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Review: Friday the 13th: From Crystal Lake to Manhattan Ultimate Edition Box Set (1980 – 1989)

Friday the 13th: From Crystal Lake to Manhattan Ultimate Edition Box Set (1980 – 1989)

Directed by: Sean Cunningham, et al.

Premise: Jason Voorhees slashes his way through his first eight movies and 83 people (only counting deaths attributed to Jason).

What Works: High points of this series include parts one, two, four, six, and seven. Parts one, two, and four are very well crafted horror films and constitute the cream of the crop of slasher horror in the early 1980s with genuine suspense and some fun jumps. The later films explore some of the advanced makeup effects of their day and demonstrate the self-conscious, tongue in cheek humor that Scream later used.

What Doesn’t: Low points of the series include parts three, five, and eight. These films are more predictable and do not show as much craft as the others. Their quality ranges between mediocre to—even worse—boring. Also, this set features only the R-rated cuts of the pictures which is a disappointment because many of the films, especially parts six, seven, and eight, were heavily censored by the MPAA. This would have been an opportunity to release the original cuts of the films, but Paramount did not take that initiative.

DVD extras: For fans of the series, this is the reason to purchase the set. Four of the films feature commentary tracks, although they are noticeably absent from parts one and two. The tracks on parts six and seven are most revealing and shed some light behind the making of the film. There is a bonus disc that includes trailers and featurettes on the making of the series. The quality of these extras is overall very good but the quantity of material is disappointing. So much more could have been done and the apparent lack of effort on Paramount’s behalf is disappointing.

Bottom Line: Love these films or hate them, the Friday the 13th series is one of the most important franchises in Hollywood history. This boxed set will be good for Friday fans that have not already purchased the pictures but those who do own them may want to skip this set.

Note: This set only contains parts one through eight. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Jason X, and Freddy vs. Jason were released by New Line Cinema and have their own extras-packed DVD releases.

Episode:#23 (October 17, 2004)