FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Feb 23, 2009

Film Club: F13 and MBV uncut

I couldn't "run" a "blog" that's "supposedly" about "slasher movies" for almost four "years" and not have reviewed Friday the 13th (1980) and My Bloody Valentine (1981) before today. Well, I could, of course, but that would be silly. The point is, you can click those links to read my original reviews; I love these movies, always have, probably always will. In the wake of the new remakes of each film, uncut special editions of the originals have hit the market- if you're a veteran like moi, are they worth your time and dollars? In the interests of answering that very question, I watched 'em back-to-back: a good old-fashioned early '80s slasher double feature. In further efforts to recreate the early '80s, I put a friendship ribbon in my hair, squeezed into a training bra, and chugged about half a gallon of Sunny D. No, it wasn't pretty at all, but thank you for asking.

In related news, holy crap, almost four years I've been doing this.

My Bloody Valentine

I'm still struck by how well this film fits the slasher paradigm while it also sets itself apart from its contemporaries. Director George Mihalka really captured the feel of a small mining town (perhaps was filmed in one)- far better than the remake did. The mine is still unbelievably creepy, the miner is still one of the great killers in all of slasherdom, and nearly thirty years on (!!!) the film still works.

Is it worth a double dip? Absolutely effing YES. Prior to My Bloody Valentine's release, the MPAA notoriously excised virtually all the gore; now we can all see what we were missing all those years ago MBV doesn't fuck around! Every single kill has been amped up here and there are body parts and eyeballs galore. It's a completely sick thrill to see poor Mabel (excuse me...Madame Mabel) flop around in that dryer like never before.

In addition to the lost footage, there are documentaries, interviews, and everything else you could hope for on a Special Edition release. This DVD is probably the greatest thing to come from the release of a remake- if it weren't for MBV 3D, who knows when or if this would have seen the light of day? Hooray remakes!

Whoa, sorry, I take that back. Don't wanna get carried away, there.

Friday the 13th

Upon watching Friday the 13th, I was struck with some primo "Get off my lawn but bring me an icepack first because my bursitis is acting up!" I just couldn't help but think, "Golly, remember when the characters in horror movies were likable? And they weren't all douchebags? And even though they weren't necessarily deep or particularly well-drawn, they were still interesting? And they would even do things like read?"

Then I got really sad that Laurie Bartram is no longer with us and that she didn't make more movies while she was.

You know what? This movie still holds up, dammit. It's written off as a pile of crap all the time, even by horror enthusiasts, something I'll never understand. There's a bit of mystery, there are plenty of frights, and the explicit violence is still shocking and is still some of Tom Savini's best work. And Crazy Ralph is just so cool in this I can't even take it. So there.

Is it worth a double dip? Absolutely effing NO. If you're a Friday/slasher wackadoo like myself, that word "uncut" which adorns the DVD case may prove irresistible, and if you've never owned Friday the 13th, I'd probably still recommend you drop $10-20 more and get the box set containing films 1-8. The "extra footage", however, amounts to mere seconds- a few kills are a wee bit longer, and in one case (the famous Jack gets a spear through the neck scene), the additional angle actually gives away a bit of the fakery. Move along, kids, there's not much to see here.

There are a couple of documentaries- who wants to be the one to tell Robbi Morgan that Annie isn't the first one killed in Friday the 13th?- that are alright but not particularly groudbreaking. The sick thrill here is watching Betsy Palmer call the script a "piece of shit" as she sits next to writer Victor Miller. The short film Lost Tales from Camp Blood is, to be honest, a complete waste of time. A couple of morons in a plywood house get killed it supposed to be Jason? I don't know. You can't really see him and in the credits he's just called "killer". If you want some no-budget horror, look elsewhere; Lost Tales is 8 minutes of your life you won't get back.

The early 80s have still got it, baby...Sunny D, on the other hand, is pretty damn nasty.

Film Club Coolies, y'all!

Evil on Two Legs
From the Depths of DVD Hell
Hudson Lee: Friday the 13th / My Bloody Valentine
Goremania: My Bloody Valentine
Invasion of the B Movies: Friday the 13th
Sam Hawken
Movie Moxie: My Bloody Valentine


SikeChick said...

Great synopses, Stacie. I had heard that the F13 rerelease only had about 9 seconds of extra footage and a commentary track, so I passed on that. That sort of thing is what Netflix is for. I did, however, do the double dip for the F13 Pt. 3 DVD because of the 3D. I never got a chance to see that one in 3D and thought it'd be a kick to watch own it.

OMG, what a waste of money It look like total blurry sh*t! I thought it was just me, but all the reviews I've seen of it agree. No one should waste there money on this, especially if you already have the box set. It looks like ass and it doesn't even bother to include the commentary track that you get with the movie in the box. Don't do it!

