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Movies Ken King Review by
Ken King
Friday the 13th Part 3
IT HELPS
TIP JAR
FRIDAY THE 13th
SEQUELS
FRIDAY THE 13th Part 3 3D - 1982
USA Release: AUG! 13, 1982
Jason Productions, Sean S. Cunningham Films, Georgetown Productions Inc., Paramount Pictures
Rating: USA: R

"You Son of a Bitch! Come back here, you bastards! You ain't getting away with this, god damn it! I'm going to get you!"
- Ali

Contrived.
Merriam-Webster's online dictionary's definition of the word "Contrived" states: Having an unnatural, or false appearance, or quality.

Like FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 3D.

Contrived.

Director Steve Miner (WARLOCK, HOUSE, HALLOWEEN H20, LAKE PLACID, DAY OF THE DEAD [2018], DAY OF THE DEAD [2008], STITCHERS [TV]) also directed one of my favorite entries in the FRIDAY THE 13TH series, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II (1981), and while not a perfect film, it definitely set the precedence for others to follow from not only the franchise it was in, but others of like mind.

That being the case, what went so wrong with his follow up?

It was like a whole different director stepped in and took over the reins, or Miner just really wasn't trying. The movie wants to be a legitimate part of the FRIDAY THE 13TH series, but it comes off as more of a fan film (Some of those are far better than a big studio production. Sorry. They just are.) with a minimal budget. The kills are not exceptional like that of its predecessor, or the sequel that followed. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III had a budget of about $2.3 million. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II had a budget of around $1,250,000. FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER, had just 300k more of an estimated budget than PART III.

So, what the hell happened?

Answer: they blew their load on 3D effects that made the movie look silly and contrived.

There's that word again. Contrived.

I just calls 'em as I sees 'em.

Let's begin an actual review.

FRIDAY THE PART III (1982) picks right up where the last movie left off. We see Ginny (Amy Steel: APRIL FOOL'S DAY) being loaded up in an ambulance, ready for transport to the local hospital. It's reported by a TV station and watched by a Haus Frau who constantly bitches at her husband who sneaks food from their general store and even goes as far as consuming fish food like it's sugary powder from a Kool-Aid pack.

Jason (Richard Brooker, DEATHSTALKER, DEEP SEA CONSPIRACY) makes his inevitable return from the trouncing he received only hours before. I say hours, because now he is clean shaven and has a drastic haircut that left him scalp to the air. He also dons a new pair of threads. That shaving must have taken a bit because he had a lot to deal with. Maybe he wanted to be like the Kurgan from HIGHLANDER (1986) and be "In disguise. This way, no one will recognize me." I dunno. I can't find anything in these movies where continuity seems to be an issue with the various directors and writers. You just gotta roll with the punches.

After a minor pit stop, i.e. "dealing with less than savory local merchants," Jason makes his way back to Crystal Lake to look for other distractions. It soon comes along in the form of

Chris (Dana Kimmel: MIDNIGHT OFFERINGS, NIGHT ANGEL),
a non-descript couple named Andy (Jefferey Rogers) and Debbie (Tracie Savage: TERROR ON THE 40TH FLOOR, THE LEGEND OF LIZZIE BORDEN, THE DEVIL AND MAX DEVLIN, THE BONE GARDEN)
a stoner couple, Chuck (David Katims: THE FIRST POWER, GENUINE RISK), and Chili (Rachel Howard: DEEP SPACE),
nerdy prankster, Shelly (Larry Zerner: DEATH HOUSE, ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING)
and hot-to-trot Latina, Vera (Catherine Parks: LOOKER).

Only in a FRIDAY THE 13TH film would this group be hanging out with each other and even then, it raises an eyebrow. If they were the usual gang of soon to be ground chuck, then yeah, I can see that. Camp counselors can't choose who will be working alongside them. They just must grin and bear it for a couple of weeks out of their summer. If Chris is hanging with a group of friends out at her parent's lake side house, these wouldn't be types she would spend a weekend with.

Soon, they add some unlikely country boy stud muffin, Rick (Paul Kratka, BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE, THE BONE GARDEN) to the mix that wants nothing more than to get in Chris's pants.

