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Old 02-03-2009, 10:59 PM
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Friday the 13th, Part 2: Deluxe Edition





Reviewer: Rhett
Review Date: February 3, 2009

Released by: Paramount
Release date: 2/3/2009
MSRP: $16.99
Region 1, NTSC
Progressive Scan
Widescreen 1.78:1 | 16x9: Yes
1982




“Let me give it to you straight about Jason...”

Friday the 13th was a landmark, but over a quarter of a century later it is more a prologue for Jason’s reign of terror that started here in Part 2. Although the original intention was to have a different Friday the 13th with a different story every year (sort of like Carpenter’s failed idea for the Halloween series after Season of the Witch), once Jason took the reins here, there was no stopping him. He’d continue on for sequel after sequel, and as a testament to his lastability, it’s him front and center in the Friday the 13th remake, not dear Pamela. Friday the 13th, Part 2 is the film most people remember when they talk about “the first one” in the franchise. Paramount’s done a bit of remembering here too, bringing this up from its lakeside burial to usher forth a new “Deluxe Edition” in time for the remake. Cut a hole in your potato sacks...it’s time to give this new disc a peak.


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The Story

The orderlies assured Alice (Adrienne King) that the memories she had about being pulled underwater by the undead Jason at the end of Friday the 13th were just figments of a dream. They were wrong. Five years later, Alice is home alone near Crystal Lake and ready for a midnight snack. Instead of a sandwich, she finds Mrs. Voorhees’ head, and seconds later a grown up Jason (five years can do a lot, right?) is driving an ice pick through the main course. With all the counsellors from the first film dismissed, it’s time to move on to the next batch of counsellors. No one in their right mind would open up camp again after all the problems that befell Crystal Lake, so instead, someone opens a copycat camp across the pond. Jason’s woods are a big woods, though, and no desecration of his mother’s legacy will go unpunished.


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Paul’s (John Furey) the head counsellor at Packanack Lodge, the new counsellor training centre across the lake. The other significants are soon to be Final Girl, Ginny (Amy Steel), the skinny dipper with a red herring dog, Terri (Kirsten Baker), soon to be shish kebob Jeff (Bill Randolph) and Sandra (School Spirit’s Marta Kober) and Mark (Tom McBride), cinema’s only wheelchair jock. Of course Crazy Ralph (Walt Gorney) is still riding around on his bicycle spouting out drunken dictums of doom, but naturally, nobody listens. The bodycount picks up again when, after an iconic campfire incantation of Jason’s legend, the counsellors to be decide to walk through the woods in search of that killer man boy. They find his shanty, and Mr. Strong Silent Type ain’t too impressed. Dressed in plaid and trendy jean overalls, Jason picks up where his mother left off...again and again and again.


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Most of the Counsellors Who Aren’t Introduced By Name head off to the local pub for some Friday night delights, but for those who stay back, Jason’s planned his own fun and games. No Strip Monopoly this time ‘round, but Mark arm wrestles a woman...and wins! There’s also those handheld blinking lights hockey games to show that yes, humanity has advanced in the five years since the first film. It’s a dark and stormy night, where the rain pours and the win howls...but nothing will stop Jason. He’ll skewer you with an spear. Hang you before slitting your throat. Stab you with an ice pick or, most memorably, put a machete in your face and push you down a staircase. Nobody is lucky on Friday the 13th.


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Friday the 13th Part 2 is what loving slashers is all about. A loveable cast of amateurs, inventive kills, a leafy camp ground setting and one psychologically tormented killer. The first film was charming in its meager style and overall earnestness, but Steve Miner’s effort here trumps the original in every which way. The only black mark may be the absence of Tom Savini behind the makeup, but considering the film still continues to be presented in cut form, we may never be able to compare each in all fairness. What Miner does, and what virtually no other slasher film has managed to do before or since, is create such an overall atmosphere of fun. So often slashers waver from sex comedy hijinks to darkly lit scares, but here Miner gets it both ways, keeping that fun campground atmosphere throughout while still serving up kills both day and night. And as mentioned earlier, the kills this time are no slouch. Jason learned a lot from his mother and then some – each death has a unique twist, but it isn’t so outlandish that he’s stuffing road flares through people’s mouths like his doppelganger does in A New Beginning. Again, Miner manages to really mine the perfect balance between laughs and scares, fun and freakish, smart and simple.


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It’s not only the kills that are orchestrated with skill – the stylings take a major step up with this second effort. Some of the most iconic shots in the series come from this picture, with that slow zoom in during the warmly lit campfire tale, the kill from the perspective of Jason’s knife (complete with bruised nail) and that oft-reused shot of the candlelit shrine to the beheaded Mrs. Voorhees. More than just point and shoot, there was a real devotion to giving the genre born of voyeurism a form that would really make it worth peeping in on. The addition of the steadicam makes all the many prowling scenes in the forest much more mobile and menacing. The panaglide operator, Eric Von Haren Noman, did so well here that Miner called not only him back for Part 3, but recommended him to the Weinsteins to lens another classic camp slasher, The Burning. I had the pleasure of working under him on a shoot a few years ago, and when I asked him what his approach was when making these movies he told me quite simply “the money was pretty good”.


