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Sean S. Cunningham
Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Jeannine Taylor, Mark Nelson, Robbi Morgan, Kevin Bacon, Ari Lehman
Writing Credits:
Victor Miller, Ron Kurz

You'll wish it were only a nightmare ...

They comprise the most successful and shocking tales of terror in cinema history. Now, for the first time, the first eight classic Friday The 13th movies are available together in this killer DVD collection.

Beginning with the picture critics have called the original slasher flick, this collection spans nine years and includes seven additional blood-soaked, suspense-filled sagas starring one of the most horrifying characters ever to wear a hockey mask and wield a machete: Jason Voorhees. It's a splatterfest of fan favorites that follow the unstoppable Jason as he cuts and hacks a swath of fear all the way from Crystal Lake to the mean streets of Manhattan. In addition, the collection includes a special disc filled with never-before-seen footage and fabulous extras that will slay even the most jaded horror film aficionado!

Box Office:
$700 thousand.
Domestic Gross
$5.816 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Monaural
French Monaural
Spanish Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $22.98
Release Date: 2/3/2009

• Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Sean S. Cunningham, Crystal Lake Memories Author Peter Bracke, Editor Bill Freda, Screenwriter Victor Miller, Assistant Editor Jay Keuper, Composer Harry Manfredini and Actors Adrienne King and Betsy Palmer
• “Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th” Featurette
• “The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham” Featurette
• “A Friday the 13th Reunion” Featurette
• “Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 1” Short
• “The Friday the 13th Chronicles” Featurette
• “Secrets Galore Behind the Gore” Featurette
• Theatrical Trailer


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Friday The 13th [Blu-Ray] (1980)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 28, 2013)

In 1980, a significant addition to the horror genre came with the surprise hit Friday the 13th. On the surface, it sounded like a rip-off of Halloween, with another mysterious killer and a tale tied to a notable date. However, it’s not fair to brand Friday the 13th as nothing more than a flick that steals from Halloween, for it manages to lift from many other horror movies as well.

Friday opens with a prologue set at Camp Crystal Lake in 1958. After a sing-along, a pair of teen campers go off for some lovin’. An unnamed person comes upon them and slaughters the kids. The movie then jumps to Friday, June 13 in the “present day” for the reopening of the site, commonly referred to as “Camp Blood” by the locals. We meet young cook Annie (Robbi Morgan) as she meanders into town. Trucker Enos (Rex Everhart) gives her a lift to the camp but warns her of its curse and tells her to quit.

She dismisses Enos as a superstitious kook and goes on her merry way. From there we meet owner Steve Christy (Peter Brouwer) and the rest of the staff as they get the old place into shape. They wonder about Annie, who never makes it. When she hitches another ride, the driver eventually slits her throat.

While Steve goes into town, the kids have fun and set up things. They encounter some minor scares and also run into Ralph the local nutbag (Walt Gorney) who warns them of their imminent doom. Like Annie before them, they pooh-pooh this crazy talk and go about their business. Slowly his predictions turn true, however, as someone methodically offs the counselors. Eventually the survivors figure out that something’s wrong and try to fight this unseen evil.

One probably shouldn’t criticize Friday for its clichés, since it was one of the flicks that helped make the concepts hackneyed. That said, I couldn’t help but wish the filmmakers had tried just a little harder to add some distinctiveness to the movie.

Can a film as derivative as Friday be seen as seminal? Yeah, I think so. The movie doesn’t present much that one could call original, but that packaging made it a little different, and it certainly inspired many copycats of its own. I seriously doubt that the rash of slasher flicks in the Eighties would have existed without the success of Friday. Its lasting legacy may not have anything to do with the content on screen; it may come more from the fact that Friday reached a wider audience than the usual ultra-violent fare.

Of course, the series added the character of Jason Voorhees to the public lexicon, but one can’t credit the original flick with that. It introduces the character in a way that doesn’t even remotely resemble the monster of the subsequent entries. I won’t get into the details more fully so I can avoid spoilers, but suffice it to say that Jason is largely a non-entity in this film.

