When Paramount released the first Friday the 13th box set back in 2004, it was a huge disappointment. Fans were finally able to buy the first eight films together, true, but none of them were uncut and bonus features – which Jason aficionados knew existed through the festival circuit, overseas releases and the like – were nowhere to be found. The supplemental materials included were a bit better than most people gave them credit for being, but the sting of not having uncut versions sent fans over the edge – folks, we’re never going to get them uncut due to monetary concerns and guild regulations.
A year later, Peter Bracke released Crystal Lake Memories, a tome to the series that contained the sort of in-depth analysis and interviews the bonus disc lacked. To this day, no Friday extra has come close to rivaling the 320-page book for content and entertainment value. A documentary that used Memories as a starting point, entitled His Name Was Jason, was released on February 3, 2009 and was a total joke. There wasn’t nearly enough information on how the films were made, instead focusing on common knowledge about the series as well as interviewing internet personalities and up-and-coming directors. God bless these guys, I love (most of) them but I don’t care what they think about Jason and, judging by how much it’s looked down upon these days, neither does anyone else. Some of the producers went on to tackle another big horror franchise the following year with Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy.They learned from their mistakes and made one of the greatest horror docs of all-time.
That same day in 2009, Paramount began releasing their Deluxe Edition line of the entries they owned (the first eight films). Originally planning to release them on DVD and Blu-ray, the films stopped being released in HD after Part III and there’s still no news on whether we’ll ever see the rest of the Paramount flicks on Blu-ray. These newer editions regurgitated a lot of stuff from the first box set, but had a healthy amount of new bonus features including an uncut version of the original (the only uncut film officially released so far), a fan commentary with Adam Green and Joe Lynch on The Final Chapter, the god-awful Lost Tales From Camp Blood shorts, new interview segments, deleted scenes (most of which were previously released but there are a few additions) and even a Best Buy exclusive which was included as a bonus disc with the 2004 set. In the end, everyone came away happy – Paramount got to capitalize on the reboot with new editions and fans got more bonus features and better A/V quality – except for those hoping to get the rest of the series in HD.
Almost 7 years later (one day shy, if you want to get technical), Paramount is rereleasing their Deluxe Editions in a new box set – The Ultimate Collection, limited to 50,000 copies – that includes a replica hockey mask, a book that stores all of the discs and two pairs of 3D glasses for Part III. But is it worth double dipping for? Instead of dissecting each film – let’s be honest here, guys: you’re investing in a $40+ box set comprised of eight well known horror flicks, you couldn’t care less about what I think of them – let’s go through the new selling points.
The new box is made of thin sheet plastic and is roughly the same height as most other box sets out there (it’s a smidge taller than the Futurama releases, which you can see above), so it should fit on your shelf just fine.
The mask is on the smallish side, barely covering my 10-year-old sister’s face (it’s the same size as the mask on the 2004 box), so don’t think investing in this set will give you give a cheap Halloween costume as a bonus. It’s appropriately beat up and worn looking, along with being textured; that said, it’s of higher quality than I imagined. It also has adjustable head straps but, again, it won’t fit most people. If anything, it’s a decoration for a fan that has a tiny space left to fill on his or her wall.
Each page in the glossy, hardcover book is dedicated to one entry in the series (well, the ones included). They detail the specs of the disc they’re holding (they slip in through the side of the page) and include the poster, basic credits, plot summary, body count, weapons used, budget, release date and a random fact or two. There are no essays, nothing from Peter Bracke and really nothing you didn’t already know. The 3D glasses, which accompany the set, fit inside the book just fine, making it easy to only display the discs on your shelf instead of using the wide box which takes up a lot of room – it’s 7 normal-sized DVD cases wide because of the mask.
The only people who should really consider buying the Ultimate Collection Limited Edition are those who don’t already own the deluxe editions (and a hockey mask) and have no interest in holding out for the inevitable Blu-ray set. If you already own the deluxe editions, this set is kind of a crock.