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 IV : The Final Chapter (1984)

The fourth installment in the Friday the 13th franchise, directed by Joseph Zito, was released in 1984. Any savvy horror fan knows never to trust a film with the word “final” in its title. But while The Final Chapter doesn’t give us a conclusion, it offers way more : everything a slasher should be !

The film opens directly where the previous chapter ended. Jason’s corpse is taken to the morgue where, after waking up, he disposes of two medical employees who are too keen on expressing their sexuality in the workplace. Near Crystal Lake, the Jarvis family (Trish, Tommy and their mom) are enjoying life in their country home while a group of teenagers arrive next door for a week-end of partying. The Jarvis children meet Rob, a camper set on avenging his sister, who was killed by Jason. The latter arrives soon after and starts doing what he does best : killing teenagers.

If you want the short version of this review, here you go : this is one of my favourite slashers, it is fantastic, stop reading and watch it now ! Okay, let’s expand on that a little bit. The Final Chapter has all the ingredients required for the perfect slasher recipe : good characters, a good story, good effects and good kills.

The Final Chapter gives us 2 groups of characters : the teenagers, following the classic Friday the 13th formula, and a family, bringing something fresh to the mix. It is also the first time a child is directly threatened by Jason. Corey Feldman does a good job as Tommy Jarvis, though the only aspect of the character that makes me raise an eyebrow is his unbelievable (and unrealistic) talent as a mask maker. Trish, Tommy’s older sister, is one of the best final girls so far (after Giny). What’s interesting in this installment is that the final girl is not just fighting for her own survival but is also protecting a loved one, which brings more emotion to the final sequence. She is also a strong character who doesn’t crawl to a corner and scream as Jason approaches, she actually fights him back. The group of teenagers may be as cliché as in previous entries but at least they are entertaining to watch. I dare anyone to watch Crispin Glover’s famous dancing and not cry of laughter ! He is the most memorable character of the bunch and every single one of his appearances on screen is hilarious.

The kills are not as memorable as in the previous films but Jason is now a little prankster who places bodies to scare his next victim. Though not as memorable, they are very brutal. Tom Savini returned to the franchise to do the effects on this final chapter. Being the one who created Jason’s look in the first Friday the 13th, master Savini wanted to return to see the end of his creation.

Friday the 13th : The Final Chapter is a really good slasher and one everybody interested in the genre should see. While I thought the kills were not as creative as in the previous films, their brutality makes up for it. There is only one thing that bothers me everytime I watch the film : what happened to Gordon ?! 🐶