As I watch it now, I find it tough to figure out why Friday became such a sensation. There’s really not much to the movie. It presents extremely generic characters who don’t even aspire to be stereotypes. We know Alice will make it to the end because she’s the plain one, ala Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. Subsequent Fridays don’t exactly go nuts with rich, full characters, but the ones in the first movie nonetheless come across as absurdly thin. If you can remember any of their names an hour after the story ends, you’ve either got photographic memory or you’ve seen the flick 100 times. The ridiculously amateurish acting doesn’t help matters.

Part of the film’s claim to fame may have come from its graphic nature. While subsequent Fridays would up the violent ante, this one provides material that seemed nastier than expected given the era. It also sets up the basic motif in which the series would present creative ways to kill the participants. The film doesn’t demonstrate a great deal of imagination, unfortunately, partially due to Sean S. Cunningham’s clumsy direction. He telegraphs every shot and scare as the film plods toward the inevitable.

Although the score itself clearly ripped off Bernard Herrmann’s work for Psycho, the audio design integrated one innovative touch: the creepy “Ki ki ki, ma ma ma” elements that run through the film. These reverberated bits remain one of the series’ most distinctive elements and immediately make the movies identifiable. They work in an eerie manner that helps accentuate the action.

Despite minor positives such as that plus a pre-fame performance from a young Kevin Bacon, Friday the 13th doesn’t stand as much of a movie anymore. Maybe it never was all that great, but it certainly influenced its genre strongly and helped create a new kind of horror flick. “Influential” doesn’t necessarily equal “good”, however, and the original Friday now feels like a museum piece.

Note that this Friday release presents an uncut version of the film. This doesn’t do anything to change the story; it just adds half a minute or so of gore. Since the series fans want blood ‘n’ guts, the additions will make them happy.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B+

Friday the 13th appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. With its serious low-budget origins, I expected little from the picture, but it turned out to offer a reasonably appealing transfer.

Sharpness was usually good. Some shots seemed a little softer than I’d like, but those were fairly infrequent. The majority of the movie offered positive delineation. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and only a sliver of edge enhancement showed up during the movie. Mild amounts of print flaws cropped up through the film. Some specks and spots occasionally manifested themselves. These were never heavy, but they created a few distractions.

Colors presented a moderate strength. I figured they’d look drab and dated, but instead the hues came across as pretty positive most of the time. Unfortunately, blacks tended to be somewhat inky, and shadows could be too dense. This was especially noticeable during the film’s third act, as a lot of the action became tough to discern. While I believe some of the darkness related to the original photography design, I still thought too much of the nighttime material appeared awfully dim. Despite these concerns, I felt the image held up pretty well, especially given its roots.

In addition to the original monaural audio, this Blu-ray includes a new Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. I also didn’t expect much from it so it turned into a pleasant surprise. The soundfield boasted very nice stereo music as well as some good use of ambient effects. The thunderstorm provided the most active material, but other elements like vehicles opened up matters.

Those aspects of the track even showed the occasional example of split-surround information, such as when a car zipped to the back right speaker. Otherwise, the surrounds mostly reinforced the forward channels and the environmental bits. That was fine with me, as the scope of the soundscape fit the movie.

Though the quality of the audio showed its age at times, it still fared well for the most part. Speech probably sounded the most dated, as the lines tended to be a bit thin. Nonetheless, they lacked edginess and remained intelligible. Effects were pretty clean and clear, and the music usually sounded very good. The banjo-based tune heard early in the movie suffered from dull qualities, but the Bernard Herrmann-influenced stuff demonstrated very nice vivacity. The score elevated the rest of the track and made this a strong “B” mix.

