By Peter Martin
Did the More sisters have to draw straws to see who went to bed with Crispin Glover? Today may be Tuesday the 17th in the real world, but for horror fans it's Friday the 13th, as not one, not two, but four new DVDs in the long-running series arrive. The showpiece is, of course, this year's rebooted Friday the 13th, directed by Marcus Nispel. The "Extended Killer Cut" features nine additional minutes of footage. I wasn't sufficiently jazzed to buy this one, but Dread Central has broken it down: More sex / nudity, plus "some additional blood spillage and longer looks at some of the film's kills ... Yet, in the end, these additions do nothing more than put a band-aid on a gushing wound." So make your own call on that one.
As for me, I opted for the three new "Deluxe Edition" DVDs. Scott Weinberg has already given a good rundown on the special features for Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. All I can add is that the transfer looks better than the bare bones DVD issued in 2000. If you're only buying one today, this is the one to get.
Against my better instincts, I threw Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning into my order; my previous viewing convinced me that it's quite awful, but the audio commentary makes it worth a rental. Director / co-writer Danny Steinmann is extremely profane, very funny, and quite forthright ("Cheap played an integral part in this movie"); he knows the flick isn't good but cheerfully claims mock credit for doing everything. He also details some of the numerous cuts required to please the MPAA, most extensively in the kill scenes but also in the sex scenes (a three-minute softcore sequence was cut to "10 seconds").
Cast members John Shepherd (Tommy Jarvis) and Shavar Ross (young Reggie) join the jovial, joking mood, and the only odd note is struck by film expert Michael Felsher, who chimes in via telephone and is the only one who defends the movie as an unappreciated gem. It is a much better movie with the commentary.
Felsher continues to defend the movie in the lively, 11-minute "making of" doc. Steinmann (who again laments the lost softcore scene), Ross, and other cast and crew members also appear with behind-the-scenes anecdotes. Other special features include the 7-minute "Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 5" (video filler), the 10-minute faux-doc "The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part II," and the original theatrical trailer.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is more watchable, in part because writer / director Tom McLoughlin was allowed to make it as a more straight-forward comedy. The audio commentary features McLoughlin, editor Bruce Green, and actor Vincent Guastaferro (Deputy Rick Cologne).
A 13-minute "making of" doc provides solid background, with McLoughlin leading the discussion, details about more problems with the MPAA, and how to make a Jason mask. "Meeting Mr. Voorhees" is a cool, 3-minute piece that stages McLoughlin's original, intended ending by using storyboards and voice acting. "Slashed Scenes" provides six minutes of rough-looking footage cut from the movie, including the triple decapitation of the paintball players. Other bonus features includes additional installments of "Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 6" and "The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part III," and the original theatrical teaser trailer.
Blu-ray owners can pick up Friday the 13th Part 2 and Friday the 13th Part 3 3D, which are both released today.
- The Cell 2. Serial killer The Cusp returns to revive and torture his victims. Psychic investigator Maya (Tessie Santiago) escapes and swears vengeance, even though she must enter The Cusp's mind to defeat him. With Frank Whaley.
- Hydra. A former Marine is kidnapped and forced to participate in a really bad movie new version of The Most Dangerous Game, set on an island that is home to Hydra the Beast. Unrated version of Sci-Fi Channel production.
- Born. A 21-year-old virgin (Alison Brie) is possessed by a demon fetus growing within her womb. With Kane Hodder, Joan Severance, and Denise Crosby.
- Platoon of the Dead. In the distant future, three soldiers are the only survivors of an ambush, but must then "fend off the growing army of the living dead."
- Little Red Riding Hood and Other Stories. Christina Ricci stars in the 1997 short film that is the centerpiece of this collection.
- Stagknight. "Set deep in dark mythical English woods Stagknight presents a uniquely stupid look at this genre through the cracked 'Weekend Warriors' paintball team.
- Killing Ariel. A female demon attacks a happily married man. He promptly heads off on a fling with a young beauty and accidentally kills her, but she won't stay dead.