Warner Home Video breaks out of the traditional Tuesday release schedule with a new Blu-ray box set — for what should be obvious reasons.
On Friday, Sept. 13, it offers Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection ($129.95), 12 movies spread across nine discs, with a 10th disc of previously released bonus features; the package also includes the code for Ultraviolet digital versions.
You get individual discs of Friday the 13th (1980); Friday the 13th Part II (1981); Friday the 13th Part III (1982); Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984); Freddy Vs. Jason (2003); and 2009’s Friday the 13th.
Three other discs contain two movies apiece: Part V: A New Beginning (1985) with Part VI: Jason Lives (1986); Part VII: The New Blood (1988) with Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989); and Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) with Jason X (2002).
The Final Chapter, V, VI, VII, VIII, Jason Goes To Hell and Jason X are making their Blu-ray debut, giving audiences a chance at even crisper images of blood and hockey masks. The Blu-ray of Part III includes both the 2-D and 3-D versions, with two sets of old-school 3-D glasses for watching it. In addition, the disc of the 2009 film contains both the theatrical version and an extended “killer cut.” There are extras from previous releases with each movie.
Fans debate the relative quality of individual movies, while critics have been generally unhappy with the films and the slasher genre as a whole. But just the list of titles and release dates tells you how durable this series has been — so you should be skeptical about whether this will remain the complete collection of movies.
Movies to date cover almost 30 years. Twice the series has included a “final” film — only to see it revived. The book Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th had to put out a revised edition in 2012 after its 2006 version was made out of date by another movie.
There have even been reports that a 13th film will be made. And how could a studio pass up the opportunity to make the 13th 13th, especially when the modestly budgeted efforts have been profitable? Indeed, the 13th franchise has already included both Paramount and Warner, and a video-distribution agreement between the two companies made this new set possible.
Beyond that, the Friday movies were viscerally appealing, especially to young people. The earliest films were central to the puritanical horror trope of have-sex-then-die, which somehow amused spectators who did not want a similar fate in their own lives. The “how” of the killings was as important as the bloodshed itself, as audiences had to wonder where and when Jason Voorhees and others would strike next.
And, “complete” declarations aside, Warner has certainly tried to present this package as something significant. The movies are in a tin case containing a book-like package for the individual discs (although some will lament the relative difficulty of getting the movies out of their cardboard sleeves). The extras are not new but are numerous and long; a retrospective on the first eight films runs about 100 minutes. In addition to the 3-D glasses, the set offers a counselor patch for the notorious Camp Crystal Lake, and a booklet of photos and comments about the films, taken from Crystal Lake Memories.
Down video road: Speaking of boxed sets, BBC Home Entertainment has announced Doctor Who: The Complete Series 1-7 Limited Edition Blu-ray Gift Set on Nov. 5; it contains the adventures of the ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston; the 10th, played by David Tennant, and the 11th, Matt Smith. (The 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi, takes over later this year.) The 29-disc set also comes with a sonic screwdriver, which to some will justify the $350 list price.
The Discovery Channel series North America will be on DVD and Blu-ray on Oct. 1. The March, the PBS documentary about the 1963 March on Washington, will be on DVD on Oct. 15. Treme: The Complete Third Season will be on DVD, Blu-ray and digital on Nov. 9; the fourth and final season is due on HBO in December.
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.