Shout! Factory’s ‘Friday The 13th’ Deluxe Box Set (2020) Review

I’ve seen the horror community get excited about certain Blu-ray releases, but I’ve never seen so much hype surrounding Shout! Factory’s Friday The 13th box set. All over social media, Friday the 13th fans were taking selfies with their media prize. It seems that this set includes everything but Jason himself. There is an endless list of special features, interviews, uncut footage, posters… If you’re an F13 fan and you’re still on the fence about investing in this box set, I hope this review will help you make a decision.

ORIGINAL FRIDAY THE 13th COVER ART

Some fans might laugh, but the original cover art is what I’m most excited about. I also own some of the Paramount Blu-rays, and the cover art on those were horrible. Every time I took out a Friday the 13th DVD or Blu-ray case, I would cringe at the sight of the cover art. I would pray to the horror gods, hoping someone would restore the original cover art. If you love the original artwork, then you might want to pick up this box set. Also, I love putting in my Friday the 13th Blu-ray, going to the main menu page, and seeing the original art. It puts a smile on my face every time.

SPECIAL FEATURES

SEAN CUNNINGHAM INTERVIEW

Sean Cunningham (Friday The 13th, A Stranger Is Watching, Deepstar Six), whom I still consider to be the father of the franchise, has three segments contained in the special features. The first is a broad overview on his life and career.

Then there’s the interviews. I’ve seen so many interviews with Sean Cunningham in recent years that I was expecting a rehash of previous chat-ups, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good and informative this interview was. The man I saw in his interview is someone who is at the end of his career. I sensed that, perhaps, he is looking back at his works and might have regrets. Maybe now he wishes he could be known for something else other than the Friday the 13th canon. It’s also possible that, in the midst of the court battle for the rights to Friday the 13th, that Cunningham is feeling emotional about possibly losing ownership of the franchise. Nevertheless, it’s one of the best interviews in the box set.

In the second interview, Sean has a conversation about his friendship with Wes Craven (The Last House On The Left, The Hills Have Eyes – read our retro review here, Nightmare On Elm Street), how he was lucky that Friday the 13th was such a big hit, and how difficult it is to make a successful slasher. He explains how uncanny it is that he and Wes were such good friends, and how they both created the two biggest horror icons. He also gives his own thoughts on why so many slashers from the eighties never reached the level of success that Friday the 13th did. He emphasizes that making a successful slasher seems simple, but it is actually very difficult.

I love all of the slashers from the eighties. It’s what I prefer to watch when it comes to horror. Yet, as much as I love all the low budget 30-40 year-old hackfests, they don’t hold a candle to how well-executed the Friday the 13th films are.

For Cunningham’s final segment, he talks about everything Jason Voorhees. He gives his own opinions on why fans love the character and a brief overview on the evolution of the character. It’s a great discussion on how our favorite mama’s boy began and why the character has lasted so long.

STEVE MINER INTERVIEW

When it was announced that Steve Miner (Friday The 13th Part 2, Friday The 13th Part 3, House) was going to be interviewed, you could hear the Friday the 13th community gasp. There are certain fans, like myself, whose favorite F13 director is Steve Miner. I would watch all of these interviews with franchise alumni, but Miner was always absent. He never attended conventions or film reunions. I honestly never thought I would see the man discuss his time on the franchise. I was so excited when I heard that the elusive filmmaker would finally break his silence.

The interview with Miner is interesting in that they cover his entire film career. He does talk about his time working on the franchise, but also talks about his close friendship with Sean Cunningham. He discusses working on the movies, House and Halloween H2O (read our retro review here), as well. If you’ve ever wondered what Miner is like—or what his thoughts are on Friday the 13th are—then you must own this collection.

AMY STEEL PODCAST INTERVIEW

Unfortunately, there isn’t an in-person interview with Amy Steel (Friday The 13th Part 2, April Fool’s Day), but there is a recorded podcast episode from 2016 where she discusses her career. The interview does cover all of Amy’s acting career. She also explains how and why she went from actress to therapist. It’s a solid interview and a must have for Amy Steel fans.

Though I find the discussion quite engaging, there is the problem that it’s a podcast interview. I’m not in favor of putting podcasts interviews on Blu-rays. It feels so odd to sit in front of my television and not see Amy Steel as she’s speaking. It’s like listening to a radio interview. I need to take in their facial expressions. Instead, I was staring into my television, viewing graphics that never change.

BILL RANDOLPH AND HARRY CROSBY INTERVIEWS

The new Friday the 13th collection also includes two interviews with part 2’s Bill Randolph (Dressed To Kill), who played Jeff, and Harry Crosby (Friday The 13th), who played Bill. Both interviews are pretty simplistic with the actors telling plenty of stories about working on the film. Randolph has some really hilarious tales about some hijinks he pulled on other cast members. Both interviews are great and are essential watching.

     

HARRY MANFREDINI INTERVIEW

The man with the most coverage on the special features is Friday the 13th’s legendary composer, Harry Manfredini. I’ve always felt that this man’s score has always been the most pivotal aspect of the franchise. Without Harry’s iconic KILL… KILL… MA… MA… I just don’t think Friday the 13th would have been as successful.

