Victor Miller (Part I)
Ron Kurz (Part II)
Martin Kitrosser & Carol Watson (Part III)
Sean S. Cunningham (Pari I)
Steve Miner (Part II, III)
1:35 (Part I)
1:26 (Part II)
1:25 (Part III)
A- (Part I)
B (Part II)
C+ (Part III)
Although they tend to get a little worse as they go on, the original Friday the 13th films are still classic horror films.
In the first movie, we find out that poor Jason Voorhees was left alone by his camp counselors and drowned in a lake. The next year, two camp counselors are murdered and the camp is closed. Years later, someone comes up with the bright idea of heading back to Camp Crystal Lake to try and reopen the camp. One by one, all who enter are also murdered. Not by Jason as one might think, but by his dear old mother who only has love for her son. Sadly, she gets her head cut off at the end of the movie. In Part II, another set of kids end up near the old camp and once again they are murdered one by one. But it turns out Jason didn't really die in the first movie and he's back to get revenge for the death of his mother. So to recap, mother killed in revenge for the death of her son who wasn't dead, then he kills in revenge for the death of his mother, who is in fact, dead. In Part III yet another group of nubile and unsuspecting teens wanders too close for Jason's comfort and he slaughters them. Along the way he picks up his trademark hockey mask.
The first Friday the 13th is truly a horror classic. Even watching it today the movie really holds up well. It takes a reasonable premise and runs with it. Who can't relate to wanting revenge for the death of your son, even if it turns out he's not really dead? Not her fault she didn't know. Or that she thought that kids 20 years later were the same ones involved. She didn't get out much. The new Uncut DVD has 10 extra seconds of footage too gory for the theatrical release. The funny this is, I couldn't tell what it was. In this day and age, this movie would likely be PG-13 since you don't really see a whole lot of gore. You see the before and after most of the time, but not the during other than a couple of scenes. The DVD also comes with a few extras like a documentary on Sean Cunningham and a nice little reunion with some cast members and creators. What I loved the most is the original theatrical trailer. It's so campy it's funny.
Friday the 13th Part II also gets a deluxe edition treatment. The movie introduces the grown up character of Jason and he's kind of skinnier than I remember. And he moves a lot faster than he does in later years. He's also kind of hillbilly looking until you take off the sack he's got on his head. This time a bunch of campers are in a nearby camp but decide to investigate Crystal Lake and Jason's not happy about it. He just wants to be left alone. This DVD actually has a few more extras than the first one. The movie itself isn't as good because it is a sequel after all, but considering it was released a year later, it's not bad for a quickly cranked out flick.
Lastly, there's Friday the 13th Part III which is by far the worst of the three films. This one is in 3D and comes with the glasses. However, apparently people who wear glasses can't use the traditional red/blue glasses and see in 3D on their home TV sets, so I had to watch this in 2D. The movie is pretty awful, even for cheesy horror movie standards. It doesn't help that I'm watching it nearly 30 years after it was released and some of the characters simply do not hold up. The acting is the worst out of the three as is the premise. However, I imagine in 3D it might be a little more interesting. And after all, this is the movie where Jason becomes Jason - he gets the mask. He's still a little funny looking, but that's OK. He kills with the reckless abandon we all love. This DVD by the way, has no extras, which is a little odd. I'm not sure why they couldn't have taken one or two from the other discs and put them on here.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I'm a big fan of the Friday the 13th films, cheesy or not. I once even played Jason in a high school film I made so you know he's close to my heart. The DVDs look fantastic on a HD TV even all these years later so if you're a fan, these editions are worth picking up.
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