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Friday the 13th: The Ultimate Collection - Limited Edition

Paramount // Unrated // October 4, 2011
List Price: $55.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Tyler Foster | posted October 5, 2011 | E-mail the Author
In 1999, Paramount first brought the Friday the 13th films to DVD in bare-bones, individual editions. In 2004, they took a second stab at it with "From Crystal Lake to Manhattan," a five-disc set with two films to a disc and a bonus disc of extra features. Most recently, in 2009, they trotted out stand-alone "Deluxe Edition" DVDs, with new bonus features for every film. Now, we have this new box set, which offers the Deluxe Editions in all-new collector's packaging with a plastic replica hockey mask inside the case. Before we dive into whether or not this iteration is worth fan's hard-earned dollars, a look back at the eight movies in this new "Ultimate Collection."

Friday the 13th (1980)
More than twenty years after the murder of two counselors closed down Camp Crystal Lake, it's on the verge of opening again, under the direction of Steve Christy (Peter Brouwer), assisted by a group of teenage counselors. With only a couple weeks before a bunch of inner city kids show up, everyone is hard at work painting, nailing, hanging and sweeping in order to get the camp ready for business. The local townspeople are skeptical -- they still use the nickname "Camp Blood" -- but it's the mysterious figure who starts murdering each of the counselors one by one who's really dead set on keeping Crystal Lake closed permanently.

As a direct descendant of John Carpenter's Halloween (something writer Victor Miller freely admits in interviews), Friday the 13th may not be as frightening, attempting to make up for less atmosphere with blood and Tom Savini's prosthetic wizardry, and its teenagers aren't quite as memorable as some of its contemporaries (I'd say that's where Nightmare on Elm Street has it beat). Even so, watching it more than 30 years later, it's pretty easy to pick out the bits that captured enough of the public's imagination to result in the other seven films in this box set.

For one, Friday the 13th has got a memorable villain...or at least, a menace that gets under the skin. For more than an hour, the mystery killer is only hinted at by Sean S. Cunningham and cinematographer Barry Abrams using a silent, voyeuristic camera that stares at each one of the victims. John Carpenter may have done it better, but Cunningham is able to capture some of that eeriness and repeat it for more than an hour, all while getting a little boost from the audience's increasing desire to know who the POV belongs to. As one of what would eventually be 12 movies in the franchise, it's also easy to forget that Miller starts far from the supernatural, offering a character with decent motivation and just enough believability to get under the audience's skin.

To that end, it doesn't hurt that Cunningham has Betsy Palmer in his cast, who gives Mrs. Voorhees just the right amount of crazy over the course of an extended finale that the audience can't help but be unnerved even if it comes off as over the top. The rest of the cast (which includes future star Kevin Bacon) is also pretty good, injecting personality where the script comes up short. Adrienne King's Alice, who slowly becomes the movie's heroine, is saddled with a part that seems very lightly developed (a bit of backstory is mentioned and then never mentioned again), yet she projects enough mood to help the character seem rounded. There's also the movie's big finale (which totally got me the first time I saw the movie), which is the final (and perhaps most important) element when it comes to what made Friday the 13th stick in the collective consciousness. (***)

Uncut Version
Although I've owned the Blu-Ray of Friday the 13th for some time now, I've never watched the Uncut version until now, and...well, maybe the editing done to the first film is a blessing in disguise. The first film uses the most obvious prosthetics of any of the films, and they only become more obvious the longer they linger on screen. The only one I felt was potentially improved by the added footage is the body hanging on the door...and I say "potentially" because I don't have a distinct enough recollection of the R-rated version of the scene to know if it's actually extended (and I no longer own any "cut" editions of the film to check).

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
After a slightly overlong introduction flashing back to the previous film, Friday the 13th Part 2 gets right back into the swing of things with a new group of teenagers, busy trying to open a different camp right next to Camp Crystal Lake. Directed by Friday 1 associate producer Steve Miner, this sequel really locks in the formula that would come to define the rest of the Friday the 13th sequels. More nudity, more gore, and more drug-taking, beer-drinking, sex-having campers for Jason to slaughter.

