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Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
Paramount Home Entertainment
DVDs Released: 2/3/2009
Friday the 13th Part 2
All Ratings out of
Friday the 13th Part 3
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/3/2009
I don't think that anyone expected Friday the 13th to be the success that it was -- not even the filmmakers responsible for it. But, when a movie costs $700,000 and grosses nearly $40 million, a sequel is inevitable. And so, less than a year after Friday the 13th had opened, Friday the 13th Part 2 hit theaters.
If the characters in the film are to be understood, Friday the 13th Part 2 takes place five years after the first movie. (Although the recap and pre-credit sequence give us no indication of this.) Paul (John Furey) has opened a counselor training center on Crystal Lake, not all that far from Camp Crystal Lake. He plans to use the facility to train young adults to be camp counselors. On the first night there, he tells his charges about the legend of Jason, the boy who drowned at Camp Crystal Lake, saw his mother killed, and roams the woods seeking victims. When Paul, his assistant Ginny (Amy Steel), and a small group head into town for drinks, a few of the counselors-in-training are left behind. Soon, they are being picked off one-by-one by a hulking presents who wears a cloth mask. Could this be Jason?
You're probably aware that fans of horror and science-fiction films love to debate about movies, and as odd as it may sound, they love to debate about the reality of their beloved films. However, I've rarely heard anyone question Friday the 13th Part 2. In short, this movie's entire premise makes no sense whatsoever. In Friday the 13th, we are told that Jason Voorhees drowned in Crystal Lake in 1958, and there's no mention of the fact that he may have survived that drowning. At the conclusion of that film, we see a zombie/ghost version of Jason as a child emerge from the lake. Now, in Friday the 13th Part 2, which is taking place 1-5 years after the events of Friday the 13th (again, it's not clear), which would be somewhere between 1981 and 1985, we see Jason as a full-grown man who is running around killing people. What? Did he not drown and he's simply been hanging out in the woods since 1958? If so, why didn't he help his Mom in the first movie? Is he a ghost? The movie simply says, "Here's an adult Jason. Have a good one." and never tries to explain a thing. And, oh yeah, how did Jason get to the city for the pre-credit sequence?
Rampant nitpicking aside, Friday the 13th Part 2 is a fairly average slasher film. The movie features some creative deaths (although the double-impaling was cribbed from an Italian film), but the film was cut to receive an R-rating, so it's not a gory as its predecessor. However, it does feature more nudity. We don't get to know the characters very well, and half of them leave half-way through the film. Unfortunately, we do get to know Ted (Stu Charno), the supposed "comic-relief" who mumbles his way through the movie. First-time Director Steve Miner (who would go on to have a very eclectic career) attempts to inject some style into the film (he loves for characters to look into the camera), but he can't do much with the weak story, even though it does try to offer the beginnings of a mythos for Jason.
Friday the 13th Part 2 lives in a make-piece shack on DVD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing only mild grain at times, but no defects from the source material. The colors are good, but the image is somewhat dark, and some of the nighttime shots appear blurry. I also noted some mild artifacting at times. The DVD carries a newly created Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. This track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are good, and we can often hear various sounds from the forest. However, other than a lightning sound effect and some rain, we don't get much in the way of surround effects, and there's essentially no subwoofer action.
The Friday the 13th Part 2 DVD contains a few extras. "Inside 'Crystal Lake Memories'" (11 minutes) is an interview with former DVDFile.com editor Peter Bracke who describes his book, which is a study of the Friday the 13th series. (Ironically, they never show the book.) "Friday's Legacy: Horror Conventions" (7 minutes) has an interview with a convention organizer and contains footage of fans (some dressed as Jason) at a convention. "Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 2" (9 minutes) is another short film which shows that Jason (or someone) is still out there killing people. "Jason Forever" (30 minutes) was taken from the Friday the 13th Boxed Set and contains a panel discussion (MCed by Peter Bracke) which contains four actors who have played Jason. The final extra is the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the film.
While Friday the 13th Part 2 wasn't the blockbuster which the first film was, it did make money, so again, a little over a year later, Friday the 13th Part 3 was released. But this time, there was a gimmick; it was in 3-D!
Friday the 13th Part 3 is set an indeterminate amount of time after the second film, and it's not clear if it takes place at Crystal Lake. Chris (Dana Kimmell), her best friend, Debbie (Tracie Savage), and five more of their friends take a trip to Chris' family's vacation house. Once there, Chris reunites with her on-again/off-again boyfriend, Rick (Paul Kratka). While Chris' friends immediately go swimming, she is very somber and a bit paranoid. We learn that Chris hasn't been to the house in two years, as she was attacked by a hideous man in the woods (We see in a flashback that this is Jason). Shelly (Larry Zerner) and Vera (Catherine Parks) go to the store for snacks, and run afoul of three mean bikers (Nick Savage, Gloria Charles, and Kevin O'Brien). The bikers follow them back to the summer house and plot their revenge. But, who's that lurking around the old barn? And why doesn't anyone ever return from a visit to the barn? It seems that Jason has emerged from the forest to ruin everyone's weekend.
Friday the 13th Part 3 will always be remembered for two things: 1. It was originally presented in 3-D and 2. It's the movie where Jason gets his iconic hockey mask. Other than that, this is a pretty weak movie. (Oddly, I loved it as a kid. What was I thinking?) This movie acts as if it doesn't even know that the other films existed and none of the characters here seem to have any idea who Jason is. There is more character development than in Part 2, but that doesn't keep every character from being one stereotype or another. Before Jason gets the hockey mask (Which a character was wearing underwater. What good is a hockey mask underwater?), he wears nothing on his head, but we never get a good look at it (until the end). What Jason does wear is an untucked green shirt and khakis. That's awfully casual. Was he on vacation too?
In the content department, Friday the 13th Part 3 doesn't contain much of a story, save for Chris' flashback. We simply watch the characters get killed one after another. There are some interesting kills here, and we begin to see how Jason can use many different implements of death. Steve Miner, directing his second Friday the 13th film, has gotten somewhat better at his craft, and there are some good shots here, most notably the memorable image is Jason coming through a broken window. Of the early Friday the 13th films, Part 3 probably has the best pacing, as the kills are evenly spaced and the finale is interesting.
Friday the 13th Part 3 comes at you on DVD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The DVD contains both the 2-D and 3-D versions of the film and comes with two pairs of 3-D glasses. The 3-D version looks terrible. This is hands-down the worst home video 3-D that I've ever seen. The colors never work and even with the glasses on, there is still double-vision on most objects. It's headache inducing and I couldn't finish the movie watching it this way. The 2-D version is definitely more watchable, but it has its problems. The image is soft and there's notable grain on the image at all times. There are also obvious defects from the source materials in the form of black specks. On the plus side, the colors look good and the picture has a nice brightness to it. The DVD contains a newly created Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are fine, as they show good separation and work well in the barn sequences. There is also some acceptable surround sound from the wind, which constantly opens the doors to the house. I didn't note any significant subwoofer effects.
The only extra on the Friday the 13th Part 3 DVD is the THEATRICAL TRAILER.
On June 16, 2009, Paramount Home Entertainment brought Friday the 13th Part 2 and Friday the 13th Part 3 to Blu-ray Disc. Friday the 13th Part 2 has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is surprisingly sharp and clear, showing only very mild grain and no defects from the source material. It doesn't look as good as Friday the 13th did on Blu-ray, but it looks pretty good. The colors look great, especially primary colors. The nighttime scenes are a tad dark though. The depth is good, most notably daytime shots through the forest or over the lake and the level of detail is OK. The Disc holds a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.7 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This never really sounds like a lossless track, as most of the audio comes from the front and center channels. The stereo effects are OK, mostly when used to point out a movement off-screen, but the surround and subwoofer effects are basically non-existent -- even during a thunderstorm.
The extras on the Friday the 13th Part 2 Blu-ray Disc are the same as those found on the DVD.
For Friday the 13th Part 3, the Disc offers two versions of the film, both of which have been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and contain AVC 1080p HD transfers. The 3D version runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The 3D effects are definitely better than those found on the DVD. While the "comin' at ya" effects still aren't that great, the daytime scenes are truly 3D and have an amazing amount of depth. The scene where we are first introduced to the kids looks as if we could walk into it. However, once the sun sets, things change. During the nighttime scenes, the depth shrinks and the image loses much of the 3D luster. For once, colors are still identifiable, even with the red/blue glasses. If you love this movie, the Blu-ray is worth the upgrade. The 2D version runs at an average of 28 Mbps. The thing that will jump out here is the amount of dirt and hair on the image. Why wasn't this cleaned? The picture is fairly sharp and clear. The colors look good, especially greens, reds, and light blues, and the image is never too dark. The depth is OK, but this has that age-old look of a 3D movie which is being shown flat. Both versions have a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.0 Mbps. The track delivers clear dialogue and sound effects. As with the above title, the audio here is pretty lackluster. Stereo effects are good, but that's about it.
While the Friday the 13th Part 3 DVD offered only one extra, there are several on the Blu-ray Disc. "Fresh Cuts: 3D Terror" (13 minutes) takes a look at the making of film and how/why the 3D was used. Author Peter Bracke offers many tidbits about the making of the film. We also get comments from some of the actors and the 3D supervisor. Bracke returns in "Legacy of the Mask" (10 minutes) to discuss the look of Jason and how the hockey mask idea was born. "Slasher Films: Going for the Jugular" (7 minutes) is a mini-documentary where several people involved with the Friday the 13th series (and Tony Todd for some reason) discuss the appeal of slasher films. "Lost Tales from Camp Blood -- Part III" (5 minutes) is yet another mini horror movie. As with the DVD, the Blu-ray offers the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long