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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Friday The 13th 1980 - 89 set

Friday The 13th: From Crystal Lake To Manhattan (1980-1989)


                                                                 Picture:     Sound:     Extras:     Film:

Part I (1980)                                                   B-            C+           D           C-

Part II (1981)                                                 C+            C+           D           C

Part III (1982/originally in 3-D)                          C+            C+           C           C

Part IV: The Final Chapter (1984)                     C+            C+           D           C+

Part V: A New Beginning (1985)                       C+            C+           D           C

Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)                             B-             B-           B-          B-

Part VII: The New Blood (1988)                        B-             B-           B-          C-

Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)          B-             B-           B-          B-



Here’s a franchise that (for many people) has been run into the ground with an overabundance of bad sequels.  For me and many other horror fans, the terrible sequels are what make it enjoyable... just don’t ask me to sit through a marathon run of these again.  The fun actually doesn’t pick up until later movies in the franchise - parts 6 and 8 being the best in my opinion, largely because they take themselves less seriously than the rest.  Enjoy it for what it is, even if it’s pretty much the same plot and characters being rehashed, time and time again.


For the completist, picking up this set along with the 3 New Line sequels so far  (Jason Goes To Hell, Jason X, Freddy vs. Jason) is going to be the best you can do, despite the extras included here being cobbled together a little shoddily.  Horror fans relish a good amount of bonus material with their DVDs, and it’s sad to see many major studios comply only with the bare minimum.  Original poster artwork on the cases would’ve been a big plus, as well as more embellishment with the extras.  Much of the bonus material is passable, but it could’ve been better.  As it is, everything is a bit lopsided at one time or another; it should have presented an equal amount of information for each film.  Another complaint that many consumers are vocalizing is that the films are still the cut versions we’ve had on video all these years, a big no-no for a set that touts itself as an “Ultimate Edition”.  The commentary is also weak, as it’s only available for parts 3, 6, 7 and 8.  All complaints aside... for 50 or 60 bucks, you’re still doing pretty well, considering that’s for 8 films and a disc of supplementary extras.


Below I’ll give a summary and review of each the films, along with an overview of the “Killer Extras” disc that includes interviews and other bonuses.



Friday The 13th - Part I

Here’s the inaugural film in this series, the most famous slasher-film franchise to be spawned from the success of Halloween.  Camp Crystal Lake is being reopened under new ownership after a long time of lying dormant, due to a string of murders many years ago.  Things aren’t going well from the get-go, as a crazy local warns against the reopening of the camp, due to a curse.  It gets worse as the counselors are picked off whenever one or two of them stray away from the group.  Not much more to say about this one.  I won’t reveal the killer for those of you who have yet to see it, but this is a rare moment where Jason actually isn’t the one taking care of business.  This is a tedious adventure that hasn’t aged very gracefully, but fans will no doubt still want it in their collection.  It is presented widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 TVs, but the British PAL DVD looks better.  The sound is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.  Picture and sound is adequate, but later films in this set are a bit cleaner as a result of less age and newer technologies being available when they were made.


Friday The 13th - Part II

Five years after the gruesome murders in the first film, Camp Crystal Lake is condemned.  But, across the lake, a neighboring camp is getting ready for the summer.  An improvement over the original, this picks up pretty well where that one left off.  There are lots more counselors in this one, keeping the pace from dropping too much in between killings.  A couple survivors from the first affair even reprise their roles (however briefly) here.  This is also the first time where Jason is the killer, although he hasn’t yet acquired his trademark hockey mask; he instead covers his features by wearing a sack with an eyehole cut out.  A decent addition to the series, but the formula that was already apparent would be further improved on in the sequels.  Widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 TVs; sound is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.


Friday The 13th - Part III

Originally presented in 3-D, this entry has weapons, eyeballs and even a snake popping out of the screen at you from time to time.  This would’ve been a really cool effect, had Paramount taken the opportunity to release it in 3-D for this DVD edition, and include a couple complimentary pairs of cardboard glasses.  Nothing here strays from formula; there’s a pretty lame gang of bikers involved at some points and a new crazy old coot around, since the previous one met his end in the second movie.  Jason also first dons his famed mask in this movie, after taking it from a dorky loner named Shelley.  This installment at least has a commentary track provided, unlike the first two.  Again, not much else to say here - presented in widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 TVs and is the only film in the series to date in 2.35 X 1 Panavision.  The sound is surprisingly Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono from the original monophonic release.


Friday The 13th - Part IV: The Final Chapter

Obviously, the final chapter thing didn’t quite work out here... it seems that Mr. Vorhees is a bit too much of a sucker for those meaty box office receipts.  Corey Feldman appears as Tommy Jarvis, a little boy who seems destined to be the one to finish off Jason once and for all.  He’s way into horror movies and video games, and that’s adequate enough training for him to survive this ordeal.  A pre-Back To The Future Crispin Glover is also present in this slasher flick, along with the first set of twins seen in the series (as in siblings, not... nevermind...).  Not a bad addition, it is better than the third, about on par with the second.  Widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 TVs; sound is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.