The absolute best aspect of Part 2 is the way the teenagers feel authentic. According to the book that comes with the set, 122 characters get slaughtered over the course of the first eight movies, and Part 2 has the highest number of characters I'd have liked to see more of. The cast basically breaks down into four relationships, between Ginny (Amy Steel) and Paul (John Furey), Mark (Tom McBride) and Vicky (Lauren-Marie Taylor), Jeff (Bill Randolph) and Sandra (Marta Kober), and Terri (Kirsten Baker) and Scott (Russell Todd), and although these kids also cover many of the standard slasher-movie "types," only Amy Steel has to do any dramatic heavy lifting, leaving the rest of the gang free to goof off and have fun, allowing the actors' natural energy to come through.

This isn't to say that Ginny's a drag; in fact, she's interesting as one of the only horror movie protagonists to have a bit of sympathy for the killer in question. Certainly Laurie and Nancy never feel bad for Michael or Freddy, but Ginny spends a night out at the bar trying to rationalize Jason's perspective on everything, which is actually pretty interesting. It gives the scenes where Jason's trying to cut her head off a unique twist, because even though her life is in danger, you can tell her heart kinda goes out to the old baghead. The gore effects are on the tame side compared to what would come later, but there are still a couple of classic kills, like the double-impaling of two campers in bed, and the kid in the wheelchair that not only takes a slash to the face, but then rolls backwards down a whole flight of stairs. (***½)

Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
It was probably way more fun in 3D. That's the thought that permeates the experience of watching Friday the 13th Part 3, which is a weak soup consisting of underwhelming characters and elements borrowed from the original Friday the 13th. This time, a bit of a dark cloud is cast over the return to Crystal Lake (well, okay, besides the fact that everyone's gonna get killed) by Chris (Dana Kimmell) and her less-than-fond memories of the camp over a recent traumatic experience. She's joined by a handful of friends, the most prominent being Shelly (Larry Zerner), who's been set up on a blind date weekend with Vera (Catherine Parks), who immediately dislikes his goofy prank antics.

When it comes to Friday the 13th, the last thing I need is even a semi-serious exploration of someone's traumatic past. To be fair, Part 3's dramatic ambition isn't that extensive, but the film still manages to devote an excessive amount of screen time to the reasons Chris is all mopey and cold towards her boyfriend (Paul Kratka), which aren't particularly interesting even if they do involve Jason. Meanwhile, Shelly's inability to do anything right becomes an unintentional downer. Usually, characters like Shelly rise up and take charge at a pivotal moment, but Shelly's one moment of victory is both minor and in the middle of the movie. Afterward, he goes right back to pulling obnoxious pranks on people who insistently tell him they don't like it, eventually prompting him to take a whiny, "love-me-for-me" stance that also feels like a grab at pathos. Adding insult to injury is the way returning director Steve Miner, who did much better with the previous sequel, resorts to half-heartedly cribbing from the original (the hammock kill, the ending) and exaggerating the 3D effect to a ludicrous degree. A couple of moments, like the attached photo of Jason, axe in head, arms outstretched, have a real comic book look to them, and the headstand kill is admittedly pretty sweet (also attached at the bottom of the review), but on the whole, Part 3 is a lame entry gimped by its gimmick and an inferior heroine. (*½)

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
In the fourth and far from "final" chapter (not even the only "final" entry in the series!), the clean-up from the previous film sends Jason's body to the morgue, where he turns out to be less than dead, killing two hospital staffers and returning home. There, two houses in the middle of the woods provide the setting: one is occupied by the Jarvis family, including young Tommy (Corey Feldman), who funnels his hyperactive imagination into props and masks straight out of a horror movie; in the other, a group of teenagers (including the one and only Crispin Glover) is ready to party all weekend. There's also a camper (Erich Anderson) wandering the woods with thoughts of revenge on his mind, and director Joseph Zito tops everything off with a loveable family dog, Crispin Glover's ridiculous dancing, and sexy twins.

It's weird: in the past, I've always named The Final Chapter as my favorite of the Friday films, but watching for this review, I found myself less jazzed by it than I remember. The brightest spot in the film is Feldman, whose enthusiasm (both for his creations and for the more adult things happening around him) make him a fun character. It'd be easy for a kid to become an annoyance in a film like this, but Zito and writer Barney Cohen play him nicely off of his older sister Trish (Kimberly Beck). Crispin Glover makes the most out of a standard slasher movie character by being Crispin Glover, and the character of Sara (Barbara Howard) also has a pleasant innocence that feels fresh for Friday machete fodder. Given all of these entertaining characters, the script could probably stand to lose Paul (Clyde Hayes) and Sam (Judie Aronson), since neither character is particularly developed beyond the fact that they're together, yet they take up ten to fifteen minutes of screen time for one kill that isn't anything special and another that feels edited by the MPAA.

