’t shot or were changed due to the MPAA. He starts off talking about how he loves gothic horror films from Hammer and how that had an influence on the opening of this film. He introduces all the cast members and tells various stories about them. Other highlights include:
--Alternate death scenes.
--Alternate ideas on scenes.
--Bringing Jason back to the series.
--The fans and their expectations.
--Lack of sex.
Part 7--- This track features director John Carl Buechler and Jason himself, Kane Hodder. It’s obvious the two are very good friends and they are at ease talking about the film and it’s also clear they’re both having a wonderful time. The director comes off being very bitter about the film being cut for a theatrical release but really, what was he expecting? He did make the most over the top film and he had to expect cuts considering the previous six films were also cut. Hodder spends most of the time talking about various stunts. There is also mention of all the cut scenes. The two are constantly talking but there’s way too much time spent where they compliment each other. After a while it becomes rather obnoxious and I really aren’t too interested in hearing how they think this is the best F13 film. Other highlights include:
--The second villain.
Part 8--- This final track features director Rob Hedden and is full of information even with a few dry spots where the director spends way too much time talking about what we’re seeing on screen. The best moments are when he discusses what the film was supposed to be but had to be cut due to the budget and the fact that they couldn’t afford shooting in New York. There’s plenty of behind the scenes stories told but not too much on the actual cast. Other highlights include:
--Filming in NYC.
In case you didn’t get enough information from the commentaries then we’ve got an entire bonus disc clocked full of wonderful information ranging from interviews to trailers and the infamous gore footage that everyone has been wanting to see for decades. Perhaps more footage is out there but let’s face it, fans have been wanting to see this stuff for a very long time and now here it is. Most have seen part 1 uncut but for the rest of the world the rest of the goodies are here for the first time.
The Friday the 13th Chronicles
This here is an eight part featurette, which covers the making of each film. From the menu you can select each section on its own or you can select the “play all” option. The highlights of each episode are as followed:
Friday the 13th
Features: Sean Cunningham, Adrianne King, Betsy Palmer, Tom Savini, Ari Leham
If you’ve read any interviews or seen the R2 disc then there won’t be any new shocking details here but this segment is so much better produced than the overseas counterpart that you can throw that in the trash. Director Cunningham gets most of the screen time and opens the featurette up with talk about his work before this film and then heads into the production telling how the film was advertised, which eventually led to a producer taking on the film. King joins in the fun talking about what she was doing before hand and goes through the production as well as opening week of the film. Palmer might piss a few fans off but at least she’s being honest when she tells the story of how she got involved with the film. Simply put, her car died and she needed another one and this film would pay for that. She was put off by appearing in a horror film but she simply needed the cash. Savini always gives a wonderful interview and here he mainly talks about the audience reaction to the film. The big surprise comes towards the end when Ari Lenham shows up and he’s the guy who played young Jason at the end of the film. There’s some behind the scenes photos included of how they shot the scene. Throughout the featurette clips from the film are shown.
Friday the 13th 2
Features: Sean Cunningham, Adrienne King, Amy Steel, Warrington Gilltte
Once again Cunningham opens up with talk about the studio wanting a sequel and how he wasn’t sure how to do it. It’s interesting to hear that originally Jason wasn’t going to be involved and instead it was just going to be another film about murders on Friday the 13th. King also gets some brief time about her few scenes in the film. The main attraction here is Amy Steel and Warringtom Gillette who played Jason in the film. Both start off talking about what they were doing as actors and then talk about getting hired for this film. As to be expected, Steel wasn’t particularly interested in doing a horror film but nothing else was on the table. Warrington on the other hand is very enthusiastic about the making of the movie and offers all sorts of good stories ranging from how he was injured during the ending of the film all the way up to how the makeup was done. Steel also offers several very good stories from the production including all the stunts as well as the ending and how many times they had to film it.
Friday the 13th 3
Features: Larry Zerner, Gerald Feil
Here’s another very entertaining section but I must admit that this is actually pouring salt into the wounds of fans. While the interviews are all very well done and entertaining I couldn’t help but think a better topic should have been talked about. The entire running time is devoted to the 3-D version of the film and every 3-D clip in the film is shown. Zerner (Shelly in the film) starts off talking about how great the effects were and then the cinematographer Feil jumps in talking about the most difficult tricks and various other tools it took to pull this off. Zerner also gets to talk about his character bringing the hockey mask into horror legend.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Features: Joseph Zito, Corey Feldman
Runtime: 13:13 (good time—huh?)
