Written by Tío Esqueleto
Friday the 13th Part 3 picks up directly where Part 2 left off. Actually, Part 3 and The Final Chapter (Part 4) are direct continuations of the second installment, each one picking up where the last left off. I realize that that has them taking place on the completely not scary Saturday the 14th and well into the week of Monday the 16th but, really, if your going to scrutinize the timeline of this series, you had better just press “Eject” now. Suspend disbelief, embrace the clichés (it’s all part of the formula), let yourself get scared, and have a damn good time. This is Friday the 13th Part 3…IN 3-D!!!
So Part 2 ends in Jason’s terrifying shack in the woods, where Ginny whacks him a good one with the machete, and she and boyfriend, Paul, flee into the night. Omitted here is the “just when you thought it was safe” scare where Jason blasts through the window. Instead, Ginny and Paul leave the shack where we cut to Jason still lying on the ground. He reaches over, picks up the bloody machete, and begins to wriggle his way across the floor and towards the door. Pan up to Pam Voorhees’ rotting, severed head, sitting on the table, and it is right into the in-your-face credit sequence
The story (body count) for Part 3 centers around Chris (played by the wonderfully awful Dana Kimmell) and her friends as they make there way to her family cabin at where else, but Crystal Lake. There are seven of them in all, including a pregnant girl and her boyfriend (who’s prone to walking on his hands), a stoner couple, a feisty Latina, and a chubby prankster. Then there’s a couple of local storeowners, a trio of bad-ass bikers, and Chris’ boyfriend Rick (who’s already at the lake). Throw in some sex, some drugs, some really bad decisions, and, of course, Jason Voorhees, and you’ve got the next Friday the 13th movie. Throw in, for the very first time, a hockey mask and (literally) eye-popping 3-D effects, and you’ve got it in 3-D.
Steve Miner returned for his second stint in the director’s chair, for this third installment in the series where 3-D was the clear gimmick of choice. A pitchfork, a harpoon, a yo-yo, popping popcorn, a hot poker, a passed joint, a striking snake, and eyeballs popping out are just some of the scares thrown directly in your lap now that we’ve added this new dimension, this third dimension, in terror. Duck!
Also of note with Part 3 is the introduction of the now-iconic hockey mask. Whether or not they knew what they were doing, remains to be told. All I know is that part way through the movie Jason walks out of the barn, now wearing a hockey mask, and the rest is history. It isn’t on the poster. It wasn’t marketed as the new face of Jason, or anything like that. It just all of a sudden was, and it was and remains perfect.
Part 3 seemed to ramp the gore factor up again. While it wasn’t quite back to the level we saw in Part 1 (and, eventually Part 4), it was definitely a step in the right direction with some of the nastiest scenes to date.
The 12 kills are:
- meat cleaver to the temple
- knitting needle to the back of the head
- pitchfork impalement through the neck
- pitchfork to the stomach
- throat slashed
- spear gun to the eye
- chopped in two while walking on hands
- knife through the chest from underneath
- hot fireplace poker to the stomach
- head squeezed until eyeball pops out
- hit with a pipe; hacked with machete
The handstand halving is something to behold all cleaned up and in 2.35:1, as well as the after shot of him stacked one half on top of the other. Certainly, most of the kills were designed with 3-D in mind. The spear to the eye and the head crushing with the eyeball popping out into the camera are the most notable. They were talked about on the playground, on the bus, and just about anywhere else young boys with a taste for this sort of thing got together, as was usually the case with any recently released Friday film at the time. It was movie lore until you finally saw it for yourself, and this head crushing/eye popping scene was quickly becoming the Holy Grail.
While Friday the 13th Part 3 isn’t necessarily the best in the series, it does have its merits. First off, it is the birth of the Jason we’ve come to know and love, but just before he becomes the clichéd caricature of himself in the sub-par Friday films following The Final Chapter. We’ve added the hockey mask and, overall, Jason just seems more intense in this one. Where in the last one he seemed a bit more oafish and childlike, in this one he is fast and precise and seems to have only one thing on his mind and that is killing young kids like the ones who killed his mother. This time he is on a mission. There will be no slipping on Mom’s sweater and reasoning with this new Jason.
Friday the 13th Part 3 is also the only film in the series that is widescreen, 2.35:1, and that’s certainly a leg up in my book. Again, the handstand death is the first thing that comes to mind. Gorgeous.
The newly released Deluxe Edition DVD of Friday the 13th Part 3 is actually in 3D. Well,…kind of. Yes, they’ve included the 2-D version and the 3-D version (both on the same disc), as well as two pairs of traditional red-and-blue lens 3-D glasses. Does it work? I think that depends on the viewer and, possibly, the TV it is viewed on. I viewed it on a standard 27” screen, and after 20 minutes of trying (I tried it sitting way up close, way far back, and right in the middle, as well as with my eyes crossed, squinted, and slightly rolled back) I almost threw up and had acquired quite the headache. Technically, I could get the 3-D moments to work, but there was a lot of pain involved, and even with my Goldilocks-seating method, the screen was always either a little reddish, or a little bluish, but never quite rightish. In the end I just went back and watched all of the kills in 3D and that was enough, I guess. I finally got to dodge the eyeball as Jason squishes Rick’s head and it was worth it just for that.