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> Friday the 13th - From Crystal Lake To Manhattan
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Friday the 13th - From Crystal Lake To Manhattan
09-19-2004, 08:05 PM
Review Date: September 19, 2004
Released by: Paramount
Release date: 10/5/2004
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 2.35:1 & 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot0s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot0l.jpg)Who knew a little slasher cheapie called Friday the 13th would rival The Empire Strikes Back for the 1980 summer box office and eventually grow to become a franchise 11 films strong, with video game, television and comic spin-offs and legions of diehard fans? Paramount certainly wouldn’t have guessed, and they have always treated the series as if it were an embarrassment. While the Star Trek films were always lavishly treated by The Mountain, with sponsored conventions and extensive special editions on the home video format, the Friday the 13th films were shamelessly dumped on audiences and ended up being the workhorse that helped power the studio throughout the 80’s.
Ever since the advent of DVD, fans have been clamoring at the possibility of seeing all their favorite Friday films uncut and full of special features. If Star Trek gets them, why can’t the Voorhees family? Fans complained (and complained) when Paramount eventually released the series over a four year interval to rated and bare editions. It has been a long road of persistent petitioning to finally get Paramount to rethink their strategy with the series and release a special edition box set of all eight of the Paramount Friday installments.
There was much speculation as to whether or not Paramount would finally release the films uncut, and indeed Paramount executive Martin Blythe even entertained the notion at various message boards. Knowing Paramount however, and its association with Blockbuster through their parent company, Viacom, it was always obvious that they would never go uncut. Blockbuster would never stock them, so it would be a poor business decision, since other rental outlets would benefit greater than Viacom’s company. So after years of waiting, fans are again faced with the truth that these films remain in their cut versions, despite usable uncut material. However cut the films may still remain, this new Friday the 13th– From Crystal Lake to Manhattan box set contains several minutes of the excised footage, as well as hours of new bonus material on a new supplemental disc. Is the set worth purchasing, and more importantly, is it worth the upgrade to those who own the standalone releases? Let’s backpack through Crystal Lake and find out.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot1s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot1l.jpg) As famous and synonymous with the series as Jason Voorhees has become, the first film is really about his crazy ol’ mother. After young Jason was left unsupervised to drown at Camp Crystal Lake, there were a series of bizarre deaths and circumstances that kept the camp closed for decades. Many attempts to reopen it were trounced, but now Steve (Peter Brouwer) executes his plan of reopening the camp. He gathers all the camp counselors in place (including a young Kevin Bacon) and prepares to reopen for summer business. Before the kids start rolling however, heads begin to role instead, as camp counselor by camp counselor are murdered by an unseen killer. The big revelation however, and one that is no longer a spoiler due to its infamy, is that kind old Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) is behind it all. Determined to avenge her son’s death, she unleashes a “24 hour nightmare of terror” on the quiet Camp Crystal Lake.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot2s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot2l.jpg) With Mrs. Voorhees killed off at the end of Friday the 13th , the sequel was forced to find a new killer. An older Jason was just what the doctor ordered, this time looking like a derivative combination of the phantom from The Town That Dreaded Sundown (with the flannel and potato sack) and The Elephant Man (with his deformed visage). The story is more or less the same, as counselors set up shop across from the original camp a short five years later. Ginny (Amy Steel) this time replaces Adrienne King as the heroine, as she must use her wits to outsmart the backwoods momma’s boy. She must channel Jason’s love for family values to trick him to stay down until they can get funding for Part 3.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot3s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot3l.jpg) Another year, another Friday the 13th , but the third film had the allure of being in full 3D. The story is the tried and tested formula of the successful films prior, with a new bunch of horny teenagers out at camp. They are no longer counselors however, just a bunch of deadbeats out to have a good time. They play with yo-yos, pop popcorn, smoke up, and do anything else to exploit the three dimensions of the new format. If the film is to be remembered for anything, it is for giving Jason his patented mask, which allowed the character to step out from the shadows of the phantom and elephant man to truly become his own. The film concludes with cheese favorite Dana Kimmell partaking in a retread of the original film’s editing. It may not be original, but hey, it’s 3D!
