FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3(D) is the film we’re talking about this time. Please put on your 3D glasses on now to read this review and get a horrific headache in the process.
So right off the bat, the movie shows us the last six minutes of FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2. It doesn’t really tell us anything new, it just regurgitates this six minutes because…reasons. Mainly that without it the film would have been less than 90 minutes, which is sort of the unspoken official run time for these films. It also lets the creative team on the film be a little lazy, six minutes of laziness to be precise.
This is also the film where Jason gets his iconic hockey mask, it doesn’t happen until a little past halfway through the movie, but he gets it and doesn’t let it go for another nine films. That’s not completely true, sometimes he picks up a new hockey mask somewhere, like in JASON TAKES MANHATTAN he just happens to find a hockey mask…on a boat.
It’s also the first film where—I, at least—felt great sympathy for a character and felt cheated when that character died. Shelly is a loser, a male loser. He’s in his own head most of the time, and his efforts to be social are rather…awkward. Perhaps I sympathized with his character because I was also rather nerdy and socially awkward as a teen when I first saw this film. He gets pushed around a lot and what is his reward for pushing back? He gets killed. Dick move FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3(D), dick move. This trend continues for a while in the series, so just prepare yourself for that.
FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3 follows all the same rules. There are no returning characters from the second film…actually, allow me to ramble on for a moment. At the end of FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 we were lead to believe that Paul survived with the final girl. Then we get the scary CARRIE ending, and the next thing we see is the final girl being wheeled into an ambulance, calling for Paul, who does not answer. It was a weird ending because we’re led to believe Paul is alive, but then at the very ending we are given the idea that maybe the final girl hallucinated him because he’s nowhere to be found. Well, in the beginning of FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3, the fate of Paul is finally revealed as the shrewish wife of the grocer is watching a news program that refers to the deaths at the camp from FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2, then when it shows the final girl being placed into the ambulance, the newscaster mentions that she is the only survivor? Wait…what? I’m so confused. How did he die? When did he die? And what scenes with him are just the final girl hallucinating? This is the deepest thought that FRIDAY THE 13TH will ask you to deal with. And there is no real answer, at least not one that satisfies all the parameters.
Anyway, back on track. We have a cast of kids who may as well be wearing toe tags with their names on them because by this time in the series we know that the vast majority of them will not live to see the next day. We also get a brand new crazy old guy (seeing how the original was killed off in FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2), this one seems even crazier as they find him lying asleep in the middle of the road and carrying around an eye (of unknown origin), preaching to the kids that they’re doomed…DOOMED!!! After a brief interlude for sexy times, Jason shows up and starts killing the kids. Like I said last time, more of the same. And also like I said before, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The first half of the movie is fun and entertaining, and the last half has some pretty decent kills, and the boss battle is probably the most memorable of the series so far. I like this movie, to the point that when I’m finished with it I don’t feel like it was 95 minutes of my life I’ll never get back (if that’s your thing, THE GALLOWS is in theaters right now and it is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, seriously). It’s not great, and it isn’t the best in the series, but it’ll do.
Oh, and did we talk about how it was presented in theaters (and on special DVDs and blu-rays) in 3D? Yup, that happened. Although this wasn’t like 3D the way we have it today, this system was archaic, and came with those terrible, headache inducing, red and blue 3D glasses. Another difference between the 3D in FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3(D) back then, and 3D movies now, is that back then it was just a gimmick, a quick thrill for movie goers. With obvious attempts at making things jump out at you, the audience member. Shameless stuff, like broom handles nearly poking out the camera lens, the passing of a joint to the camera lens, an eye popping out to the camera lens, and of course there’s the yo-yo sequence. Today 3D is (mostly) a tool that is supposed to add to the experience of a film, help with immersion. But in FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3’s case, it’s a tool that is used as the experience. It isn’t there to help tell the story, it’s simply there to distract you from realizing there isn’t a story, just a bunch of gruesome death scenes. Also, I can’t see the third ‘D’ (really long story) anyway, so any 3D movie is my enemy, especially since nowadays you have to pay extra.
So for those of you playing along at home, the series hasn’t gone to shit yet…but it will soon (two words, Tommy Jarvis). Just remember…courage!