As far as horror films go, the Friday the 13th series has been one of the more popular. Sure, it’s suffered through some horrible incarnations like Jason X, but with a fairly well received reboot of the franchise having taken place back in February with one of the stars from The CW’s Supernatural at the forefront, it look as if the series may be back on a proper slash flick track, recalling elements of what made the series so enjoyable for fans in the first place. Despite the first film receiving an unrated Blu-ray release a few months back as well, Paramount is just now re-releasing the films in all-new Deluxe Editions for Parts II – VI, with parts II and III receiving the Blu-ray treatment, while IV – VI get DVD only.
Synopsis – Friday the 13th: Part II
Get ready for twice the terror with Friday the 13th Part 2: Deluxe Edition! Five years after the massacre at Camp Crystal Lake, the nerve-wracking legend of Jason Vorhees and his diabolical mother lives on. Despite ominous warnings from the locals to stay away from “Camp Blood” a group of counselors at a nearby summer camp decide to explore the area where seven people were brutally slaughtered. All too soon, they encounter horrors of their own and the killing begins again. You’ll be at the edge of your seat for this gruesome thriller about 24 hours of bone-chilling fear!
It was almost like déjà vu watching Part II a few months after the first film, as there was so many similarities between the two films—although this time, obviously, we got way more of Jason and a lot less of his mother (whose only appearance this time is a severed head and a sweater). Still, the basic premise was the same—teens at a camp that joke around with each other, get in each other’s pants in some form or another and (almost) all eventually die. It’s such a by-the-numbers film that it’s hard to really get invested in it, although the usual lights-out-at-camp and bodies being drug down the stairs bits did create for a few moderately entertaining jump moments, moreso than the first film at least (which I honestly didn’t enjoy).
Synopsis – Friday the 13th: Part III
An idyllic summer turns into a nightmare of unspeakable terror for yet another group of naive counselors. Ignoring Camp Crystal Lake’s bloody legacy, one by one they fall victim to the maniacal Jason who stalks them at every turn… Friday the 13th, Part 3 will have you frozen with fear, as Jason finds his way into your living room!
Originally intended to be the final entry into the series (hah!), this third film actually starts off a great deal more interesting than the two that came before it. Now that the necessary introductions of the killers are out of the way, we start off with a bang—or, rather, start off a mere day after the events of the previous film. We get another round of characters, including a girl named Chris who was apparently attacked by Jason a few years ago (although I don’t think we saw that previously, as I don’t remember her from the first two films), and as such she has a little familiarity with the slasher. As redundant as this film is, it gets even more ridiculous with its gruesome deaths, as it really just racks them up in quick succession (right after the obligatory sex scene, of course). It’s certainly not a strong film on its own, but as far as the plots go…this is a pretty weak film. Although it is in 3-D, so it has that going for it I guess.
Synopsis – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
The body count continues in this vivid thriller, the fourth – but not final – story in the widely successful Friday the 13th series. Jason, Crystal Lake’s least popular citizen, returns to wreak further havoc in Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter. After his revival in a hospital morgue, the hockey-masked murderer fixes his vengeful attention on the Jarvis family and a group of hitherto carefree teenagers. Young Tommy Jarvis is an aficionado of horror films with a special talent for masks and make-up. Has the diabolical Jason finally met his match?
Contrary to the title, this wasn’t the final chapter of the series. Not even close. No, in fact this film once again picks up where the events of the previous one left off, with a “dead” Jason arising at the morgue where he again kills people. Returning to Crystal Lake, he discovers that a group of teenagers have again rented the place out (What the hell guys!? Do you read a newspaper at all? Geesh…) and, of course…sex, violence and murder ensues. There is a little revenge twist here though, so it’s not entirely unoriginal and as far as plots go, I was honestly more intrigued by this one more than the others, simply because it attempted to do something about Jason. It wasn’t just teens getting hacked up by him for no reason…no, there was a purpose to all of the nudity and violence this time. Not much of one, mind you, but hey. Apparently Jason actually dies this time around as well, but a different killer obviously picked up the reins in future installments. Which brings us to…
Synopsis – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Jason is back, hockey mask and all. And he’s up to his old maniacal tricks in Friday The 13th, Part V: A New Beginning. This time he seems to have set his sights on the young patients at a secluded halfway house. And more than a few of his teen targets end up in half, in quarters…you name it, Jason does it. This is the fifth scary installment in the Friday The 13th saga. If you liked the first four, and think you’re up to getting back on Jason’s bloody trail, you’ll love Friday The 13th, Part V: A New Beginning.
Well despite being set up in the previous film as the killer, Tommy Jarvis managed to skirt around this as a copy-cat pretended to be Jason to get revenge for his son (who was killed by Jason). There was quite a backlash to this whole plot…and rightly so, as it was freakin’ stupid. On top of the idiocy that is the main film, we receive the ultimate kick to the pants at the end when we find out the twist ending was really a dream and…but, no wait, it’s not really a dream because Tommy’s going to enact out the dream he just had anyway. I mean…really, what the hell. Who thought this would be a good film? I mean ignoring the fact the series was never known for its fantastic plots, but this is just a rehash of Final Chapter with all of the halfway decent parts cut out. Pass!