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot4s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot4l.jpg) Fearing waning audience interest, Paramount opted to use the “final chapter” card to promote Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter. While the first film may have had Kevin Bacon, this one features Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover, how is that for 80’s icons? Little Corey and his family are up to Crystal Lake for a pleasant retreat, and Corey is even treated to some gratuitous T&A. Jason of course will have nothing of it, as he kills every sexually charged teenager in sight. Even Crispin Glover’s notorious dancing skills are no match for Jason, as Glover is, as pun would have it, screwed. Slasher veterans Joseph Zito (The Prowler) and Tom Savini (The Burning, Maniac, The Prowler) collaborate respectively as director and make-up artist to give Jason his greatest and goriest comeuppance yet, but the final chapter it ain’t.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot5s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot5l.jpg) A New Beginning continues Feldman’s Tommy Jarvis character, this time played by John Shepherd. Tommy is cursed with horrific images from his childhood, and is forced to live his life in a mental institution. Despite all the trauma he experienced in Crystal Lake, his doctor’s apparently felt it would be the best if they housed him at an institution conveniently located back at that same Camp Blood. While at the institution, Tommy has flashbacks and witnesses the highest body and boobie count of all the Paramount Friday’s. As the body count continues to rise, it is revealed that Jason is not really the killer. Is Tommy really the one behind it all, or is there another party bent on revenge? It is a whodunit of magnum proportions.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot6s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot6l.jpg) After five films, it is tough to take the conventions seriously anymore, since the audience is well aware of all the twists and clichés well before they occur. So with Jason Lives, director Tom McLoughlin not only brings back the man behind the mask, but he also brings with him a healthy amount of wink-wink horror. Jokes are thrown out to the audience, and the deaths are gloriously over the top. Jason is reincarnated by lightning like a classic Universal monster, and again decides to stalk Tommy Jarvis, who is played by yet another actor, Thom Matthews. The plot is the same, with kids added into the mix for a good bit of tastelessness, but the self-referential humor gives it a degree of freshness.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot7s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot7l.jpg) The New Blood is much more conventional compared with Jason Lives, but this seventh film delivers with elaborate make-up and special effects by the director John Carl Buechler. Originally conceived to be Freddy vs. Jason, Friday the 13th , Part VII: The New Blood ended up being Carrie vs. Jason, as Jason must battle a telekinetic girl. Not entirely realistic, but neither is a boy jumping out of a lake post-mortem. The telekinetic Tina (Lar Park-Lincoln) returns to Crystal Lake, to confront her dark past with the lake, and to fall in love. She meets up with a young guy there to party with friends, and they are all of course quickly dispelled by Jason. The New Blood marked the beginning of Kane Hodder’s rein on the Jason character which would last four films until he was replaced for Freddy vs. Jason. Funny that Hodder would be replaced for Vs.when his beginning film, The New Blood, was itself supposed to be Freddy vs. Jason.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot8s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_shot8l.jpg) Running out of gimmicks, Paramount decided to throw their hat in the slasher ring one last time with the adventurous Jason Takes Manhattan. Really Vancouver, Jason heads out to the big city to wreak havoc on immoral civilians. Horny teens and drug addicts exist outside Crystal Lake, you know. Although Jason does get his big payoff at Times Square, the audience must first tread through a boat ride that encompasses the majority of the film. On the boat, Mr. Voorhees stalks a beautiful Rennie (Jensen Daggett), who herself has a history with Jason that spans several years (and several continuity breaks). Attempting to wrap the entire series up is a major plot thread about Jason’s youth, projecting him no longer as the deformed retard of the original, but instead as an Aryan little boy with a heart of gold. Toxic waste drowns Jason and as it turns out the entire series, as Paramount put a lid on the franchise after middling box office returns.
The Friday the 13th series had a great run in the 80’s, and while New Line continues on the series to this day, none manage to encapsulate the mood and feel of Paramount’s elegiac eight. Mean spirited, but always fun, Paramount managed to create a series that both scared and entertained audiences, where cheers were as frequent as screams. The series, despite critical scorn and a vicious (and unjustly) campaign by Siskel and Ebert to boycott Paramount entirely because of the franchise, the Friday the 13th films were able to endure by support from a youth that saw more in these films than critics or film executives ever would. Sean S. Cunningham put it best when he said the films are like the film equivalent of a roller coaster ride. Patrons pay money to indulge in their fears, experiencing the buildup until Jason’s machete comes crashing down. That is why these films continue to have a following to this day. None are particularly trendsetting, but they all exude and aura of fun. It is great to see stereotypes get slaughtered by the trusty hand of the famous and familiar.
Compared to the other benchmark slasher franchises of the 1980’s, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween, the Friday the 13th franchise is much different. The biggest difference between Friday and the other franchises, is that the foundation of the series is built upon a fairly standard first installment. Whereas the original Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street were widely artistic, original and genuine masterpieces, the original Friday the 13th is really just an enjoyable exploitation film. It possesses none of the stylistic flourishes of Carpenter’s or Craven’s masterworks, and all other elements, save for Savini’s gore, is a step down from Elm Street or Halloween. Carpenter and Craven set such high standards with their respective slasher staples that every subsequent installment was bound to seem inferior.
The Friday the 13th franchise began much more modestly, leaving much more room for improvement than the Halloween or Elm Street franchises ever did. Many of the fan favorites in the series are films other than the first, like The Final Chapter, Part 2 and Jason Lives. Indeed, the Friday the 13th series is one of the few to actually improve on its original concept through subsequent films. While Mrs. Voorhees was a good beginning to the series, everyone’s hearts lie with Jason, who took until the fourth film to truly be realized as a classic horror character. While Halloween and Elm Street witnessed films of diminishing quality as the series went on, the Friday the 13th series is in many ways a series that got better as its scope expanded throughout the sequels. The Friday series has consistently delivered on the cheap promise of the original, and in terms of the big three slasher series, it remains by far the most consistent of the lot. The bar was never set that high, but Paramount cleared it with every film.
Starting in 1980 and ending in 1989, Paramount’s Friday series helped encapsulate and entire decade. It’s yearly installments helped document the progression of youth culture, as they went from pastels to hairspray, Carter to Reagan, minimalism to excess, and boomers to generation X. As entertaining as the rollercoaster ride is, Friday the 13th serves, for nostalgic souls like myself, as a window into a bygone decade. Youth is always a time of fond memories, and Paramount captured it in its zenith with the Voorhees franchise. In a decade without Woodstock or Pearl Harbor, the Friday films can ultimately be seen as the motion picture event to anchor a nation. Where were you on Friday the 13th? Hopefully that is a question horror and film fans alike will continue to ask for many years to come.
All the original Friday the 13th DVDs were all single layer discs, so what Paramount has done for the box set is group two of those single layer transfers on each dual layered, single sided disc. All films are anamorphic, just like from the single disc releases, although the transfers appear to be just a little bit different. The transfer for the original film is a bit brighter now than it was before in the single disc release. It is also a little less vibrant, but it is hardly a distinguishable difference. The new transfer for The Final Chapter looks a smidge softer than the single disc release, but again it is nitpicking.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_new1s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_new1l.jpg)Previous DVDBox Set DVD
The one noticable change on the set was the extension of Mrs. Voorhees's death scene. The print used in the single disc release was slightly cut, as the shot of a headless Mrs. Voorhees with he hands glinched upwards was trimmed. Fans will be happy to know that the transfer on the box set features the full theatrical cut of Mrs. Voorhees's death. With a giving there is always a taking, and unfortunately Annie's death at the beginning of the film is unfortunately shorter than the uncut death that was on the previous DVD release. On the box set, it fades to an imposed white after her throat is slit, where her falling can still be heard in the background. In short, the print used for the new DVD is the R-rated theatrical cut, not the hybrid cut used for the original release. Other than the changes on Part One, the others look unchanged.
Despite cramming two films onto a single disc, there are no noticeable compression artifacts on the films. The original Friday the 13th, for example, has a higher bitrate than the original disc. The New Blood is slightly compressed compared to the single disc release, but it is nothing noticeable. Slight changes aside, these transfers are virtually identical to the original DVD releases, which is for the most part a good thing. All the transfers are in widescreen, and while The Finale Chapter and Part One have some really grainy spells, they all generally look very good, considering their age. For a more detailed analysis of each video transfer, check out the single disc reviews already included on the site, which can be found by clicking here (http://www.horrordvds.com/modules.php?name=Reviews&file=viewcategory&cid=1).
All eight films contain the exact same tracks from the original discs. They are mostly mono, but The New Blood features a very good 5.1 track. As expected, the quality of the audio improves as the series goes on and the sound technologies got more advanced. For more extensive coverage of each individual audio track for each film, check out the single disc reviews already included on the site, which can be found by clicking here (http://www.horrordvds.com/modules.php?name=Reviews&file=viewcategory&cid=1).
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_menus.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_menul.jpg)Here is the section that makes or breaks this collection. Given the almost indistinguishable differences between the audio and video between the standalone releases and the box set discs, it all hinges on whether or not the supplemental features are worthwhile. Four commentaries and an entire supplemental disc later, I can wholeheartedly say that this set delivers, and fans will be happy. Yes, there should have been a commentary on the film that started it all, and there are some notable cast and crew absent, and fanboy speculations unanswered, but this is still an incredibly extensive set. The bonus disc alone houses over two hours of new interview footage, which added on to the four commentaries equals over eight hours of bonus features.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_menu2s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_menu2l.jpg)The packaging is simple but effective. Each of the five discs are held in their own clear little slim cases, much like what Paramount has been doing with their recent TV product like Happy Days . The box that houses all the discs is embossed, with the contours of Jason’s mask jutting out of the box. In terms of shelf space, it takes up about a third of what all the Friday single releases add up to. Nice job, Paramount.
First up are the commentaries, which are featured on four of the films. The first film with a commentary is Part 3, which reunites cast members Larry Zerner, Paul Kratka, Richard Brooker and Dana Kimmell together along with moderator and DVD File editor, Peter Backe. What is initially noticeable on the commentary is the poor audio quality, which sounds tingy and very flat. This is immediately overlookable though, because Bracke does a fine job of really getting the cast members to open up. They talk of interesting technical background about the 3D process, including the tidbit that they only used one camera with a special lens, not the reputed two camera 3D setup. Most of the commentary is just the gang having fun though, including big chuckles at the way Larry Zerner ran in the film. Overall, it is great fun, and the best track in the set.
The next one is for Jason Lives, which is a solo commentary with Tom McLoughlin. He is a very good speaker who has a vivid memory of the film and horror films in general. He starts off the track speaking of his love for Hammer films and never stops speaking, lacing the track full of his film knowledge and motivations for the film. This is the kind of commentary every solo speaker should strive for, one of spontaneity (there is nothing worse than a line reading) and one bursting with information at every moment. While it does not have the appeal of reuniting cast members like the commentary for Part 3, it is still a great track that proves McLoughlin is more than just a hired hand director like many of the Friday directors are assumed to be.
The next commentary is with John Carl Buechler and Kane Hodder on The New Blood, and Buechler is bitter right from the start on the cuts that were imposed upon the film. This runs throughout the commentary, but Buechler is still quick to volunteer interesting behind the scenes information and generally has warm memories of the production. Hodder and Buechler play well off each other. It is funny to hear Hodder laugh at the fact that he killed an actress who ended up playing a smurf. Take that, Gargamel! Overall, another solid commentary on this set.