What still works for me here is the gore. After the opening, Zito takes a pretty long time to get to the real bloodletting, but when it arrives, he delivers. The effects, by returning maestro Tom Savini, are really the star of the picture, designed with glee and staged with energy. Despite the aforementioned sense of tinkering, Zito does still spill plenty of blood with saws to necks and butcher knives to faces. He also tosses in some memorable moments beyond the splatter with a couple of cool slow-motion stunt falls, and a hat tip or two to the original film (fading to white). As for the big moment the whole film is ostensibly leading up to, it's...well, not bad (and Savini's animatronic head is great), but it's not hard to see why Jason failed to stay dead (regardless of how supernatural his resurrection is), especially considering other options included "splitting his head from the top of his skull to his Adam's apple" and actually having his head explode. (***)

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
Having killed Jason in the previous chapter, the fifth Friday the 13th decides to follow Tommy Jarvis instead. This time, he's played by John Shepherd, and when we meet him, he's settling into his new home at an unusually "mom-and-pop" style home for wayward kids, run by Dr. Matthew Letter (Richard Young). Tommy is haunted by the memory of Jason, resulting in sudden, uncontrolled bursts of physical aggression, constant nightmares and hallucinations, and a reluctance to speak or make friends with anyone around him. Things take a turn for the worse when the folks around Tommy start turning up dead, suggesting Jason might not quite be all that dead after all.

>Although Friday V is 26 years old, I won't spoil it, except to say fans expecting for some truly satisfying Jason Voorhees action will find themselves quite disappointed by this entry in the series. It feels like a movie the studio was reluctant to make the right way, and the concession was this half-assed compromise, which tries to follow the series formula without really playing by the rules. Shepherd's Tommy is also a real empty void; although plenty of things are happening to him, he rarely translates that into, say, an emotion that would appear on his face.

Director Danny Steinmann's sense of tone is all over the map. Half of the movie consists of more totally unremarkable victims, while the other half is way out there. A pair of mom-and-son farmers shriek at each other like banshees while delivering performances that are exaggerated on a level that defies explanation. One guy living at the home suddenly hacks up a fat guy with an axe. Two biker hoods out of another decade stop in the woods when their car breaks down. Weird is certainly more interesting than boring, but the movie is horribly inconsistent. The only character who feels like a standard Friday character is a minor one named Demon, played by Return of the Living Dead's Miguel A. Núñez Jr. The film's gore effects are underwhelming, and things get sillier as the movie drags on (like Melanie Kinnaman's inability to get up during a short chase). A chainsaw-vs.-machete fight and a weird bed-of-nails farm contraption are nice last-minute touches, but neither can prevent Friday V from being a half-baked sequel. (**)

Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)
If A New Beginning was a compromise, Jason Lives is Paramount throwing their hands up and just giving in. Any number of franchise characters have been killed and then come back (I'm thinking of Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis' teensy little burn marks in Halloween 4), but that's nothing compared to what writer/director Tom McLoughlin has in mind. Tommy (now played by another Return of the Living Dead alum, Thom Mathews) heads to the graveyard where Jason is buried to make sure he's as dead as the world thinks he is, but his actions turn out to be more hurtful than helpful when a metal fencepost he jams through Jason's heart is struck by lightning -- twice -- successfully re-animating the masked maniac. Tommy manages to escape and tries to warn the local sheriff (David Kagen), but his reputation as a nutcase gets in the way.

Where some of the other chapters have hinted or vaguely winked at fans of the series, McLoughlin practically puts them in a headlock and noogies them. Not only is his version of Jason a fully exaggerated, unstoppable killing machine, chopping heads off three at a time, blasting through doors like a walking explosive charge, and barely slowing down when characters start putting bullets in him, he's also the star of the movie -- even getting a parody of the classic James Bond intro when the title comes up. Kills are often the appeal of slasher movies, but McLoughlin extends that anticipation to Jason himself, and the character goes from the face of a franchise to a piece of pop culture before the viewer's eyes. Adding to the effect, C.J. Graham's towering, aggressive performance as the character is wonderful, fitting in perfectly with McLoughlin's vision.

