As a lifelong superfan of the 'Friday the 13th' series, I can't help but be sickened by the severe mismanagement of the brand when it comes to recent home video releases.

As a kid who grew up appreciating VHS cover artwork for exactly what it is -- artwork -- it pains me to see my beloved series handled so poorly. Most of the original films had incredible cover art, a few of which are among my favorite all-time VHS covers. Part IV, for example:


Now that's a cover. Simple, understated, visually-striking, and most importantly -- it properly represents both the brand and the film. That's how you do a cover for a movie, whether it be for a BluRay, DVD, VHS, or even a Netflix thumbnail.

Unfortunately, older movies such as these are treated with little care by distribution companies. Enter the inspiration for this article, this baffling cover for the upcoming Friday the 13th steelbook BluRay:

Warner Bros

First off -- excuse me? Second of all, how dare you? You don't need to be an expert in franchise lore to know that Jason's mom was the killer in the original 'Friday the 13th,' not Jason. Yet here we have a hockey-masked silhouette holding a chain on the cover. Jason didn't even have the hockey mask until part 3, and I don't believe he killed anyone with a chain until 'Jason X.' He did, however, wear some chains in parts 6 and 7, but that's neither here nor there.

So what even is this? How does this accurately represent the product? Here's a guy you won't see in this movie, holding a weapon he won't use for 9 more movies, wearing a mask he doesn't get for another movie and a half. Turns out it's just a zoomed-in version of this equally crappy UK BluRay cover, which at least tries to explain itself.

This isn't how you handle the iconography of a well-established character that has been part of the zeitgeist for nearly 40 years. More care is given to cartoon characters on cereal boxes than this.

This isn't the first... or even the ninth time this has happened. Ever since they threw out the amazing original cover art, people in the marketing departments everywhere have been butchering these things. I'll run you through a few side-by-sides of the really bad ones vs the originals and briefly explain why they suck... even though it will be obvious.


The original was creative and eerie, while the late 2000s uncut DVD release looks like a gig flyer for Slipknot cover band.

Warner Bros.

Say what you will about the uncut DVD case, but it's got all of these beat by a landslide. The two on the right were foreign VHS releases from the 90s, so that's more understandable than the DVD cover on the left, which is just unforgivably bad. Why aren't they using the iconic font?


Look what they did to my baby? Why?


This artwork they're using on digital platforms is trash. You could make arguments about the original artwork for part 5  too, but I always liked that cover even though they have the wrong mask.


Just look at how amazing that original cover is compared to this other junk. The other two both feature the wrong mask. Part 6 Jason wore the axe-damaged mask without the red chevrons, unlike the one shown on the left. The middle DVD features a guy with hair wearing the Roy mask from part 5 and an outfit no Jason has ever rocked. That's a thrown together Halloween costume, not Jason. That brings us to the most egregious offender...


This really pisses me off because not only does it suck, but I own this one. That is straight-up not Jason on the cover. He has never worn a mask with big upside-down red chevrons like that. It's like they took the part 6 DVD and made it worse. Is he holding the machete by the blade? Why does it look like a little kid in a costume? Whoever did this to my boy J.V. has to fight me.

Best Buy

Look at this dumb and lazy steelbook cover you can only get at Best Buy. I'll bet that was a big seller. **makes fart noise with mouth while giving a double thumbs down**


Cool cover. Woods that kind of look like a skull. How original.

The moral of the story is if it ain't broke -- don't fix it. Maybe it's that they can't use the original artwork because of the ongoing legal battle for the rights of the franchise, but they're not doing themselves any favors producing these throwaway covers that fans will not buy. If you make a cool cover, fans of the franchise will want to add it to their collection. If you release these things designed by people who've never seen the movie -- you get nothing.