Friday The 13th - Part V: A New Beginning

Tommy Jarvis returns, a good bit older by now, and heading to a halfway house as a patient.  Not long after that, one patient falls into a rage and kills another with an axe while chopping wood.  The police take him away, and soon someone is taking the lives of the residents of the group home, and anyone else who happens to live nearby.  A memorable death scene for me has always been the redneck motorcycle decapitation, as well as the latrine death of a young man with one killer Jheri curl (this scene was later parodied in one of the Scary Movie films).  Another highlight is the inclusion of the Pseudo Echo song, “His Eyes”.  This wasn’t a terrible movie, but not altogether great.  Widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 TVs; sound is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.


Friday The 13th - Part VI: Jason Lives

The third and last appearance of the Tommy Jarvis character, this time no cameo from Feldman, and the new actor used doesn’t really resemble the previous one.  Aside from that, this was a good popcorn flick - fast paced, lots of action, and a bit of humor thrown in.  The title sequence is the best in the series, riffing on the trademark James Bond opening credits where a silhouetted 007 opens fire on the screen.  Tommy can’t leave well enough alone, so he escapes from the mental hospital with his good buddy Horshack (The character’s name is really Allen Hawes... but if you’ve seen Welcome Back Kotter, you’ll know who I’m talking about.  First he’s killed by Jason, next thing you know, Screech is mopping the floor with him in a boxing ring... the man gets no respect.) to dig up Jason’s body and torch him to dust.  He’s resting peacefully, six feet under, until Tommy impales him with a section of metal fence.  This acts as a lightning rod, and the electricity brings the body back to life again.  This movie is pretty cool at times, and I recommend it most highly out of the series.  Audio commentary with director Tom McLoughlin is provided.  Widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 TVs; sound is Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with Pro Logic surrounds that approximate the old analog Ultra-Stereo.


Friday The 13th - Part VII: The New Blood

A mostly boring sequel, wherein Jason does battle with a teenaged girl who possesses telekinetic powers, why was this not better?  Part of the problem is the series inability to deal with empowered women.  Other than this twist, absolutely everything in here has been done before, and better.  The only thing really worth noting is that this was the first movie where Kane Hodder appeared in the role of Jason.  He’s the best-known actor to have portrayed him, and the only one so far to have reprised the role.  He’s included on the commentary, which is provided by he and the director, John Carl Buechler.  Presented in widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 TVs, with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound remix form the old Ultra-Stereo.


Friday The 13th - Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Another good sequel in the franchise, and the last made by Paramount before New Line picked it up to make Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (this end to the franchise also didn't stick, much like the case with part 4).  It would’ve been more interesting with more actual New York scenes, as the director himself noted in the bonus material, but the budget didn’t allow for it.  This resulted in a lot of planned scenes being rescripted to occur in the boat that the students are traveling in, rather than in New York itself.  Still, the movie is fun and has an occasional joke thrown in, though they’re not as plentiful as they were in part 6.  One cool scene shows one of the students boxing on a rooftop with Jason, when Jason finally takes his hit, it decapitates the student, and sends his head flying into a nearby dumpster.  This one I recommend, it’s campy and fun.  Commentary with director Rob Hedden is provided.  Presented in widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 TVs, with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound form the original Ultra-Stereo.


Friday The 13th - Killer Extras

A nice disc, but as I mentioned earlier, a little shoddy when you compare it to what it could’ve been, had the studio given more thought to this release.  Some cut footage is placed in here, but there’s a lot they seem to have left out.  It would have been best to at least include everything available in this supplement, even better to incorporate it back into the films.  There’s also one trailer for each of the films, except part 6 - for which they include a short teaser trailer, interviews with directors, select actors and actresses, and the special effects guys.  Tom Savini was a treat to see here, he discusses how certain effects were carried out in parts 1 and 4, and also takes you behind the scenes of his school of special effects.  The artifacts and collectibles section is kind of lame, not much to see.  This about sums up what’s included here - decent, but could’ve been better.


In conclusion - this set's worth getting if you’re a fan, or even a casual viewer looking to own these classic slasher films.  It’s hard to imagine anyone picking out just one of these movies to see over another, considering their great similarities, unless one was for some reason cheaper than another was.  Having them all together makes things easier on everyone, and for those dedicated enough, watching them all together should be a treat.  The picture and sound quality overall varies somewhat from film to film, but not radically.  It would be nice to see these in remastered editions, but considering that Paramount doesn't consider these top priority, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.  Someday I’m sure there will be an “Ultra-Ultra Edition” that will surpass the quality of this set, but until then, enjoy what you’ve got.



-   David Milchick


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