The final commentary is with Rob Hedden, and he is particularly proud of trying to add new life into the film by changing the original Crystal Lake setting. Hedden is a good speaker like the rest of contributors on this set, although Manhattan just isn’t as interesting a film as the others, so a lot of the behind the scenes anecdotes don’t register with the intrigue that the other commentaries have. Still, Hedden always has something to say, including how he dealt with shooting the nude scene at the beginning. The end is particularly nice, where he humbles himself, thanks the viewers for listening and then encourages us to make our own films. Nice touch, nice commentary.
The largest feature on the set is the eight part “The Friday the 13th Chronicles”, which devotes a section to each film. The first segment understandably runs the longest at 20 minutes, while the shortest is for A New Beginning, at a still respectable 6 minutes. Combined, the featurette runs a little over 100 minutes, and features over 15 different participants. Sean Cunningham starts things off, and as always he is a great speaker that really understands this series. He gives his take on the series in a nutshell, then goes on to talk in detail about the production. Most surprising in the first segment is Betsy Palmer’s inclusion, where she frankly states how much she hated the script. Tom Savini, Adrienne King and even Ari Lehman, who played the young Jason Voorhees, also discuss their roles and the film’s reception.
Amy Steel, Warrington Gillette and Adrienne King continue to discuss Part 2, as Gillette talks about his superstar ambitions after graduating from the prestigious Strasberg acting studio, and how he ultimately ended up being Jason. Steel talks about her initial dislike for the concept of being in a Friday film, but mentions warmly how she has grown to appreciate her role in the series and how she would have liked to do more.
Part 3 is covered by the lovable oaf, Larry Zerner, who is now a successful lawyer. He talks about how he was picked off the street to play Shelly, and how his attempts to get Jason’s mask were denied. The cinematographer also chimes in on the 3D process, and speaks of various technical specifications he had to deal with.
Joseph Zito, Tom Savini, and 80’s legend Corey Feldman all discuss The Final Chapter in one of the Chronicles’ best segments. Zito talks about casting, and the story behind the casting of Crispin Glover, while Savini talks about how he was lured back again for makeup. Feldman is very fun to listen to, as he talks funnily about getting to see his first pair of boobs, and how he loves Halloween and the Friday films.
Feldman returns for the Part 5 dissection, and he basically talks about how they originally wanted to feature him as the main character, but he had to decline because of The Goonies. He also entertains a musing notion of a “Friday 2-0”, which would have Corey back and fighting Jason one last time, similar to Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Myers in Halloween H20. Corey needs work.
Jason Lives features director Tom McLoughlin and Jason actor C.J. Graham talking about various aspects of the film. McLoughlin is much more entertaining, particularly his discussion of how he tried to go against some of the clichés and how the producers made him break his lucky death count of 13.
Part 7 has Kane Hodder, Lar Park-Licoln and director John Carl Buechler talking about their experiences. Lincoln talks about her surprise in discovering the script she had agreed to do was actually a Friday the 13th film under a different name, and Hodder talks about how he almost didn’t get to be little boy Voorhees. Hodder also talks about some of the elaborate stunts staged for the film.
Hodder talks more about stunts in the final Part 8 segment, and he is joined by director Rob Hedden. Hedden talks about how he got to direct Jason Takes Manhattan after doing some work on the Friday the 13th television series, and how he really wanted to wrap the film up. He admits the boat stuff was kind of lame, but reveals his original idea for the film, which took place almost entirely in New York, eschewing all the popular landmarks of the Big Apple.
The next major supplement is a three part, 33 minute featurette entitled “Secrets Galore Behind the Gore”, and it talks about (you guessed it) the various makeup tricks used in the films. The focus is broken down onto three films, the first, Final Chapter and The New Blood. Tom Savini is interviewed for both the first and fourth, and he talks about plenty of the tricks he did to accomplish stunts like the arrow through the head in the first film. The segment on The Final Chapter actually has a lengthy plug for Savini’s makeup school, and it is actually very interesting. There are some interviews with some of the students there, and some good footage of the school in action. Savini avoids making it look entirely like a promotional piece, since he talks about how makeup school is important for him and how it ties in with his love for making killer effects. The last segment has John Carl Buechler and Kane Hodder talking about the effects, and how they had to deal with trimming plenty of effects.
