As a reviewer, it’s always weird to get a sparkly new boxed set in the mail and think to yourself, “Wowie! This thing is awesome! It comes in a tin! With stickers! And lots of movies! And extra features! I love this!” And then you start poking around on message boards where the dedicated uber fans are lamenting all of the omissions and explaining how this shiny new release is actually just a gimmicky old retread. This was my experience with the Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection, now available on Blu-ray.
With this in mind, I will go ahead and mention that a lot of people seem to be unhappy with random previously released extra features being excluded from the Blu-ray edition and the fact that we’re given theatrical versions of most of the movies instead of uncut or unrated versions. This is a fair criticism, and it makes sense that true fans of the movie would already own most of this material in some form. However, for someone like me, who knows Jason Voorhees primarily as an icon and finds the movies fun but not life-changing, the collection is aces. You’ve got all twelve movies (varying in quality, but never lacking in goofy entertainment value) on nine discs (Friday the 13th (1980), Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3D (1982), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985), Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Jason X (2002), Freddy vs. Jason (2003), Friday the 13th (2009), and a tenth disc of extra features covering the making of the first eight movies. With a suggested retail price of $129.99, it comes to about $10 per movie or $13 per disc…a pretty reasonable deal. Don’t forget your super fun tin, weird elastic arm band saying, “I told the others. They didn’t listen. YOU’RE ALL DOOMED,” a fancy iron-on Camp Crystal Lake Counselor badge, two pairs of hockey mask-looking 3-D glasses, a 40 page condensed version of the book Crystal Lake Memories, and Ultraviolet versions of the films.
I was probably twelve years old when I first saw Friday the 13th on TV, which would have made it 1989. The movie looked older than its years, but I was thrilled to finally know the story behind that notorious hockey mask. I had no idea that there were already eight movies in the series or that Jason had moved on from terrorizing campers at Crystal Lake to toppling Manhattan. Likewise, I was aware that Freddy vs. Jason existed, but I had never actually tried to watch it. Shoot, I never even knew Corey Feldman was in two of the movies. Corey f—ing Feldman! Something about this box set brought it all together for me and made me want to have a Jason marathon, and sometimes I think that’s the point of a rerelease or a boxed set. Every few years you need to introduce something old and beloved to a new audience, and on that front Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection is a success.