The horror film entered my life when I was a teenager, as it does for most people. It was all about late nights at the local Blockbuster, browsing the videocassettes for whatever looked like it would mess us up the most, and staying up all night only marginally creeped out by whatever we saw on screen. To think that dude played an adorable Ewok.
And like most kids born in the early 80s, the difficult, meandering, frustrating Friday the 13th Nintendo game held a lot more interactive creep factor than the film ever did – even if it was more about fighting zombies and saving invisible campers and finding sweaters than about anything even remotely related to the film. It still creeped me out. Over the years, I’ve amassed a small collection of horror and bizarre cinema – admittedly with the ultimate intention of getting girls to cuddle. I mean, isn’t that why horror movies were created?
To coincide with the release of the Friday the 13th cinematic relaunch this year, Paramount rereleased the first three F13 films on DVD as deluxe editions – and they’re definitely essential components to any essential horror collection. Alongside Freddy, Mike Myers and Leatherface, there’s no more iconic figure of terror. Don’t even get me started on that Saw puppet thing. Much to my delight, all three of these DVD releases have lenticular covers.
Part One is billed as ‘uncut’, though it includes only ten seconds of previously unreleased footage, divided throughout the film among a few quick, graphic death scenes that were originally cut for ratings purposes. For F13 devotees, that’s the equivalent of the lost Star Wars sandstorm scene – though purists might feel that the ‘implied’ deaths are more cinematically effective than actually watching someone get their throat cut open. It’s the difference between watching the knife go in, and the blood hitting the floor, or the dying body and the dead body. I’m not really a purist.
The film is presented in its full, grainy entirety, and it includes an always welcomed commentary track that features the director, cast and crew. Other features include some well-assembled mini-documentaries : one about the director, and a filmed convention panel that reunites many of the people involved in the film. The 12-year old kid who originally played Jason, now obviously not 12, plays a prominent role in the whole thing.
Notably, this release of these DVDs include a series of recent short films called ‘Lost Tales from Camp Blood’, which are basically succinctly filmed kill scenes. Setup, kill, blood, the end. That’s why you’re watching anyhow. It’s certainly not for the goofy teenagers feelin’ each other up or Kevin Bacon’s shark face.
Part 2‘s special features include a couple more mini-documentaries about the horror convention scene, and another panel comprised of a handful of people who have played Jason – all of whom have some interesting recollections about filming. There’s also the second chapter of ‘Lost Tales’, and an interview conducted with the author of ‘Crystal Lake Memories’ – although the guy conducting the interview would give Jason a serious challenge in a creep-out contest.
Part 3 is probably my favorite. Despite having no special features at all, it’s presented in two versions : regular and 3D. Now, I’ve never experienced a 3D film before, and I’m almost 30. I’ve always maintained that my eyes were either too messed up to be able to properly observe 3D (since I can never get those damned Magic Eye pictures to work), or that I was just too smart to be swayed by the questionable magic of red/blue 3D.
I was giggling like a schoolgirl within a few moments, after a few completely gratuitous ‘pointing things at the screen’ scenes. I do believe that I’d like to start a collection of 3D DVDs now, because Friday the 13th Part 3 has completely earned my adoration. Two pairs of cardboard glasses are included in the DVD – again, perfect for cuddlin’. Plus, everyone looks awesome in those glasses.
Paramount plans on releasing the next three F13 films, which will include more ‘Lost Tales’ shorts, but the date has not yet been determined, the the first season of the Friday the 13th TV series was released this past September. Even if you’re not a big horror fan, the series of films is referenced in just about everything. You’re not watching because it’s comparable to Casablanca, but you’re watching because in some twisted way, it’s just as culturally relevant.