Craptastic Cinema

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Friday the 13th Part III

Year : 1982 Director : Steve Miner Running Time : 98 MInutes Genre :
Movie review score
3/5

How does one follow up Friday the 13th Part 2?  The ending of it set up that there were several survivors from Jason Voorhees first killing spree.  Though the ending was a tad confusing, it could be perceived that Jason did not die.  Would they bring back any of the surviving characters from Part 2 like they did with Alice from the original film?  Lots of questions, few answers.  All we knew was that Jason was back, and this time he was in 3D.  To answer one question, none of the characters from Part 2 returned.  As much as I would have like to have seen Ginny (Amy Steel) come back to face Jason one more time, it did not happen.  Apparently Amy Steel was offered the chance to come back, but her agent convinced her not to return for the third film.  If the idea was to just kill her off in the opening scene, like Alice in part 2, I can understand that decision.  If she turned down a larger role, I hope that she fired that agent soon afterwards.  Ginny could have made a great addition, perhaps making this a better film.   Regardless to this decision, the film was made, and it turned out better than one can expect.

Friday the 13th Part III takes place the day after the events in Part 2, or the same day of the ending depending on how you look at it.  Early in the movie we are introduced to a couple who own a small convenience store on Crystal Lake named Harold and Edna (Steve Susskind and Cheri Maugans).  As Enda knits on her couch watching television, she sees a news report about the murders that had occurred at Camp Crystal Lake the day prior.  The news says that there are three survivors, so I guess that Paul survived along with Ginny.  I’m not sure who the other survivor was, they never say.  Neither Edna, or Harold, last long in this movie.  Jason kills them both off very quickly, and gets a fresh set of clothes.  More or less they are establishing characters to explain that they are near Crystal Lake, how Jason got new clothes, and to be the first two victims.  After Jason murders the two of them, he goes into the woods to hide in a nearby lake front property named Higgins Haven.

The following morning, Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell) and her friends are driving to her family’s property, the before mentioned Higgins Haven.  When they drive there, they pass Edna and Harold’s convenience store as their corpses are being loading into ambulances.  We can see that this triggers something in Chris’ mind, but we are unsure what exactly it was at this point.  Not long after arriving at their house, a couple of Chris’ friends go into town to get some supplies.  While in town there, her friends ran into a local gang.  A small altercation between the two groups ends with Chris’ friends running over the motorcycles belonging to the gang members.  The gang follows them back to Higgins Haven, and plans on vandalizing the place.  One major thing they plan to do is burn down the barn with siphoned gas from the group’s car.  However, they did not know that was where Jason was hiding to recover from his woods that he received two days prior in Part 2 of the series.  Jason took exception to being burned, and killed off the gang members before they can light the place on fire.

The murdering of the gang revitalized Jason, because by nightfall he had begun to kill off several of Chris’ friends.  When he killed off her friend Shelly, who was the practical joker of the group played by Larry Zerner, Jason Voorhees received perhaps the most iconic part of his character.  By killing Shelly, Jason got his hockey mask.  Yep, Jason wasn’t the killer in the first one, wore a burlap sack in Part 2, and it was not until almost halfway into Part III that he got the item he is perhaps most famous for.  It is almost unheard of to not associate the hockey mask with the Friday the 13th franchise at this point.  The fact of the matter is that it did not come into the picture until Part III.

Chris and her boyfriend have a small conversation about her past at Higgins Haven.  It turns out she came out there to face her fears after an incident happened to her years ago.  Long ago, she was attacked my a man while walking along the lake.  Considering that Higgins Haven neighbors Camp Crystal Lake, one assumes that the masked man is Jason Voorhees.  I believe that is who they were implying with her story as well.  However, I would not be a journalist if I didn’t point out a plot hole here.  The person who attacked Chris must have been Pamela Voorhees, and not Jason.  Here is why.  Jason only came out of hiding and began his murder spree two days before Part III.  Prior to that, there was a 25 year window, twenty of which Pamela Voorhees was responsible for all the murders and strange occurrences around Crystal Lake.  Even in the original Friday the 13th, they mentioned that there was things that happened around Crystal Lake before the murders in that movie.  In Part 2, we are given the impression that it has been calm around the lake between the first two movies, until Jason began his killing spree.  So doing a little math, timeline wise, it had to be Pamela Voorhees, or another unrelated person who assaulted her.  Besides that point, we must assume that Jason assaulted Chris, and now it was time for redemption.  Maybe Chris was supposed to be the role that would have been offered to Amy Steel if she returned as Ginny.  No one knows for sure.