How does this Blu-ray compare to the 2009 Deluxe Edition DVD? Audio was a little smoother, and visuals showed stronger definition and peppier colors. Given that the DVD and the Blu-ray came out on the same day, I suspect they both came from the same transfer, but the superior capabilities of Blu-ray allow the movie to shine a bit brighter here.

The Blu-ray replicates the extras from the 2009 DVD and adds a couple of older materials, too. We start with an audio commentary from director Sean S. Cunningham, Crystal Lake Memories author Peter Bracke, editor Bill Freda, screenwriter Victor Miller, assistant editor Jay Keuper, composer Harry Manfredini and actors Adrienne King, and Betsy Palmer. All the participants sit separately for this edited piece. The track looks at Cunningham’s early career and the development of Friday, the script and influences, score and editing, cinematography, cast, characters and performances, ratings concerns, gore and makeup effects, themes and the film’s tone, its success and sequels, and some stories from the shoot.

I know many dislike the “audio anthology” format featured here, especially when it’s as non-screen-specific as this one; the commentary discusses the film’s ending well before we reach the halfway point! Nonetheless, I think this is a very good piece. It covers quite a lot of appropriate topics and does so in a concise, compelling way. Some apparent faulty memories appear, such as when Palmer says she was told not to act like Jack Nicholson from The Shining; since the Kubrick film came out three weeks after Friday hit the screens, I’m not sure how she could impersonate him. Nonetheless, the commentary works quite well and deserves a listen.

After this we find a mix of featurettes. Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th goes for 14 minutes, seven seconds and provides notes from Miller, Manfredini, makeup effects artist Tom Savini, and actors Ari Lehman and Robbi Morgan. “Cuts” covers the movie’s origins, cast and performances, stunts and music, the flick’s ending and its success. Essentially “Cuts” acts as a repository for little nuggets of information that didn’t make the commentary. It’s not the most cohesive collection, but it’s interesting.

We learn more about the director via The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham. It lasts eight minutes, 58 seconds, and features Cunningham and his son Noel. We learn about the elder Cunningham’s career and the impact Friday had on his life. He repeats some of the info from the commentary but he throws out a few decent notes here.

We catch up with movie alumni in A Friday the 13th Reunion. During this 16-minute and 45-second piece, we see a September 2008 panel gathering that collected Savini, Miller, Lehman, Palmer, Manfredini, and King. They talk a little about how the various participants came onto the project, characters, the ending, and the impact the flick had on their lives. Expect a few more stories already heard elsewhere, though we do get a smattering of intriguing tidbits such as the one about how the Friday producers tried to get Palmer to appear in some of the series’ other entries.

In addition to the flick’s theatrical trailer, the set offers Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 1. The show runs seven minutes, 31 seconds and provides some new Jason mayhem. It’s pretty pointless, as we see a couple of quick killings and little else. Maybe “Part 2” will be more interesting, but I doubt it.

The Blu-ray includes two components not found on the 2009 DVD, though they were located on the 2004 boxed set’s bonus disc. The Friday the 13th Chronicles occupies 20 minutes, 33 seconds with details from Cunningham, King, Palmer, Lehman and Savini. We get info about the project’s origins and development, story elements, cast and performances, violence and the depiction of gore, the score, the film’s reception and some scene specifics. On its own, “Chronicles” is fine, but I think it’s a bit redundant after all the other extras. Still, it has some interesting moments.

Finally, Secrets Galore Behind the Gore fills nine minutes, 32 seconds with notes from Cunningham and Savini. They give us info about the movie’s kills and how they were achieved. This becomes a gory but useful piece.

Horror fans owe the original Friday the 13th a debt since it heavily influenced their favorite genre. As a movie, however, it doesn’t work particularly well. It lacks creativity and comes across as slow-paced and cheesy. The Blu-ray presents generally good visuals along with surprisingly positive audio and a nice compilation of supplements. I don’t think the flick has aged well, but the Blu-ray makes it look and sound better than ever.

To rate this film visit original review of FRIDAY THE 13TH

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