I also bought the MBV re-release (another double dip) and that was worth it. While the movie comes off a bit hokier now than it did many years ago (what 80s horror film doesn't?) and the acting is pretty darn bad, it's still a #1 fright flick. The miner is actually quite terrifying and the added footage, although scratchy, is really fun to check out. This one is a highly-recommend from me.

iasa said...

Friday the 13th is one of my all time favorite movies. In fact I spent all weekend trying to find a dvd to no avail. *sulk* Must go order one online.

Wings1295 said...

I was gifted the "F13 Uncut" DVD, and enjoyed it. Nothing majorly different with the movie, as you pointed out. The extras were fun, though.

As for the "MBV Uncut", I still haven't gotten my talons wrapped around that one. Maybe I will be gifted with it, as well. Can't wait to see it.

smogo said...

I am fairly sure that the uncut Friday the 13th is the version we've always had in the UK... but you and your Film Club chums haven't mentioned anything about ol' Betsy's decapitation being longer in this new uncut version. That's one of the scenes I know for sure was uncut in the UK print but hacked up in the old American version. What's the deal with that scene on this new disc?


Jason Soto said...

I'm gonna watch F13 in a bit and send you the link. Hooray for procrastination!
(Insert Briefcase Lady Pic Here)

Corey said...

Smogo --

Yes, the uncut version has always been available outside of the states. Fortunately for us, the decapitation is not one of the scenes that was censored here. I believe there is a small editing difference in the scene between the US and non-US version (the shot of Alice watching comes a second or two earlier into the decapitation), but the footage is the same. There's a detailed list of the censored footage in my film club post.

Stacie Ponder said...

sike- I'm so bummed about F13 3D. I'm fortunate enough to have seen it a few times in 3D, but I was really looking forward to having easy access! Too bad this edition stinks...I wonder how this bodes for MBV 3D?

The Mrs Voorhees decapitation was indeed uncensored and super gruesome- although I think the longer shot exposed...well, they kinda looked like toothpicks poking out of her neck, probs to keep the head on loosely. Maybe they were always visible and I just never noticed...

SikeChick said...

Stacie, I can't remember where I saw it, but I know one of the F13 docs says the fake head was indeed attached with toothpicks and those man-hands are not Betsy Palmer's but actually some man's hands.

I just watched the old version on my box set and the beheading is pretty gruesome in that. I am curious what the difference is between the two.

Corey said...

Sharp eyes to see the toothpicks without being told -- I never saw them 'til they were pointed out to me. I imagine they're more visible in this new, cleaned up version, but they've always been there. The hairy, Greek hands belong to Savini's assistant, Taso Stavrakis.

SikeChick, you're quite right... the beheading has always been gruesome. There isn't any extra decapitation gore footage in the new version. The new footage is in other scenes and only amounts to 10 seconds. I doubt anyone could find it without having it pointed out. It took me a while to find an exact list of what the changes were, because they're so subtle.

It was kind of disappointing to have the changes to F13 be so small after seeing all the great new footage in MBV.

Stacie Ponder said...

Ha, here I was thinking the decapitation was longer! It's still dope, toothpicks or no...

spazmo said...

I'm dying to check out the uncut Valentine, Stacie! I just need to get motivated and track it down.

They showed Friday (non-new-uncut version) and Friday 2 this past 13th, and I got to feeling a little bit nostalgic.

Those kids in the original were nice, weren't they? And as this reviewer (he's got lots of info on the various cuts in the many versions floating around) points out, the first two had something going for them that none of the sequels (except 5, but ecchhh) do - they're mysteries.

Weird that you mentioned Laurie Bertram. Friday night I was poking through the official "where are they now" section here, and found out she had passed away. Major sads.

Stacie Ponder said...

Both of these movies really shine a spotlight on how different horror movie characters are today. While these aren't necessarily anything more than stock characters, the whole vibe is different. They're nice. Even the "joker" character is liked. Strangers become friends almost instantly. You're not sitting there wishing them dead the first time they open their mouths.

Maybe it's all just a reflection of society or something...hit virtually any message board or gossip site and see how people treat each other nowadays.

Damn kids!

Corey said...

Spasmo: Interesting link there. If he's right, then there's more versions of Friday the 13th than just 'theatrical' and 'uncut.' There's also VHS/DVD versions that have differing amounts of the uncut footage and some that have even more missing footage than the original R rated cut. I don't know what would cause that to happen (unless someone accidentally released the 'edited for television' version), but it's interesting.

