In 1980, a little movie called Friday the 13th spawned the slasher film cycle and one of the most popular and long-running horror film franchises. STACK takes a brief look back through the Friday films that comprise the nine-movie collection on Blu-ray [SPOILERS AHEAD].
FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
“The counsellors weren’t paying attention, they were making love while that young boy drowned. His name was Jason.” And so it begins! The trendsetting original is still arguably the best, with its gory effects from make-up master Tom Savini, Betsy Palmer’s maniacal Mrs. Voorhees, and Kevin Bacon’s unforgettable death scene. It also has one of the all-time great jump scares.
Killer bonus features: Audio Commentary by Director Sean S. Cunningham with Cast and Crew • Return to Crystal Lake: The Making of Friday the 13th • A Friday the 13th Reunion • Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th • The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham • The Friday the 13th Chronicles – Vintage featurettes • Secrets Galore Behind the Gore • Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 1
FRIDAY THE 13TH: PART 2 (1981)
Enter Jason, wearing an Elephant Man-like bag on his head. Never mind that he drowned back in 1957! Where the first film established the template for the ‘80s slasher movie cycle, Part 2 tweaked it for future F13 sequels – namely a bigger body count and an indestructible Jason. And final girl Amy Steel’s showdown with Jason is among the series’ best. “You’ve done your job well and mommy is pleased!”
Killer bonus features: Inside “Crystal Lake Memories” • Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions • Jason Forever • Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 2 • Jason Forever
FRIDAY THE 13TH: PART III (1982)
Released during the eighties’ 3D revival, Part III had cinema audiences dodging a harpoon, a popped eyeball, and other cool extra-dimensional effects. While the gimmick is lost on the home entertainment format, there’s still plenty to enjoy here, not least the historic moment when Jason first dons his hockey mask.
Killer bonus features: Fresh Cuts: 3D Terror • Legacy of the Mask • Slasher Films: Going for the Jugular • Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 3
FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER (1984)
The fourth – but of course not the final – Friday benefits from some jaw-dropping practical makeup effects (once again created by Tom Savini) as well as the novelty value of young Corey Feldman facing off against Jason, and Crispin Glover as an awkward teen. And Jason’s grisly demise (one of many) is the showstopper!
Killer bonus features: Audio Commentary by Director Joe Zito, Screenwriter Barney Cohen and Editor Joel Goodman • Audio Commentary by Fans Adam Green and Joe Lynch • The Friday the 13th Chronicles – Part 4 • Secrets Galore Behind the Gore – Tom Savini on Part IV • Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 4 • Slashed Scenes with Commentary by Director Joseph Zito • Jason’s Unlucky Day: 25 Years After Friday the 13th The Final Chapter • The Lost Ending • The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited – Part I • Jimmy’s Dead Dance Moves
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING (1985)
More mean-spirited than its predecessors, the fifth Friday revived the franchise and added a whodunit element – is Jason really back from the dead, or could it be the traumatised Tommy Jarvis behind the mask? It also shifts the slaughter from a summer camp to a halfway house for troubled teens, and includes Oz popsters Pseudo Echo on the soundtrack.
Killer bonus features: Audio Commentary by Director/Co-Screenwriter Danny Steinmann with Cast and Crew • The Friday the 13th Chronicles – Part 5 • The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited – Part II • The Making of Friday the 13th Part V • Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 5
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES (1986)
“He’s back, the man behind the mask,” croons Alice Cooper on the soundtrack. Alice and Jason make a perfect match, and there’s also a liberal streak of black humour running through this chapter, which is appropriate – when a franchise reaches Part 6, it gets harder to take things seriously. As a gravedigger pertinently observes, “Why’d they have to dig up Jason? Some folks have a strange idea of entertainment.”
Killer bonus features: Commentary by Writer/Director Tom McLoughlin • Commentary by Writer/Director Tom McLoughlin with Cast and Crew • The Friday the 13th Chronicles – Part VI • The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited – Part III • Jason Lives: The Making of Friday the 13th Part VI • Meeting Mr. Voorhees • Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 6 • Slashed Scenes
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD (1988)
This one adds a Carrie-like twist, investing the heroine with telekinetic powers that make her more than a match for old Jason, who is now looking a bit like the Toxic Avenger under that mask. Butchered by the US ratings board on initial release, you can find some of the ‘slashed scenes’ in the bonus features!
Killer bonus features: Commentary by Director John Carl Buechler and Actors Lar Park Lincoln and Kane Hodder • The Friday the 13th Chronicles – Part VII • Secrets Galore Behind the Gore – John Carl Beuchler on Part VII • Jason’s Destroyer: The Making of Friday the 13th Part VII • Mind Over Matter: The Truth About Telekinesis • Makeover by Maddy: Need A Little Touch-Up Work, My Ass • Slashed Scenes
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (1989)
Jason on the rampage in New York City is a tantalising prospect, although he does take his sweet time getting there! Most of the carnage is confined to a New York-bound cruise ship, where old hockey mask has stowed away, before a Manhattan-set final act that takes a big slice out of the Big Apple.
Killer bonus features: Commentary by director Rob Hedden • Commentary by actors Scott Reeves, Jensen Daggett and Kane Hodder • The Friday the 13th Chronicles – Part VIII • New York Has A New Problem – The Making of Friday the 13th Part VIII • Gag Reel
FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009)
This slick and surprisingly satisfying reboot also works as a belated sequel by sticking to established formula and F13 lore. It also stars Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki as the hero, and look out for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Nana Visitor in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her cameo as Mrs. Voorhees.
Killer bonus features: The Rebirth of Jason Voorhees • Hacking Back, Slashing Forward • Alternate Scenes
NOTE: The Friday the 13th: 9-Movie Collection compiles all eight films originally released by Paramount Pictures, along with the 2009 reboot. The remaining sequels from New Line Cinema – Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Jason X and Freddy vs. Jason – are not included in this set.