Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection
- Street Date:
- September 13th, 2013
- Reviewed by:
- M. Enois Duarte
- Review Date: 1
- September 13th, 2013
- Movie Release Year:
- Warner Brothers
- 0 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Rated R
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Friday the 13th (1980)
While 'Black Christmas (1974)' and 'Halloween (1978)' paved the way for what later became the holiday-themed "slasher" movie, it was Sean S. Cunningham's 'Friday the 13th (1980)' which cemented the relatively-new-at-the-time subgenre into a viable blueprint that could be easily imitated. The horror at Camp Crystal Lake is almost single-handedly responsible for kick-starting a craze of scary movies that flooded theaters in the early part of the 1980s, a short period of time sometimes affectionately referred to as "The Golden Age of the Slasher" by horror aficionados. It also introduced the setting of youth camps, the sort bursting with misbehaving, reckless teenagers too preoccupied with their hormones to notice a killer on the loose.
Although its all-too familiar formula has largely lost its effectiveness, especially with modern audiences, Cunningham's film still possesses some small semblance of originality. The story's "Final Girl" is very plainly defined with a thick air of innocence and vulnerability so that when it comes time to fight the killer, it's somewhat surprising to see her also be resourceful, quick on her feet, and capable of defending herself. None of the characters do stupid things purely for narrative convenience; they are hunted and attacked while in the middle of regular activities. The plot keeps the identity of its killer a mystery for a shocking reveal, one which owes a great deal to Hitchcock's 'Psycho.' With memorable music by Harry Manfredini and gory effects by legendary makeup maestro Tom Savini, 'Friday the 13th' remains a blast. (Movie Rating: 3.5/5)
Friday the 13th Part 2
With the success of the first movie, a sequel was bound to happen, especially at a time when the practice was quickly becoming commonplace. Steve Miner takes over where Cunningham left off — with a mystery about the little boy in the lake — and continues the senseless slaughter of horny, inappropriate young people. Like its predecessor, the script demonstrates some smarts with characters that are not complete dunces — a VW bug that has trouble starting and a counselor with a background in child psychology, all which of serve a purpose in the harrowing third act. Although not quite the equal of part one, the follow-up is just as wildly entertaining, expanding on an established story while also launching into new territory: the unstoppable supernatural killer.
Playing almost like a tongue-in-cheek twist, the sequel opens with our "Final Girl" of the first movie treated like "First Girl." It's both funny and amusingly creative. Despite the two movies being just under a year apart, the plot picks up five years later at a counselor training camp not too far from Camp Crystal Lake, which has become an abandoned, off-limits site. An aspect I particularly enjoy is that the events of the first film have become urban legend, stories literally told around a campfire in order to scare attentive listeners. And rather than simply jumping into a series of gruesome kills, Miner takes a more selective approach as the murders slowly escalate until they happen one immediately after another. He creates a couple suspenseful, mildly hairy moments before finally delivering on shocking visual, making this follow-up all the more fun. (Movie Rating: 3.5/5)
Friday the 13th Part III – 3-D
Picking up literally moments from where the sequel left off, the third installment in the series is, in my estimation, where the filmmakers begin to drop the ball and the formula starts incorporating very familiar genre tropes. While the writing remains on par with the previous two — a couple clever devices here and there, which serve the plot decently well — characterization takes a nosedive, as audiences are introduced to an unsympathetic bunch of dolts. The heroine comes with a backstory that's not only completely unnecessary but sounds ridiculously unbelievable. The rest in the group, including a laughable biker gang, are not exactly stupid, but their behavior and attitudes definitely are. I guess you can say this also marks the moment where we begin to oddly cheer for the killer.
Nonetheless, part three has its charms, particularly in the lonely, timid and self-deprecating Shelly, played convincingly by Larry Zerner. Quick side note: Mr. Zerner is the lawyer who represented the real George Lutz in a lawsuit against 'The Amityville Horror' remake. Amateur makeup-effects artist Shelly plays a significant role in the franchise since the over-compensating nerd is responsible for acquainting Jason with the trademark hockey mask. In the second half, Jason picks up his machete for the first time, as well, completing the recognizable and beloved outfit that's become a Halloween staple. Miner also does the cool, customary camerawork where Jason suddenly appears from within the shadows, standing behind his victim just as he's about to chop them down. It's not quite the match to the previous two, but it has its importance to the series. (Movie Rating: 3/5)
The Final Chapter
Things improve slightly as we move into film number four in the franchise, but it's not by much. Stupidity is starting to become a comfortable truism, expected of characters and movies where the whole point is merely seeing gruesomely creative deaths. People are now actually starting to run towards trouble rather than away. Most laughably notable is big sister Trish running back to the basement for a second look at the corpse of her crush. However, 'The Final Chapter,' which of course it is not, does offer a couple of unique dance steps, in reference to Crispin Glover's hilarious impromptu moves. After Jason expanded his killing horizons in the last movie — he's not just going after camp counselors anymore — his murder spree went on to include pretty much anyone living within the vicinity of Camp Crystal Lake. This leaves room for some fun possibilities.
This fourth installment also involves the bizarre, twisted conclusion with poor little Tommy. For the first time, a child in brought into the mix and played with memorable charisma by Corey Feldman. Being another amateur makeup-effects artist and mask-maker, the character is like a younger, nerdier version of Shelly, and Feldman has always been one of the movie's most memorable aspects for me. (Crispin Glover's dance is probably another.) The beautiful twins, Camilla and Carey More, like something from a Wrigley's Doublemint gum commercial, are another part which continues to linger in the back of my mind. Still, it's those final moments of the movie which ultimately sell it for me. (Movie Rating: 3.5/5)
A New Beginning
Whereas the first four movies start with quick recaps of previous events, segueing into one big kill just prior to the opening credits, the fifth entry to the franchise immediately jumps into the story several years later with a troubled and permanently traumatized Tommy. Also, whereas the other movies finished their nightmarish ordeal against Jason with a final-shocker dream sequence, this little feature from Danny Steinmann ('Savage Streets') starts with a weird nightmare about grave robbers. After the last two included victims other than camp counselors, part five takes Jason's killing spree outside of Camp Crystal Lake entirely and makes the whole world fair game. This is also where stupid behavior and campy comedy, namely a hillbilly mother and son duo, become part of the franchise attraction.
