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Originally shot to ride the masked-killer coattails of Halloween, Sean S. Cunningham's Friday the 13th was a surprise hit for distributor Paramount and sparked a legacy of sequels, merchandise and Camp Crystal Lake lore that continues to grow thirty-three years later. The series has never been high-minded, offering gleefully unapologetic reels of creative kills, promiscuous teenagers and questionable acting where other horror films choose subtler thrills. There's little narrative or production backstory fans of the series don't already know, and ranking each of the twelve films from best to worst has become a rite of passage for Friday the 13th devotees. Unstoppable killing machine Jason Voorhees finally finds a home on Blu-ray, as the recent Paramount/Warner Brothers/New Line Cinema distribution alliance cleared the way for Warner Brothers to release Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection. The set begins with the original Friday the 13th and concludes with the 2009 remake, with several of the sequels making their Blu-ray debut. This handsomely packaged set is a must-buy for series fans, and these HD presentations offer substantial upgrades from previous DVD editions. That said, this is not quite the ultimate collection fans wanted due to some missing bonus features and the lack of several unrated cuts. Read on for my complete evaluation.
By most accounts, Friday the 13th (**** 1/2 out of *****) was a cheaply shot, schlocky little film made to cash in on the success of John Carpenter's Halloween. That it turned out as well as it did is credit to director/producer Cunningham, who previously worked with horror legend Wes Craven on The Last House on the Left. Cunningham, who also produced several sequels, wanted to make a film that was both scary and funny, and his vision, coupled with Victor Miller's script, helped birth the modern, high-body-count slasher. Friday the 13th is also undeniably tied in both tone and plot to the Italian Giallo films that directors like Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci shot in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Anyone who has seen Drew Barrymore get sliced and diced in Scream knows that Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) is the killer in part one. Part of the film's success is its villain's unique motivation to avenge the drowning death of her handicapped son Jason. Inattentive Camp Crystal Lake counselors allowed Jason to die, and Mrs. Voorhees' schizophrenic rage extends to all pot-smoking, sexually charged young adults.
Several trims had to be made to the film's violent deaths for its theatrical release, and Friday the 13th proved immediately willing to throw buckets of blood at the screen. An affable young cast, including Kevin Bacon and Adrienne King, lines up for the slaughter, and Tom Savini's makeup effects are particularly impressive for the budget. Jason's appearance in the film's stinger was not originally scripted, but Savini suggested the scene after watching Brian De Palma's Carrie, much to the chagrin of Miller. Though it was shot with little hope of reaching a wide audience, Friday the 13th is now part of the cultural lexicon.
The surprise success of the original film necessitated a sequel, Friday the 13th Part II (*** 1/2 out of *****), which introduced the world to Jason Voorhees proper. Released less than a year after the original, Part II saw Steve Miner take over the director's chair. After a lengthy opening flashback sequence, the film gets down to business by killing the original's heroine (A horror movie tradition!) before travelling back to a re-opened Camp Crystal Lake, where a fresh batch of teenagers await Jason's wrath. This sequel is decidedly less polished than the original (which is saying something) and only lead actress Amy Steel does anything of note with her part. Nevertheless, it marks the first on-screen appearance of adult Jason, motivated to kill by witnessing his mother's decapitation.
This film forever changed the series by introducing a villain for the ages. Where Mrs. Voorhees was absolutely mortal, Jason became an unstoppable plague for the nation's youth. Sure, Jason isn't the form-shifting, bullet-deflecting machine of later films in Part II but this is where he gets his knocks. With a burlap sack over his face (the hockey mask comes later), Jason kills without recourse. Part II is little more than a retread of the original film with a different villain, but it's a fun, gory thrill ride and an important milestone in the series.
Jason gets his iconic hockey mask in Friday the 13th Part III (*** out of *****), which was shot in 3D and apparently rather impressive looking in polarized 3D theatrical showings. One overarching criticism of this series is that the films are fungible; if you've seen one you've seen them all. I don't necessarily agree but it's hard to argue that Part III is anything more than a carbon copy of the previous two films glossed up with some tricky camera moves. Miner again directs and has a bit of fun with objects shooting toward the audience (this is far less fun in 2D). It's too bad this is again only presented in anaglyph (red/blue) 3D and 2D. Part III paints Jason as nearly impossible to kill and heaps on the horror clichés that show up again and again in later films.
