Let's Unmask the Epic New Friday the 13th Blu-ray Box Set

A crop of the art from a new Friday the 13th box set.
A crop of the art from a new Friday the 13th box set.
Image: Devon Whitehead for Shout Factory
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When or if we’ll ever see another Friday the 13th film, we don’t know. What we do know is Jason Voorhees (and his mom) have been hacking and slashing for 12 movies over the past 40 years, and a brand new box set brings them all together in a very impressive package.

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Called simply The Friday the 13th Collection, this 16-disc box set was released last month by Shout Factory. It has all of the Friday movies, regardless of studio, many with brand new 4K scans, along with alternate cuts, new commentaries, and tons of new features. It costs $160 and is available here. Ten bucks a disc, for anything, is a good deal. But, if you’re a huge Jason fan, there’s a good chance you already own all these films already. Or maybe you only like a handful of them, which could make you hesitant about purchasing an entire set. Well, either way, the answer is, yes, this set is worth it, but it’s not as “holy shit amazing” as you may expect.

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The main event here, of course, are the movies and they’ve never looked or sounded better. Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th Part 2, Friday the 13th Part III, and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter all have brand new 4K scans from the original negatives. All the films have either DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound too, even the original (if you watch its unrated version). Yes, the set includes not just the theatrical cuts of these movies, but alternate versions as well. There’s the uncut/unrated version of the original, both the 2D and 3D versions of Part III, the uncut version of Jason Goes to Hell, and the extended version of the 2009 remake.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “All of that has been out there before.” Which is true. So, what’s new? Most of the new stuff (save for a few commentaries, magazine articles, and trailers) comes on the two bonus discs, which each pack hours of new content onto them.

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The box art in full.
Image: Devon Whitehead for Shout Factory

The two discs more or less split the series in half, with the first one focusing on the people responsible for the first few films and disc two focusing more on the people from the middle to late films. (For some of the more recent films like Jason X and Jason Goes to Hell, those discs have their own set of interviews and documentaries, some old, but many brand-new to this box set.)

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Disc one of the bonus materials is highlighted by extended interviews with series co-creator and original director Sean Cunningham and parts two and three director Steve Miner. Oddly though, neither interview talks too much about Friday the 13th. Each focuses more on the director’s filmmaking origin story and overall careers. In that vein, Miner has far more interesting stories to tell, such as details about Halloween H20. Both interviews are rather flat though, especially since they run about 20 minutes apiece.

There’s also a slow-paced but still interesting 30-minute “tour” of what the original filming locations from the first two films look like today. Again, at 30 minutes, it drags mightily but it’s still undeniably cool to see the juxtaposition of what these New Jersey landmarks were then and what they look like now, and meet the people who visit them.

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The whole set.
Image: Devon Whitehead for Shout Factory

Bonus feature disc two feels like it was made by a whole new production team. Everything is much shorter and way snappier. The highlights are undoubtedly the sections with Part VI director Tom McLoughlin, shot at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. We find out that’s both where he wrote Part VI and also where he’ll be laid to rest when he dies. Yeah. It’s fucking weird.

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Alice Cooper’s amazing “The Man Behind the Mask” music video also gets a little love, there’s a second—shorter, but less interesting—locations tour, and a slew of previously released, but very welcome, additions such as the full documentaries Scream Queens: Horror Heroines Exposed and Slice And Dice: The Slasher Film Forever.

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Basically, the bonus discs mirror the movies themselves. The first ones are a little slow. A little more old school. But as things move along they get a little showier, a little gorier, and a little more fun and nonsensical.

Of course, each disc has tons of other things on it too. Trailers, documentaries articles, you name it. If you want to know more about the music, there’s that. If you don’t have any other Friday the 13th releases, there are plenty of older featurettes and interviews on here too. You would have liked to maybe see a few longer, more in-depth pieces, but here it’s really about quantity over quality.

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A better look at the art work.
Image: Shout Factory

Like the Friday the 13th movies themselves, not every piece of content in this collection is a winner. But, like the franchise, even the ones that aren’t great all add up to such an impressive overall achievement, you’d be hard-pressed to not be a fan. This set, wrapped up in its gorgeous new artwork—by Devon Whitehead—is sure to earn a prominent place on any worthy Blu-ray shelf.

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You can read the full list of features, including a breakdown of the new and old stuff, at this link. That’s also where you’d purchase.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

manicotti
Manic Otti

This is nice, but $160 for a bunch of 30 year old movies? Everything is overpriced on bluray anyway, you can get the regular 8 movie collection for $20 and that includes most of the good ones.