The next featurette is called “Crystal Lake Victims Tell All”, and features interviews with most of the cast members featured in the larger “Chronicles” segment. It is basically a culmination of footage that could not be fit in the larger featurette, but there is still some interesting material to be found. Adrienne King talks about Harry Crosby, and how the running joke on the set was asking him whether or not his sister (who was in the popular TV show, Dallas ) shot J.R.. Ahh, the 80s! The total interview footage runs another 15 minutes.
The director’s get their time with “Friday Artifacts and Collectables”, where they show off their memorobelia that they have kept from the various shoots in their films. Rob Hedden shoes off the guitar, toxic damaged hockey mask and framed film slate that he managed to keep from the shoot. Tom McLoughlin also reveals that he has kept Jason’s tombstone from Jason Lives in his garden, much to the fright of oncoming passersby. McLoughlin also owns Jason’s gothic-looking coffin. The best part is when Jon Carl Buchler shows off the original zombie head of Tina’s dad, and how Paramount found it too grisly to keep in the film. A fan and a merchandise seller also get their voices in, as the fan shows off a special Friday the 13th guitar he had made, and the seller discusses the various Jason products they carry. A good and entertaining 7 minutes.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_effect1s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_effect1l.jpg)Although it may not be at the top of the menu, the major supplements for the fans is the “Tales From the Cutting Room”, which contains 17 minutes of excised footage from Part One, The Final Chapter, Jason Lives and The New Blood. The footage from the first film looks to be taken from the uncut release already available on DVD in foreign markets. The added material is presented in a side by side comparison with the footage that made it into the theatrical cut, with additions noted. Marcie’s axe to the face, Mrs. Voorhees’s beheading and Kevin Bacon’s throat squirter are all shown. Since the footage is readily available, it looks very good.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_effect2s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_effect2l.jpg)Next is some additional footage from The Final Chapter, which is more just deleted or extended scenes than actual gore footage. The first scene is an extension of the scene in the film where Tommy shows the Jason hunter his puppet collection. The scene ends with a gore effect of Tommy jokingly cutting his fake fingers off. The next scene is a fairly lengthy one between the virgin and the guy who gets his in the shower. They flirt and talk about whether or not they are going to go downstairs for a beer. The last scene is one with mom establishing that she is going out for a jog, asking Kimberly Peck to take Tommy out to get the car fixed. Notable is Kimmy’s impressive aerobics outfit. This footage is presented full screen and looks washed out, but still pretty good.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_effect3s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_effect3l.jpg)Never before seen scenes from Jason Lives are also shown, and they are presented side by side in a similar fashion to the first film’s footage. There is extended gore for the paintball scenes, the puddle stabbing, the knife to the head in the trailer, the head crush, and the infamous body bend. While rumors abound at how much extra gore was cut from the various other films, there is actually a lot that was excised from Jason Lives.
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_effect4s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/fridaybox/fridaybox_effect4l.jpg)The last bit of gore footage is taken from John Carl Buechler’s infamous work print, which is stock full of great gore. Both Buechler and Hodder do a commentary on the footage, and they basically provide whether or not they think it should have been cut or included. The first couple pieces of gore are not really all that different from the final film, which include Bobby sliding down Jason’s knife, and Jason punching a hole through another victim. More interesting is the legendary sleeping bag sequence, which features six bloody slams to the tree, with each one bloodier than the last. It looks great, but Hodder and Buechler agree the cut in the finished film is more effective. There is also a “cootchie face” murder, where one of the victim’s face looks just like Mrs. Voorhees’s nether regions. Robin’s death is expanded, and Ben's is actually shown, as his face is crushed while blood spews endlessly. Beautiful. There is also an extended neck cut, as well as the mom’s death done more graphically. Dr. Crews’ death was always much to brief in theatrical cuts, and thankfully his added death scene is included here. The last bit is an alternate ending for the film, which features Jason jumping up from the water to repeat what he did at the end of the first film. It is a great little scene, pity it isn’t in the final cut. The footage is from a work print, so there is a running time code and plenty of scan lines.
