In-depth Look At Friday the 13th On VHS

Last week we talked about our memories of VHS covers and our visits the video store. After reading everyone’s thoughts, it started me thinking about all of the unique differences that the VHS format provided during its run in the 1980’s, especially for the Friday the 13th series. That being said, prepare to be taken on a trip through time, the review of Friday the 13th the VHS series, NTSC style.

The first two friday the 13th movies were released in a very thick and sturdy package upon their intitial release on home video. Instead of just a cardboard sleeve, the box would fold open from the face to reveal the cassette inside. From there, the cassette would slide out sideways towards the middle of the box. This packaging was used briefly in the late 70’s and early 80’s and is a true rarity to find nowadays. I actually think they should have kept the packaging throughout the run of VHS as it protects the cassette better than just the cardboard sleeve. (Note: I had to use a picture of my Part 1 Beta tape as my version of the VHS is packed away)


From what I can tell, there were three printings of the Friday the 13th movies on VHS. There was the initial printing when the movie was first released onto home video. Then, there was a reprinting of the first five movies in 1988. Lastly, in 1994 all of the original eight Paramount movies were reprinted once again. The 1988 reprinting only shows in a few subtle changes to the box cover and VHS cassette, but the 1994 reprinting was cheaply done with the help of Gateway and in Extended Play. Ouch!

There are two ways to determine if the VHS you own of Friday the 13th Part 1 through Part 5 are first or second printings. One way to tell the difference is by the Paramount logo used on the cover. The other way is to look at the copyright date either on the cover or on the label that is located on the VHS cassette.



As you can see the the first run of VHS cassettes for these five movies had Paramount Home Video spelled out on the VHS cover and on the label of the VHS cassette. As for the date, the example above of The Final Chapter shows the year 1988 on the label which signifies a second run production. The picture below the zoomed in image is of the first printing of the VHS and shows the date 1984.

For the third printing of the films in 1994, Gateway partnered with Paramount to release horrendously cheap VHS products. Not only did the VHS cassette itself not have the usual label on it (the movie title and information were printed directly on the cassette), but the film was recorded on Extended Play. For those that do not know what this means, it is like compressing a file down to almost nothing as to save storage space. In the case of the VHS, this was done so not as much tape was needed inside the cassette casing. This was another way to create a cheap product and cheapen the viewing experience as well.

Spotting these productions were quite easy. You could tell just by the weight of the VHS itself. It was very, very light compared to the old printings of the movies. Also, you could check the date on the cover, which would read 1994, or look on the back cover and you would see the red Gateway symbol at the very top.


UPDATE: I forgot that there was a fourth printing of these movies in 2024. Unbeleivable that Paramount was still churning out VHS in 2024. The cover art follows the samedesigns from the DVD’s that were released before the Box Set, From Crystal Lake to Manhattan”.


Now that the inner geek of jasonsfury has been channeled, I hope for those of you that grew up during the era of the VHS, you can perhaps be taken back to a greater time in life. Maybe you learned something new about VHS and the Friday the 13th franchise you did not know before. If you still have those old cassettes, take them out and do a little investigating to see what print run of VHS you own in your collection!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About the Author


Email questions: Follow me at:

25 Responses to “ In-depth Look At Friday the 13th On VHS ”

  1. Well untill I read this I only thought there was only the 2 prints…the first print when the each movie came out and the print in 94. Well I knew that I had the 94 print as those are easy 2 spot. lol I was worried about my old copys for a while now I always thought I had the very first print…so I ran into my room where I keep them right on a shelf. I took out part 4 just cause thats the 1 used in the example and 2 my joy it was the first prints. So I have 1-8 in the first prints and 1-8 in the 94 prints. Jasonfury…is there any differnce in the prints watching wise or just the case?

  2. The picture quality is way better with the first two printings as the video is not recorded in Extended Play. The sound suffers with Extended Play as well.

  3. Remember Video Treasures? They had movies released in LP, which was horrible. Most of the ‘Nightmare’ movies were released by them in the 80s after the original Media runs.

  4. Yea, I bought a few Nightmare movies from Video Treasures. Those were pure crappola as well. Luckily, I found the original Media releases after that and then sold my Video Treasures cassettes at a rummage sale.

  5. One of the most interesting things I ever saw about a Video Treasures release was that the closing credits to Nightmare on Elm Street 4 were sped up at least 2x. I’ve always wondered why they did that on that particular title.

  6. i had the video treasures “texas chainsaw massacre” and “chud”, but i was a kid so i didn’t know quite how crappy they were. the cover art for that 2024 friday the 13th release is so bad. i just don’t understand why as time goes on, cover art gets worse. i guess they think they are updating it. it just looks stupid. i never ended up with any post 1988 friday vhs i’m glad to say.

  7. Lou,
    I owned that version of Nightmare 4 and had the same issue. The reason is because the film was recored in Extended Play so to use as little tape within the cassette as possible. The problem with Nightmare 4 was that the movie was too long for the amount of tape put into the cassette so they had to basically fast forward through the credits to make the movie fit completely. It has always been comical to see that.

    I too had that version of C.H.U.D. and was not happy. Someone bought it for me at a rummage and as soon as I saw it, I just filed it away. I later got the original VHS release.

  8. Yeah, the box art these days is horribly bad. It’s so cheap looking it’s almost embarrassing to display it.

  9. jasonsfury, I was actually wondering if it had might have been for that reason that they did it. I never really even thought about that until just today. As cheap as VT releases were, I’m surprised they didn’t just cut off the credits completely. :D

  10. i took photos of my part 1 and 2 first printings on VHS. they are so cool. there are no bar codes on them even.

  11. horror_guy,
    Awesome pics! Your boxes are in pretty good shape still. ;)

  12. Nothing beats the experience of watching Friday the 13th on an old grainy VHS. Make the movie 2x scarier!

  13. None of these were widescreen format or were they?

  14. No sir, jimm. They were all in 4:3 format and Part 3 was in serious pan and scan mode. That was because it was the only film shot in the scope aspect ratio 2.39:1

  15. Very enjoyable!

    I’m disappointed in myself for only having the third printing, and I always wondered what that “Gateway” garbage was about.

    A bit off topic, and I apologize, but have you guys ever heard of a horror movie called “The Norliss Tapes?” I think its from 73 or so, but I caught it the other day on TCM–Not bad!

    Parts of the score are similar to Friday 1.

  16. yeah, i can’t tell you how happy i was when the first part 3 DVD came out. after years and years only seeing that movie cropped, we got to see the whole picture. that was so great.

  17. Any ideas why part 3 was shot in such a wide scope? as apposed to the other 7 movies in the original series?

  18. Good question, BrandEn. It was due to the movie being shot in 3D.

  19. Enjoy all the postings about the original Fridays. And seeing original artwork once again.

    I always wished, after Pt 3’s aspect ratio, that all future ones would have been done it in too.

    Still waiting for 4 – 7 on blu-ray. Endlessly waiting.

    Original artwork on those would be so damn cool.

  20. Great article! Really enjoyed it, thanks for sharing.

  21. LOL i actually forgot about the whole 3D thing, that makes sense. Speaking of Part 3, does the 3D work any better on bluray than it dooes on the dvd? i have other movies in 3d and they work alright, but i cant seem to see the effects very well on the deluxe dvd, ah well. I wish i hadnt gotten rid of my gateway vhs copies of part 1 and 2, i would have loved to share photo’s on here.

  22. i love vintage vhs, and i still need to get my hands on the pat 1 & 2 done in those “door covers” , i have pt 1 on Beta with the door cover though, and i still need to track down the LD for 3 & VII,
    the cover art was great back then, i dont understand why the companies switched to using low budget photoshop rip-offs when the original art was already completed and ready to use.?
    One thing I would have loved to seen back them is the Friday films done in big boxes with wizard video style covers !

  23. Well i was around in those days but dont remeber much. Love dvds way too much to comment on the topic!!

  24. But i would love the OLD VHS covers back, they were a good idea!!

Leave a Reply

You can use these XHTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <strong>