Fans are divided on the merits of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (*** 1/2 out of *****), which actually does something other than send a bunch of soon-to-be victims to Camp Crystal Lake. In this fourth film, a young Corey Feldman plays Tommy Jarvis, a character that also appears in the next two films. This is a moderately budgeted, highly entertaining film, and Feldman's Jarvis takes on Jason by shaving his head to look like the killer in his youth. Some of the plot is kind of stupid (not necessarily a huge criticism for this series), but Part IV lays the groundwork for an expanded Friday the 13th universe and wrangles in the brother of a previously murdered character as a capable opponent for Jason. Watch for an appearance by Crispin Glover and understand that this was never going to be "the final chapter" for Jason.
By 1985, Paramount was turning out a Friday the 13th film every year, and the fifth entry, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (** 1/2 out of *****) hit theaters that spring. This entry again leans heavily on Giallo thrillers by teasing the audience about whether or not Jason is actually the killer. Tommy Jarvis (now played by John Shepherd) returns and is living in a halfway house, haunted by visions of the masked killer he encountered several years prior. This entry really amps up the sleaze and had a then-record, MPAA-baiting body count. Unfortunately, both the acting and story take a step backward, and I never really cared about the plot Part V tries to advance.
Tommy Jarvis returns for one final outing in Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (**** out of *****), a return to form for the series. Tom McLoughlin directs Thom Matthews as Jarvis, and the battle-worn character decides it is finally time to sever ties with Jason. Jarvis digs up a dormant Jason, and a convenient lightening strike re-animates the killer, who begins a fresh murder spree. This movie is pretty damn good thanks to committed performances from Matthews and Jennifer Cooke, who takes over as the protagonist. Here, Jason is finally shown to be immortal, and the film gives Jason his own kryptonite: water. Part VI also explicitly renews ties with Camp Crystal Lake. The gore is toned down compared to previous entries but there's a sense of fun here that is sorely lacking from the previous sequels. A lot of people consider this the best of the sequels if not the series.
Unfortunately, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (** 1/2 out of *****) again takes a step backward with a plot that is both overly familiar and unnecessarily convoluted. The film rips of story elements from many of the previous sequels but adds a psychic protagonist in Tina Shephard (Lar Park Lincoln). This character is a blatant rip-off of Stephen King's Carrie White character but Shepard is at least willing to fight back against Jason. Shephard's powers originated from an abusive father and she arrives at Crystal Lake with her mother (Susan Blu) and duplicitous psychiatrist (Terry Kiser) to confront her past. This mythology is fine I suppose, but Part VII really drops the ball on creating any interesting supporting characters or suspense. Jason is now a fully undead killing machine, but the film gives him little to do of any consequence.
One of the series' stupider entries, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (** 1/2 out of *****) saw its grand ambitions of having Jason wreak havoc across New York City doused by budget constraints. Instead of setting 2/3 or more of the film in the city, most of the action actually takes place aboard a small cruise ship, where a high school class is celebrating its upcoming graduation. The ship's anchor unearths Jason, who hops aboard and starts slitting throats while the passengers run around accusing each other of lying about a killer onboard. When a few survivors finally make it to midtown, Part VIII becomes a curiously entertaining parody of horror. Jason battles a boxer and drug addicts and is overcome by toxic sludge. This film might have worked with a bigger budget.
Paramount was burned out with the series after the critical and financial failure of Part VIII, so Cunningham re-acquired the rights and took the series to New Line Cinema, which was kick-started by the success of Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street. It took four years for Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (* 1/2 out of *****) to make it to theaters, and the film is largely considered the worst in the series. Directed by Adam Marcus, Jason Goes to Hell at least tries to do something different; it just isn't very good. The film opens with an FBI agent (Julie Michaels) luring Jason into a trap, where he is blown to pieces by a government task force. All might have ended well had the body parts not been taken to a federal morgue. There, Jason's heart begins to beat, causing the coroner (Richard Gant) to be overcome and actually ingest the beating organ. The basic premise of Jason Goes to Hell is that the spirit of Jason can live in another host if his body is destroyed. This kind of goes against the previous mythology that allowed Jason to come back after his body was destroyed, no? Only a member of the Voorhees bloodline can kill Jason for good. That Voorhees is Jessica (Kari Keegan), whose mother, Diana (Erin Gray), is Jason's half-sister.