There is certainly still plenty more gore available for the Friday films, but this is still a great little extra that showcases much of the excised Friday content in one tidy little package. Perhaps one day these films will surface uncut in Region 1, but until that time, fans can get a good piece of the gore from this extra.
Rounding off the disc are trailers from each film. Since The New Blood and Jason Takes Manhattan do not have trailers on the previously released single discs, it is the first time their trailers have been released on DVD. Manhattan’s trailer is actually a teaser, and a good little one at that, featuring a lengthy shot of New York that slowly reveals that Jason is standing in the foreground.
Paramount made a few snafus with the set, as there is a publicized “Scary Trailers” featurette on the back of box, which advertises “visual effects producer Dan Curry, veteran voice-over talent Don LaFontaine and others discussing the making of the Friday the 13th movie trailers”, that is nowhere to be found on the disc. Promotion is such a big part of movie making, and it would have been great to see a featurette on the trailer making process, since it is a rarely explored aspect of the film industry. Amy Steel’s name is also foolishly spelt “Amy Steele” on the Killer Extras box.
No matter though, since Paramount had really packed this set full of worthwhile content that will no doubt satisfy fans looking for the inside scoop on all their favorite films. While people may surely notice who isn’t included, or what gore has been overlooked, after going through hours and hours of extras, such complaints are really nitpicking. Paramount has gone to great lengths to create new and entertaining footage for the fans, and they have certainly succeeded. There may still be several lingering Friday questions afterwards, but it will be tough to deny how entertaining it all is.
Two years ago, fans would never have been able to imagine that Paramount would be going to great lengths to create an elaborate box set of the Friday the 13th films stock full of supplements. It has happened though, finally, and it has been worth the wait. While fans will continue to cry fowl that the films are not uncut, the amount of deleted gore footage on the extra DVD, the hours of new interviews, and the four extremely entertaining commentaries more than make up for it. The audio and video quality is virtually the same as the other discs, which have their ups and downs but are generally very good. The only major change is the print used for the first film, which is now the R-rated cut, rather than the hybrid cut on the first DVD. That means more gore in some situations (Mrs. Voorhees's death) and less in others (Annie's death). The Friday the 13th films are a bunch that totally encapsulate the 80’s from its humble beginnings to its greedy excess by the decade’s end. It may not be high art, but it is a highly consistent and entertaining horror franchise with one of the screen’s most recognizable villains. Jason Lives again, and what a life this set has given him!
Movies - B+
Image Quality - B
Sound - B
Supplements - A
Running Time - 12 hours 14 minutes
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (The New Blood)
English Dolby Stereo 2.0 (Jason Lives, The New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan)
English Mono (all)
French Stereo 2.0 (Jason Takes Manhattan)
French Mono (all)
English subtitles (all)
French subtitles (all)
Spanish subtitles (all)
Audio Commentary on Part 3 with cast
Audio Commentary on Jason Lives with director Tom McLoughlin
Audio Commentary on The New Blood with director John Carl Buechler and Kane Hodder
Audio Commentary on Jason Takes Manhattan with director Rob Hedden
"The Friday the 13th Chronicles" 8-part featurette
"Secrets Galore Behind the Gore" 3-part featurette
"Crystal Lake Victims Tell All!" featurette
"Tales From The Cutting Room" deleted scenes
"Friday Artifacts and Collectables" featurette
09-19-2004, 11:29 PM
Can you tell me if part 1 still features Annie's complete death as the stand alone disc did? And also is Jason's mother's beheading still chopped on the box set version as it was on the stand alone (and what I mean is chopped from even the r-rated theater version/VHS version)
09-20-2004, 12:14 AM
Rick, I checked the discs over and updated the video portion of my review. The cut on the box set has the full theatrical death of Mrs. Voorhees, but it also has the theatrical cut of Annie's death. So in one case you get more gore, and in the other case you get less. I guess completists will want to hang on to their old discs if that one second makes all the difference.
