Image from source, Amazon.com
Yesterday, I headed into Fry's Electronics to pick up Bill Maher's Religulous. While I was there, I happened upon the newly re-released Friday the 13th Uncut on Blu-Ray. As a (very) long-time fan, I had to have it. Even though I've previously owned the VHS, possibly on laserdisc, and later on DVD. But I'd heard that the "uncut" version had come out to coincide with the remake film, which is scaring up money in theaters right now.
I've related my personal experiences with the film on this blog before, so I promise, this is the last time. It was Summer, 1980. I was between junior and senior high, and snuck out with my brother and our friend. We knew of a hole in the fence at the drive-in, that came out in a trailer park. So, we took lawn chairs, snacks and sodas and ducked into the hole. We set up under a speaker in the front row, and were shortly joined by three similarly aged girls. My brother and friend had a good time acting older than they were with their "hot chicks." Me, I just played along.
Anyway, at the final "shock scene," I jumped up out of my lawn chair--spilling the girl onto the gravel--and struck my head on the speaker. When I plopped back into my chair, the dislodged speaker than came down onto my head. Needless to say, the scene worked. So my nostalgia for the film and series in general is more than just the quality of the movie.
The first thing I noticed about the new Blu-Ray version of the film was how clear the images were. Now, I know, they're supposed to be--this is Blu-Ray--but I've seen this film a dozen times, once on the big screen. And it never, I mean never looked this good. My memory of this (and subsequent) films has been the washed out, muddy colors and no particular artistry to the cinematography. This film fixes that. It's gorgeous. . .and it was shot in New Jersey! The second thing was how young Kevin Bacon looked, and how dated the clothing and hairstyles were. Why we ever thought short-short cut-off jeans looked good on guys I'll never know.
The "uncut" portions are hard to figure out. I gather that they originally snipped fragments of seconds from each of the "kills," and have put that back, holding each shot just a moment longer. But no scene stands out as dramatically new. There is an axe to the face shot that may have been put back in, but as a Fangoria reader, I'm so familiar with the makeup, I can't be sure. What I can say is that Tom Savini did a bang-up job on a shoestring budget. Blu-Ray (and time) do not render the effects "fake," at least they didn't to me.
The picture is great. The sound is great. The special features are for the most part as clear as the movie, with lots of interesting things. Adrianne King, Betsy Palmer, Tom Savini, Sean S. Cunningham, even the kid that played the fantasy "Jason" are there relating their making of the film. If you're a film buff, especially if you have an affinity for this movie, it is definitely worth your $22. If you are under 30, and have no nostalgia for the film or the series, don't bother. I've seen a few reviews from "kids" like this, and to paraphrase Tim Curry from The Rocky Horror Picture Show: "They didn't make it for YOU!"
It's for we children of the 70s and 80s, who remember the first days of MTV. The days of changing channels with a knob. The days of rotary phones, transistor radios, vinyl records, and goofy slasher films. If you're a Friday the 13th fan, you can't explain it. You kinda had to be there.