fridaythe13thbluI am a huge fan of horror, and the day that Paramount announced that ‘Friday the 13th’ was coming to Blu-ray I was anxiously awaiting for this film to arrive. ‘Friday the 13th’ has had 9 sequels and a spin off in ‘Freddy vs. Jason’. That is pretty remarkable where horror films can have multiple sequels and still be rather successful due to the fans love for the genre. The original ‘Friday the 13th’ was very successful at the box office with a worldwide total gross of $59 million dollars based off of a $550,000 production budget.

The year is 1957 at Camp Crystal Lake, while two counselors are having sex and not keeping an eye on the kids, a boy at the camp by the name of Jason Vorhees drowns in the lake. A year later to the date that Jason Vorhees drowned, two camp counselors are killed at Camp Crystal Lake. Due to the unsolved murders, the camp would get immediately shut down. No matter how many times they tried to reopen the camp, it turned out to be a complete failure.

Over 2 decades later, Camp Crystal Lake is opening up once again with no apparent issues in sight. The son of the original caretakers is going to reopen the camp. As the film opens, we see various counselors coming to Crystal Lake and some of these counselors are forewarned along the way that there is a curse by the locals. None of the counselors show any signs of being freaked out or scared. They continue on their journey to the camp for some summer sex, booze, smoke pot, partying, and good old fun.

There are six counselors that have been recruited by Steve (Peter Brouwer) to help make sure that the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake is a success. The first counselor Annie (Robbi Morgan) that we meet is hitchhiking to the camp, and she ends up meeting her untimely death very early into the film. Things begin with a bang, as one of the counselors has been killed even before she can make it to the camp. The rest of the counselors consist of Alice (Adrienne King), Marcie (Jeannine Taylor), Jack (Kevin Bacon), Bill (Harry Crosby), and Ned (Mark Nelson).

Little do they know that once all the counselors have made it to the camp, they are going to be killed one-by-one. Each death is rather interesting as they are killed in many different ways. I was rather amazed to this day with the creativity used by the writing team for each kill. We don’t get creative kills anymore in horror movies. Later in the film, we meet another older woman by the name of Pamela (Betsy Palmer), who is an old friend of the original caretakers.

I have tried as much as possible to keep this synopsis of the story as spoiler free as possible for those that have not seen ‘Friday the 13th’. For those that have not seen this film, it is very entertaining with some of the plot twists that occur. While they aren’t earth shattering, giving away what occurs in the film would spoil the pure genius of Victor Miller’s screenplay and Sean Cunningham’s directing. ‘Friday the 13th’ is a classic that actually had some pretty good sequels until the later few releases in the franchise.
Movie Content: 4.5/5

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Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Paramount has done a spectacular job restoring and bringing this film to high definition. While this is not the most stunning older catalog release, it puts all the previous DVD releases to shame. Colors are vibrant in this print, yet the image is soft. The color red predominately looks red and stands out with each death scene. Blood from 20 years ago looks better than what is used in some film these days. Black levels are strong, but there were a few scenes where the levels dipped a bit looking rather soft. Flesh tones look natural and accurate. Details are superb in some scenes especially in close-ups, but when the camera begins to pan away the image begins to lose detail. There is no apparent DNR or EE with this print which is great. There is some subtle film grain throughout the film which never becomes an issue.
Video Quality: 4/5

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. Like many of the older horror films of the 70’s and 80’s, ‘Friday the 13th’ relies on the score to build tension and atmosphere. The film’s soundtrack is more front heavy, but Paramount has done an excellent job at filling the entire soundfield. This allows for that great score and the effects to be heard in the rears. We finally get some very crisp sounding effects from this film. I was literally amazed at how clean the audio sounds, with no hissing or scratching. Dialogue also had a nice depth to it providing a clean and crisp presentation. Having seen both DVD versions over the years multiple times, the audio is a nice improvement.
Audio Quality: 4/5

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Special Features

  • Audio Commentary by Director Sean S. Cunningham with Cast and Crew
  • Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th [HD] – this is an excellent feature as we learn what the film was originally going to be about.
  • The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham [HD] – a one on one interview with director of ‘Friday the 13th’.
  • Friday the 13th Reunion [HD] – a panel discussion with the cast and crew.
  • Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 1 [HD] – short film based off of the feature film.
  • The Friday the 13th Chronicles [SD] – this is the best feature on the entire disc and probably of the entire series special features. This feature can be found in the box set that was released back in 2004. We are taken comprehensively through each film in a documentary style.
  • Secrets Galore Behind the Gore [SD] – We learn about Tom Savini’s involvement with the make-up special effects. We learn as to how the kills were done, the make-up, and special effects.
  • Theatrical Trailer [HD]

Features are presented in both standard and high definition. Features are brought over from the previous DVD set + there is a new feature added for this Blu-ray release.
Special Features: 4/5

Final Thoughts

As a fan of horror and an even bigger fan of the ‘Friday the 13th’ franchise, I was pretty impressed with this release of a classic on Blu-ray. With excellent audio and video, this is the version of the film that fans should own. I can’t wait for Paramount and New Line to release the remaining films in the franchise. I kept the review for the most part spoiler free for those that are not familiar with the original film. Let’s hope that the reboot out on February 13, 2009 can live up to the original.
Overall Rating: 4/5 (Purchase)