Friday the 13th Deluxe Edition DVD's!

Editor's Note: These discs have been released on both DVD and Blu-Ray. This is a review of the DVD versions

It's time once again folks!

Time for what?

Time for the return of Jason Voorhees in more ways than one!

With the upcoming release of the remake on Feb. 13th on big screens, Paramount Home Pictures felt it prime time to release the DVD's of the original three movies once again. This time around they've put in a lot of effort as they cut loose a trio of remastered disks packed with extra features that have been lacking in some of the earlier disk releases.

From the press release:

The FRIDAY THE 13TH UNCUT - DELUXE EDITION DVD will be presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround; English, French and Spanish Mono; and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Bonus material includes the original theatrical trailer, plus these all new features:

• Commentary by Director Sean S. Cunningham with Cast and Crew
• A Friday the 13th Reunion
• Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th
• The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham
• Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 1

The FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 – DELUXE EDITION DVD will be presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround; English, French and Spanish Mono; and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Bonus material includes the original theatrical trailer, plus the following all new features:

• Inside “Crystal Lake Memories”
• Friday's Legacy: Horror Conventions
• Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 2
• Jason Forever

The FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 – 3D – DELUXE EDITION DVD will be presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround; English, French and Spanish Mono; and English, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles. Bonus material includes:

• 2-D and 3-D versions of the film
• 2 pairs of 3-D glasses
• Original Theatrical Trailer

And well, they delivered pretty well on the packaging and re-mastering fronts.

The Picture

Now, I don't really need to discus the films much. They're classics in their own right and if you know me, you know that rank high on my list of favorites. So today, we're going to discus the disks themselves. I have yet to own any of the "Friday" movies on DVD, because there really wasn't much draw to them. The existing disks were pretty bare bones as far as DVD's go and frankly, they just didn't look very good. Finally, Paramount has decided to give these movies the extra attention that they deserve and the end product is pretty damn enjoyable.

The picture quality is top notch this time around. Though the disk packaging may claim that they are mastered 'High Definition', I can't really say that it is a truly mind blowing HD picture. However, the transfer is quite clean and shows off every detail that 1980's film stock was capable of showing. Gone are many of the random glitches scratches and hairs that one would expect, replaced with the manly face of Betsy Palmer in all its glory! The new 5.1 sound track is pretty sweet as well showing off Manfredini's glorious score very well. As a matter of fact, it was with this viewing that I discovered that it really is a pretty damn good score. The sound is crisp and clean in all three disks.

Of special note here is the 3D content in "Friday the 13th 3D". While it does lack some of the punch of seeing the movie in theater, (Yes, I was there) it does manage to translate well to the small screen too. Thankfully Paramount packed in two pairs of 3D glasses so you can take it in with a friend. Mind you, this is 3D of a bygone era; the old fashioned blue and red model with blurred picture and the works. While there is some decent effect from the process, it lacks the punch of today's 'RealD' technology. Despite this, it does add a fun angle to the movie that will give you a few grins at least. Also of note; the entire movie is not in 3D. The 3D bits only occur towards the end of the film since this was still an early predecessor to today's feature length 3D extravaganza's.

The Extras

While I myself am not a big watcher of extra features, there are some that come across as interesting and worthy for the extra c-notes. In the first disk, "Friday the 13th: Uncut" we have a slew of interesting history lessons on the franchise. From a cast reunion starring Tom Savini, Aril Lehman, Victor Miller, Betsy Palmer, Henry Manfredini and Adrienne King sharing their stories of how they became involved in the project, to a mini documentary on director Sean S. Cunningham, the extras go the distance for those fans that love every bit of back story they can sink their teeth into. Also included is the first part in a small short film called "Lost Tales from Camp Blood Part 1" featuring two young camp counselors getting...you guessed it....whacked. The other two disks contain similar features, though less of them. "Part 2" contains a new historical featurette called "Crystal Lake Memories" as well as look at the booming horror convention industry. "Part 3" lacks pretty much most typical special features, however it doesn't need to: "Part 3" contains both the 2D and 3D cut of "Friday the 13th 3-D" and comes packed in with two pairs of the old fashioned blue and red specs! Not bad at all.

The Verdict

Again, keep in mind that this verdict is for the retail disks themselves. I can't really give you an honest film review for the first three "Friday" movies without sounding like a raving fanboy. I love the movies on both a slasher level and a nostalgia level. As for the DVD's though, I found myself quite happy all around. Gone are the days of disappointment with the bare bones offerings for a great movie. In are the days of enjoyment with some high quality transfers and sound. Once again, special features are not really my strong point, however I know they are important to many people out there. Thankfully, they are well done and add some good insight to the film making process that went behind Jason and his mum.

For those of you that have been waiting to start buying the DVD's? Now's the time. It's a good idea to get a refresher before the remake hits the big screens next month as well!

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