TRIVIA

FRIDAY THE 13th Part 3 3D was released in the bad old days before the Internet was little more than transmitting command line text: no Graphical User Interface, images or video, and publishers printed exclusively on paper.

So on this day in AUG! 13, 1982, New York Times published movie critic, Janet Maslin's review in print.

Unlike the other major critics of her time, Janet said she was appreciative of the F13 movies, accepting them for what they were, and liked this one the best.

Hey kids! NYT gets why you like it! They're "Hip"!

Then Janet made this blunder,

"Also on hand is Jason, whom viewers of Parts I and II will recall as the fellow with the hockey mask and the bad temper."
- Janet Maslin

Proving that, despite her words to the contrary, she never watched the first two and probably just read the studio supplied PR material instead of watching 3.

Among Horror fans and in disc extras and documentaries, this is mocked and laughed at to this day. It also made newspaper copies of this print review collectible.

*

This was one of the most stressful movies for Steve Miner to direct because the studio wanted it in 3D, a little used format (something they hadn't tried in 26 years) which was a time consuming and expensive headache throughout the entire shoot. The production was moved from Connecticut back to California where what few 3D experts there were could lend their experience.

Much of the old 3D equipment of the 1950s wasn't usable and it all had to be "reinvented" and manufactured just for this movie.

Worse, Paramount then had to send technicians to over 1,000 theaters across the U.S. to fit them with special 3D projection lenses, modify the screens, train the projectionists, and set up a 24 hour hot line for the theaters in case the 3D went wrong.

Contrived.

The teens (We'll go with that label for now) are bored five minutes after stepping on the grounds of Chris's parent's cabin. Shelly and Vera ride to a store and get threatened by three bikers, Ali (Nick Savage, FRIGHT NIGHT, COLD STEEL, IMPULSE), Fox (Gloria Charles) and Loco (Kevin O'Brien, WARLOCK, DOCTOR WHO). There's a humorous bit at the store when Shelly decides to teach the "gang" a lesson. So maybe his childish pranking does have its uses. But… the fall out from this prank would make Shelly not only a target of Jason Voorhees, but three, very pissed off bikers. These motorcycle enthusiasts have no sense of humor when it comes to their hogs.

When we return to the cabin, very little happens, and the production seems a bit rushed after much time was spent on exposition and not much else. The bikers find out somehow or other where the couple at the store are staying and decide to show them and their companions what happens when you "play with fire."

A lot of the 3D effects come into play at the cabin. I must say, there should have been a complete 2D print of the movie. It wouldn't have made the vast bulk of the film seem…well…what's that word again…?

Contrived.

If I give anyone real credit where this film goes, its the makeup department where it comes to the Jason Voorhees design that he would maintain in FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER, at least the general appearance of it. He looks gloriously hideous. If "Zombie Jason" hadn't come along, I would have really liked them to be consistent with this particular look.

Something has to be said for Harry Manfredini's opening and closing score and it is this: What. The. Actual. FUCK!? In very few instances, have the scores not been comparable to the movie itself where it actually "fits." It certainly doesn't here.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I have a sneaking suspicion that Steve Miner really didn't want to do this flick and broke down and took on the project for a paycheck*. The differences between FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III are night and day. The first film introduced us to Ginny, arguably, the greatest "Final Girl" of the series. The best part about the latter movie, is where Jason scores the mask he would wear for the rest of the series.

One understands why Chris would want to stay away from the cabin, so it seems a tad unrealistic when she goes there to chill, in light of what she tells Rick as to why she's terrified to be there in the first place.

Don't even get me started on the 3D effects. When you watch this in 2D, it's very distracting and makes you want to turn the TV off. I get that you want to try something different with the series. 3D sounds clever in theory with a third entry, but there's got to be something else more tried and truer that you could have used. Using the 3D deal comes off as lazy and cartoonish at best (even to this day, they haven't perfected it to where you would believe it isn't cost prohibitive and a waste of time).

You know…?

Contrived.

Two Shriek Girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2020 E.C.McMullen Jr.

Friday the 13th Part III (1982) on IMDb
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