It's one thing to move the mythology and story of the series forward, but Jason Goes to Hell fails at nearly every turn. The kills? Boring. The characters? Forgettable. The greatest sin is keeping Jason far from the spotlight. The filmmakers muse in several interviews that they wanted the audience to really yearn for Jason's return for most of the movie. I definitely did, but that didn't exactly make me like this film any more. Jason Goes to Hell is a convoluted, boring mess. There are a few decent kills (some edited to death in the R-rated version) but nothing to save New Line Cinema's first Friday film from its dubious "worst Friday" honor. The best part of Jason Goes to Hell? The film's stinger, which sets up Freddy vs. Jason.
It took a whopping nine years for New Line Cinema to wash the bad taste of Jason Goes to Hell out of its mouth and bring Jason X (*** out of *****) to theaters. The delay can be partly attributed to Freddy vs. Jason, which was intended to be the next film in the series after Jason Goes to Hell. That film was stuck in development hell for years, and Cunningham and director James Isaac swooped in with a pitch for New Line Cinema CEO Bob Shaye that sent Jason to space. Shaye realized this idea was of the "so ridiculous it could actually work" variety, and Jason X was put into production. This genre-baiting film freezes Jason in an icy slumber in 2008. In 2465, a research team uncovers Jason and a scientist (Lexa Doig) and brings them aboard its ship. The scientist is re-animated and Jason expectedly awakens from cryosleep, too.
This tenth film is far from a masterpiece, but it's actually kind of fun. Taking Jason to space was an interesting idea but it does make Jason X feel more like a cable-television movie than a theatrical release. There are some solid special effects amid shots of the shoddy spaceship interiors, and Jason eventually gets a futuristic makeover. Unlike in Jason Goes to Hell, Jason is front and center, hacking away at anything that stands in his path. Lisa Ryder is entertaining as android KM-14, who unleashes the big guns on Jason without fear of death. I enjoyed the virtual reality return to Camp Crystal Lake (complete with promiscuous teens) and Jason X is an entertaining, if chaotic, continuation of the story.
A lot of people give Freddy vs. Jason (*** 1/2 out of *****) flak, but I kind of enjoy this clash of the genre titans. No film that brings Jason and Freddy together would live up to the high expectations set by fans of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street series, but Freddy vs. Jason is a decent effort. This is Freddy's film, plain and simple, and it really should have been included in a Nightmare on Elm Street collection. Robert Englund is at his rascally best as a weakened Freddy Krueger. The teens of Elm Street have forgotten about Freddy, and no fear equals no power for the knife-fingered villain. Freddy travels to the bowels of hell to find Jason and sends him on a killing spree. But, Jason begins doing his job too well, and Freddy has trouble transitioning back into the real world.
There are several scenes where Freddy and Jason interact in Freddy vs. Jason, but these are not particularly memorable. The film does a better job when it allows Freddy to serve as a narrator of sorts. Freddy has always been funny and he is in rare form here. There are some decent kills, particularly during the scene where Jason attends a high school party, and the visual effects are quite good. Director Ronny Yu keeps things moving along nicely and remembers not to let his B-grade supporting cast ramble on for too long. This was never going to be an even fight (despite the wink-wink ending). Jason is a brute force but Freddy is cunning. Freddy supplies all the personality here, and Freddy vs. Jason ends up a decent Nightmare film.
Marcus Nispel directs the 2009 reboot, Friday the 13th (*** 1/2 out of *****), which was produced by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes production company. For a reboot, this is not half bad, though I probably rate this one a little higher than many fans. The first twenty-three minutes are pretty great. After a rushed opening in which the events of the 1980 film are explained in a couple of short, awkward bursts of dialogue, Friday the 13th sends a group of college students into the woods for a rowdy weekend. Who do they discover but Jason, who is living off the land and does not take kindly to strangers. These opening minutes feel like a self-contained movie, and this first group of victims is dispatched with ruthless efficiency. These opening deaths are violent and suspenseful, and by the time the opening title appears, I felt like I had watched a complete movie.