No matter how many times I watch 'A New Beginning,' I only possess vague, fragmented memories of it. And apparently, it's for good reasons, because this movie sucks. It's the worst of the entire series. The kills of idiotic, pointless characters are practically carbon copies of those seen in the first four, and the camera conveniently looks away from the mayhem — not because it's too gruesome, but because the filmmakers don't want audiences to notice the cheesy, store-bought makeup effects. The final reveal is one the dumbest, nonsensical surprises in pretty much all of horror cinema. The plot continuing the Tommy storyline is admirable at best, and setting it in the middle of a recovery program with other crazies adds an appreciable air of mystery to the killer's true identity. When it's all said and done, however, part five is ultimately best forgotten. (Movie Rating: 1.5/5)
Almost as if aware of the awful, sour taste the last movie left on horror audiences, producers of the franchise take the Jason mythos back to basics. Well, sort of. The sixth installment is where we finally have the zombified killing machine with superhuman strength we know and love. The added twist to the series, thanks to a ridiculously over-the-top, Frankenstein-like resurrection scene, makes the movie an important part to the series, but not a particularly good one. Writer and director Tom McLoughlin brings the Tommy vs. Jason storyline full circle a few more years after the events of the last film. The newly-awakened Jason also returns to his old stomping grounds, Camp Crystal Lake, which has reopened once again under a different name. In fact, the entire town changed names after the grisly murders brought unwanted attention.
While I can admit to its drawbacks, 'Jason Lives' is, for me, a particularly memorable chapter in the 'Friday the 13th' saga. I fondly remember number six as the first Jason movie I watched in theaters with friends (at the Edward's Theatres before it changed to Regal). And I recall laughing as lighting strikes just happen to hit the one metal rod sticking up from Jason's grave, amongst an entire graveyard lined with a metal fence. The campy, tongue-in-cheek humor kept us entertained, like the two boys talking about being dead meat a few times, as did the gory, über-bloody violence and the outrageously creative kills. I also remember part six as the first to show Jason as an unstoppable walking corpse who also popped out of nowhere. No matter how fast you run, he's always ahead of you. (Movie Rating: 3/5)
The New Blood
With the last movie introducing the supernatural element into the series, the filmmakers of the seventh installment take it further into paranormal depths with the ultimately silly angle of telekinesis. Special effects and makeup artist turned director John Carl Buechler ('Troll') manages to produce some mildly hairy moments and decent jump scares, but he can't overcome the inherent goofiness of the premise, one which easily tops the absurd resurrection of the previous film for an even more ridiculous one. Where Tommy's was a purely coincidental mistake, psychic heroine Tina revives Jason intentionally. Granted, the troubled teen was hoping for the return of her dead father, but why in the world would she think dear old dad would still be at the bottom of the lake?
Unfortunately, the lack of intelligence doesn't end there, as stupidity appears to run rampant like a contagion to anyone remotely near Crystal Lake. Practically every character in the movie is cheap fodder for the slaughter, giving the audience little reason to root for a single one of them. In fact, the script crams into this mess a heaping helping of really annoying people, and even throws in two of the biggest jerks for good measure — snooty blond Melissa and the two-face Dr. Crews. Making part seven the least bit tolerable are the unintentionally hilarious deaths, all thanks to Jason ransacking someone's toolshed full of fun goodies. This is also one of my favorite looks for the unstoppable monster of Crystal Lake. Sadly, it all goes to the dumps with arguably one of the dumbest conclusion in the series. (Movie Rating: 2/5)
Jason Takes Manhattan
The first hour of the eighth 'Friday' installment is spent aboard a small cruise ship with recent graduates on their way to New York for their senior trip. This brings the movie's title into question, as expectations force audiences to be patient before delivering on its promise. The trip probably wouldn't be so bad if the company wasn't such a displeasure to be around; once again, we're made to stomach the presence of two highly unlikeable individuals — conceited socialite Tamara and the prick biology teacher Charles McCulloch. The final forty minutes finally arrives in Manhattan where survivors of the death ship run through the city like headless chickens. We finally arrive in freaking Manhattan, but producers decide to spend the majority of that time in alleys, docks, and subways. Really?
Similar to the sixth entry in the series, 'Jason Takes Manhattan' is, for me, enjoyed with a large helping of nostalgia (and wine). This time, part eight was one of the first movies released that summer where I drove friends to the theater — as opposed to being dropped off by parents. We had a blast laughing at the stupid behavior of characters, roared when Tamara tried to seduce her teacher, and cheered when Jason gave everyone what was coming to them. It was hysterical then seeing aspiring boxer Julius decapitated by a single punch, and frankly, it's still pretty damn funny. Best of all is the idea that New York is such a dump that toxic waste flows through the sewers on a nightly basis. On the other hand, I was convinced at the time that Jason's death was permanent by the absurd convenience. No way in hell could he come back from that one. Boy, was I wrong. (Movie Rating: 2.5/5)
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
Since we're sharing memories, 'Jason Goes to Hell' has the pleasure of being the last 'Friday' movie I've seen in theaters, which probably goes without saying given how ridiculously stupid the series had become. The temptation of buying a ticket opening weekend was largely due to wondering how producers could bring Jason back after the last movie. To my amazement, the filmmakers don't even try to explain Jason's return; instead, they jump directly into a big action sequence opener where the unstoppable killer is blown to smithereens. But, wait! Our favorite hockey-mask wearing monster still has a beating heart. And, wait, yet again! Did you know the Voorhees family still lives by Crystal Lake, and that the only way to truly kill Jason is by chanting a clever nursery rhyme: "Through a Voorhees was he born, through a Voorhees may he be reborn, and only by the hand of a Voorhees may he die."
