Chchchch—Kakakaka, an immortal sound in horror if ever there was one. Yes folks, it’s that time again, that certain day that only happens in certain months, a Friday on the 13th day of the month. And we all know what that means…time to cash on old superstitions and worn to death genre films!! What better set of films to upgrade than the Friday the 13th films…..uuhh again?
Yes that’s right, Paramount is releasing newly updated versions of the first trilogy from the Friday the 13th series, corresponding with the coming remake no less. However there were no coupons to see the new film, and even stranger there were no promos of any kind for the new remake on any of the discs, an odd tactic indeed. Still, what you do get, is a nifty, if not a little unbalanced, package.
Up first is the original Friday the 13th, made as a strict rip-off of the success of Halloween (fans put your blades down, the creators repeatedly say this themselves), this little atmospheric gem still holds a special place in most fans hearts, despite its lack of a certain character. Fans should also have cause to celebrate, as this edition marks the first time the film has been uncut on DVD.
The second, Friday the 13th part 2, also keeps a special place in fans hearts, despite lacking a certain hockey mask. The opening especially remains a minor masterpiece unto itself, which I shant spoil for those who haven’t seen it. Sadly this DVD version is still the cut version, a fact they mention in the special features; seeming to imply that the cuts have been lost to time.
The third, Friday the 13th 3-D (creative titles, yes?), must also retain a special watermark in horror fans minds, as it marked the first time Jason donned the infamous hockey mask and made horror iconographic history. This DVD edition should also be of special interest to fans as well, as it presents the film in both a 2-D and 3-D versions. And though somewhat primitive in its appearance, the 3-D is a neat edition and fun enough with two pairs of glasses.
The discs, in addition to all receiving high definition transfers and 5.1 sound upgrades, have a decent trove of special features as well. The first film features a commentary by director Sean S. Cunningham and various other cast and crew, as well as featurettes: Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th, featuring interviews with most of the principals (except Kevin Bacon of course), The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham, which is an interview with the not so creative director who unashamedly tours his mansion “that Friday the 13th built” where he discusses the desperate circumstances that led to him wanting to make a quick buck and his pride in helping to create a subgenre of cheap horror films for a blue collar crowd, A Friday the 13th Reunion: taking place at a recent horror convention and featuring the primaries from the Fresh Cuts doc at a Q&A, and finally Lost Tales of Crystal Lake- part 1, which looks like a student film that won some contest to be on the DVD (it doesn’t even have Jason in it, pretty lame) and the trailer.
The second film features a continuation of the same docs, just carried to the second disc. No commentary this time just some more featurettes: Inside “Crystal Lake Memories”, which is an interview with the author of the book of the same title, where he discusses the cuts made, particularly in part 2, Friday’s Legacy: Conventions, more interviews from the conventions scene, Jason Forever, which features four of the key players of the iconic figure discussing the role at a convention panel and in interviews, Lost Tales of Crystal Lake- part 2, more of the same drek (seriously a waste of time, uugghh), and the trailer.
The third film has no features excluding the trailer and the optional 2-D and 3-D versions of the film.
Overall a decent package, though I don’t understand why they would release just the first three, as the fourth really does end the first half of the saga (and is a much more entertaining film then the first three combined). I suspect the thinking is to release the next three when the remake comes out on DVD/Blu-ray, or just release a whole new collection of all the films together as special editions, who knows. For now though, I’d dip into these offerings here a third time, as they are packed with great features and priced to own. And of course, don’t forget to check out the remake….?