This leaves the rest of the film in a bit of a bind. The "real" main characters appear, including Jared Padalecki as a man looking for the sister shown in the opening; Danielle Panabaker as a good-natured college student who tries to help find the missing woman; and Travis Van Winkle as the supreme douche who brings several friends out to his Camp Crystal Lake vacation home to get slaughtered. The pacing is a bit off thanks to the extended opening but there are some creative kills and some decent suspense. Derek Mears is am imposing Jason and rivals series-favorite Kane Hodder for best performance. The filmmakers behind this reboot understand the tone of the original, and there are plenty of jokes amid the carnage. The editing gets really sloppy during the climax, but this reboot is still worth watching.
Friday the 13th is currently in the lead as the horror film with the most sequels. There are twelve Friday films if you count the reboot and their quality ranges from great (Friday the 13th) to decent (Jason X) to awful (Jason Takes Manhattan). I provided a star rating for each film and averaged those to give the series a final grade of exactly 3.125 out of 5. I'm feeling charitable - and this series is both a lot of fun and kind of review proof - so I'm marking it down as a *** 1/2 out of *****.
Overall, I am very pleased with the way these films look and sound on Blu-ray. Both Paramount and New Line Cinema have avoided the urge to polish the look of these movies with obtrusive digital tools, and I suspect these Blu-rays closely replicate the theatrical experience. To save some space, I'll put my score for the transfer and soundtrack of each film in parenthesis after each title. The first three discs in the set are the exact same discs as were previously available individually for several years from Paramount. Friday the 13th (P: 4, S: 3.5) is given an impressive 1.78:1/1080p/AVC encoded transfer that really pops. This is not a highly polished film, and I remember being blown away when I watched it on Blu-ray several years ago. Detail and texture are impressive, as are the vibrant colors. Blacks expectedly crush and the picture can be quite noisy, but overall this looks great. The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is a nice up-mix, and the surrounds are used for ambient and action effects. Dialogue sounds mostly natural and the score is agreeably balanced. English, French and Spanish Dolby mono mixes are also included, as are English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. Friday the 13th Part II (P: 4, S: 3.5) looks and sounds about as good as its predecessor. The 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is nicely detailed, surprisingly textured and not overly grainy, and the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is similar in scope to the first film's surround mix. English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital mono mixes are also included, as are English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Friday the 13th Part III (P: 2.5, S: 3) is given both 2D and anaglyph 3D 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded images. You have to wear cheap paper glasses to watch the 3D version, which is full of ghosting, blurring and muted colors. There is some depth to the image, but both 3D and 2D images are rather dull and dingy. There is plenty of grain and noise throughout, and black levels are only decent. The 5.1 Dolby True HD soundtrack is less active than that of the previous two films, though dialogue is free from hiss and feedback. English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital mono mixes are also included, as are English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
New to Blu-ray is Friday the 13th The Final Chapter (P: 3.5, S: 3.5), which receives its own disc. The 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer is somewhat soft and muted, but detail and texture are certainly acceptable. Black levels are decent and I noticed no compression artifacts or noise reduction. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is on par with the previous films in terms of being immersive. French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby mixes are included, as are English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. Looking and sounding quite similar is Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (P: 3.5, S: 3.5), which also sports a competent 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that has a better handle on its grain and similarly solid black levels. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix again presents clear dialogue and nicely balanced effects. French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby mixes are included, as are English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. This film shares a disc with Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (P: 3.5, S: 3.5). The 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image again is strong, and there are no traces of heavy digital manipulation. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is on par with its disc mate. French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby mixes are included, as are English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Disc six begins with Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (P: 4, S: 3.5). This 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is slightly more impressive, with better detail and more refined texture, likely due to the film's higher budget. Black levels and shadow detail are good, and, again, no sign of digital tomfoolery. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix provides decent surround action and clear dialogue. French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby mixes are included, as are English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. Also on disc six is Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (P: 4, S: 4). The last of the Paramount films receives a solid 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer with good detail, sharpness and saturation. Black levels are good and noise is minimal. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is more immersive than before, and there's plenty of surround action on this one. French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby mixes are included, as are English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Next up are New Line's first two films on disc seven. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (P: 3.5, S: 4) is given a decent 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that is occasionally a bit too dark, with crushing shadows and murky backgrounds. This is likely a result of the filmmaking technique, but it does rob the image of some of its detail. Colors are well saturated and there's a fine layer of grain. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is appropriately boisterous, with gunfire that erupts from the surround speakers and some nice LFE support during Jason's reappearance. German and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital tracks are included, as are English, German and Spanish subtitles. Jason X (P: 4, S: 4) looks great, with a sharp 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that provides plenty of detail and texture. Despite the low production budget, most of the effects blending is seamless and backgrounds are quite deep. Black levels are solid and colors are bold. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is loud, with good surround action that is balanced nicely with dialogue and score. German and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital tracks are included, as are English, German and Spanish subtitles.