Stacie: I'd never noticed that, but you're right. Maybe we're more squeamish these days to kill nothing but "good" people? Maybe they think audiences need to hate most of the characters so they can cheer for their deaths instead of mourn them?

(Where's all the other Coolies this month? I would have thought that such classic slashers would have appealed to everyone. Are these editions hard to get a hold of? I guess they might be, especially since you can't netflix them.)

AE said...

I did not get around to finding a copy of uncut MBV, unfortunately, but now I really want to! Though I can't participate I did want to say thank you, Stacie, for turning me on to both these movies in the first place. I grew up with "Halloween" but that was about it in terms of slasherdom. You've really opened up my world!

Jason Soto said...

My review of Friday the 13th:


Stacie Ponder said...

I guess this month the coolies are the EXTRA coolies. Just wait 'til next month...

Thanks, AE, that's awesome! Glad to know this old blog has expended your horizons a bit. Now you just have to get to Black Christmas and Pieces...

Elwood Jones said...

It's always fun to revisit F13 even if it's for the 100th time, it never seems to lose it's appeal for me.
I'm still confused why the the boxset only had the first 8 movies, rather than a full set of 10?

Can't wait to see what the next film club pick is going to be.

Anonymous said...

I miss Laurie Bartram too : (
I wish she'd been the FG here, she was my favourite character.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I did my part!

The most disappointing thing for me regarding the Friday the 13th release is how little improvement the scant few extra seconds represent. I'd really rather have the theatrical cut with the nice, clean remastering.

Anonymous said...

I always felt that the reveal of the killer in Friday was a bit of a cheat as she hadn't been in the movie prior so there was no way the audience could really guess "oh, yeah. it's the drowned kid's mother". At least with MBV they crafted the story so that the killer reveal made sense and had been set up.

Corey said...

Sam - New Line owns the rights to the series after Part 8. Paramount owns the first 8.

Jay Clarke said...

Arghh! I've been so busy, I completely forgot about this month's FGFC. Oh well, maybe next time.

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't you want to have the delux edition of "Friday the 13th" vs. a movie-only edition--5.1 digital, extra footage, commentary, and bonus features? Just looked at the blu-ray and what a difference in the picture and sound. I cannot imagine anyone wanting to downgrade to the 2004 release in cut form in 2-channel mono with no features (save for maybe a trailer).

Anonymous said...

@ Corey -- The rights issues are more complicated than that, as I discuss at length in various reviews I did as part of SlasherFest 2009™. So it's safe to say I'm aware of the tangle. I'm just not sure why you bring it up.

Stacie Ponder said...

Sam, I think Corey meant to reference Elwood in his comment.

Anonymous, maybe because you'd get 8 films AND some supplemental material for not much more in cost? Especially considering that the "uncut" version only adds seconds to what's already available? I'm recommending the box set. If you JUST want the one film, then yeah, get the uncut edition.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the blu ray will be recalled and re-issued in a non-cropped version. It won't help with the grain issues obviously, but at least you'll be able to see the whole picture.

Corey said...

Woops, sorry Sam -- I was addressing Elwood's question about why 9 and 10 weren't in the current boxset. Comments are coming in too fast for me to keep up with and I looked at the wrong one... my bad.

I believe I read somewhere that a new boxset is in the works and that they're going to release parts 4,5, & 6 in special editions next. Personally, I can't wait for part 7 to get a SE... preferably with all the cut footage restored. New Blood is my favorite, but would be so much better if we could actually see the effects in a movie directed by a special effects guy.

AE said...

Stacie, I love "Pieces." It taught me everything I know about being a kung fu professor (that is, avoid bad chop suey).

Bloody Mary said...

Yes, I concur buying the new F13-3D was certainly a waste of money.

Here's a link to my review. Or rather where it will be, for now I just wanted to let everyone know about the movie Marcie's Hepburn impression is from since it will be on TCM within a week.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I'm totally late but I got a review up for My Bloody Valentine:

Fun times. Really enjoyed the campy-but-sincere goodness. The restored effects are freakin' sick!

Anonymous said...

For the record, the killer in the "New Tale from Camp Blood" is definitely not Jason -- just some bald guy with a normal face and no mask. (Yes, I have a large-screen TV, DVD player with zoom capacity, and WAY TOO MUCH damn time on my hands!)

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of late posting on this one, but I agree that "Friday the 13th" still holds up because I saw it a few months ago (it was a Friday the 13th, come to think of it) at a party with a group who either hadn't seen it or hadn't seen it in *ahem* decades and everyone was rolling and writhing and screaming on queue, particularly through the entire ending chase. Sure, there's cheese galore, but it's like one of those carny rides that gives you that great whirl that expensive theme park rides can't (or won't) give.