Mathews makes for an okay Tommy, although the character, thanks to the total lack of development offered by V, is pretty one-note. Although it makes sense that Tommy would be entirely focused on Jason, the few moments of romance he has with the sheriff's daughter Megan (Jennifer Cooke) have a spirit missing from the rest of his material. Then again, Megan herself is pretty insufferable; she's attracted to Tommy's "wild side" (i.e., the totally sensible side that Tommy takes very seriously) for the "fun" of it, but the moment the killing starts in earnest, she becomes totally useless, standing around and yelling for either her father or Tommy. She even almost ruins Tommy's plan by luring Jason back to her because she won't shut up. Her camp counselor friends Sissy (Renée Jones), Paula (Kerry Noonan) and Cort (Tom Fridley) are much more entertaining. (***)

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
Jason Lives did not plug holes in the slowly sinking box office gross, so the producers stretch even farther with The New Blood, introducing more supernatural elements into the mix with Tina (Lar Park-Lincoln), who has telekinetic powers. As a young girl (Jennifer Banko), a fit of rage inadvertently caused a dock to collapse, killing her abusive father; as a teenager, she's distraught by the memory. Her mother (Susan Blu) takes her to see a specialist, Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser -- forever Bernie of Weekend at Bernie's), who agrees to start the therapy on the same lakefront property where it all happened. Like The Final Chapter, that house is right next to another full of partying kids on the edge of Crystal Lake -- I guess rentals are pretty cheap, given all the murders and everything.

Unlike other attempts to shake up the Friday formula, VII really feels like a movie about a telekinetic girl first and a Jason movie second, with the two stories slowly converging to form the big finale. Although some fans might lose patience with a movie that takes so long to turn Jason into a significant presence, I'd say it's preferable to the films that include characters like Chris in Part 3 or the antics of A New Beginning, which just feel like a distraction from the real star of the show. Plus, the payoff to the movie's build is great -- the third act is a pretty awesome brains-vs.-brawn battle between Tina and Jason packed with impressive physical stuntwork. Not all of director John Carl Buechler's direction is as effective as the version he has in his head (the worst being the last big moment between Tina and Jason, which is totally underwhelming), but he also gets plenty right. The telekinetic stuff is far more effective than one has any right to expect from a Friday film, and some of Buechler's effects shots are really great, like Jason going up in flames or the house exploding.

The music in the film is quite different; IMDb notes that Fred Mollen did most of the music and only a few elements of unused Manfredini score were dropped in. Although Manfredini's work on the series is undeniably iconic, the shake-up re-invigorates the classic elements of the score, which can't help but get a bit repetitive after six movies. The film also marks the first entry for Kane Hodder, easily the series' most popular Jason. I'm sure I'll catch some flak when I say Graham is still my personal favorite, but Hodder's performance is an easy second-best, exuding more personality as the setups get larger, and of course he's capable of doing most of those elaborate stunts himself. As the cherry on top, Diana Barrows might have the best, most ear-piercing scream in any of the first eight films, and who'd want to miss that? I have little memory of my reaction seeing this entry for the first time years ago, but watching this box set, it's safe to say it became my new favorite entry. (***½)

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Last and certainly least, the Paramount chapters stumble to a close with Jason Takes Manhattan. Looking at the movie's posters, it's hard not to get excited about the prospect of Jason stomping around the Big Apple, but most of the movie takes place on the water, where a graduation cruise is supposedly making its way to NYC. Believe it or not, it takes more than an hour for the film to actually reach the city, and it's another 20 minutes before the characters are actually in a location that seems like it might (might) actually be in Manhattan. By the time the characters finally emerge in Times Square (for a whole five minutes), writer/director Rob Hedden limply milks the moment for all its worth, which only draws attention (well, more attention) to how much of the movie is filmed on sets and backlots.