I was just as disgusted by the utter stupidity of it then as I am now. But, wait! What if this is all part of some hugely subtle, tongue-in-cheek gag, geared towards 'Friday' fans as well as horror-hounds alike. It's as if the filmmakers decided to take the campiness, twisted sense of humor of the previous movies and went overboard with it — if you're going to do it, then do it in the loudest, most obnoxious way possible. Steven Williams takes a leave absence working '21 Jump Street' as cartoonish bounty hunter Creighton Duke. Various homages and references are sprinkled throughout, such as Jessica saying Steven's body is just down the road from the Myers place. Or, the fact that the ancient Sumerian "Book of the Dead" from Sam Raimi's 'Evil Dead' series makes a hilarious cameo appearance. As silly as the whole thing may be, I also rather like the final minute with Freddy's gloves alluding to a showdown between modern horror icons which took another decade to finally realize. (Movie Rating: 2/5)
Once again, producers ignore the events of the previous movie in order to resuscitate Jason from his proverbial death. Nearly ten years since the last entry, the makers of the tenth installment make a similar attempt to revive a beloved horror franchise that honestly should have been left in its grave. Since that's clearly not the case, visual effects artist turned director James Isaac, working from a script by Todd Farmer ('Drive Angry'), launches the unstoppable killer of Crystal Lake into outer space and almost 500 years into the future: perhaps renaming the movie "Jason Voorhees in the 25th Century" would've been more fitting. With a light sense of humor and intentional over-the-top silliness interrupting any possibility of the movie taking itself too serious, 'Jason X' actually manages to be somewhat entertaining, in a corny, high-budgeted direct-to-video sort of way.
The "Die Hard in Space" premise, like some kind of cautionary tale on the unexpected dangers of nanotechnology, liberally borrows from the likes of the first two 'Alien' movies. Farmer and his team provide the film with a good air of claustrophobia although it fails at building suspense, and the marine grunts turn out to be useless fodder with one such soldier even yelling out "Game over!" at a pivotal moment. It's good to know that nearly half a millennium later and capitalist greed leads to some embarrassingly fatal decisions, meanwhile the future is still occupied by potheads and premarital sex. Like the series being given a massive upgrade, Jason is also allowed a hilarious makeover with a new, futuristic mask and body armor that makes him ever more difficult to put down. Several convenient plot devices are just too dumb for their own good, leading to more roll-of-the-eyes than the giggles the filmmakers were probably aiming for. A preposterous finish leaves open the doors for more sequels which thankfully never happened. (Movie Rating: 2.5/5)
Freddy vs. Jason
The promise made in 'Jason Goes to Hell' is finally realized a decade later with a movie that nicely blends the excessive gore with a healthy dose of comedy. And while it doesn't exactly deliver on that promise, the crossover of the two biggest horror franchises does manage to entertain, at least to a small degree. It's just enough for devoted fans of either series to enjoy and find something they like though the urge to boo, hiss, and throw popcorn at the screen happens on a couple occasions. The biggest gripe is arguably the lack of intelligence amongst characters or of people inadvertently singing the praises to their own doom. To be fair, this is a familiar trope commonly expected of the genre, and to that effect, producers return both franchises back to basics, full of misbehaving kids, recreational drug use, grownups that don't listen and premarital sex.
To the credit of the filmmakers, the mixing of the two mythos is also done with surprising believability — in terms of the universes created by both fictional storylines — and with respect to audience intelligence and finicky fanboys taking notes. The script from Damian Shannon and Mark Swift makes references to the original films when necessary to move the narrative forward rather than as a gag or inside joke. Audiences come home not only to Elm Street, Freddy's favorite hunting grounds, but also to Nancy's house where the nightmares began. Once local teens start being scared again, it's only logical to return to Jason's Camp Crystal Lake for a final mano-a-mano between the two horror giants. With a strong visual style by director Ronny Yu ('Fearless,' 'Bride of Chucky'), the movie makes for a decent installment and at least, doesn't ruin either franchise. (Movie Rating: 3/5)
Friday the 13th (2009)
When the announcement for a reimagining of the original movie came, my initial thoughts were a bit on the optimistic side. This is mostly because I personally like Marcus Nispel's take on Tobe Hooper's seminal horror classic. At its worst, the German-born director would at least return the franchise to its viscerally shocking roots. But sadly, what he delivers is a bizarre hodgepodge of the best bits from all the other movies, mashed up together to feel tonally like a cheap, updated version. It's the visual wet dream of a fanboy's gleeful fantasy run wild with more buckets of blood and topless women, the way we would love to imagine the original series. Oh, and just for the heck of it, why not add the biggest douchebag ever and force audiences to endure that jerk for a really long stretch of time.
The plot, which was conceived by the same duo that gave us 'Freddy vs. Jason,' giving fans a clue at the level of intelligence to be found is this mess, combines the first four films into one big parade of "ooh, ooh, and do you remember this part." The opening credits quickly surmise part one in under two minutes and jump twenty years with a false start that annoys more than it surprises — if someone is jabbing a machete from beneath the floor, why are you crawling rather than jumping up and running! Afterwards, Jared Padalecki plays the role of Rob Dier from 'The Final Chapter'; Jason starts with the white hood from Part 2 but eventually graduates into Part 3; and everybody dies the miserable deaths they pretty much deserve. Most stupid of all, since when does Jason keep hostages? And how does someone get stuck on a woodchipper without being completely sucked in? (Movie Rating: 2/5)
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Thanks to a recent agreement with Paramount Pictures, Warner Home Video brings 'Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection' to Blu-ray as a 10-disc collector's item with a code an UltraViolet Digital Copy. Inside an attractive, lightly-embossed black tin box, fans will find another black package that opens like a book with each page showing pictures for each film. Those same pages also serve as sleeves for each disc which slide out by placing some slight pressure to the top and bottom, widening the mouth only a little. The inside is smooth and glossy to prevent the discs from scratching.
