The iconic horror/slasher film, Friday the 13th celebrates it’s 40th Anniversary this year, and Paramount Pictures is celebrating by releasing the Uncut Edition to blu-ray in a gorgeous steelbook which boasts artwork taken from the original poster painted by Alex Ebel.
The film has joined the ranks of celebrated horror films, and it’s hard to believe that it has been forty years since that firs visit to Camp Crystal Lake. The film, much like Halloween, has become emblematic not just of a time, but of horror itself. One need only mention Camp Crystal Lake, or the name Voorhees before one’s mind automatically conjures Henry Manfredini’s ‘ki ki ki ma ma ma” stalking tones from the film.
Featuring stellar effects work by Tom Savini, Sean Cunningham, working from a script by Victor Miller, brought us a tale that would circle the fires of many camps I would attend as a youth, shared in almost unspoken whispers as we cast wary glances to the dark forest around us.
Perhaps that’s why I didn’t come to the series until later, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, from the final girl role of Adrienne King, to the Betsy Palmer reveal, to the nightmare ending, to an early appearance, and death by Kevin Bacon. These things still have an impact, and with this new blu-ray, the kills have never looked or sounded better.
The disc comes preloaded with previously released extras like a commentary by Cunningham (joined by some of his cast and crew), footage shot from a reunion panel at a convention, how some of the kills were created, behind the scenes stories, a profile on Cunningham, and a very out of place feeling short called Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 1.
Despite the fact that this film launched a franchise, it stands very ably on its own, and could be considered a one and done, if one doesn’t feel like embracing the legacy that followed this film. But either way, this one ends up being a must for horror collectors.
With it’s violence and blood, this film scared up profits at the box office, and has endured now for forty years. And there’s a reason for that. You can’t simply write it off as a teen slasher film. There is craft at work here, from the scoring to the amazing practical effects, to the creative team understanding the genre, and how to exploit it for their own purposes.
This is a landmark film in cult cinema, as we transitioned away from the auteur driven 70s into the 80s’ business of movies. Paramount realised what they had on their hands, and promoted it, carried it on, and now, forty years later, we celebrate it all over again.
Friday the 13th: 40th Anniversary Limited Edition blu-ray steelbook is available now from Paramount Canada.