It is not long after this that Chris started to discover the dead bodies around her place, and Jason attempts to kill her.  At one point she hung Jason, yet he survived.  He took off his mask to remove the noose, and reviled his face to her.  Guess what, he was the man who attacked her all those years ago at the lake.  Well, there goes all connections to the first film.  The series must really begin with Part 2, Pamela Voorhees must have always been dead, and she is simply an inspiration to Jason’s murders…. Thus also discrediting everything Ginny said in Part 2 about the psychological state of Jason Voorhees.  Damn, I wish I wasn’t a journalist, as well as a reviewer.

Chris soon killed off Jason, and got into a boat to wait out the night in the lake.  This is very much like the end of the first film.  While out in the water, she looked back at her house and saw the unmasked Jason staring back at her through a window.  She instantly freaked out, and tries to row farther away.  Jason came storming out of the house to chase her down, and with a blink of the eye, he is gone.  The door he broke trough to come after her was back on it’s hinges unharmed.  As Chris was trying to figure out what was going on, the corpse of Pamela Voorhees jumped out of the water and pulled Chris down into the lake.  This is a direct nod to the ending of the first Friday the 13th.  However, Chris quickly woke up, and we find out that the entire sequence was a nightmare she had while asleep in the boat.  The police brought her to shore, and we see a body under a blanket that we are given the impression as the corpse of Jason Voorhees.  The movie ends with Chris surviving, Jason dead, and the lake at peace.  Fin.

Friday the 13th Part III gets a 3 out of 5 on the Craptastic Scale.  This could have ended the Friday the 13th series, and I am sure some critics would have preferred it that way.  Here are the positives.  The acting is among some of the best of the entire series. Most of the characters are stereotypical, but well performed.  The deaths are gruesome, but they do lack some of the artistic violence that the first two films made the norm.  Jason Voorhees became the Jason we all know in this movie, to a point.  In Part III, Jason is still just a deformed man who has a high pain tolerance.  At least he got his hockey mask in this movie.  Here are the bad points.  First and foremost, the cinematography is piss poor.  This movie was made for 3D, so many of the shots have corny attempts to have stuff pop out of the screen.  You got yo-yo’s, broom sticks, apples, fists, knifes, and a bunch more stupid stuff popping out of the screen just to take advantage of the 3D effects.  These effects are ruined from the get-go because of how dark the movie is.  3D works in proper lighting, but with so much of this movie taking place at night, it is too dark for any of the 3D to really pop.  Also, for many years, the only print of this movie that was out there for people to see was in 2D.  So when you see stuff clearly shot for a 3D effect in 2D, it just looks tacky.  In addition to the poor cinematography, the ignoring of the mythology and timeline that I mentioned prior in this induction add to lowering the overall score.

Friday the 13th Part III has been released on DVD and BluRay.  The best, and worst, part of both of these releases is that they give you the option of watch the movies in 3D.  Having seen Part III in 3D on the big screen, I was excited for this option.  The problem is that the 3D is anaglyph.  That means you have to use the red and blue 3D glasses, of which two pairs are included.  In the theater, I wore the clear glasses that are used in say Captain Eo, or quality 3D presentations.  Even the BluRay uses the anaglyph glasses, and not more modern home 3D technology.  You still get a 3D effect, but it is not as good as it could be.  Some people can also get headaches watching an entire movie through the red and blue glasses.  I will not call Friday the 13th Part III a “must own”, but it is still worth a watch.  If you get it as part of a box set, or for under $5 on DVD, it is worth it.  I am sure that it is also part of Netflix Instant.  Outside of those situations, pass it.

Part III could have stood as the last Friday the 13th movie, and it would have made a very good final film.  Luckily, there was a large fan base that encouraged them to continue the series.  There was also enough of a “new” element to this movie that helped carry the franchise on for another nine films.  Jason Voorhees is modern day folklore set to film, and I for one am glad to know they did not end it here.

Want to see how “Friday the 13th Part III” ranked against the other films in the series?  Click here to find out

-Matt Camarco
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