The first interview is on the early career of Manfredini. You will learn that Harry is a musical prodigy and was already learning how to play music by the time he was five or six years old. I’ve always wondered how a film composer is made.  The earliest passions in Harry’s life were always music and film. By the time he got to high school, being a film composer was what he wanted to do. It’s a great interview, showing how he met Sean Cunningham, and ultimately, how he got the gig to score Friday The 13th.

Manfredini’s second segment involves his scoring of the franchise. He gives a brief description of all the Friday the 13th films and why he took the music in a certain direction. He points out his favorite pieces that he wrote. It’s quite interesting when Manfredini gives his own philosophy on composing films. He explains that the scores for cinema are not difficult pieces but actually are quite simplistic. It’s more about making the audience feel something rather than trying to create some elaborate piece of music. It’s a great interview and is definitely worth watching.

Harry’s final segment is about his relationship with La-La Land Records’ Matt Verboys and Michael V. Gerhard. Both Verboys and Gerhard are Friday the 13th fans who love Manfredini’s scores and wanted to release the originals to the masses. It’s quite humorous to hear the composer’s response when he finds out that fans want to own the original soundtracks. Manfredini is dumbfounded that anyone wants to listen to his music. But, he is even more surprised when La-La Land Records’ release of the first six films sells out in one hour. It’s an entertaining interview and really shows that fans all over love Manfredini’s music.

TOM MCLOUGHLIN INTERVIEW

Tom McLoughlin (One Dark Night, Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives) has two segments. The first one is rather strange. He begins by talking about writing the screenplay for part six in a Hollywood cemetery. That is the only normal thing he discusses in this interview. The rest of the segment is just plain weird. He talks about how he’s getting older, and that when he dies, he wants to be buried in this Hollywood cemetery. Yeah… not the best conversation.

His second segment is a brief overview on his work on Jason Lives. He discusses how he relied on the mythology of Frankenstein for Jason. He also talks about involving Alice Cooper in the soundtrack. He briefly talks about a new Friday the 13th screenplay that would take place during the winter season. I prefer this segment over the first. There’s a lot of good background information about the making of Jason Lives.

SCREAM QUEENS

The new box set gives special attention to the female actresses that we call Scream Queens. Various actresses like Debbie Rochon (Bloody Hooker Massacre, Death House, Shakespeare’s Shitstorm – read our review here), Brinke Stevens (Slumber Party Massacre, Night Of Something Strange – read our review here, Teacher Shortage – read our review here), Michelle Bauer (Nightmare Sisters, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers), Linnea Quigley (Return Of The Living Dead, Silent Night, Deadly Night – read our retro review here, Night Of The Demons), and others.

The documentary covers where the term “scream queens” came from, the evolution of it through the years, and the struggles that these actresses go through. Its a deeply satisfying look into the life and careers of our favorite scream queens.

THE SLASHER FILM FOREVER

The Slasher Film Forever is a fun documentary all about hack-’em-ups. If you want to hear people like Corey Feldman (Friday The 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter, The Lost Boys – read our retro review here), Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Poltergeist – read our retro review here, The Funhouse), Adam Green (Hatchet – read our retro review here, Frozen – read our retro review here), and many others discuss what a slasher is, what details you need to make your film into a slasher, the history of the slasher, then you need to watch this documentary.

THE LOCATIONS OF FRIDAY THE 13TH

When I opened my glorious box set, I was surprised to see a locations segment in the special features. It’s a really cool idea to have Michael Gingold (former editor-in-chief at Fangoria) be your tour guide of sorts, taking the viewer through all of the iconic filming sites in parts one through six. If you can’t make the drive to all of these places, then this is the next best thing. This is one of my favorite special features of the box set.

DELETED SCENES FROM FRIDAY THE 13TH PART TWO

Most Friday the 13th fans are excited to see the deleted scenes from part two. I honestly think this is the reason a lot of people purchased this box set. For years, fans have been desperate to see this footage. Shout! Factory did the miraculous and found the deleted scenes.

There are a lot of great shots, including Alice’s death and the sheriff’s death with the hammer’s forks being lodged into his scalp, but my personal favorite is the extended death scene of Scott when he is hanging upside down. Scott’s scene is so brutal compared to the shorter scene that made it onto the film. It’s a shame that these death scenes were shortened/deleted… it could have made part two so much more gory. This feature alone is worth the purchase of the box set.

EXTRA GOODIES

If all that isn’t enough for you to pick up the box set, then let me tell you that you’ll also get two gorgeous posters with art by Devon Whitehead and Joel Robinson. I’m a big fan of Whitehead’s work, but the poster by Robinson is amazing. You really have to be a serious Friday the 13th fan to pick up on all the little details that Robinson placed in the background.

Also included is a booklet written by Michael Gingold, who gives a brief overview of the franchise. There are new commentaries and a few new interviews included in almost all of the movies.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Have I convinced you that you need this Friday the 13th box set in your collection yet? I know with two previous box sets by Paramount, you might be tempted to think you don’t need this one. But this is the ultimate box set that F13 fans deserve. The Shout! Factory Friday the 13th deluxe box set towers high above the Blu-ray Paramount box set. There really is no comparison. I’ve had my new collection for a few weeks now, and I still can’t help but have a big smile on my face whenever I look at the box on my shelf. Seriously, if you haven’t got it yet, what are you waiting for?

About Jeremy Adkins

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One comment

  1. So good Jeremy! Congrats!