It’s not like they’ve never put the “Friday the 13th” movies out on DVD before. But this week’s release of the first three films marks several firsts, and as a result, these are more than just double-dips, and for horror fans or (specifically) fans of Jason Voorhees, today’s a very good day indeed.
The big news, depending on how you look at it, is either the BluRay release of the original 1980 “Friday the 13th,” or it’s the release of the 3D version of “Friday The 13th Part III” on DVD. Both of them are exciting for fans of the series, so let’s look at why, and how well the releases live up to the excitement.
“Friday the 13th” on BluRay is very probably a better presentation than the original theatrical prints. It’s sort of amazing to me how even a film that was shot on low-grade stock and treated as haphazardly as “Friday the 13th” benefits enormously from the high-definition treatment. I’ve seen the film repeatedly over the years, but this is the first time I’ve seen it look like this. You can actually see the seams on the make-up in certain scenes, which may not be what the filmmakers intended, but it sure is fascinating.
Home versions of 3D don’t really look great right now, but considering when “Friday the 13th Part III” was made, it’s not much of a loss. The early ’80s 3D was sort of terrible, and the new Paramount DVD is a good reproduction of what it looked like when I saw it in the theater. The handful of good 3D effects still work, and the movie itself surprised me since I haven’t seen it in a few years. It’s sleazier than I remembered.
Overall, the main reason you should consider this triple-feature today is because it’s pretty much the template for the new movie you’ll see in theaters this weekend. You’ve got Jason’s mom as a killer in the flashback. You’ve got retard baghead Jason for the first act. And then finally, he picks up the hockey mask and wears that for most of the movie. Well, that’s pretty much the arc of the first three films, boiled down into 100 minutes. It’s a smart distillation of the way the myth of Jason evolved, and I have to hand it to Paramount… normally, I’m not much for the cynical “there’s a new movie coming out” double-dips that happen, but they made these better than they had to, and the result is worth your time if you’re at all inclined to pick them up.