Friday the 13th Part III (1982)


*. The third part of the franchise, and I think any claim by the producers that this was going to be “the final chapter” has to be seen as disingenuous. The full Jason has now arrived: a superhuman creature wearing a hockey mask who kills pretty much indiscriminately.
*. On the matter of the hockey mask: just why is Shelly wearing a hockey mask with his scuba gear anyway? Come to think of it, why does he have a harpoon gun? I’ll bet you never thought that was going to get used later on in the film, did you?
*. A lot of people rate this movie one of the highlights of the series. I think it’s the worst of the first three. You have to feel a little ripped off by a series that started off bad, made a ton of money, but kept going downhill while looking cheaper and cheaper. I mean, where the hell is Crystal Lake? Higgins Haven just looks like a scummy pond. And since this movie supposedly takes place right after the events of Part 2, it’s not even Friday the 13th!
*. Steve Miner was production manager on the first film and directed the next two. I wonder if he felt at any point during these early years that he had sold his soul, and got little in return. He went on to do a lot of work in TV, but he does get some credit in my book for the not-too-bad Lake Placid.
*. As with Part 2 (which was the only sequel in the franchise that didn’t have roman numerals, for some reason), the censors cut out a lot of the “good stuff,” leaving us with a handful of pretty unremarkable kills. The girl getting an arrow in the eye and Rick having his eyeball popped out are the highlights.
*. Also as with Part 2 there were alternate endings planned and shot, none of which made any more sense than the dream bullshit we’re left with here.
*. More of the iconic theme is worked in here, but it doesn’t sound as fresh as the first time around. It’s less breath-y. And the disco music that goes with the opening credits is awful!
*. Sticking to a formula is one thing, but I thought there were far too many false scares in the second film and I think this one has even more. I guess they figured there was no limit to how many times you could go to the well.
*. A few questions, as one way of explaining why I think this movie is so bad.


*. What is with all of the vocalizing of what are obvious points? Not once but twice do we have scenes where characters are being dripped on from above, leading them to ask themselves out loud “Where’s this coming from?” When Chris gets in the van she says “Keys! Keys!” as she tries to find her keys. Then when the van stalls she says “What’s happening?” Looking at the gas gauge that’s reading empty, she cries out “Gas!”
*. Why does it take so long to get going? Why bother with the intro from the end of Part 2, especially when it just confuses the ending of that movie? And why do we spend so much time with Harold and Edna, given the fact that they’re not dispatched in any memorable way?
*. How did Ali survive being chopped apart by Jason? And what was he doing all that time in the barn? Just waiting until his re-appearance at the end?
*. What’s with Chris’s dream/memory of being attacked by Jason? What sense does that make? What happened to her? I’ve read speculations of whether or not she was raped — something that was apparently in the original script — but this doesn’t explain why they bothered with such a backstory in the first place. Was there going to be a Son of Jason?
*. These questions arise out of the general sloppiness of the writing, and the way the series started off in such an improvisational way. It’s curious, however, that the effect is something akin to the nightmare world of the Freddy Kreuger movies. Except in those films the surrealism was deliberate and here it’s born of incompetence. The producers just couldn’t make a Friday the Thirteenth movie that made sense. In later installments they didn’t even try.
*. I suppose it does take some talent to be a “scream queen” and run around acting terrified. Because Rachel Howard as the pot-head Chili is just terrible in this limited role. She almost seems lost as she wanders about the house in a vaguely upset sort of way. Or is she still supposed to be stoned?
*. You don’t have to throw gasoline around a barn that’s full of dry hay and straw in order to burn it down. The cigarette that presumably fell out of Loco’s mouth when he was impaled would have been enough to torch the place in seconds. But then perhaps bikers might not be expected to know that.
*. Because it was 1982 and because this was Part III it was necessarily shot in 3-D. I despise 3-D. It sucks now, it has always sucked in the past, and it will continue to suck for as long into the future of film as film has a future. What makes it even worse is when the effects drive the visuals so much you think you’re watching Doctor Tongue’s House of Horrors on SCTV. Get ready to see all kinds of shit being thrown at the screen: yo-yos, eyeballs, popcorn, pitchforks . . .
*. Yes, I was a bit surprised to see the pregnant girl get killed. I thought that gave you immunity.
*. There are literally thousands of reviews of this movie online. Thousands! But I guess I can’t say anything now.


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