Format: DVD from Cortland Public Library on The New Portable.
I genuinely have to wonder how the Friday the 13th series of movies happened based on those that I’ve seen so far. The first one is certainly iconic, and I’ll admit that the second one at least builds on the mythology of the first one. But the third one, Friday the 13th Part 3 (or Part III if you prefer) is essentially a remake of the previous film with slightly different characters.
I mean this literally. The only “innovation” when it comes to this movie is that, like many a film series from this era, they opted to make the third episode in the series in 3D. It went about as well as it did for most of the movies of the era, in that it’s clearly made in ways to exploit things popping out of the screen rather that adding some sort of depth to the field. Since this is a slasher movie, a lot of what is going to be popping out at us is weapons and body parts.
We’re back to the area around Camp Crystal Lake, and we’re picking up the action right after the previous movie. Jason (Richard Brooker), still with his head embaggened, wanders into a local couple who run a little country store (with a surprisingly robust produce section). Naturally, Jason kills them both and leaves with a change of clothing. Cut to who are going to be our protagonists for this foray into slasher-land. And it’s pretty much the collection of people you expect. We’re also going to cobble in a survivor. Chris (Dana Kimmell) survived an attack by an unknown disfigured assailant several years previous. Guess who that was.
Anyway, they’re all going to show up at a farm in the middle of nowhere, except that it’s not really nowhere. It’s near Camp Crystal Lake, and it’s the little town where Chris grew up. And let’s be clear—we don’t have characters. We have required slots that are filled in with people. We have a couple having a lot of sex, the final girl (Chris), her boyfriend, a stoner couple, a guy who plays jokes on people, his vaguely ethnic blind date, and a trio of bikers who show up because our protagonists have run afoul of them. That’s 11 people, and like any slasher movie that follows the formula, 10 of them are going to be killed in one way or another.
I’m not kidding when I say that this movie is essentially a remake of the previous. We start with a couple of kills (admittedly that’s one more in this movie than the previous). We’ll get a lot of establishing shots of our killer watching his new group of victims. We’ll get a few jump scares. And then, on cue, Jason will go on a 10-minute or so killing spree where he kills pretty much the entire cast, setting up the 20-minute or so conclusion where he chases the final girl around until she stops him. Friday the 13th Part 3 is so devoid of anything original that it even duplicates the ending from the original movie.
There are only two other things worth talking about here. The first is that it’s very obvious that this was made for a 3D market, even when watching in 2D. The filmmakers are so desperate to have anything popping out of the screen at the audience that we get two guys juggling filmed from above. We also get someone making popcorn filmed from above, taking the lid off the popcorn. It’s reminiscent of SCTV’s Monster Chiller Horror Theatre with Count Floyd showing Tip O'Neill’s 3D House of Representatives or Dr. Tongue's 3D House of Beef.
The only other thing worth discussing here is that this is the movie where Jason finally gets the hockey mask. He’s not yet the indestructible, towering giant of murder that he eventually becomes, but this is the first time he gets his iconic look.
Beyond this? You’ve literally seen 90% of this before.
Why to watch Friday the 13th Part 3: Jason gets the hockey mask.
Why not to watch: It is essentially a remake of the previous movie.