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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 40:37)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  • French: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Arabic, English - Hearing Impaired, Italian - Hearing Impaired, Romanian, Bulgarian
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • Featurette - Return to Crystal Lake: Making Friday The 13th

Friday the 13th

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 91 mins . R . PAL

  Feature
Contract

In 1979 John Carpenter scared audiences across the world with his independent film Halloween. The next year Sean Cunningham gave the scary movie genre a shot with Friday the 13th, except this film was given an independent production budget but had a sponsored national release, opening in over 1,127 cinemas across America. On its opening day, chaos broke out, with audiences scaring themselves stupid with the horrors at Camp Crystal Lake. Audience members left midway screaming, horrified at the carnage brought to life by Cunningham, using Victor Miller’s ever-changing screenplay.

It is these films that brought inspiration to the horror genre – just take a look at Wes Craven’s Scream from 1996, which is a very black satire on the genre with references to classic horror films such as these. It was Friday the 13th and Halloween, along with Nightmare on Elm Street, that brought the horror genre to new levels, making it so formulaic that anyone can follow the rules. These films then led to a mountain of other wannabe horror films being produced in the United States, some of which made it, others that just failed dismally.

So the plot. Well, that’s a good thing to know, but really Friday the 13th doesn’t have one. Recently with Final Destination and Final Destination 2, modern audiences have seen the graphic nature of the joys of killing people. Well Friday the 13th started this off, as this film quite simply is the killing of a group of teenagers in a variety of inventive ways. Suddenly, during the climax, a vague thread of a story evolves, but this only lasts for the final 15 minutes of the film. Still, this film is just a classic in its genre, and a pioneer for many special effects. However, the scene is set at Camp Crystal Lake, where years before two counsellors were mysteriously murdered. Since then, the camp has been cursed with deaths occurring every time summer comes around. Hence the camp got the nickname Camp Blood. Enter the next group of victims... uh teenagers - the next group of counsellors for Camp Crystal Lake. But on Friday the 13th, they start disappearing one by one, and everyone’s a suspect until they’re found brutally killed. Who’s behind this madness? That’s for you to find out as the film unfolds on screen. It holds a few good scares, including an incredibly tense finale, and is quite graphic and gory, even for a member of Generation X. For your collection grab Friday the 13th, Halloween and Scream and you’ve got yourself one awesome scary movie night.

  Video
Contract

The video is presented in an anamorphically enhanced aspect of 1.85:1 and generally looks pretty good for a 23 year old film. Colours are bright and vibrant, capturing the natural beauty of the great outdoors, without faltering once. Blacks are relatively solid, but sadly shift at times giving the black backgrounds a moving and posterised appearance. Shadow detail is quite low, with some scenes looking fine in the theatrical trailer, and then their counterparts in the film with large black silhouettes. Accompanying the blob-like shapes comes a heap of film artefacts in the form of minute and irritating specks, as well as a nasty scratch or two. Generally, for such an old print, things look mighty fine, but it’s the little things that show up. Especially with a horror film, blacks and shadows should be perfect because you watch them in the dark, more often than not, which tends to show these faults off more.

OK, so now onto the specific blunders with the transfer. Just a strange thing to point out is the inclusion of a brand new Warner tag at the start of the film which feels out of place given the age of the actual feature. However, given the distribution rights are taken by Paramount in the US and Warner worldwide, this is not surprising, but rather just an odd tag to use due to its young age. Anyhoo, at the camera angle change at 7:51, a strange blur can be seen across the picture for a single frame where it appears as if the film hadn’t taken up correctly during production or a blunder occurred during editing. It’s not really noticeable or distracting, but still an odd effect to see in a polished DVD transfer. Next up is the layer change, occurring quickly at 40:37. This occurs nicely, right at the angle change, but still takes a little longer than would be preferred.

  Audio
Contract

Three film language tracks have been included, all in Dolby Digital mono, with options of English, Italian or French. Obviously English is the prime option for those of us who speak it, and is a reasonable track but the whole tone of the film would have been helped by a remastered 5.1 track. So everything comes from the centre speaker in a 5.1 setup, with effects being supported analogously by the subwoofer. Bass levels are reasonable, providing enough depth to the booms and bumps that give a horror movie its jumps, however some of the effects are just too corny for their own good. OK, so notes on how to improve this track – re-foley the effects and remaster to 5.1 and you’d have a great track. The fidelity of the music is surprisingly high, with very little distortion or wavering. Harry Manfredini’s iconic score is featured prominently in this spooky soundtrack, which also features some good ol’ country hoedown music. Yee-haw!

  Extras
Contract

The 16:9 enhanced menus look pretty slick, but are sadly silent and static. From the extra features page we get access to an audio commentary hosted by Peter Bracke featuring the vocal talents of Sean Cunningham, Victor Miller, Harry Manfredini plus actors Adrienne King and Betsy Palmer, among others. This team talk about inspiration for the film, and particular aspects of horror films in general. It's a different sort of commentary hosted by Bracke who introduces the next speaker which features a snippet from an interview in retrospect. Next up is the Making of Friday the 13th, which runs for 22:04 in an un-enhanced full-frame aspect with interviews from the director, special effects wizard Tom Savini, composer Harry Manfredini, editor, writer as well as Betsy Palmer and Adrienne King. Finally, there is a theatrical trailer which runs for 2:17 in an anamorphically enhanced widescreen aspect of 1.85:1. A word of warning though regarding the trailer, don’t watch it before you’ve seen the film as it shows 12 of the slasheristic slaughters.

  Overall  
Contract

Fans of the horror genre will be queuing up for this baby, which has been given a nice video transfer but a relatively poor audio transfer. Mono just doesn’t cut it in 2003. Friday the 13th may also make you think twice about becoming a camp counsellor too, but it’s just a classic in the horror genre, building on the success of Halloween. However, before you buy this title, check a few things, 1) the date, 2) the price and 3) the number of copies left. You wouldn’t want any of these to be 13 – you never know what may happen...


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      And I quote...
    "Ki ki ki ki ki ki... ma ma ma ma ma ma..."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Philips DVD 736K
    • TV:
          TEAC EU68-ST
    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SS-CNP2
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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