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DVD Reviews: ‘Friday The 13th’ 1-3 Deluxe Editions
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The Movie God   |  @   |  
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Friday the 13th Part, 1, 2 and 3 DVDsFriday The 13th
Friday the 13th Uncut
Friday the 13th Part 2
Friday the 13th Part 3 3-D
Directors: Sean S. Cunningham, Steve Miner
Starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Kevin Bacon, Amy Steel, John Furey, Dana Kimmell, Richard Brooker
Paramount Home Entertainment
Released Date: February 3, 2009

Right in time for the release of the brand new Friday the 13th, I was given the great honor of reviewing the movies that set this unstoppable ball of masked murdering mayhem in motion: Friday the 13th Parts 1, 2, and 3.

It’s been nearly three decades since Jason Voorhees was born, so there’s little I can say about the movies that people aren’t well-aware of already. The most impressive thing is that even after three decades, the man won’t stop and he doesn’t want to slow down. Personally, I see absolutely no reason for him to.

We live in a time where movies get sequels and remakes without a second thought, which is really a bad thing. Almost to an epidemic to a degree. But certain genres don’t need to worry about that, because they’re built to be done numerous times, and one of these genres is the slasher horror. Movies like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm St., and Halloween will not be changing much from movie-to-movie, but they don’t have to because we watch them and love them for their scares and to see all the stupid kids get hacked up in creative ways we would all easily avoid in those situations… naturally.

Up the street in the horror genre, you have the Saw movies, which are more of a psychological/suspense horror and not a slasher. As movie fans, we need movies like that to maintain a decent story, and keep us thinking, keep us guessing. So when they attempt to just do the same thing over and over like the slashers do, it doesn’t work out as well and people lose interest. Of course those movies still make a lot of money, so there are a collection of people who enjoy seeing an old guy think up wacky new death traps again and again — me, I’ll stick with old school, thanks.

Friday the 13th Uncut

In Friday the 13th, the first movie of the series, we spend most of our time at Camp Crystal Lake, your typical summer camp location. It turns out that at this particular summer camp, the young camp counselors are exceptionally experimental, and instead of watching the kids as they should be, a young couple are off having themselves a little quickie. Sadly, a little boy named Jason Voorhees drowns in Crystal Lake because there were no counselors there to help.

Years later, when the Camp is about to re-open, a killer stalks the new counselors — including a very young Kevin Bacon — quietly and stealthily moving around the camp and the camp’s general area slaughtering any and everyone who trips into sight.

It’s still a little odd watching Friday the 13th. Knowing how much of a horror icon that Jason Voorhees was to become, and seeing how little he had to do with the first movie (aside from one final scare), it’s pretty surreal. Considering the movie is openly admitted as trying to rip off the Halloween formula and run with it, they likely didn’t even have plans of going past the first movie. But alas, the movie was ultra-cheap and made sick amounts of money, so Jason Voorhees returned and became a monster among monsters in so many ways.

I guess one can look at the first movie as the best made film of the lot. Most originals are considered the best. But in the case of Friday the 13th, it’s not just about one film, it is a true franchise. Hell, you could go as far as to say it’s a life form of its own… an enigma.

I’m personally a total Jason Voorhees fan above all things, so the first movie doesn’t do it for me like some of the other movies. Nothing scarier than a gigantic and horrifying dude in a hockey mask who simply cocks his head to the side before he destroys your world. No one-liners or sarcastic quips, just carnage. A horror fan’s dream. He’s the shy loner boy and everyone knows you don’t screw with the shy kid.

As for the “Uncut” — I can’t quite say I picked up on what was added or shown that wasn’t in the original, I think it was only 10 seconds or so.

Special Features

Friday the 13th Reunion — The cast and crew gather at a little event in 2008. They share stories and answer questions about the movie, including the very first Jason and even Jason’s mother, Betsy Palmer, saying she thought the script was total shit. Nice.

Fresh Cuts: New tales from Friday the 13th — This is basically the same thing as the reunion you just watched. In fact, I believe they filmed it on the same day. The only difference if these are one-on-one interviews with the cast and crew.

The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham — A feature with the original movie’s first director Sean S. Cunningham. He basically just shares his thoughts on the movie and the franchise. He wasn’t at the reunion, so this is his chance to chat.

Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 1 — I’m not 100% sure what this was, to be honest. It looked like a deleted scene from a Friday the 13th, but it was filmed recently with new kids in a nicer house. They wake up, the young dude goes looking for something, the power is out, we see shadows and such. The young lady gets up to see what’s keeping him, she finds him dead in a chair, screams, then goes looking herself. The dude (now not as dead as we thought) then attempts to crawl into the hallway. He’s just in time to see his lady friend get her eyes taken out before the killer stops by to step on his head. I’m not even sure if it was Jason or what. That classic Jason taunt was repeatedly played. A very odd special feature, but why not add a couple more bodies to the DVD’s count?

Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part 2 begins the mythology of Jason Voorhees. After the one survivor from the first movie (and decapitator of Mrs. Voorhees) is mysteriously killed, we return to Camp Crystal Lake where a new group of counselors are in training. One night by a fire, the tale of Jason Voorhees, “the boy who drowned,” is first told. Not long after that, people begin dying one-by-one.

