Originally released in May of 1980, Friday the 13th captured audiences’ imaginations and permeated our collective psyche. The film spawned one of the longest-running and most successful horror franchises in film history with 11 subsequent movies and, 40 years later, the iconic machete-wielding killer continues to haunt, fascinate and terrify new generations. Ralph Potts reviews the 40th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Steelbook from Paramount Home Entertainment.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount – 1980
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Feature running time: 95 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Robbi Morgan, Mark Nelson, Jeannine Taylor, Ari Lehman, Ronn Carroll, Peter Brouwer, Sally Anne Golden, Walter Gorney, Ron Millkie, Rex Everhart
Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham
Music by: Harry Manfredini
Written by: Victor Miller
Region Code: A,B,C
Release Date: June 16, 2020
“Originally released in May of 1980, Friday the 13th captured audiences’ imaginations and permeated our collective psyche. The film spawned one of the longest-running and most successful horror franchises in film history with 11 subsequent movies and, 40 years later, the iconic machete-wielding killer continues to haunt, fascinate and terrify new generations.” – Paramount Home Entertainment
I reviewed Friday the 13th’s 2009 Blu-ray release, and have included my comments from that review here. Ratings for film, audio/video, and bonus content will be the same, as they are identical to that release. The difference between the two is that this offering comes housed in a collectible Steelbook
Thinking back, I can clearly recall being scared while watching Friday the 13th. I was 15 when it was released and didn’t see it until it was on cable TV. Back then it was all the rage with its gruesome killings and shocking ending. Looking at it today it just doesn’t have any of the stomach-churning suspense or heart pounding jump scares that I recall.
Everything from the music, to the effects, to the acting feels pretty dated. I reviewed the original Halloween when it was released on Blu-ray and while aspects of it felt dated it held up much better. Having said that I think that homage should be paid to Friday the 13th. Dated or not, I can remember the impression left by the scene with Kevin Bacon when he is grabbed from beneath the bed and run through with the arrow. The finale also contains a moment that resonates well within my memory of this film and that scene holds up pretty well today.
I think it would be fair to say that I like Friday the 13th and have, ever since seeing it that first time. There is something about it that feels more real than its later iterations. This film started a long running series built around a character that was introduced (albeit momentarily) here, that when on to terrorize many filmgoers over a span of 11 sequels. There is certainly something to be said for that. This new Uncut unrated edition adds 10 seconds of footage to the original release and didn’t add any information of substance to the story. I couldn’t help but have feelings of nostalgia as I watched it and I am sure that fans are excited to have the chance to experience it in high definition on Blu-ray.
Originally released in May of 1980, Friday the 13th captured audiences’ imaginations and, spawned one of the longest-running and most successful horror franchises in film history with 11 subsequent movies. 40 years later, the iconic machete-wielding killer continues to haunt, fascinate and terrify new generations.
The Friday the 13th Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook features artwork from the original movie poster and includes the uncut, unrated version of the film, as well as access to a digital copy of the original theatrical version. Plus, plunge deeper into the film with previously released bonus content including commentary, interviews with cast and crew, and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
Friday the 13th comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound.
This video presentation represents the best that this film has ever looked on video and seems to offer a decent portrayal of the original source elements. Colors are warm and naturally depicted with a palette that’s indicative of the styles used in the era this movie was made. Fleshtones are on the light side but have realistic texture that makes the differing complexional characteristics among the cast discernible. Blacks aren’t well delineated but offer fair depth that help to give the many dark segments in the film added punch. Dark backgrounds are noisy and shadow detail is limited.
This makes many of the film’s sequences appear less dimensional. Resolution is a mixed bag which also impacts depth perception. Many of the exterior daytime segments offer a respectable level of detail, and above average sharpness which is appreciable in both close up and long-range shots. Later during the dark/night sequences grain becomes heavier and definition softer which when coupled with the aforementioned blacks, shadow detail and background noise result in flat image quality. My impression is that these are not so much the result of a poor encoding but are more attributable to the limitations of the original source and photography.
Regardless, I found that there were aspects of this presentation that were notable for a film this old that was shot using a shoestring budget. In comparison to any of its prior DVD releases this is certainly a noticeable improvement.
It’s obvious that this film wasn’t originally intended for surround sound and its elements don’t exhibit the dynamic quality and level of detail present in today’s digital movie soundtracks. I used the Dolby TrueHD surround mix during my evaluation. The majority of the audio was center channel dominant however there were sounds mixed to the left/right channels.
Harry Manfredini’s creepy score was mixed to all of the speakers and sounded open with excellent clarity and variable depth. Dialogue was consistently intelligible, with diminished prominence that resulted in average room penetration. The front soundstage was narrow and some effects sounded compressed within it which effected the perception of balance during sequences that featured music. Predominantly this is source rather than encoding related. These minor issues aside I though this soundtrack sounded acceptable.
- Steelbook Packaging
- Digital Copy (Theatrical Version)
- Legacy Bonus Features
Fans of Friday the 13th and steelbook packaging, that somehow don’t already own it on Blu-ray will be happy to see this 40th anniversary offering from Paramount Home Entertainment. By today’s standards the suspense, frightful moments, special effects, and cast performances are a bit dated but, that doesn’t take away from the film’s appeal or significance. The legacy bonus supplements feature insights as told by the cast/crew on this now classic film. If you haven’t seen it give it a rent and check out the movie that started it all for Jason Vorhees.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems