Friday The 13th VHS Boxset

With two movies left to review as part of my Friday the 13th marathon, I thought I’d take a break to show something different (but related to Friday the 13th). The underlying reason for this little intermission is that I don’t own a copy of Jason Goes To Hell and haven’t found one for a decent price yet.

A few years ago, I made the acquisition of a Friday the 13th VHS boxset. I keep it as decoration and only dived into it recently. I found a couple of neat little things I thought might interest you. Note that this is a French boxset, another reason why I wanted to write about it as maybe some of you might be interested in seeing foreign editions.

The boxset itself displays artworks from both The Final Chapter (on the sides) and Jason takes Manhattan (on the top and front). Since Jason Goes To Hell and Jason X are not included, I assume this boxset was released between 1989 and 1993.

 

As you can see on the two pictures above, the boxset goes up to the eighth film in the franchise but there are only seven tapes. For an unknown and strange reason, the first film is not included. The boxset starts at Friday the 13th Part II. It’s not difficult to imagine why they chose to ignore the first film : no Jason = no Friday the 13th. I personally find it extremely weird to ignore a film that started a long-lasting franchise in a boxset that is designed to be a complete franchise set. French people are weird (trust me, I know, I’m French). And they didn’t stop there !

Before going into further details on two of the tapes, above is a gallery of all seven tapes, front and back. I like the consistency in the title displayed above each poster. And who can resist those beautiful classic movie posters. Not to sound cliché and old, but they don’t make them as good as this nowadays.

Now, let’s take a look at the first two tapes : Friday the 13th Part II and Friday the 13th Part III. Below the title Vendredi 13 (the french translation of Friday the 13th), there is a subtitle which reads “le tueur du vendredi” (which translates to “the friday killer”). They probably added subtitles to the first entries to match the later films which all have subtitles, starting with The Final Chapter. But this is not what surprised me. Take a closer look at the second picture above. Do you see it ? They used the exact same subtitle for both movies ! You can’t distinguish them unless you look at the back and look at the screenshots or read the synopsis. This is simply insane that nobody ever noticed that both movies have the exact same title.

This time, let’s take a look at the Jason Lives tape (pictures above). The original title of the sixth installment is Friday the 13th Part VI : Jason Lives. For some reason, they decided to translate the subtitle to Jason, le mort vivant which means Jason, the undead. They want to change the title ? Fine. But then, why put Jason Vit a.k.a Jason Lives on the lower part of the poster, on the tombstone ? It’s like the dude in charge couldn’t make up his mind and was like “I wanna change the title because fuck them, I’ll do what I want but I don’t want to ignore it so I’ll just put them all on the cover”.

I really love my Friday the 13th boxset not in spite of all the nonsense I pointed out but because of it all. For all of us who started watching films during the VHS era, these objects hold a special place in our hearts. I hope you enjoyed this article as I have a few more in mind.

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Review : Friday the 13th Part V : A New Beginning (1985)

The fifth installment in the Friday the 13th franchise, directed by Danny Steinmann, was released in 1985. The Final Chapter was not final at all and A New Beginning is neither a novelty nor the beginning of anything. Warning : this review contains major spoiler so if you haven’t seen the film yet, please stop reading.

A New Beginning has a strong and promising opening sequence : Tommy Jarvis goes to the cemetery where Jason Voorhees is buried. However, two men arrive at the same time and dig the grave. Jason awakens and kills them both before slowly moving towards Tommy. As he is about to strike him with his machete…Tommy wakes up from his nightmare ! Tommy is now a teenager and after spending time in a mental institution following the events of The Final Chapter, he is sent to a halfway house (some sort of treatment center for troubled teenagers, I suppose). Soon after his arrival, one angry teenager kills another for the dumbest reason in history : Joey, who has a mild mental disability, is annoying and tells Vic that he is out of line….which is apparently enough to receive multiple hatchet blows. Vic is arrested but the murders don’t stop there….Jason Voorhees is back…or is he ?

I have absolutely no problem with a killer impersonating Jason, and actually think it’s a neat idea. Unfortunately, the execution of this good idea is terrible. First of all, though it has been the case in previous entries (just not to this extent), the characters are only present to increase the body count. We have no clue why they are all in this halfway house, except Tommy, who is clearly disturbed. The other teenagers, besides a couple of them being on the edge of nymphomania, seem too normal (not to say boring) to be there in the first place. To make matters worse, the acting is overall pretty bad and we get the worst final girl to date.

It is common knowledge that Jason Voorhees isn’t actually in this film. However, as a whodunit, it is once again (see my review of Friday the 13th) a complete failure. While I complained that the first film never introduced its killer before the reveal thus making it impossible for the viewer to guess who said killer was, A New Beginning goes the opposite direction by making it too obvious…and it fails miserably also. The mask itself gives away that we are not dealing with the real Jason…and the close-up on Roy’s face after seeing Joey’s corpse is your definite answer that he is indeed the killer. There are several issues with the following storyline : Roy, the paramedic who comes to collect Joey’s body is in fact his father who happens to be obsessed with Jason Voorhees. To avenge his son’s death, he goes on a murdering spree. First of all, if Roy is Joey’s father, why is the kid in this facility when his father clearly lives and works close by ? And if he is indeed his father, the people running the halfway house must know about it, they surely have files on every teenager under their care. Another major issue is that Roy kills a lot of people….except the person who actually killed his son !

Story and characters are terrible, what about the kills ? Well, get ready for a big disappointment. So far, I found every single Friday the 13th film to have extremely creative kills. A New Beginning not only lacks creativity, it also lacks one essential aspect : gore. I don’t know if it was for budgetary reasons or if the make-up effects team was simply devoid of talent, but they barely show any kills. The majority of them happen with the camera conveniently moving away at the crucial moment so we don’t see the actual kill, only the result. This is an absolute shame for any slasher, even more so for a Friday the 13th film, the franchise being known for its great kills.

Friday the 13th : A New Beginning fails as a slasher, as a whodunit, as a Friday the 13th sequel and as a movie. They wasted the character of Tommy Jarvis and even have the audacity of replicating the ending of The Final Chapter, hoping we will believe Tommy might be the next Jason. They didn’t go through with it the first time, but they think we are stupid enough to fall for it a second time. Avoid this crap, you can go from Part 4 to Part 6 and not miss a thing.