Disc eight houses Freddy vs. Jason (P: 4.5, S: 4.5). This disc is almost identical to the 2009 Blu-ray release, but Warner Brothers has re-authored it with a 6.1 mix and new (ugly) menus. The 2.40:1/1080p/VC-1-encoded image is impressively detailed. Every scar on Freddy's face and every smudge of dirt and debris on Jason's hockey mask is visible in startling clarity. Backgrounds stretch for miles, close-ups are razor sharp, and colors are bold and perfectly saturated. Black levels are good, as is shadow detail, and there is absolutely no trace of digital manipulation. The new 6.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is impressive. There are tons of surround effects and LFE action. Dialogue is crystal clear and balanced appropriately with effects and score. Freddy's cackle rolls through the surround speakers and Jason's machete cuts a line across your living room.
The 2009 Friday the 13th (P: 3.5, S: 4) appears on disc nine and is identical to the 2009 Blu-ray release. I wasn't particularly impressed with this 2.40:1/1080p/VC-1-encoded image when I first watched this disc. The film has a soft, somewhat blurry appearance during many scenes and I'm not sure how much is due to the filmmakers and how much is the fault of this transfer. Otherwise, black levels are excellent and colors are perfectly saturated. The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD mix is fairly immersive, though not as impressive as the Freddy vs. Jason mix. Dialogue, effects and score are well balanced. English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks are included, as are English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
The average picture score and average sound score are both 3.70 out of 5, which I am rounding to an even 4.
Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection arrives on Blu-ray as a ten-disc set. There are nine Blu-rays for the films and their corresponding bonus content. The tenth disc is the "Killer Extras" DVD directly ported from a previous DVD collection. The set is packaged in an attractive tin with a heavily embossed cover image of Jason with his machete and a Camp Crystal Lake dock on the back. Inside the discs are slipped into "book" packaging. Each disc receives its own page, and the book is filled with color photos and blurbs about the films. The discs are a bit hard to remove from the pages but I like the overall look of this book. Aside from the tenth disc and its Paramount disc art, Warner has bucked its trend of using only black ink and actually given these discs some matching disc art. Also included inside is an insert with a code to redeem an UltraViolet copy of all the movies (one code to redeem for all 12 movies). There's a 40-page color book with excerpt from Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th. This is a nice addition but fans will likely seek out the longer version. Also inside are a Camp Crystal Lake iron-on patch, two pairs of red/blue 3D glasses, and a band inscribed with "You're All Doomed" that holds everything in place.