As a director, Hedden is pretty awful, staging scenes without logic or reason. One example: near the end of the movie, after our supposed lead Rennie (Jensen Daggett) has just crashed a cop car directly into a metal barrier trying to escape Jason, causing it to explode in flames, killing her mother, the movie grinds to a halt so she can have a boring story-related flashback. Even if the reveal was information we actually cared to know about Rennie, the characters have been pursued by Jason long enough to know standing around is a terrible idea, but nobody says a word. The kills are remarkably uninspired (a stabbing with a piece of mirror, choking some girl, half-heartedly tossing a thug into the side of a pipe) and mostly bloodless (a throat slitting doesn't even match the one in the original). The only moments of interest include Jason shoving a sauna rock into a guy's stomach and the way a kid thrown onto a sparking control panel has his crotch burst into flames before any other part of his body (seemingly unintentional). Even the sight of Jason literally punching a kid's head off of his body and into a dumpster isn't all that exciting, because Hedden lacks any of the flair that Zito, McLouglin, or Buechler brought to the kills. Hedden also fails to take advantage of half of the scenarios Jason encounters in the city -- he gets on a subway and doesn't kill a single person, and he actually scares a bunch punks away by taking off his mask.

Adding insult to injury, Manhattan has the series' most baffling finale, involving toxic waste in the city sewers, and the worst-looking unmasked Jason of all (bargain Halloween stores wouldn't sell a mask that looked as dumb). About the only entertaining thing in the entire movie is watching Rennie's love interest Sean (Scott Reeves) try to be masculine; he's hilariously whiny whenever he tries to stand up for her. After this, it's no surprise that both audiences and Paramount chose to give up on the franchise, sending the set off with less than a whimper instead of a bang. (½)

See the extras section for details.

The Video and Audio
Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th Part 2
Presented in slightly modified 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, both of these transfers are an upgrade from the really old single-disc releases and the box set release (where they shared a disc), but both are still rough around the edges -- other 1980s films have looked better. Grain is very heavy (although a couple bright daytime scenes in the sequel are pretty clear), and some edge haloes are visible around text captions (more on the former than the latter). On the other hand, colors are quite bright and vivid; my memory is that some of the colors in Friday the 13th looked funky on the original release, which is not an issue here. Contrast is also strong, revealing details in the darkness that were previously vague or murky. Both films are presented with two English audio mixes: Dolby Digital 5.1 and the original Dolby 2.0 Mono. For the first film, a sampling of the mono mix leans towards dialogue, while the 5.1 mix leans towards Harry Manfredini's classic score. Overall, I'd say I favor the 5.1 mix by a little bit, although there is a line that nearly gets buried by the music-heavy mix. Viewing the sequel, the difference between the two mixes is far less apparent -- there's a tiny bit of additional ambience from the forest setting, and again, maybe the music is slightly favored, but to my ears, the difference is practically inaudible. French and Spanish Mono mixes and English, Spanish, and French subtitles are also provided for both, with the added bonus of Portuguese subtitles on Part 2 These additional audio and subtitle options are the same from Part 2 through Part V, so they won't be mentioned in the next few entries.

Friday the 13th Part 3
The third Friday is the first (and last) presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, in both 2D and anaglyph 3D versions. I've watched a movie or two in anaglyph 3D before, and when I read online that people were complaining that all the 3D here does is give the viewer a headache, I thought they were exaggerating. Fifteen minutes (exactly) is the amount of time I lasted watching the anaglyph 3D version before I had to turn it off in favor of the 2D; the bright reds and blues combined with a limited amount of dimensionality really does start to weigh on the brain. One of the big problems (probably not uncommon in presentations like this) is the fact that the "other eye" image is almost always faintly visible, which just makes the movie look blurry. Some shots in those first fifteen minutes, like the laundry pole shot, really leap off the screen the way they were intended, but others, like the snake, seeemd flatter than intended. As for the 2D version, the image is not quite on par with the first two films in the series; there's a lot more grain, the image is darker, and some of the colors are a bit wonky -- when biker thug Ali (Nick Savage) enters the barn, his skin takes on a blue tint, and the left and right edges of the frame often look like they're trying to break back into red-and-blue. Again, sound is offered in 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital, and for whatever reason, it sounds better than 2 -- the ambience of the 5.1 track is a little stronger than its predecessor...maybe there's just more going on here for the surrounds to pick up on, but the woodsiness is palpable. On the other hand, the score might actually be a bit too cranked on this one. Some dialogue -- yelled dialogue! -- is drowned out.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture quality of The Final Chapter is in keeping with the previous chapters: heavy grain (which gets a bit noisy in darker scenes) permeates the image, making it appear rougher around the edges than it probably should. More interesting this go-through is the extent to which the mono mix is muffled and poorly separated -- the 5.1 remix is much, much better, popping the dialogue out with significantly crisper and clearer definition. Listen to the conversation between Jimmy and Ted in the back of the car while flipping between the two tracks, and it's clear which track to listen to. Some of the sound effects in the later half of the movie are a little flat in the remix, and the music takes preference over ambience later in the film, but these are minor complaints.