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Okay, so the film, and the series, has never been considered high art. Cunningham even mentions throughout the extras on the first film that the series was devised solely to make a quick buck. The cut from Terri’s puppy, Muffin, running into Jason to a shot of hot dogs on the grill isn’t exactly what Eisenstein had in mind when he wrote his treatise in montage and editing. Yet still it works, and it works well. The aim may have been to cash a paycheck – to bring Hollywood out to the woodsy East coast, but what was created was so much more. The low budget and inexperienced cast give the film a realism that was mostly missing throughout the Spielbergian excess that defined the eighties. In many ways, these little camp flicks was cinema’s way of connecting with audiences the same way verite documentaries did in the sixties and seventies. Only with a lot more tits, ass and gore.


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Psychosexual hang-ups like those on display in Halloween, The Burning and American Nightmare, which commonly came saddled with guilt and sadness, were suddenly turned fun. Sean S. Cunningham’s goal of making the filmic equivalent of a rollercoaster finally came true. This is that crossover slasher film where the typical trappings of the genre have been massaged into entertaining accessibility. When Jason comes crashing through the window at the end, it’s not to demonstrate society’s failure in rehabilitating Michael Myers, or in correcting Angela’s gender identity in Sleepaway Camp. With Jason there’s no blame – he’s a simple boy getting simple revenge. He isn’t scarred the way Alex is in Prom Night or Kenny in Terror Train. He loves his mom, and it’s that quality that in a way makes his deaths something to champion rather than guiltily appreciate. This little invalid is doing his mama proud, and doing it well. It a success story like that that reaffirms the hope of the American Dream, isn’t it?


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Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter is commonly cited as the fan favourite, but after the fun of the first half, the film gets downright dirty, savaging vacationers to grisly masses of body parts when before Jason was just doing his duty. It stops being fun and ends up being downright masochistic. In The Final Chapter there’s a real lasting legacy to Jason’s violence, with campers looking for revenge for lost family members, or Corey Feldman memorably starring into the camera after Jason’s killing spree sent him into a psychotic distress that would last three films. There’s a place for that along with all the other great, draining films of the slasher canon, but again, what sets Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part 2 from the pack is its ability to make merry what most films made harrowing. Miner shows great delight in carving Jason’s mythology for the first time, and all the leaves fall in one perfect pile. This is the quintessential camp slasher, the best in the series and in many ways the one slasher that all others tried to emulate. Not bad for a deformed backwoods boy with a burlap sack for a mask!


Image Quality

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After the unforgivable zooming issues on the re-issue of the first film, I came into this with trepidation. Thankfully, I can say with certainty that there is no zooming out of any sort on this release. In fact, there’s actually a fraction more on the sides here than there was on the previous releases. Unlike with Friday the 13th, both the box set and the original 1999 releases were identical, so this release has been nearly 10 years coming. It was worth the wait. Like with the new edition of the first film, the colors, detail and sharpness all see significant gains. Scenes that were before washed out now come popping with colors never before seen. Considering much of the finale plays out in shades of brown in Jason’s shack, this new release finally allows for separation of the subject from the background. Ginny no longer grows out of the wood architecture. Paramount is also able to pull out much more picture detail that was before lost to blacks or simply washed out of the picture. It looks a great deal sharper, too, like it should given the 9 years between transfers. The print is also much cleaner, all those white specs from the original DVD are a non-issue here. Check out the scene with Ginny under the bed at 1:14:30 for proof. This is just the 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer fans have been hoping for – now how about bringing that Blu-ray to the America North?


Sound


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Like the Friday the 13th Deluxe DVD, this one also comes packed with a new Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix. While this track does the same in opening up the sound space into the surrounds, it isn’t quite the track that the one on the original is. There is absolutely no low end, and often a lot of the high violin spikes from Manfredini’s track come through very shrill. Less work has been done in separating the track, too, with all the dialogue and primary sound effects simply stuck in the center channel. There is no directional separation between speakers. That said, the surrounds do effectively add ambient sounds throughout, and Manfredini’s score does a bit of creeping in those satellite speakers, too. The audio itself is very clean and without hiss, and on the whole sounds a lot better than almost every other slasher from the time. It definitely sounds much better than the original release, too, but still, it’s mono in its roots, and there’s little done here to make you forget that. If you really do forget, then the actual mono track itself is included in English, French and Spanish.


