A violent time capsule of slasher movie history...
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Few films have the distinct honor of practically defining an entire genre. Following the hot blood trail spilled by John Carpenter's Halloween, 1980's Friday the 13th firmly established the "slasher" in the minds of millions of moviegoers. The rules Friday the 13th followed to success were simple:
1) Create a prior evil
2) Put a bunch of horny teenagers together
3) Remove any help from adults
4) Kill them off one by one
I didn't make that up either. It's all in Paramount Home Entertainment's release of FRIDAY THE 13TH - THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION, a DVD box set that's much more than nail biting entertainment. It's a history lesson on a movie franchise that carved itself a permanent place in pop culture.
Arriving in stores today, October 4, 2011, the FRIDAY THE 13TH - THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION is attractively priced at the suggested retail price of $39.99. At that price fans get a lot of bang for their buck, the set featuring all eight Friday the 13th movies under the Paramount banner, a slew of bonus features, a pair of 3D glasses for viewing Part 3 and a collectible Jason Voorhees hockey mask. The mask, while a great eye-grabber on store shelves, is aimed more at the casual fan. Seriously undersized, the wearable mini-mask makes for a cool kid's Halloween costume, but die-hard Jason collectors will want to look elsewhere for a more authentic replica. Still, for a set where eight movies factor out to almost $5 each, it's a nice extra to have. It's made of a tough plastic, features a strong elastic strap and appears realistically weathered.
Speaking of Jason's hockey mask, the included 3D glasses made me crack a smile - each pair graphically mimicing the killer's trademark head gear. Watching Friday the 13th: Part 3 in 3D is far from an Avatar experience, but it's gimmicky and fun... made even more enjoyable with a pair of goofy 3D Jason Voorhees hockey mask glasses on.
Movie-wise, the FRIDAY THE 13TH - THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION is pretty ultimate, but not definitive. Fans will note that Jason Goes To Hell, Jason X, Freddy vs. Jason and even the 2009 remake are not included. This is sadly because those films weren't produced by Paramount, but by New Line Cinema. What viewers do get is a solid set including every murderous moment from the Paramount-owned franchise. These include all eight films and all the previously released bonus materials for them: Friday The 13th - Uncut Deluxe Edition, Friday The 13th Part 2 Deluxe Edition, Friday The 13th Part 3 - 3D Deluxe Edition, Friday The 13th - The Final Chapter Deluxe Edition, Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning Deluxe Edition, Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Deluxe Edition, Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood Deluxe Edition and Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan Deluxe Edition.
That all adds up to some serious content. Theatrical Trailers are provided for the first six movies, while "Slashed Scenes", Director Commentary and "Making Ofs" are also a staple of the eight disc spread. There's even a Gag Reel for Part VIII, and I'm not talking about Jason strangling some hapless soul. The film's themselves are just like you remember them, each a violent time capsule to the '80s and '90s. And I'm not referring to how the movies were made. Yes, the body count tends to rise as the film's progress, better reflecting the edgier, bloodier trends in filmmaking history. No, what's truly fascinating (and often hilarious) is the fashion statements the teen stars make in each Friday the 13th movie. It's also great fun seeing how Jason Voorhees "matures" as a character. From his silly sackhead-wearing days in Part 2 to his re-animated, undead self in Part VI, it's a blast watching Jason evolve into an unstoppable horror juggernaut. It's all very ironic how closely Jason Voorhees is tied to the entire series considering that his mom launched the franchise in Part 1 and Jason was replaced by an imposter in Part V. Still, his spirit is in each film, so I suppose it makes sense.
Hours of Friday the 13th movies and bonus content aside, the real thrill of this limited edition set is the 8-page Collector's Booklet that also serves double time as a storage case for the eight DVDs. On each page you'll find cool "Friday Facts" pertaining to the corresponding movie disc stashed inside. Did you know that "A Long Night At Camp Blood" was the original working title for the first film? Or that the number of spoken words by Tommy Jarvis in Part V was 24? Give that kid an Oscar!
However, my absolute favorite bits of information are "Body Count" and "Weapons Used". For example, Friday the 13th Part 1 and 2 hold the lowest body count at only 10 victims each, while Part's V and VIII max out at a bloody 21! Jason is known for some creative kills, but one thing all eight films have in common is that a machete is used. Jason's bare hands come in at a very close second, while an outboard motor (Part VI), telekinesis (Part VII), and electric guitar (Part VIII) rank as unique one-offs.
FRIDAY THE 13TH - THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION packs tons of bloody good times for $39.99. It's also being billed as limited edition, though at a whopping 50,000 numbered units produced worldwide, I don't see that aspect having much impact on its value. Still, do yourself a favor and become one of those 50,000 lucky horror hounds that own this set. It's 31 years of the 13th in one killer box set... A violent time capsule of slasher movie history.
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Sample Courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment