FRIDAY THE 13th: PART II Lost Footage Finally Found on 40-year-old VHS Tape!
By Ted Gilbert
Some rewind-radical news is circulating on the web, Tapeheads, and we wanted to VHShare it with you! You know those legendary lost scenes from Friday the 13th: Part II? Well, they've recently resurfaced, and we have VHS to thank! Here's an excerpt from the incredible story, as told by Edwin Samuelson of Samuelson Studios, quoted directly from the studio's Facebook page:
"The upcoming FRIDAY THE 13 boxed set from Scream Factory will include the uncut footage from Part 2. How it was found after being lost for almost 40 years is a great story! As many fans of the series know, several minutes were trimmed because of a crackdown by the MPAA on slasher movies. A few stills have surfaced over the years that gave a hint to what was missing, but despite many efforts over the years to find the footage, it was believed to have been lost or destroyed.
While prepping to shoot an interview with Bill Randolph for Part 2, I decided to re-watch the CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES documentary in order to avoid repeating stories that have already been discussed in depth for years. As expected, there was talk about the footage that was shot, but not included in the final cut due to ratings board. Greg Nicotero mentions that FX artist Carl Fullerton showed him the footage in question. I wondered if anyone had reached out to Fullerton to see if he may still have the scenes that the fans have been dying to see for years. Bill Randolph (who wanted to see his scene as much as anyone else did) and I reached out to Fullerton to see if he still had it. We left a few voicemails and hoped for the best. With less than two weeks before our deadline, I received a call from Carl saying he had a VHS tape with all the material that was trimmed. However, he couldn’t remember exactly what was on it, but was kind enough to loan it to us for inclusion on the set.
Because I was terrified that if it was shipped via postal mail, it might get lost in transit, so I made arrangements to get the tape in person through my co-producer and pal, Peter Bracke. I joked with Peter that I should have gotten him a suitcase with handcuffs and a bodyguard as this most likely was the only copy in existence. Peter met up with Carl, who handed him the old cassette with a typewritten date of April 24, 1981 -- about a month before the film opened in theaters! What could be on the tape?
Now came the fun part, seeing if the tape was still viewable after all of these years. It's possible because of its age, it could have been blank or no longer viewable. We wouldn’t ’t know until we got it transferred. Shout Factory's Cliff MacMillan made arrangements to get it transferred at a top-notch facility. However, there was an issue: the lab indicated that the tape was stuck together. If pulled apart, the magnetic information could be stripped, which would mean that we would lose everything. The only solution: baking the tape in an oven overnight to separate the reels. The VHS would have to be taken apart, the reels would have placed into an oven and baked overnight to in order to make it playable. After waiting almost 40 years for this footage, we would have to wait another couple of days to see if “Operation: Baking With Jason “ was successful. So after the careful dismantling and baking operation, the tape was then put back into the cartridge so it could be transferred to a digital format."
Image courtesy of Samuelson Studios.
For the full story, follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/samuelsonstudios/
For Friday the 13th fans the world over, this is something of a dream-come true. There is nothing quite like uncovering footage believed to be lost to time, especially when it's connected to a movie and a franchise that are as beloved as this one. But we here at Lunchmeat would be remiss if we didn't take a moment to highlight the role our favorite format played in this historic restoration.
Image courtesy of Samuelson Studios.
This near mythical footage was just sitting on those magnetic reels for nearly 40 years! As exciting as this success story is, it also calls attention to the many millions of dusty tapes lining shelves, closets, and, unfortunately, mildew laden basements and sweltering attics. What buried treasures could they contain? And how close have they come to being lost forever? How many already have?
Lunchmeat has never been shy about our clarion call for the preservation of VHS tapes of all stripes, but stories like this one perfectly illustrate what is at stake. There are still treasures, hidden away for decades, in danger of being lost forever. The good news: Videovores like you are on the front lines when it comes to keeping that from happening, and frankly, we wouldn't have it any other way.