Supplemental Material

inline ImagePart 2 is my favourite film in the series, and indeed one of my favourite horror films. So seeing that this new disc has only a fraction of the extras that the first film does, and that half of them are old content, this “Deluxe” edition is a de-sappointment. The main new extra is “Inside Crystal Lake Memories” which is a sit down between Dark Delicacies owner Del Howison and Crystal Lake Memories writer Peter Bracke. Rather than this being a puff piece on Bracke’s making-of, it’s actually more a discussion about Part 2 and what changed from the first film to the second. Bracke certainly did his research, and offers some clarification about the original ending and why Steve Miner took over as director. It’s nine minutes, and a good companion piece to the other different supplements on the disc.

inline ImageThere’s also a short but sweet new featurette, “Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions” that shows all the panellists from the Friday the 13th Reunion on the Friday Blu-ray, but shows them separated and natural as they talk one on one with fans at their respective tables. There are a few short blurbs about each one about fan culture, and some of the Scarefest festival programmers, and a fan or two, weigh in on the whole phenomena as well. It’s only seven minutes, but a nice sampler of what these things are all about.

inline ImageJason Forever was a Best Buy exclusive disc for the From Crystal Lake to Manhattan box set, but it is now included here in its 30 minute entirety. Along with “Crystal Lake Memories” writer Peter Brake, there are four former Jasons on display here – the first, Ari Lehman, the second, Warrington Gilette, the first post-mortem, C.J. Graham and the fan favourite, Kane Hodder. It’s an enjoyable panel discussion, with Ari sharing the same anecdotes as he did on the extras for the first film, but with all the others humble and armed with a few good stories. Gilette expresses his continued surprise at being an icon, since he had originally auditioned for a part as a counsellor. He also has plenty to say about the famous finale. C.J. Graham is a daddy now, and shares some stories about how his kid approaches the series, but he has a funny bit where he scares the panel with a spontaneous bit of put upon rage. Hodder’s a guy I wouldn’t want to double cross, the stern steroid that he is, and here he seems a bit dismayed at having been overlooked for the role in Freddy vs. Jason. He loves his character, though, and has a lot of worthy information to share. It’s nice to finally have this as part of a regular release.

inline ImageThere’s also a new “Lost Tales From Camp Blood” murder segment, this one moving from the cabin of the first disc to a sunny forest with two campers facing the wrath of Jason. Well, err, I think it’s Jason. Still, the guy doesn’t have a mask, but since Harry Manfredini’s score rages on, we’ll give wardrobe the benefit of the doubt. It’s not particularly well made, but it’s still fun to see Jason’s legacy continued in this fresh series of features. Keep ‘em coming for the future discs!

Lastly, there’s the trailer that was previously included on the original disc. Overall, it’s a decent assortment of extras, but with no talk from the director, writer, or any of the original counsellors, this disc can’t feel anything but incomplete.

Final Thoughts

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While Friday the 13th may have made me warmly nostalgic for a summer camp experience I never even had, Friday the 13th Part 2 captures that same feeling but improves upon it with a richer story, better cast of counsellors, and a truly iconic killer doing what he does best. This is no doubt Jason’s definitive slashing spree. The disc is largely definitive, too, with a phenomenally improved picture, crisp 5.1 sound and a number of extras. While it’s nice to have extras, the lack of many key participants still make this special edition a bit of a missed opportunity, though. The Blu-ray will no doubt be coming soon, hopefully Paramount can pack in some sides from Steve Miner or John Furey. If you can’t hold off for the Blu then jump head first into this second swim at Crystal Lake. Either way, this film must be in your collection…the slasher doesn’t get any better than this.

Rating

.
Movie - A

Image Quality - A-

Sound - B+

Supplements - B-




Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Running time - 1 hour and 26 minutes
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • English mono
  • Spanish mono
  • French mono
  • English subtitles
  • Spanish subtitles
  • French subtitles

Supplements
  • Jason Forever featurette
  • Inside "Crystal Lake Memories"
  • Friday's Legacy: Horror Conventions
  • Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 2
  • Theatrical Trailer


Other Pictures

 

 

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Old 02-03-2009, 11:20 PM
HackMaster
Woo-hoo I cant wait to pick this one up!
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tHaT dAmN dOcToR iS tRyInG tO sTaRvE mE tO dEaTh!
 
 
Old 02-03-2009, 11:31 PM
9, 10. Never Sleep Again.
at first i wasnt gonna get this one, but now i might! great review rhett!!
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New Friday the 13th Boxset Petition
 
 
Old 02-03-2009, 11:32 PM
HackMaster
Glad to see that part 2 at least got a better transfer this time around, as IMO this is the best Friday movie. It looks beautiful.

~Matt
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:39 PM
9, 10. Never Sleep Again.
i agree w/ Matt, great transfer for one of the best of the series.
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New Friday the 13th Boxset Petition
 
 
Old 02-04-2009, 02:54 AM
Soul Stealer
Looks great, but will wait for the Blu.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:12 AM
The Apocalyptic Kid
Sweet, now please lets see it on Blu-Ray! I love this film!
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:29 AM
Pay the price!
Can't wait to open this up this weekend. My favorite Friday and one of my favorite films period.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:18 AM
Screamy Bopper
As disappointing as it is that the first movie is cropped, i can live with it because it just looks so goddamn good in HD. Seriously i never could have believed these movies could look this great. Im excited for more of these releases to come out
 
 
Old 02-04-2009, 11:24 AM
Remaking My Soul
Thank you Rhett! This is my 2nd least favorite of the Paramount series and you know what? I'M BUYING IT! Just based on the new work done for it. Hopefully it feels like a better movie because of it.

I pray you do a review for the 3rd new disc and look forward to it, regardless.
 
 

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