The Internet has been abuzz about this set since it was announced. Friday the 13th fans have waited a long time to buy all these films in high-definition and expectations were high. Is this a nice collection? Absolutely. Is it perfect? No way. I have no problems with two films sharing a disc, as the picture and sound quality don't appear to have suffered for those films. No new on-disc bonus content was created especially for this release, which is disappointing, but there are number of nice extras included that I'll detail in a moment. Also releasing on 9-13-13 is Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th, which is made by the people who did Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy. This seven-plus hour documentary promises to provide all the behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and Friday lore fans could want. If you are a fan you'll be picking it up as a companion to this set. I know I will. As for the extras you get here, I'm going to give them an overall score of **** out of *****. The content is certainly decent, especially on the New Line Cinema discs, and only falls into studio EPK territory occasionally. There are a ton of commentaries and production featurettes, and catalog titles rarely receive this much bonus content. Extras on the discs are as follows:
Friday the 13th: The original film is presented in its 95-minute uncut version and receives a Commentary by Director Sean Cunningham, Author Peter Bracke and Screenwriter Victor Miller. The Friday the 13th Reunion (16:45/HD) features Savini, Miller, Palmer and King, and Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th (14:07/HD) features retrospective interviews about the film and its influences. There's also The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham (8:58/HD); Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 1 (7:31/HD); The Friday the 13th Chronicles (20:34/SD); Secrets Galore Behind the Gore (9:32/SD); and the film's Theatrical Trailer (2:34/HD).
For Friday the 13th Part II you get Inside Crystal Lake Memories (11:15/HD); Friday's Legacy: Inside Horror Conventions (6:50/HD); Jason Forever (29:27/SD); Lost Tales From Camp Blood - Part 2 (8:54/HD); and the film's Theatrical Trailer (2:12/HD).
Friday the 13th Part III: First up is Fresh Cuts: 3D Terror (12:52/HD), which discusses the 3D effects used in the film. Also included are Legacy of the Mask (9:33/HD); Slasher Films: Going for the Jugular (7:09/HD); Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 3 (4:49/HD); and the film's Theatrical Trailer (2:09/HD).
The first of the new WB discs, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter gets those awful picture menus that Warners has been using of late. No matter, as they were kind enough to port over the material from Paramount's deluxe edition DVD and give most of it an HD bump! Included are a Commentary with Director Joseph Zito, Screenwriter Barney Cohen and Editor Joel Goodman and a Commentary with fans Adam Green and Joe Lynch. There's also Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part IV (13:16/SD); Secrets Galore Behind the Gore - Tom Savini on Part IV (13:30/SD); Lost Tales From Camp Blood - Part 4 (6:22/HD); Slashed Scenes with Commentary by Director Joseph Vito (15:20/HD); Jason's Unlucky Day: 25 Years After Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (11:03/HD); The Lost Ending (3:22/HD); The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited, Part I (18:10/HD); Jimmy's Dead Dance Moves (2:09/HD); and the film's Theatrical Trailer 1:56/SD).
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning: Commentary from Director/Co-Screenwriter Danny Steinman with Cast and Crew; The Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part V (5:51/SD); Lost Tales From Camp Blood - Part 5 (7:10/HD); The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited, Part II (10:11/HD); New Beginnings: The Making of Friday the 13th: New Beginning (11:04/HD); and the film's Theatrical Trailer (2:00/HD).
For Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI you get a Commentary by Writer/Director Tom McLoughlin and a Commentary by Writer/Director Tom McLoughlin with Cast and Crew. Also included are The Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part VI (14:42/SD); Lost Tales From Camp Blood - Part 6 (7:17/HD); The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited, Part III (9:36/HD); Jason Lives: The Making of Friday the 13th Part VI (12:57/HD); Meeting Mr. Voorhees (2:46/HD); Slashed Scenes (6:06/HD); and the film's Original Theatrical Teaser Trailer (1:43/SD).
Next up is Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, which includes a Killer Commentary by Director John Carl Buechler and Actors Lar Park Lincoln and Kane Hodder; The Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part VII (11:39/SD); Secrets Galore Behind the Gore - John Carl Buechler on Part VII (11:11/HD); Jason's Destroyer: The Making of Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (15:07/HD); Mind Over Matter: The Truth About Telekinesis (7:25/HD); Makeover by Maddy: Need a Little Touch-Up Work, My Ass (2:43/HD); Slashed Scenes (17:01/HD); and the film's Original Theatrical Trailer (1:39/SD).
Unfortunately, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan does include bonus material! Just kidding. There's a Commentary by Director Rob Hedden and a Killer Commentary by Actors Scott Reeves, Jensen Daggett and Kane Hodder. Also included are The Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part VIII (14:32/SD); New York Has a New Problem - The Making of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (18:02/HD); Slashed Scenes (12:56/HD); a Gag Reel (4:54/HD); and the film's Original Theatrical Trailer (1:19/SD).