The first four films are contained on separate Region Free, BD50 discs that go straight to a menu screen with a static pic and music. The next five installments share the same Region Free, BD50 disc and give viewers an option before switching to another static menu screen. The final two movies arrive on separate Region Free, BD50 discs again and also go straight to a static menu screen. When it comes to the 2009 remake, the disc goes directly into the movie, defaulting to the unrated version and Dolby TrueHD. Viewers wanting to switch to the theatrical cut can do so via the pop-up menu. The tenth and final disc is a DVD-9.
The package also includes a pair of anaglyph red/blue 3-D glasses and a Camp Crystal Lake Counselor iron-on patch. Bringing it all to a close is a glossy 41-page booklet with excerpts from Peter M. Bracke's Crystal Lake Memories book, full of color still photos.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Friday the 13th: Part 1 – 3
The first three 'Friday' movies arrive with identical AVC-encoded transfers (1.85:1) — no change whatsoever from their 2009 counterparts. For a more detailed breakdown of each disc, please read Peter Bracke's excellent reviews (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. But with that being the case, I'll simply lump all three into one single analysis of their picture quality.
Given their age and production limitations, all three movies look pretty fantastic on high-def video. Definition and resolution are excellent with sharp, distinct lines on the various pieces of wood making up the walls of the cabins, as well as on the trees and leaves surrounding the entire campsite. Flesh tones appear natural with plenty of visible textures on the faces of the cast and the different articles of clothing. With a consistent and thin layer of grain throughout, contrast is well-balanced and bright while black levels are deep and accurate with strong shadow delineation. Colors are bold and energetic, particularly in the primaries.
Part three arguably looks the worst of the bunch, especially since this is a missed opportunity for giving the movie a proper 3D conversion. As with part two, grain can fluctuate in a number of scenes, mostly during dark interiors, but the change is tolerable and only gives the movie a nice film-like charm. Depth is excellent for the most part with great separation of the foreground from the background, but it's difficult to tell at times because the colorization is distracting and the 2.35:1 image is often blurry. The endless amount of crosstalk is also a constant strain on the eyes. In the end, the gimmick photography is precisely that but mildly amusing. (Video Rating: 3.5/5)
The Final Chapter
Number four hacks its way to Blu-ray with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that has as many upsides as it does downsides. There are plenty of great scenes with excellent, crisp contrast and sharp definition in the surrounding foliage, furnishings and clothing, but there are also several moments of poor resolution, severe softness and film grain that looks a bit noisy. The soft diffusion photography is a little weird but not too bad. Black levels are mostly accurate, but can fluctuate in a few areas. Colors benefit the most with a palette of vibrant primaries, yet in the end, the high-def transfer falls on the average side of things.
I'm saddened to report, however, that I experienced a terribly annoying glitch on the disc where it suddenly freezes and skips at a pivotal moment — Glover's character talks to his date in bed. I played the disc on three different players, and the same thing happened on each at around the 58:45 – 59:30 mark. The players do well in skipping over the problem, but it's a major distraction to the movie's enjoyment. (Video Rating: 2.5/5)
A New Beginning/Jason Lives
Funny that the worst in the series receives one of the better video presentations, displaying excellent clarity and resolution for a movie of this caliber and age. Part six is not too far off with fine object and textural details looking quite distinct and resolute, exposing every blemish and negligible imperfection in the architecture, background furniture and healthy facial complexions. A couple scenes do show their age; however, there is a nice consistency in quality throughout with a very fine layer of natural grain. Contrast is comfortably bright while blacks appear true and accurate with strong shadow delineation. The color palette pops off the screen with rich saturation and energy. (Video Rating: 3.5/5)
The New Blood/Jason Takes Manhattan
Of the two AVC-encoded transfers, number eight comes out the stronger with better clarity and detailing in daytime scenes, as well as in the numerous nighttime sequences. The diffusion photography of the seventh movie gives the video a soft, dreamy look, but definition is ultimately average with a grain structure that tends to fluctuate and brightness levels that are less than satisfying. Both display good contrast balance while colors appear bold and well saturated. 'Jason Takes Manhattan' comes with stronger blacks and deep, penetrating shadows, providing some pleasing dimensionality. (Video Rating: 3.5/5)
Jason Goes to Hell/Jason X
Jason's journey to hell arrives with less than satisfying definition and resolution, but the sci-fi horror follow-up amazes with sharp detailing in various objects and the interior of the space ship. Part ten is far superior as well with better shadow delineation and deeply rich black levels. Brightness could be a tad stronger in number nine, as the darker portions can look somewhat faded and murky. The color palette in both movies is accurately and cleanly rendered. Contrast fails to impress in 'Jason Goes to Hell' with highlights running a smidge hotter, exposing some noise and posterization, but 'Jason X' displays a crisper, brighter and better transfer. (Video Rating: 3.5/5)
Freddy vs. Jason
The clash between two horror icons explodes with an excellent 1080p/VC-1 encode that's identical to the Blu-ray release from 2009. The 2.35:1 image comes with sharp, distinct details in the Jason's torn, slimy outfit and in the grimy, filthy sweater of Freddy. The aged hockey mask exposes the tiniest nick, dent and scratch while we can see every muscle tissue, rotten tooth and individual scar on Freddy's badly burned face. Contrast is spot-on with clean, crisp white everywhere, and black levels are inky rich with deep, penetrating shadow that don't engulf the finer lines. Colors are bold and loud as well, making this a great high-def presentation. (Video Rating: 4/5)
Friday the 13th (2009)