When we eventually get to the end, one of the final people still alive finds the shrine holding the severed head of Mrs. Voorhees which is surrounded by the bodies of the slain. This is where we first meet the alive and very dangerous Jason Voorhees.

This second movie basically set the formula for future Friday the 13th installments. Kids at camp, slaughtered one at a time, one or two survivors battle with Jason before finally putting him down, finished off by that final glimpse of Jason still alive and promising more blood in the future. A formula that naturally is hated by movie purists, but again, I go back to the fact that this is a slasher movie in the horror genre and this is how they should be. No thinking, no figuring, just straight horror glee.

These are the movies we rent piles of on Halloween night with friends and a barrel of snacks.

Special Features

Inside ‘Crystal Lake Memories’ — A chat with the author of Crystal Lake Memories, which is basically a coffee table book documenting the history of Friday the 13th.

Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions — A look at one of the many horror movie conventions that take place each year.

Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 2 — It’s now looking like this is a sort of new Friday the 13th movie, presented in little short movie form. This one shows the blood in the hallway of the first short, then goes to a couple who are broken down on the side of the road trying to call someone. They proceed to go on a hike… bad things happen. Definitely not Jason, though. It’s a big dude wearing a hoody coat, I think.

Jason Forever — A pretty cool little feature. Fangoria was able to gather up four of the actors who have played Jason Voorhees, including: the first, young Jason, played by Ari Lehman; Warrington Gillete, who was Jason in the second movie; C.J. Graham, who played the first undead Jason in Jason Lives; and of course, the best known of them all, Kane Hodder, whom I’ve been personally choked by. Awesome.

Friday the 13th Part 3

If you’re a child of the ’80s, you know a popular novelty was 3-D. The third Jaws movie went 3-D and Jason Voorhees went 3-D in his third go as well. What better way to enhance a horror, than to have a giant shark or a massive machete coming out of the screen and into your face? Pants were shat.

In the third installment, Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3D, Jason Voorhees is hiding out in a barn to hide his deformed face. A girl who was attacked a couple years earlier in the woods heads to Camp Crystal Lake, complete with a gang of disposable friends to “face their fears.” Eventually, Jason gets his hands on some poor bastards in the barn and dispatches them with ease. One is wearing a sweet mask, and in this moment, Jason Voorhees finally obtains the final piece of the look we all know so well. After that touching moment, though, he proceeds to slaughter all of the kids before his showdown with the girl who was attacked two years earlier. She eventually plants an axe in his head and as always, assumes him for dead. Of course, when she wakes up the next morning in a canoe on the lake, she looks up to see Jason looking at her from a window in the house. As he attempts to run after her, the corpse of Mrs. Voorhees grabs her from the lake.

This was one of the running gags the film makers loved using that wasn’t so useful in these movies was at the end of every single one, survivors have a terrifying experience which turns out being just a nightmare and they’re actually in the hospital. I guess you could say it was good for the scares, but only so many times, kids.

Friday the 13th Part 3 was the first of many that was supposed to be the last movie, but yet they did still have that wacky ending where hints of another massacre are dropped. You can never be too safe.

The best part about the 3-D third movie is that I had never seen it in 3-D and the DVD came with freakin’ 3-D glasses, which is totally awesome and brought my ass right back to the ’80s.

This movie sets off the series on a little off-road misadventure where they’re not sure if they want to end the series or whether all the money being made is worth it to keep going. They struggle with storylines, including the death of Jason and some copycat killers, which enraged fans. Eventually though, Jason’s corpse was reanimated and everything was right in the world.

Special Features

I’m assuming that because of the choice to watch 2-D or 3-D, there are no special features. Just the theatrical trailer.

Not even the third short movie thing they seemed to be doing all along!

When it comes to Friday the 13th, it’s almost impossible to review them as single movies. Again, the franchise as a whole and the character Jason Voorhees is more of its own life force than a bunch of movies. You either hate horror movies and hate Friday the 13th, or you love every cheesy, gory second of it. I can’t get enough of it.

I was born right around the same time as the franchise, and hell, my name is even Jason, so I’ve always been attracted to it as a horror fan. Because of this, I’m able to look past the flaws of the movies and how bad they can be and I can completely embrace the fun and entertainment value that they bring to the table.

You can keep your Freddy Krueger and his hilarious one-liners and Cosby sweater, when I want to escape to where everyone seems prone to falling and no one can safely have pre-marital sex, I choose Camp Crystal Lake.

Obviously, if these movies aren’t your cup o’ tea, you should probably avoid picking them up. But for fans like myself, what good is your collection without these bad boys? On second thought, screw your tea, you should grab them anyway, for Betsy Palmer’s royalties fund.

1 Comment »

  1. I enjoyed them, as well. And for the sheer cheesy 3-D factor for part 3, it is worth it. Heck, each disc has something fun to watch. Definitely recommended for completists, or people with money to spare. >:)

    Comment by Wings — February 25, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

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