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning through Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
In terms of color reproduction and detail, the rest of the set's 1.78:1 anamorphic entries aren't much different, although the noisy grain appears to lighten up a little bit. Some of the darker scenes are still a bit rough, but the decreasing age of the films no doubt plays a part in the image clearing up, even if the difference is hardly significant. Although Part V sounds much the same as the other chapters when it comes to the difference between the two tracks, the sound jumps from 2.0 mono to 2.0 stereo with Part VI. On VI and VII, I hardly noticed a difference flipping between the two tracks, but a noticable disparity returns with Part VII, which really slathers the sound across the 2.0 stereo track; the 5.1 version offers a bit more nuance.

The Extras
Okay, okay. Again, fourth edition of the Friday the 13th films on DVD. You can also get 1-4 in an individual box set, and there are some double features out there in the wild as well. What makes this set "special" is the packaging, which sticks the discs in a hardcover collector's book, puts the book in a large plastic box, and puts a plastic replica of Jason's hockey mask in the box (along with two pairs of 3-D glasses). The mask has a sprayed-on, textured "dirt" paint, but it's a pretty cheap little collectible -- not nearly as detailed or crafted as, say, the Halloween 30th Anniversary Set, which came with a little rubber replica of Michael Myers' mask. Looking at it, I suppose it might've been neat if it was actually a wearable hockey mask, but it's a bit small for that to be possible. Beyond that, although there are probably plenty of people who have stuck with their 1999 discs or 2004 discs until they could get everything in a single box, the book packaging scratched all eight of my discs, some pretty badly (I took them to a local record store and got them all buffed before watching them). The book itself is sort of nice, with a page for each movie showing the original theatrical poster, the number of kills, the weapons used, and some trivia (like opening weekend gross); each movie "page" also serves as the disc sleeve. It would've been preferable to have the discs in a some kind of eight-disc case and the book as its own, separate extra, but perhaps Paramount felt there was limited value in an eight-page hardcover book.

As far as the disc-based extras go, they're the same as they were when the Deluxe Editions came out a few years ago. Glancing over the first three discs, I have to agree with fellow DVDTalker Cameron McGaughy in saying that these are not the "definitive" extras fans are looking for. On the original and Part 2, a mass of footage recorded at a convention is spread around, which not only lacks the focus provided by a normal interview environment, but really short-changes Part 2, which is poorly served by a panel consisting of cast and crew from the first movie. The two discs also kick off a series of made-for-DVD shorts (Tales from Camp Blood) and news reports ("The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited") that are a straight-up a waste of space and money; all DVD producers take note: jokey gag extras are never, ever appreciated. As for Part 3, all the extra disc space is eaten up by the anaglyph 3D version of the movie, turning all the other material for that chapter (aside the trailer) into Blu-Ray exclusives. Thankfully, from The Final Chapter onward, the discs shift toward standard making-of materials like retrospective featurettes and audio commentaries.

Whether or not you should bother upgrading to this Friday the 13th set depends on a lot of individual factors. Fans who have already purchased the Deluxe Editions can simply skip it, because these are the same DVDs in a disc-scratching book. Those who own the original 1999 DVDs or the first box set might be more interested to get the new discs this way thanks to the packaging (which does look nice when it's all boxed up) and the lower price tag (under $40) compared to buying the Deluxe Editions individually (about $70, going by Amazon's new prices). Then again, those same fans will also have to weigh the savings against the chances that their discs will be damaged, and those same fans may also want to hold out until a similar "Ulimate Edition" comes out in high definition, which will include more extras dropped from Disc 3 and potentially some of the missing extras from the "Crystal Lake to Manhattan" box. It's a complicated mix of pros and cons, but looking at all the options, the likelihood that someone will want to buy this edition is much lower than not. Still, although you technically wouldn't rent this box, it deserves a bit more than a complete "skip it" (for the price) and a bit less than a "recommended" (for the various drawbacks), so, rent it.

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