What can I say to best review this version of Friday The 13th? If you haven’t seen it, I suppose I’ll start out with a brief synopsis (though, seriously, why haven’t you seen it).
A group of camp counselors are fixing up Camp Crystal lake (also known as Camp Blood, because, well, it has “a DEATH CURSE” with a drowned boy and murdered counselors). With a plan to fix it up for inner-city kids to have a place to go and get away from their troubles and learn skills to help them later in life…like…well…basket weaving. Almost immediately, however, the counselors start dropping like flies in a very giallo-like murderous spree. Keep your bloody eyeballs peeled for an early appearance from a grass smokin’ Kevin Bacon.
Ok, it’s the mother of the drowned boy Jason Voorhees, PAMELA VOORHEES, killing everyone. That’s right, an old lady. Young, youthful, strong 20-somethings are being picked off by an old lady. Alright, getting PAST that little bit of weirdness though, this flick is REALLY something you must see. It truly has attained a place in the pantheon of Horror greatness. Friday the 13th was one of the first horror films I ever saw and it was one of my first forays into the world of gore (thanks to Tom Savini’s fantastic effects). It scared the shit out of me.
This film has been criticized over the years for being something of a “paint by numbers” sort of horror film and considered a rip-off of Halloween, and to a degree, this is true. But what Victor Miller and Sean Cunningham did was take that formula and run with it. I’d say, moreso than Halloween, Friday the 13th defined the slasher genre. A group of teens/20-somethings in an isolated area being picked off. Perfect.
So what’s special about the new edition? I didn’t get the blu-ray as I don’t have a blu-ray player, but I can definitely say that the new transfer for this edition is fucking fantastic. I watched a bit of the box-set edition of the first Friday before I watched this new one and you can really see the attention the producers (Paramount?) paid to the new transfer. The picture is CLEAN AS FUCK and when I get a blu-ray player, I’ll definitely be picking this one up. I have yet to see a difference like this in transfer from one edition to another that is just so clearly BETTER, even on DVD.
The DVD also has a new slew of special features that are totally worth picking up the new disc for (some old ones too), but I stand by picking it up for the new transfer alone. It’s beautiful. Even if you already have the first Friday th 13th, go out and pick up this edition (especially if you can get it on Blu-Ray). It is THE definitive edition of the film.
Four out of Five skulls