Friday the 13th Part 3 [Retro Review]

“No! You CAN’T be alive!”

The Scoop: 1982 R directed by Steve Miner and starring Dana Kimmell, Richard Brooker, and Paul Kratika

Tagline: A New Dimension In Terror

Summary Capsule: Jason acquires hockey mask, campers acquire knife wounds.

Kyle’s Rating: Will the man in the hockey mask please stand up?

Kyle’s Review: Friday the 13th Part 3 is notable as the film where Jason picks up his now-trademark hockey mask, but this installment has special meaning for me as having the last F13 heroine that I really like and would become fictional myself just to have the chance to date. Amy Steel was cute and strong in Part 2, but in 3 Dana Kimmell is attractive, strong and she has baggage. Guys love chicks with baggage! Chris Parker (Kimmell) does have some emotional problems (she’s haunted by a terrifying nighttime experience she had in the forests of Crystal Lake, plus she has a bit of droopy chin-neck flab) but she’s wholesome and worthy enough that you won’t want to see her steaming entrails spilled on-screen. As for the rest of the cast’s viscera, well…

I’m pretty sure Part 3 takes place mere hours after Part 2 in a different area of Crystal Lake, Higgins Haven to be precise. The opening scenes show us some ill-fated characters watching the evening news and learning about the bloodshed that went down in the previous movie, just in case they (or you) missed it. A few quick bloody murders and we’re off!

It’s still 1984, and a group of presumably college kids are driving a van to Chris’ cabin some distance away from Camp Crystal Lake, so I guess they guess they’ll be perfectly safe. One of the girls, the beautiful Vera, is urged by her mother not to go on the trip but she foolishly does. She soon learns to regret it, as she comes face-to-face with… SHELLEY! The well-intentioned but oafish roommate of the token male “hunk” who tags along for the ride in hopes of getting lucky despite being overweight, prone to self-ostracizing practical jokes, and having a poorly-advised hairstyle. There are other young male and female characters, including a hippie pot-smoking chaperone couple and a trio of “tough” bikers who decide to teach these young punks a lesson after (surprise!) Shelley offends them. Waiting on the fringe just itching for his chance to rip and rend is Jason, who remains mute but is undoubtedly still very angry after the events of Part 2. Put all these characters together in the same section of woods and you don’t have a recipe for a nice picnic, you have a recipe for a bloodbath!

I have to say I’m torn between Part 2 and Part 3 as my favorite F13. These two films seem like they were trying hard to make a good suspenseful slasher movie that happened to feature Jason as the villain, versus later installments that were gory first and scary second and were built around Jason. Maybe it’s just me since 3 and even 2 are labeled two of the worst in the series by people with nothing else to do but rank them, but thankfully those people aren’t here right now to speak their foolishness and stink up the place (generally people who disagree with me smell like garbage. I don’t know why, they just do!).

The actors seem to be trying, the isolated cabin and surrounding wilderness is effective, Jason is brutal and not the mockery he’ll become, and Dana (even with chin flab) is cute. What more can you ask for? You’ll see blood and guts, Jason gets his mask, and I can reveal the annoying Shelley gets what’s coming to him. If you liked the first two, you’ll certainly like this one!

Also, horror movie characters really should go on strike to never have to spout out the sort of inane dribble that script writers use to fill up suspenseful moments, leading to classics like: “Who’s out there? Is that you, (name of idiot)?”, “Why aren’t you answering me? It’s not funny!”, “I think I’ll just back into the darkness, here!”, “Where’s this blood COMING from?” and so on. It’s demeaning to them, and stupid to us.

Enough of that sort of rambling, else you’ll think you stumbled onto a review for Scream or something. No, Friday the 13th Part 3 is as far from the rebelling-against-stereotypes as you’re wont to get; it revels in its clichés (which might’ve been new at the time) and serves as an active workout for your eye-rolling muscles.

Despite a few novel additions – which will be discussed later, in a coffeehouse setting over a steaming cup of non-fat vanilla latte – Part 3 of this series is a weak rehash of the first two movies (particularly Part 2, which was far more fun). Although we all know the killer is now Jason, the filmmakers keep playing the cat-and-mouse game with the camera to keep from revealing his whole body until late in the movie. Taking place a day or so after Part 2 (I think), Jason’s miraculously healed from machete wounds and is wandering all over the place killing people for no gosh-darned good reason.

Since his killings aren’t very scary (although they are far more brutal this time around), I occupied my spare time thinking about Jason’s post-kill activities. Repeatedly, Jason not only moves the bodies so that future people can find them in weird places and scream, but he also seems to spend a lot of his efforts cleaning up the copious amounts of blood on the floor so that no one will be the wiser. Why? Was housekeeping services his #2 pick after going to career counseling in college?