09-20-2004, 03:42 AM
Okay, I said I wasn't going to get this, but after reading this review I just can't resist.
Great job, Rhett!
09-20-2004, 03:55 AM
Good. I'm glad Jason's mother's complete death is left in just as I always remembered it in the theaters. I don't mind so much about Annie's death going back to the uncut version as long as this DVD has the complete beheading shown on the big screen.
09-20-2004, 05:18 AM
Rhett - very thorough review! Nice work.
Even though I bought all of the individual releases, I will spring for the set also. The extras are tempting enough to warrant a purchase.
09-21-2004, 05:38 AM
Hi, great review, but can you confirm if it has spanish subtitles in all of the movies?
09-21-2004, 02:34 PM
Yes, there are Spanish subtitles included on each film as well.
09-22-2004, 04:25 PM
Great review! Can't wait to get that set into my greedy hands and watch all that extra material!
09-26-2004, 03:54 AM
Could you by any chance tell me if the bonus material have CC or subitles. I am really looking forward to this set, but that will deterimined me purchasing since i am hard of hearing. Any info would be greatly appraciated. Thanks:)
09-26-2004, 08:38 AM
Cyder, there are subtitles in English, French and Spanish on all of the extra features excluding the trailers. Even the deleted scenes commentary by Kane Hodder and John Carl Buechler is subtitled. You should be able to watch them just fine!
09-28-2004, 03:12 PM
Im new in this forum and I need help from you.
Can you tell me if this box set have Spanish subtitles in extra material?
09-29-2004, 01:27 AM
Glad, if you look at my post previously to yours, you will see that yes, the extras have subtitles in Spanish.
10-01-2004, 06:11 AM
Does the "Tales From the Cutting Room Floor" section of part 7 include the uncut death of Maddy? Thank You
10-04-2004, 03:03 AM
awesome review dude! I'm so ready for this set!
10-05-2004, 06:18 AM
Great review. I wasn't gonna get this one due to having all the first dvd's of each movie, but with the supplements...how can I resist? Thanks!
10-05-2004, 09:56 PM
Great review, as always.
I'm sticking with my standalone releases though. Mainly because of the 2 movies per disc thing . I dunno why it bugs me so much, they are all basically the same releases ..... it's just personal preference to have each movie on a seperate disc I guess. The extras would be cool to have but I'd probably only watch em once and forget about them.
10-08-2004, 05:42 AM
Nice review, but I don't think it's nitpicking to lament the utter lack of extras regarding Part V or the lack of commentary on Part 1. I would personally give it a 9/10 for those reasons.
The Part VI material is on a VHS composite print that I have, so it's been seen before! There is some slight extra footage on some TV versions of Part V; it's nothing special or really important, but it could have been included for the hell of it.
10-10-2004, 08:39 PM
Thanks to the great review, I finally buckled down and bought the box set at Wal-Mart today. Thanks for an awesome review, Rhett. :)
10-25-2004, 03:15 AM
I'm upset that I imported the Asian F13 box set when the American version is clearly the superior release. For those of you who are not up to date with the Asian release, I'll gladly explain some of the differences between that and the American release. For starters, the Asian edition includes Jason X and Freddy vs. Jason, the American version does not. However, the American version includes numerous special features, while the Asian edition's special features are limited to what was originally released on the previous Paramount releases. What the Asian edition has going for it is nice packaging (even though it's the "Perfect Collector" edition and most of the text is Chinese), and with shipping fees, I ended up saving $20 over the American release. I'm still tempted to plunk down the money for the American release just for the special features. Maybe I can unload the imported box set on a friend...
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