It's no surprise the remake arrives with the best video presentation of the whole package, especially seeing as how it's the most recent addition. Also, the VC-1 encode is identical to its 2009 counterpart, so there really shouldn't be any surprises at all. The highly-detailed picture displays sharp, well-defined lines on clothing, the surrounding foliage and close-up are very revealing. The smallest object in the background is distinct, and the new Jason is particularly grimy-looking. The little bit of softness is inherent to the sun-backed photography, which comes with contrast levels that are intentionally on the hot side. Blacks could be a tad stronger, but visibility within the shadows is quite excellent while bold, vibrant colors invigorate the 2.40:1 image. Only thing keeping it on this side of perfection is some very light, almost negligible aliasing around the edges of objects. (Video Rating: 4.5/5)
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Friday the 13th: Part 1 – 3
Like the video, the first three movies arrive with Dolby TrueHD soundtracks that are identical to their previous releases. And while I find myself enjoying them for what they are, I can admit they also have their drawbacks, most notably a mid-range that's not very extensive or really all that impressive. In fact, the higher frequencies tend to come off a bit screechy and bright, especially during Harry Manfredini's score and loud, sudden violin notes. Likewise, the low-end is noticeably lacking for a movie with so much action, even in the music, creating a largely flat, somewhat listless presentation. On the plus side, the soundstage is broad and welcoming with a well-balanced channel separation and good dialogue reproduction, generating a satisfyingly engaging soundfield. (Audio Rating: 3/5)
The Final Chapter
In the audio department, sadly, listeners are left with something to be desired. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is not too terrible, but it generally sounds flat and monotone, thanks mostly to an even and uniform mid-range. The few moments in which the design pushes into the higher frequencies the lossless mix comes off bright and nearly ear-piercing with noticeable crackling and hissing. Low bass is largely absent, making the presentation all the duller. Granted, imaging feels wide, allowing Manfredini's score to be the most engaging aspect, and vocals are cleanly delivered in the center, but overall, it's fairly average. (Audio Rating: 2.5/5)
A New Beginning/Jason Lives
Although the picture quality is an improvement, the DTS-HD MA soundtrack on the fifth chapter is on par with its predecessors. Dialogue is cleanly delivered in the center and well-prioritized. As with the others, the biggest problem is in the high-end, where the upper ranges are much too loud and ear-piercing, ruining finer details a tad, while the mids lack warmth and fidelity. The front-heavy presentation comes with pleasingly broad imaging, showing good but very light panning between the channels. The score, especially, widens the soundfield to an amusing, engaging effect, and bass is bit more palpable here than in the previous movies though not by much. Number six is definitely the better of the two with better bass and dynamic range while employing the rears with satisfying effectiveness and good directionality. (Audio Rating: 3.5/5)
The New Blood/Jason Takes Manhattan
Once again, the next two sequels arrive with DTS-HD soundtracks that show plenty of promise but ultimately reveal a few distracting drawbacks. It's somewhat of a shame since this is where minor rear activity with decent atmospherics generates a mildly amusing soundfield. Low bass is also a bit more palpable, adding some weight to the action pieces. Dialogue reproduction in both movies is excellent and intelligible while the front soundstage feels wide and welcoming. As with the others, the mid-range is the cause of my gripe, pushing the higher frequencies to ear-piercing levels, ruining the finer details and create noticeable clipping. (Audio Rating: 3/5)
Jason Goes to Hell/Jason X
Things improve dramatically going into the next disc as both DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks arrive with a good sense of presence and clarity in the soundstage. Dynamic range is never pushed too far beyond its limits in 'Jason Goes to Hell,' but the tenth entry delivers sharp detailing in the mid-range with room-penetrating clarity. Most impressive is a hearty, booming low-end, giving every punch, thump, gunshot and footstep appreciable weight, and 'Jason X' wins out again with a more powerful bass that rattles walls and digs much deeper. Surrounds are mostly used by the musical score, but the occasional discrete effect can be heard to lightly enhance the soundfield and create some minor immersion. Dialogue reproduction is clean and crisp in the center in both movies, but 'Jason X' is definitely much more fun. (Audio Rating: 4/5)
Freddy vs. Jason
The showdown of the century, at least for horror fans, erupts with a bombastic but immersive DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 soundtrack that's fun and engaging. Imaging is broad with excellent fidelity and very well-balanced channel separation. The mid-range and acoustics are dynamic and extensive with great detailing in the higher frequencies and a potent, energetic low-end that adds heft and depth to the music as well as the action. Vocals are precise and intelligible in the center while the other channels deliver convincing off-screen effects. Rear activity satisfyingly extends the soundfield and envelopes the listeners with various atmospherics, especially during nightmare sequences and the final fight. (Audio Rating: 4/5)
Friday the 13th (2009)
Being the most recent of the series, Nispel's remake hacks up Blu-ray with a highly entertaining Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Rear activity employs a variety of ambient effects and shares the space with the musical score, generating a satisfying soundfield with excellent panning and great directionality. Imaging is expansive and very engaging, displaying more off-screen effects that are discrete and convincing. Dynamic and acoustics are sharp, detailed and very well-balanced, maintaining appreciable clarity in the highs and good, room-penetrating mids. The low-end packs a worthwhile punch, providing the action with power and Jason's footsteps with scary weight. And finally, dialogue is well-prioritized amid the mayhem. (Audio Rating: 4/5)
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
Friday the 13th (1980)
- Audio Commentary — Recorded for a 2004 International DVD release of the film (via Warner Home Video), this spliced-together track features director Sean Cunningham, editor Bill Freida, composer Harry Manfredini and stars Adrienne King and Betsy Palmer, and is hosted by Crystal Lake Memories" author and former HDD writer Peter M. Bracke. Though the editing is sometimes choppy, the track is packed with stories and background on the late '70s film scene that spawned 'Friday the 13th,' while the wealth of participants also staves off boredom. In the words of Peter, "greatest commentary ever!"
