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Title: Friday the 13th: The Complete Series

Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :2stars:
Audio: :2.5stars:
Extras: :1.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:45

I had almost forgotten that this show existed. I remember hearing about it when I was a kid, and even remember my older brothers watching it in the late 80s on late night television when I was supposed to be in bed. Well, fast forward to 2009 and the entire show was released in single season sets (which was later repackaged into a complete series set like this and is actually still sold as that bundle) and I had to check out the show. I didn’t remember much as a 6 year old child watching over my brother’s shoulders, but I do remember being scared at that age. I LOOOOOOOOOOVE the “Friday the 13th” film franchise (well, except for the 8th entry into the series, and I don’t think ANYONE likes that particular film) and with the series being released a year before “Freddy vs. Jason” I HAD to check it out. Well, color me more than a bit disappointed when I realized that the series had NOTHING to do with the films. Besides the fact that it shared one of the same producers and you could see a flicker of a hockey mask in the background during the opening credits.

“Friday the 13th: The Series” is one of those variety horror shows, blending in elements of “Tales from the Crypt”, “The X-Files” and other detective shows in an effort to create a “horror of the week” type of show. Right off the bat we meet Micki Foster (Louise Robey) and Ryan Dallion (John D. Le May, who actually went on to start in “Jason goes to Hell” a few years later), a pair of cousins who are loosely related by marriage, who stumble on a grave secret. Their uncle was into devil worshipping and they find out that his old antiques harbor a few secrets of their own. Not only that there are COUNTLESS numbers of his antiques still out there, possessed and cursed, that can wreak havoc on the world. That’s it. That pretty much creates a template for the whole series as each and every episode has a new antique owner stumbling in terrified of a mysterious artifact and the duo have to track it down and put the item to rest. Rinse and repeat.

It took me a few episodes to remember the pattern of the old show and once you get going it’s fairly fun. See Ryan and Micki find out about a new wave of death and destruction from the local newspaper, then put on the Scully and Mulder personas to track down and find the artifact or demon possessed item that is causing all of this destruction. It’s a simple formula, but it works more often than you might think. Micki is snobby socialite who looks down on Ryan and Ryan is a bit of a quirky blue collar guy with a penchant for finding things that don’t want to be unfound. There are hints at a romance, but nothing ever seems to come of it, despite the obvious pushes to keep the audience focused on it (I mean, hey, they ARE only related by marriage).

The show didn’t fare well with age though. Looking back at the old effects and the technical wizardry required to make the show work, it will make you either roll your eyes or fall over laughing. I fall into the second category just had fun with the cheesy camp and “terror” of the 80’s horror show. I’ve watched and rewatched “The Crypt Keeper” a dozen or so times and the same thing holds true as it does for “Friday the 13th” series. The horror of broadcast television mixed with hokey special effects does little to chill the modern bones. Still, there is a level of camp and goofiness that makes the whole thing fun to watch in small quantities at a time. Season 1 was a critical and financial success back in 1987, so you would have thought that the budget would be increased, but it seems the effects and budget went DOWN as you notice a light dip in quality in regards to those aspects of the show. By season three you knew what to expect in that department but the plot was running just a bit thin. Plot lines were being re hashed and re done, and there was no end in sight, so it was understandably cancelled before it could fully wrap up all the items.


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video :2stars:
Here’s where it gets a bit nasty. Sadly the video transfer looks like it was taken straight from your old 1987 broadcast tapes and put right onto DVD. Honestly, that’s probably pretty accurate too. The show was shot on old tape and looks exactly like it did on your old brown wood and chrome TV from the 80s. There are lines and smearing all over the place, with poor black levels and grungy colors throughout. Quite literally looks like you’re staring at an old bootlegged VHS. I can’t blame Paramount too much as I’m betting they use the old broadcast tape masters and unless someone went in with a full multimillion dollar restoration this show just won’t look that decent ANYWHERE (and even then a restoration would only clean it up, not make it any higher quality than it was originally shot. And it was a cheap TV production back in the day).

Audio :2.5stars:
The audio fares a bit better than the video, but not by a whole lot. The voices and dialog are usually intelligible and fairly clean, but there is not a whole lot going around there is some definite source distortion happening in the mix. The first and third season carry a mono track, while the second manages to score a stereo one. Both tracks are decent enough, but just that, Decent.

Extras :1.5stars:

• Original Network Launch Promos
• Sales Presentation
• Episode Promos on Selected Episodes

Overall: :2.5stars:

Cheap, silly, goofy, and hammy. “Friday the 13th” tries to dish up the scares of the movies, but without the titular character that MADE the films so terrifying. A predecessor to many other horror/sci-fi shows out there, it still rips off enough of the past to prove that nothing great is ever invented, it’s just borrowed. You might ask yourself. “What makes this set different than the 2009 individual seasons”? Well, the answer is the packaging. Paramount has packaged up the same discs into a giant 17 disc clamshell that houses them all in over lapping flip sleeves. Do be warned that these GIANT clamshells tend to lose discs easily and have them lying around loose, but for $30 (ish) it is a great deal for all 3 seasons of the show. Audio and video are the same dog eared transfers from the 80s with no touchups, but that’s pretty much all that can be expected for something that had a niche following to begin with. Check it out as a curio.

Additional Information:

Starring: Louise Robey, Chris Wiggins, John D. LeMay
Created by: Larry B. Williams, Frank Mancuso Jr.
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital Mono (seasons 1 and 3), English DD Stereo (season 2)
Studio: Paramount
Rated: NR
Runtime: 3275 minutes
DVD Release Date: September 9th 2016

Buy Friday the 13th: The Complete Series DVD on Amazon

Recommendation: Rental

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