Director Joseph Zito starts this one off talking about how he wasn’t too interested in making the fourth part of a series because he really didn’t know what he could do with it. Then, he suggested a kid, a dog and twins and the rest is horror history. Corey Feldman comes off brilliantly as ever as a very lively interviewee who goes into great detail about the making of the film. He was a huge fan of Halloween and thought that was the sequel he was being offered but when he learned it was F13 he had to go out and find out what the series was. The director also talks about the studio telling him that this film was without a doubt the last one of the series and he could do whatever he wanted. It’s interested hearing him speak about stuff that might not have happened had he known a sequel would follow. The final chase sequence is the highlight of the interview because both go into great detail talking about how it was filmed. Feldman tells a wonderful story of how he really didn’t shave his head and the bald cap actually made him very ill. Feldman also adds, It scared the shit out of me when talking about one scene but I won’t mention which one.
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Features: Corey Feldman, Joseph Zito
While this is the shortest of the featurettes I must say that it’s possibly the most interesting. Joseph Zito starts the conversation off talking about the freeze frame ending to part 4 and why he chose to end the film that way. Next up comes Feldman who talks about the producer’s wanting to make the entire film with him but six days a week he was shooting The Goonies and the F13 crew got him on Sunday’s but after that first Sunday the producer’s decided to change things up, which is probably the main reason why part 5 turned out the way it did. Feldman also talks about another actor playing “him” in two films as well as his wishes that Tommy and Jason have one final showdown. Feldman suggests they forget parts 6-11 and pick the story up after the ending of this film. We can’t only hope but screw Ash when we can have Tommy back instead.
Friday the 13th 6: Jason Lives
Features: Tom McLoughlin, C.J. Graham
Tom McLoughlin starts things off talking about his love of gothic horror films and how he wanted that in this sixth film of the series. The director then goes into detail about every aspect of the making of the film from the pre-production all the way up to the premiere. It’s also interesting to learn that the paintball sequence of the film actually has a different actor playing Jason. Jason himself, C.J. Graham is here telling some good stories about the various stunts as well as how he got the job in the first place. He also goes into some good stories about the underwater scenes at the end and this was actually shot at three different locations. The most interesting thing is that this theatrical version is actually an alternate version than what was originally shown to the test audience. After the film had its test screening, the producer was so thrilled that he told the director that the film needed two more days of shooting and four kills had to be added. I won’t mention the four kills but the film was actually less violent when originally shown.
Friday the 13th 7: The New Blood
Features: John Carl Buechler, Kane Hodder, Lar Park Lincoln
Kane Hodder gets things started talking about the various stunts that went into the film as well as the studio execs originally not wanting him to play Jason. The director then jumps in talking about the physical changes he wanted to make towards Jason and why he felt they were necessary. The hero of the film, Lar Park Lincoln then jumps in the conversation and is very animated and is able to tell some good stories about various stunts, the director and the ending. The overall featurette is very interesting but none of the cut footage is talked about here.
Friday the 13th 8: Jason Takes Manhattan
Features: Rob Hedden, Kane Hodder
Kane Hodder is back this time talking about shooting in NYC and various other stunts but this show belongs to the director who really lets loose the information. The most talked about thing is the actual title, “Jason Takes Manhattan”, which is actually “Jason Takes a Cruise” and we get to hear exactly why Jason doesn’t spend too much time in New York. We also get to see some never before released storyboards of the original scenes in New York that had to be cut as well as the now infamous poster of Jason ripping through the “I Love NY” scene. The director also goes into talk about the look of Jason as well as all the budget problems, which forces major changes to the film. Hedden is very animated throughout and delivers a nice little piece that fans should enjoy.
Secrets Galore Behind the Gore
In this section we get three more featurettes dealing with the special effects used in each film. The first two featurettes deal with Tom Savini’s work in parts 1 and 4 and the third deals with part 7 and John Carl Buechler. Part one’s section runs 9:31 and is started off by Cunningham talking about how these types of effects were new at the time and how they had to come up with fresh ideas on how to create everything. Then Savini takes over telling us how each effect was created and pulled off and while he speaks we’re greeted with several behind the scenes photos, which are all very interesting. Part four’s featurette runs 13:27 and is very curious because as rumor has it, part four was the least effected by the MPAA when released. As Savini puts it, the director and he planned for every kill to be done using quick edits and perhaps that’s why they weren’t forced to remove too much of the good stuff. As with part one, Savini goes into great detail talking about how each murder was created and there’s also several behind the scenes stills showing the master at work. Even better is a clip of an outtake where Tommy cuts his fingers off in one of his toys. Also included is talk of the original ending, which was scrapped before filming began. The final four or five minutes deals with Tom Savini’s makeup school where we get to see several of his students coming up with new ideas. Part 7’s segment runs 11:09 and is also quite interesting because the director and star Kane Hodder are in a makeup workshop going over the various creations of Jason. There’s also a lot of talk about how the effects were created and how various stunts were pulled off. The two men are a bit too complementary to one another but it’s still interesting to see.