Slightly getting away from the camp theme of Parts 1 and 2, Jason instead antagonizes a group of lackluster friends who travel up to a cabin (near Crystal Lake, we presume) to spend the weekend getting in touch with their central nervous system. Unlike Part 2, none of these characters are all that interesting or likable – the bare exceptions being the cutie lead and the buffoonish clown – and the plot more or less follows the exact same progression of the previous movies. Jason picks off someone at the beginning, Jason stalks a while, kids have sex and do drugs, omens are foretold, Jason goes on a full-fledged killing spree one night, bodies are stacked up everywhere, someone struggles to find their car keys, Jason has to knock down a door at one point, long chase scene, and a previously wimpy girl finds inner strength to kick his butt.

So, really, you’re left with just two reasons to see Part 3. Well, three reasons, if “being a completeist” is one of them. The other two would be to see Jason gaining his trademark hockey mask (which arguably was the biggest reason he became the horror icon he is today) and for the ultra-cheesy 3-D effects. Even without those special glasses, the 3-D scenes are easily identifiable because something approaches the camera closely while everything in the background is fuzzed out. It’s an idea worth merit, but gimmicks like 3-D are never what make movies, and here they’re just distracting and odd (watching popcorn coming at you… ooh, spooky!). Enjoy Jason being spry and active while you can – he’s not long for the running world after this!

Jason hates libraries. Don't ask us. He just does.

Intermission!

  • Two endings for Part 3 were actually filmed, with the more positive and audience-pleasing version being used. The discarded ending had Kimmell approaching the barn thinking that her vision of Jason through the window from the boat was just a hallucination when Jason bursts out of the barn and lops off her head. What a downer, eh?
  • This film, set at Higgins Haven which is right about the Crystal Lake area (in the movie), was filmed at the Valuzet Movie Ranch in Saugas, California.
  • Not including the scenes from Part 2, this is the only Friday the 13th film when none of the characters actually say the name “Jason.”
  • “Previously, on Friday the 13th…” We gonna get these flashbacks all the time now?
  • Woohoo! Wacky 3-D text and goofy 80’s synth!
  • Any woman in a movie with curlers is an automatic bitch
  • He eats… fish food?
  • Aw! The bunny!
  • Oh, the horrible exposition and acting
  • Damn dirty hippies… making us think the van is on fire
  • Sex, drugs and afros within the first five minutes. Yeah, they’re all toast.
  • Don’t touch the road hippie. You don’t know where he’s been.
  • Oh, I’m sorry. He’s an eyeball hippie.
  • The lead girl is a real cutie-pie
  • Good advice if you find a dead body: “Don’t look at him!”
  • Oh no! 80’s punk good-for-nothing kids!
  • The horrible 3-D shots: juggling, eyeballs, popcorn
  • I had forgotten how cool headbands make you look
  • Pitchforks kinda hurt
  • Does everything Chris says have to be about her previous bad experience?
  • Well that was about the most boring traumatic story I’ve ever heard
  • The lake water is really, really green
  • Yes, it’s possible to make love in a hammock
  • This film is surprisingly chaste on nudity
  • I don’t think a lot of people die getting hacked in two from groin to head while standing on their hands. I just don’t.
  • The door blows open, and she runs away from it for no reason? Huh?
  • The awful fake head that Jason crushes
  • If you find a bathtub full of blood, investigate further!
  • Jason gets the snot beat out of him
  • I love that the movie shows an empty gas gauge and the character is compelled to actually say “Gas!”
  • Mrs. Vorhees’ cameo
  • This movie was filmed to have 3-D special effects. On the small screen you can’t see the 3-D anymore, so don’t bother wearing glasses. You aren’t missing much, since you can pick up the special scenes as the ones where certain items (yo-yo, pitchfork, knife, eyeball) jump out directly towards the camera. Would be nice to see that eyeball fly out of the screen, wouldn’t it?
  • In this film Jason is unmasked, and looks TOTALLY DIFFERENT than he did sans mask at the end of Part 2. In the thankfully very rare conversations I’m involved in where this point comes up, I explain it away as this: the sequence with Jason unmasked in Part 2 was probably Amy Steel’s fantasy, whereas in Part 3 Jason is unmasked for real, so that’s how he really looks. In my “research” on the F13 series I read someone’s comments that stated Jason unmasked “looks just like another deformed person,” which hopefully wasn’t intended to be as offensive as it sounds. Still, that made me (Kyle) laugh a lot for a long time. I apologize to everyone for that. More Steve Miner nuggets of wisdom: Richard Brooker (Jason) was told by Miner to never consider what Jason’s motivation for killing all of these people was, because in Miner’s mind Jason had no motivation.

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7 Comments

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  6. Friday pt. 3 is a movie of mixed emotions. Negatives: same ol’ plot as the previous movies. (Unseen killer stalks a bunch of wild teens). Each scene before, between and after any with Jason just seems like absolute filler. I know in movies like this its expected, but still. Try to keep us interested. Actor pool got even wor .

  7. Mixed emotons. Same plot (in essence) as first two movies. Scenes not involving Jason are downright tedious to watch. Terrible actors. Annoying 3d moments. Even more annoying is the score. But on the flip side. The hockey mask is introduced. The kill anti was upped. And last but not least, the Jason character is realized to be one of those villians that would be seen for many movies to come.

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