Friday the 13th Part 3 (USA, 1982) - Color, Director(s): Steve Miner
MPAA Rating: R
Approx. 95 min.
Z-rating: 3 stars out of 5
Cheese Factor: 2 stars out of 5
We're finally here! Jason's character is really starting to come together. He dons his iconic hockey mask for the first time and wields his signature machete by the end of the film, he's got his trademark sound (ki ki ki, ma ma ma), and he's very hard to kill as seen when he's pushed from the second story of a barn and hung by the neck with no effect.
This is probably the most important film of the franchise, at least in terms of Jason's character development, but the first half of the movie is spent setting up the dullest bunch of bozos you just can't wait to see get hacked to pieces. A group of seven teens are headed up to a cottage at Crystal Lake that includes a pregnant girl, her boyfriend, an annoying idiot who plays dumb pranks, his blind date, a stoner couple, and a girl named Chris who survived a previous encounter with Jason. Most of these people just serve as fodder for Jason to slash his way through, the most developed characters are Chris and Shelly, the idiot who fancies himself an actor. Shelly is supposed to be the sympathetic character that we all feel bad for because of his low confidence but the guy is a total jagoff. He carries around a box of props like he's Carrot Top or something, which he uses to scare the hell out of people for attention.
|Puff, puff, pass.|
While in town picking up some groceries, Shelly and his date (Vera) piss off three biker thugs that follow them back up to the cottage and try to burn down the barn. Jason finally shows up and offs a couple of the bikers, then turns his attention towards the main cast. Shelly is the one Jason gets his mask from, which happens off-screen, but Vera is the first one to be killed by Jason while wearing his new mask.
Jason sure has a flair for the dramatic, posing dead bodies in ways that will scare people later on. Though he's not above just tossing the lifeless body of Chris' boyfriend through a window at her, sometimes he's not too subtle. You've got to hand it to him though, he's a master at improvising. In the early 80's there was a revival of 3D in Hollywood that some horror films took part in, many of which were the 3rd installments of their franchise. Jaws 3-D, Amityville 3-D, and this movie were just some to cash in the craze. I love the way the movie's opening credits are in 3D and set to a groovy disco theme. Sure, the 3D effects were pretty hokey (snakes, yo-yos, and harpoons popping out at you) but it makes this movie all the more fun to watch. If it wasn't for the slow first half dragging this film down, this would definitely rank higher as one of the best in the franchise.
Nudity: There is a frustrating lack of T&A in this flick. We get a shower scene half way through the movie, once Jason shows up. The nudity would've been more welcome during the boring first half of the film when there wasn't any killing.
Gore: From what I understand, a lot of the death scenes were edited to avoid an X rating. Despite some of the gorier bits getting cut, this movie still has one of the most brutal kills I've ever seen. Jason splits a guy right down the middle with a machete while he's doing a hand stand. This scene is so cringeworthy that any guy would have a hard time watching it. Jason also shows how physically strong he is when he crushes a guy's head and sends an eyeball flying towards the screen.
Awesome: There's no denying the significance of this film, it's the first time Jason wears the hockey mask and the first one to be in 3D, but it's bogged down heavily by the annoying characters and slow first half. There's some cool stuff though like the girl who reads an issue of Fangoria right before she's killed. We see her flip past an article on Tom Savini and one about Godzilla. As a standalone film, it had the potential to be awesome but it was a decent lead into the fourth film. Director Steve Miner doesn't come back for the next sequel but goes on to direct some other fun stuff like House, Halloween H20, and Lake Placid. Some of his more recent work includes the absolutely dreadful Day of the Dead remake.