We've now arrived at the set's biggest disappointment in both film quality and Blu-ray presentation: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. For whatever reason, Warners has included only the film's 87-minute, R-rated theatrical cut. Jason Goes to Hell was notoriously trimmed for theaters, but the original New Line Cinema DVD included the 91-minute unrated cut that restored a lot of gore and sex. This move has resulted in a lot of bitching on the Internet. We horror fans love our unrated cuts and it really makes no sense that WB included the theatrical cut over the superior unrated version. They also drop the Commentary from Screenwriter Dean Lorey and Director/Screenwriter Adam Marcus that was recorded exclusively for the unrated version. All you get are some TV Version Alternate Scenes (12:30/SD) and the film's Theatrical Trailer (1:13/SD).
Jason X fares better. The original "Platinum Series" DVD was stacked, and the Blu-ray includes those features. You get: A Commentary by Jim Isaac, Todd Farmer and Noel Cunningham; The Many Lives of Jason Voorhees (29:56/SD), a nice Jason retrospective that calls the character "retarded" a lot; the similarly unfiltered By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Jason X (17:33/SD); and the film's Theatrical Trailer (2:01/HD).
Freddy vs. Jason also had a great "Platinum Series" DVD and initial Blu-ray release. The disc's supplements are the same as the previous Blu-ray and include: A Commentary by Director Ronny Yu, Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger; Genesis: Development Hell (10:22/SD); On Location: Springwood Revisited (14:33/SD); On Location: Cabin Fever (6:09/SD); Art Direction: Jason's Decorating Tips (11:33/SD); Stunts: When Push Comes to Shove (21:38/SD); Make-Up Effects: Freddy's Beauty Secrets (6:30/SD); Visual Effects Featurettes (35:22 total/SD); My Summer Vacation: A Visit to Camp Hackenslash (3:57/SD); Pre-Fight Press Conference - Bally's Casino Las Vegas, July 15, 2003 (3:48/SD); Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Ronny Yu (16:10/HD); How Can I Love Music Video by Ill Nino (3:15/SD); TV Spots (3:46/SD); and the film's Theatrical Trailer (1:12/HD).
The disc for the reboot of Friday the 13th is identical to the 2009 Blu-ray release and includes both the 97-minute theatrical version and the 106-minute "Killer Cut." Extras include a Picture-in-Picture with interviews and BTS footage; The Rebirth of Jason Voorhees (11:24/HD); Hacking Back/Slashing Forward (11:41/HD); The Seven Best Kills (22:33/HD); and some Deleted Scenes (8:19/HD).
"Killer Extras" Bonus Disc: This previously released DVD includes a number of extras in standard definition. The Friday the 13th Chronicles (1:43:15/SD); Secrets Galore Behind the Gore (23:00/SD); Crystal Lake Victims Tell All!Tales from the Cutting Room Floor (17:12/SD); Friday Artifacts and Collectibles (7:01/SD); and assorted original trailers.
So what's missing? The aforementioned unrated cut and commentary for Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. There are rumored unrated cuts for several of the other films - those are MIA, too. A few commentaries got dropped along the way. Honestly, when I say it like this it doesn't sound so bad.
Fans have waited a long time for the chance to own all the Friday the 13th films on Blu-ray. Now that Warner Brothers is releasing Paramount's catalog titles, a comprehensive set is finally possible. Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection is an excellent, if imperfect, box set that should please fans despite a couple of nagging issues. All twelve films look and sound great and their HD presentations offer a substantial upgrade over previous SD releases. At this time, you can only get Parts IV-X in this box set, and the other discs mirror their previously released counterparts. The packaging is slick and the included extras are solid for studio-produced content. It was a nice touch to give many extras the HD bump, and the films that share a disc don't appear to suffer because of it. Fans are expectedly upset about the lack of an unrated cut for Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday and the absence of a true Blu-ray 3D disc for Part III. Even so, Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection is a fantastic box set. Aside from these few disappointments (And let's face it, fans will always want more.), I can absolutely recommend this set for its solid technical presentation of each film. Highly Recommended.
Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th Part II
Friday the 13th Part III
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday
Freddy vs. Jason
Friday the 13th (2009)
William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.