Tales From the Cutting Room Floor
This here will be without a doubt the most anticipated portion of the special features and I’m sure most will be checking this out first when they buy their sets. I’m going to be putting these deleted scenes in spoiler tags just in case anyone wants to be surprised by what’s here.
The clips are shown with a split screen with the R-rated cut on top and the uncut forms on the bottom. As I said, there really isn’t too much added but it’s nice that it’s here. The quality also suffers between the two versions. The R-rated footage is clearly from the DVD as the quality is pretty stellar while the uncut footage has a bit less color and this is especially noticeable during the axe scene. Just take a look at the colors of her shirt to see this.
The quality of these here aren’t too bad but it still appears these are from a VHS. Colors are mostly faded but the quality is still viewable and appears the same as the videos we’ve been watching the past twenty years. The scenes are shown full frame and no comparisons are made since none of these scenes were in the final film.
The video quality here appears to be from actual scraps off the floor and looks worse than you’d expect from a VHS tape. All the scenes are still very much watchable but I doubt they could have added this back into the film due to the gap in quality. In this section the R-rated cut clips are shown at the top of the screen while the uncut footage is at the bottom.
Every scene here includes commentary with the director and Hodder and they seem like two little kids when talking about this stuff. They talk some about the effects and even mention of few scenes, which they felt the theatrical cut worked better.
The changes here are a lot more major than the previous films and it’s clear that these were meant to be way over the top. Some of them work nicely while others are just so out there that the theatrical cuts are actually a lot more effective. The one in particular is the sleeping bag death, which in the theatrical cut only lasts for one hit but here there are a total of six hits with the bag getting bloodier after each one. The fifth hit has the bad nearly busting open with gore flying out only to have Jason then throw the bag on the ground with the victims head showing, just like the theatrical cut. With all the blood flying out I guess you could call this a goof since the victim, when seen, doesn’t have too more blood on her.
Another alternate scene is the Bill Butler death early in the movie where in the theatrical cut we see Jason throw the blade into his back and that’s about it. Here there’s more time shown where he crawls away and when Jason picks him up more blood spits out of the mouth. The next scene is the wood carrier who gets Jason’s arm through his back. Again, much more aftermath as we see Jason carry insides out from the body. Another scene in the movie is when the guy and girl go swimming and the girl goes in first. The guy stays on the beach to get undressed but Jason sneaks up on him and pretty much slashes his face in two. Then Jason goes after the girl in the lake and we see a lot more nudity in this section. We get a shot of the camera moving upwards to the girl and we see a clear shot between her legs before Jason pulls her down. Next up is Elizabeth’s death scene, which only has a few frames buildup and nothing gore wise. Next up is the black couple, which is also one of the most talked about scenes. The girl has a little more blood coming from her eye but her poor boyfriend has his head squeezed all the way down with a ton of additional gore. A very cool effects but it’s way too over the top. The next scene has a male victim in front of the fireplace drinking a beer when Jason sneaks up and hits him in the neck with the machete. In this version we see the full impact of the blade hitting his neck. Next up is the mother’s death where we see more gore from the opening of her chest after the blade goes through. The next scene is the doctor’s death where once again we see more guts flying out of his body. Another scene has Jennifer taking the axe to her head and this time we see the blade hitting her face in a close up. The next is just an alternate take of the father jumping out of the lake to kill Jason but in this scene the father looks a bit different. Finally we get an alternate/extended ending with Jason jumping out of the lake and killing another.
Crystal Lake Victims Tell All! (15:35)
Here is yet another featurette that has various victims talking about their experiences in the film. Adrienne King, Larry Zerner, Bill Butler, Lar Park Lincoln, Tom Savini, Joseph Zito, Amy Steel and Corey Feldman are all interviewed and this too is a very fun section. Each get equal screen time except for Feldman who only gets to tell two stories but each are dealing with him being a young kid who is going to get to see a real naked woman for the first time only to be heartbroken by the director who decided to cut some of these scenes or film them in a different way. Most of the talk deals with the violence in the film and how it was played out on the set. Zito tells a very interesting story of how some actors really freak out when they finally see the finished film and see how they actually die. According to him the actors can be really shaken up by seeing themselves killed.
Friday Artifacts and Collectibles (7:00)
This section here has various fans and other groups showing off their collections but the most interesting comes from the director of part 6 who still has Jason’s coffin as well as the tombstone, which he has in his back yard. The director of 8 also has one of the murder weapons as well as one of Jason’s masks. Other things include lunchboxes and model kits.