Synopsis – Friday the 13th: Part VI – Jason Lives
As a child, Tommy Jarvis did what many others died trying to do, he killed Jason Vorhees, the mass murderer who terrorized the residents of Crystal lake. But now, years later, Tommy is tormented by the fear that maybe Jason isn’t really dead. So, Tommy and a friend go to the cemetery to dig up Jason’s grave. Unfortunately for Tommy, (and very unfortunately for his friend), instead of finding a rotting corpse, they discover a well rested Jason who comes back from the dead for another bloody rampage in Friday The 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives.
How about that – a Friday the 13th without drugs or nudity. I’m almost disappointed. But not as disappointed as I was after seeing Jason being revived. Tommy Jarvis, attempting to stop some demonic dreams or whatever, digs up Jason’s body and stabs it with a metal spike, because that will apparently help. Well guess what? A, I kid you not, lightning strike hits the pole in his chest and revives him! Yes. Jason is now a zombie. Do I care? Nope. But if Tommy just left the bastard alone he wouldn’t even be back again, so the whole film plays out as a “well maybe if he just didn’t do this….” situation. But, it happened and…man, what a weird film. Tommy eventually lures Jason back to Crystal Lake and drowns him in the lake, once again, although since he’s already a zombie that really doesn’t do jack. The film ends with an underwater Jason opening his eye. Oh he’s alive! Wow, that was really surprising.
So, it’s obvious—I don’t really like this series. In fact, I dislike it. It’s mediocre slash horror at its weakest and not once was I ever truly engaged in any of the events that was going on. These releases are strictly fans-only type of affair, as the horror is just so flat-out bad that it’s purely laughable.
The Blu-ray’ and DVD’s
Starting off with the two Blu-ray’s, both of which arrive in a standard Elite Blu-ray cases, this recent load of Friday the 13th Deluxe Editions starts off in nice high-definition, although the video and audio really aren’t all that stellar. For their age, they look pretty decent and the 3-D effect on the third film is a tad bit dated, but for the most part the AVC encoded transfers here do their job well enough. The audio is very front channel focused, with any tinny sound effects making little subwoofer impact or surround channel influence.
The three DVDs here are immediately a more appealing presentation, as despite being clad in the generic single disc amaray DVD cases, they also sport 3-D lenticular o-ring slipcovers that add a little more “pop” to the packaging. Why the Blu’s don’t get similar treatment I don’t know, but hey…gotta give the DVDs a little something extra I suppose. The video and audio for these releases are adequate and, again, what you’d expect for their age. They aren’t visually and aurally fantastic by any means, but they still play their part well enough that the transfers don’t offend by any means.
• Inside ‘Crystal Lake Memories’ HD
• Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions HD
• Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 2 HD
• Jason Forever
• Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer HD
Followed by Part III:
• Fresh Cuts: 3D Terror HD
• Legacy of the Mask HD
• Slasher Films: Going for the Jugular HD
• Lost Tales From Camp Blood, Part 3 HD
• Trailers: Theatrical Trailer HD
What’s nice is the majority of II and III’s extras are in HD, so they’re obviously newly recorded for these releases…although they still aren’t all that appealing, simply because I found the movies to be a pretty boring affair anyway.
Moving onto the other films, we start with The Final Chapter:
• Commentary by director Joe Zito, screenwriter Barney Cohen and editor Joel Goodman
• Commentary: – Fan Commentary with Adam Green and Joe Lynch
• Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 4
• Slashed Scenes
• Jason’s Unlucky Day: 25 Years After Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
• The Lost Ending
• The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part I
• Jimmy’s Dead Dance Moves
• Trailers: – Original Theatrical Trailer (Used on 2000 Release)
Then A New Beginning:
• Commentary by director/co-screenwriter Danny Steinmann with cast and crew
• Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 5
• The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part II
• New Beginnings: The Making of Friday the 13th: Part V A New Beginning
• Trailers: – Original Theatrical Trailer (Used on 2001 Release)
• Commentary by director Tom McLoughlin with cast and crew
• Lost Tales From Camp Blood – Part 6
• The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part III
• Jason Lives: The Making of Friday the 13th: Part VI
• Meeting Mr. Voorhees
• Slashed Scenes
• Trailers: – Original Theatrical Teaser Trailer (Used on 2001 Release)
There really is a surprising number of extras to check out here and, for the fans of the series, it can’t be beat. For me I just questioned why there was so much to talk about for a decidedly poor collection of 80s horror flicks, but…hey, everything has its fans, I guess.
Overall I certainly wouldn’t set eyes again on these releases, but for the fans? This is a real treat. I’ll admit I was almost a bit jealous to see how well Paramount is treating these films that are really just repetitious and boring when we have to wait for other franchises they own to even see such great treatment, but…hey, that’s the way it goes. As is fans will find these releases Highly Recommended as the transfers and extras are really top notch. Those who haven’t already seen the franchise, however? Yeah…you may just want to skip these on by. You truly aren’t missing anything.
Friday the 13th Part II, III, IV (The Final Chapter), V (A New Beginning), and VI (Jason Lives) arrive on Blu-ray (Parts II and III) and DVD (Parts IV – VI) on June 16th.