- Friday the 13th Chronicles (SD, 21 min) — Previously known as the "Crystal Lake Chronicles," the longest of the pieces is actually carried over from the previous DVD release, and features then-new interviews with Cunningham, King, Palmer, Lehman, and Savini. Again, there is some repetition here with the other featurettes, though it compliments "Fresh Cuts" nicely as it fills in the basics of 'Friday the 13th's creation and details further stories from the production.
- Cast Reunion (HD, 17 min) — Filmed at a Friday the 13th reunion convention held [in 2008], this filmed panel features King, Manfredini, Lehman, Miller, and Palmer. This covers a good deal of similar ground as the commentary and featurettes, so though fresh to this Blu-ray, fans may find a bit of déjà vu here.
- Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th (HD, 14 min) — The first of four new featurettes, this retrospective piece features interviews with screenwriter Victor Miller, composer Harry Manfredini, make-up artist Tom Savini, and cast members Robbi Morgan, and Ari Lehman. This is designed to compliment the "Crystal Lake Chronicles" featurette found on the 2005 DVD (which is also included here as an extra, see below), so there is surprisingly little repetition. Odd-and-end production stories are shared, Manfredini talks at length about the music, and the cast reflects on the surprise success of the film.
- Secrets Galore Behind the Gore (HD, 10 min) — Largely a one-on-one with Tom Savini as he shares with us all the tricks that went into creating the film's now-famous make-up illusions. There's no real behind-the-scenes footage here (as it was not a common practice to film such things back in 1980), but some rare stills and Savini's thorough explanations flesh things out nicely.
- The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham (HD, 9 min) — Though absent from the making-of featurette, the man responsible for the entire 'Friday the 13th' legacy participates in this "day in the life of" visit to his production offices. Cunningham continues to play an active role in the franchise (having served as producer on the last four 'Friday' flicks, including the upcoming remake), and with surprising candor, shares his thoughts on the film that shocked everyone with its success. He also gives us a tour of some 'Friday' memorabilia, as well as visits with his son, Noel, who appeared in the original 'Friday' and co-produced the recent 'Jason X.'
- Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 1 (HD, 8 min) — Not deleted scenes or excised gore, this is a pretty odd, newly-shot "murder scene." Featuring nubile actors playing camp counselors and mouthing silly dialogue, all ending in a creative death, this is an odd one.
- Trailer (HD)
Friday the 13th Part 2
- Jason Forever (SD, 29 min) — This nearly 30-minute feature, which was originally available exclusively via Best Buy (on the original Paramount 'Friday the 13th: From Crystal Lake to Manhattan' DVD box set), was taped in 2004 at a Fangoria horror convention. Peter M. Bracke moderates a panel that reunites past Jasons Kane Hodder, CJ Graham, Warrington Gilette, and Lehmann. It's a fun time, fairly lengthy and chatty. If you don't already own the Best Buy disc, it's probably the most informative extra here.
- Inside Crystal Lake Memories (HD, 11 min) — Del Howes, owner of Dark Delicacies in Burbank, California, interviews Peter M. Bracke, author of one of the most comprehensive and exhaustive books on the franchise. Bracke relates a few little-known facts about the sequel, deleted gore footage and the unseen ending.
- Lost Tales from Crystal Lake – Part II (HD, 9 min) — With all due respect to the creative team at Paramount, I haven't really gotten into these "lost murder" scenes created special for the new 'Friday' DVD/Blu-ray releases. I'd much rather see the studio spend the money on lost gore scenes or more cast & crew interviews, than on these (admittedly) somewhat-amusing shorts.
- Friday's Legacy: Horror Conventions (SD, 7 min) — Fairly interesting talk on the popularity of 'Friday the 13th' on the convention circuit, where fans turn out all over the country to meet alum and watch screenings of the films. Unfortunately, anyone buying this Blu-ray is probably already a fan familiar with horror conventions, so there isn't much here that's all that interesting.
- Trailer (HD)
Friday the 13th Part III
- Fresh Cuts: 3D Terror (HD, 13 min) — Superior to the "making-of" featurettes on the previous two Blu-rays, here we get a few 'Part 3' alum recalling the film, including actors Larry Zerner and Richard Brooker, 3-D supervisor Martin Jay Sadoff, costume designer Sandi Love, and Peter M. Bracke. Most of the discussion covers alternate ideas for 'Part 3' (it was originally to star Amy Steel, heroine of 'Part 2'), as well as shooting in 3-D.
- Legacy of the Mask (HD, 10 min) — The second of the main featurettes, this one covers the birth of the now-iconic hockey mask, The same participants turn up again to discuss its creation, and evolution in subsequent sequels.
- Slasher Films: Going for the Jugular (HD, 7 min) — Culled largely from convention-shot footage (with 'Friday' alum, as well as fellow slasher actors like the Candyman Tony Todd), this is a surface-level synopsis of what elements that make up a slasher film. Unfortunately, we've heard this stuff a million times now, so it doesn't offer anything new that a slasher fan doesn't know.
- Lost Tales from Crystal Lake – Part III (HD, 5 min) — another one of these newly-created short films chronicling lost murder tales from Crystal Lake. They are totally cheesy, which is saying a lot, for the Friday the 13th series!
- Trailer (HD)
The Final Chapter
- Audio Commentaries — Ported over from the "Deluxe Edition" DVD, a pair of commentaries kick things off on the fourth disc. First, fans can listen to director Joseph Zito, screenwriter Barney Cohen, and editor Joel Goodman talk extensively about the production while sharing tons of great behind-the-scenes tidbits. The second track features over-zealous fans Adam Green and Joe Lynch talking with giddy enthusiasm throughout the movie, which makes it a good deal of fun.