Also included are theatrical trailers for parts 1 through 5 and then 7 and 8. Part 6 has the theatrical teaser, which was on the previous disc. I’m going to guess the trailer not being included has something to do with the Alice Cooper song, which I’ve been told is held up in right issues. Part 7’s trailer is actually more of a teaser as we get a few shots of the city and then the camera pans towards the back of Jason who quickly turns around towards the camera. The packaging lists a “Scary Trailers” section, which apparently was meant to be a featurette on the making of the trailers but this here is not on the disc unless it’s hidden as an easter egg. I messed around for a little white but couldn’t find anything.
I’ve reviewed hundreds of titles over the past four or five years and not once have I really commented on the packaging of a set because to me it just isn’t very important. Also, if you’ve ever heard me talking on message boards then you’ve probably heard me say that I refuse to do screenshots because I think they really don’t show off the greatness of a possible transfer and they really don’t show all the faults either.
There’s been a lot of upset fans dealing with the packaging but let me put that to rest by saying this is one of the most attractive packages I’ve ever seen in my five plus years in DVD. The screenshots posting on the net really don’t do this thing justice and I knew damn well what this looked like but when I opened that Priority Mail packaging my eyes almost hit the floor because this is a very nice set. Each disc is held in five slim case designs with each having their different front cover using clips from the films. When you open the cases up, on the left hand side will be the titles of the films plus a description and then on the right hand side (where the disc is held) we get another picture, which is quite nice. The actual box that the discs are held in is also very effective and looks very good in person. I’ve heard many complaints about the packaging but just wait until it’s actually in your hands and on your shelf. Beautiful is the only word that comes to mind and I’m one who really doesn’t give a rat’s tail about any packaging.
OVERALL---As a reviewer it’s my duty to tell people whether or not they should spend their hard earned dollars on anything so here’s my final verdicts on this set after going through every little detail.
If you don’t own F13 on DVD…
Then it’s a no brainer that this set must be in your collection. If you’ve only seen these films on cable or on VHS then the video and audio quality alone is worth the retail price. Add on the four commentaries and the bonus disc then this is a must have set and one of the best I’ve reviewed at HTF or any other site. At a possible $60 this is one of the best steals out there.
If you own the single releases…
This here is a bit tricky but if you’re a fan of the film then I think it’s worth the double dip. We all know more could have been added but for what’s actually here you really can’t be disappointed. Yes, the video and audio is pretty much the same but we do get a corrected version of part 1 as well as a cleaner transfer on part 4 and the later two films look marginally better. Could they look even better? I’m sure some things could be touched up but this are still very strong transfers.
The biggest reason to upgrade would be the extras so are they worth it? I’m a die-hard fan and paid over $160 for the previous, bare bones editions and thought they were worth it for the V/A. With this new set I would have gladly paid $160 more because the bonus disc is really that good. Again, yes more could have been added but for what’s here I’m sure the $60 will be worth the money. The features are all very well done and each is very entertaining. The gore effects section with Savini is just as good as any other companies release and finally there’s the uncut footage, which to me is worth the $60. Perhaps more is out there but finally seeing this stuff and actually owning it is well worth the money. No matter how big of a fan you are there’s going to be stuff here you haven’t seen so I wouldn’t pass that up.
If you feel the extras here aren’t enough then you’re more than welcome to wait for a possible third release but there’s no guarantee any of these will be carried over and it’s still not certain a third release will follow. I understand people need to be careful with their money but if you really think there aren’t enough extras then it’s just clear you haven’t actually viewed them. If you think they are small on paper then they carry a lot more weight when actually viewed. If you can get the set for $50-$60 then the bonus disc itself is worth it.
That’s my “reviewers” opinion of the set. As for the “fan” side of me:
With rumors of a third set already going around I’m sure the studio knows that fans will rebuy this thing at least one more time so hopefully they’ll deliver a truly “ultimate” set next time. Of course the extras here should be carried over and what this fan feels should be added is of course uncut versions of the films if they are possible. If the quality is beyond repair then I’m sure fans would at least settle for what we got here. Another thing fans would want is commentaries tracks on the films that are missing them here. With part 1 we could certainly use Cunningham, Savini and King. Part 2 could feature the director and possibly Steel. Part 5 certainly needs a director’s commentary so he can tell his side of this disaster so to speak. Part 4 is probably The Godfather of this series so a commentary with Zito, Savini, Feldman and perhaps another cast commentary would be very nice.
The featurettes here were wonderfully done so if we get another Special Edition the one thing that could be added is more interviews with some of the lesser known characters in the films. This set covered the more known people (King, Palmer, Feldman) so the next should feature more of the smaller guys. It would also be interesting hearing from the director/screenwriter of part 5 since Feldman’s story here only briefly hit on various subjects. For the smaller stuff perhaps we could get a featurette about the controversy surrounding the series including magazine articles, TV shows like Siskel and Ebert as well as other newspaper clippings. TV spots would be an added welcome as would any foreign stuff dealing with the series.
Release Date: October 5th, 2004