- The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited, Part 1 (HD, 18 min) — A faux news report and mockumentary about the murders at Camp Crystal Lake which is amusing but also a bit silly.
- "Slashed Scenes" (HD, 15 min) — The real meat and potatoes for gore fans everywhere! Director Zito provides commentary to this is a great collection of recently discovered outtakes, never-before-seen kills and tons of awesome BTS footage.
- Friday the 13th Chronicles: Friday the 13th – Part IV (SD, 13 min) — Mostly a pair of interviews with Zito and Corey Feldman reminiscing on the production, Feldman's performance and Jason.
- Secrets Galore Behind the Gore (SD, 13 min) — Just as before, legendary master of gore Tom Savini shares his memories of working on the set and reveals a few secrets behind his magic while clips and BTS footage are interspersed throughout.
- Jason's Unlucky Day: 25 Years After (HD, 11 min) — An amusing retrospective with cast & crew interviews looking back at the production, original aspirations and the movie's legacy while everywhere shares some excellent memories from the set.
- Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 4 (HD, 6 min) — The title may have changed, but this is yet another fan-made short film chronicling some unheard stories set in the 'Friday the 13th' universe.
- "The Lost Ending" (HD, 3 min) — Essentially, the alternate ending that was once believed lost and plays like a dream sequence. with commentary by Zito and star Kimberly Beck.
- Jimmy's Dead Dance Moves (HD, 2 min) — A very brief collection of Crispin Glover's infamous dance scene with Zito providing some voiceover tidbits and background info.
- Trailer (HD)
A New Beginning
- Audio Commentary — Co-writer and director Danny Steinmann joins John Shepherd, Shavar Ross and Michael Felsher on the phone. The chat is largely random comments and praises of the cast but very light on interesting background information.
- The Making of (HD, 11 min) — Mostly a collection of cast & crew interviews sharing various memories about the production, the cast, performances and aspirations, but they also disclose the final reveal.
- Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 5 (HD, 10 min) — Cheesy, micro-budgeted fan-made short film continuing from the last one.
- The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited, Part 2 (HD, 10 min) — More from the faux news report and mockumentary making references to the events of the fifth installment.
- Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part V (SD, 6 min) — Joseph Zito and Corey Feldman return to talk about the Tommy character.
- Trailer (SD)
- Audio Commentaries — First commentary features director Tom McLoughlin talking enthusiastically and proudly of the production, the cast, story and his creative approach. The second track has McLoughlin sit down with editor Bruce Green and actor Vinnie Guastaferro, and the trio chats memories of the cast, working on the set and their influences.
- Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part VI (SD, 15 min) — McLoughlin returns to share more of his memories while C. J. Graham, who played Jason, pops in on occasion to do the same.
- The Making of (HD, 13 min) — Relatively recent interviews with McLoughlin and several others discussing the aspirations, the move to include children, working on the set and the mix of horror and subtle humor.
- The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited, Part III (HD, 10 min) — If you're glutton for punishment, the package includes another micro-budgeted mockumentary that's only mildly amusing.
- Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 6 (HD, 7 min) — Still, more of the same storyline from the boring fan-made short film.
- "Slashed Scenes" (HD, 6 min) — An assortment of deleted and extended scenes which are unfortunately of poor quality.
- Meeting Mr. Voorhees (HD, 3 min) — McLoughlin introduces viewers to the director's original plan for ending the movie with new storyboard artwork to aid in our imagination.
- Trailer (SD)
The New Blood
- Audio Commentary — Director John Carl Buechler is joined by Kane Hodder but actress Lar Park Lincoln was recorded separately, making for a rather choppy listen. The wealth of background info is appreciated with some amusing anecdotes, but on the whole, the conversation is only mildly interesting.
- "Slashed Scenes" (HD, 17 min) — After a brief introduction from Buechler, fans can enjoy the deleted scenes infamously deemed too graphic or inappropriate for audiences. Unfortunately, only a workprint of the material exists, so the footage is rough and in poor condition.
- Jason's Destroyer (HD, 15 min) — A decent but much too brief making-of doc showing mostly recent interviews mixed with clips and deleted scenes of footage unfortunately removed by censors.
- Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part VII (SD, 12 min) — Buechler talks about his aspirations and creative choices while Hodder and Lincoln discuss their respective performances.
- Secrets Galore Behind the Gore (SD, 11 min) — Buechler, who is also known for his impressive makeup effects work, spends a few minutes sharing secrets behind Jason's gruesome look.
- Mind over Matter (HD, 7 min) — A serious discussion about telekinesis with a pair of experts providing commentary the movie's theme.
- Makeover by Maddy (HD, 3 min) — Elizabeth Kaitan and Diana Barrows reunite for a fun day of makeovers.
- Trailer (SD)
Jason Takes Manhattan
- Audio Commentaries — First track has director Rob Hedden riding solo, who spend his time revealing a great deal about the production and delivering a strong commentary. The second features actors Scott Reeves, Jensen Daggett and Kane Hodder on the phone talking enthusiastically about working together on the set, the makeup, the cast and sharing various other anecdotes.
- New York Has a New Problem (HD, 18 min) — Hedden is now joined by other cast & crew members reminiscing on the production, working with each other and the initial reactions by censors and fans.
- Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part VIII (SD, 15 min) — Mostly a long interview with Hedden talking about his involvement, the original intentions of the movie and the plot, creative decisions, the use of subtle comedy throughout and revealing lots of good info.
- "Slashed Scenes" (HD, 13 min) — Another collection of fairly rough deleted and extended sequences, most of which were at the time deemed too graphic and extreme.
- Gag Reel (HD, 5 min)
- Trailer (SD)
Jason Goes to Hell
- Additional Scenes (SD, 13 min) — Collection of alternate takes in 1.33:1 aspect ratio recorded for airing on television with less gore, explicit scenes and minus the adult language.
- Trailer (1080i/60)
- Audio Commentary — Director Jim Isaac sits down with writer Todd Farmer and producer Noel Cunningham for this mostly amusing conversation about the production. There's a great deal of frankness and opinion concerning the finish product while all three also relate several interesting points and information.
- The Many Lives of Jason Voorhees (SD, 30 min) — A really great collection of interviews with various fans, critics and filmmakers talking heartily about the history of the "slasher" subgenre and the impact the 'Friday the 13th' franchise had upon our cultural imagination.
- By Any Means Necessary (SD, 18 min) — Standard EPK featurette with cast & crew interviews discussing the plot's origins, cast special effects, Jason's new look and spitting endless praise.
- Trailer (1080i/60)
Freddy vs. Jason
- Audio Commentary — Director Ronny Yu sits down with Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger to discuss the story, performances and special make-up effects. It's a nice lighthearted chat full of good anecdotes from the set with thoughts on creative choices.
- Visual Effects (SD, 35 min) — With commentary from visual effects artists, this is a collection of twelve very brief pieces on the visual design and CGI work done on various scenes.
- Stunts: When Push Comes to Shove (SD, 22 min) — Obviously, more discussion on the fight choreography with a few added comments on the special effects work.
- On Location: Springwood Revisited (SD, 15 min) — Collection of cast & crew interviews talking about the plot and first half of the movie with various clips and BTS footage.
- Art Direction: Jason's Decorating Tips (SD, 12 min) — Interviews on the set design for Camp Crystal Lake and Freddy's nightmare sequences.
- Genesis: Development Hell (SD, 10 min) — As the title implies, a brief discussion on the long history of making this crossover.
- On Location: Cabin Fever (SD, 6 min) — BTS footage of the shoot for the climactic battle and fight choreography.
- Make-Up Effects: Freddy's Beauty Secrets (SD, 6 min) — BTS footage showing the extensive work that goes into the Freddy look.
- My Summer Vacation: A Visit to Camp Hackenslash (SD, 4 min) — Random assortment of footage from a day at an adult camp specially orchestrated to conclude with the world premiere of the movie.
- Pre-Fight Press Conference (SD, 4 min) — Recorded at Bally's Casino in Las Vegas on July 15th, 2003, this a promotional stunt with Freddy and Jason at a weigh-in for a boxing match.
- Music Video (SD, 3 min) — Ill Niño performs their horrible song, "How Can I Live."
- Deleted Scenes (HD) — An extensive collection of 21 exorcised scenes for fans to enjoy.
- Trailers (HD, SD) — Theatrical preview along with eight TV spots.
Friday the 13th (2009)
- The Rebirth of Jason Voorhees (HD, 11 min) — Standard, glossy EPK featuring interviews with director Marcus Nispel, producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, screenwriters Mark Swift and Damian Shannon, and the cast. Unfortunately, the filmmakers promise more than was delivered, and the promotional nature of this featurette feels like a commercial for a better movie.
- Additional Scenes (HD, 8 min) — Three forgettable deleted sequences with a pair of cops, an alternate ending and a different take on the moment when Jason first gets his hockey mask.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
Along with porting over the same material from the Nispel remake, the box set includes an exclusive disc of bonuses.
Friday the 13th (2009)
- Terror Trivia Track (HD) — A mix of factoids and behind-the-scenes material with a pop-up trivia track that's not particularly interesting. Much better is the making-of footage, which delves into specific scenes, story points, and some cool material on Jason's hockey mask and make-up.
- Hacking Back/Slashing Forward (HD, 12 min) — An ode to the original franchise with the same participants, showing a loving gratefulness for the series yet failing to deliver an adequate remake.
- The 7 Best Kills (HD, 23 min) — As the title implies, an assortment of seven vignettes on the best kills in the movie. BTS footage shows how most were accomplished without CGI.
- The Friday the 13th Chronicles (SD, 103 min) — Collecting all eight making-of featurettes that discuss the production of each movie, this is an easy go-to spot for selecting and enjoying them.
- Secrets Galore: Behind the Gore (SD, 23 min) — Like the previous, this also brings the three pieces that look at the special makeup effects.
- Crystal Lake Victims Tell All! (SD, 16 min) — Cast and crew from various installments share memories of how they landed their role or how they became involved with their respective film.
- Tales from the Cutting Room Floor (SD, 17 min) — Amassing all the deleted and extended scenes into one long featurette.
- Friday Artifacts and Collectibles (SD, 7 min) — Filmmakers show off their collection of props from the movies while also looking at various other items from collectors and fans.
- Trailers (SD) — Theatrical previews for the first eight films.
As readers might already guess, I'm pretty tired after sitting through the entire 'Friday the 13th' collection, so suffice it to say, this box set is massive and extensive. Jason and horror fans everywhere will want this since it could rightly be called the definitive edition of the franchise, arriving just in time for Halloween. All films arrive with good to excellent audio and video presentations, some of course looking and sounding better than others. Supplemental material is a treasure trove of great stuff, most of which is ported over from previous home video editions, but Warner throws in an exclusive bonus DVD for good measure. Arriving in an attractive tin box with extra goodies inside, the overall package makes an awesome addition to any horror collection. Highly recommended.
- Collectible Box Set
- 9 BD-50 Dual-Layer Discs / 1 DVD-9 Dual-Layer Disc
- Region Free
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- French Dolby Digital 1.0
- German Dolby Digital 5.1
- Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0
- Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
- Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0
- English SDH
- Audio Commentaries
- Deleted Scenes
Exclusive HD Content
- Bonus DVD
- BonusView PiP Trivia Track
- 40-Page Booklet
- Pair of Anaglyph Glasses
- Iron-on Patch
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
- Collectible Tin Box
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