Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

A New Dimension In Terror…

Jason returns to Crystal Lake to stalk and slash his way across another army of teenager counsellors. But this time he also has to face off against a motorcycle gang too.

 

Friday the 13th Part III will be forever remembered as the film that turned Jason from just a weirdo wearing a sack over his head into the pop culture phenomena we know him as today – it’s the film that gave birth to the infamous hockey mask to which Jason would be associated with from now on. It’s my favourite of the first three films although trying to distinguish between them is a task in itself. The same ingredients are still there – remote locations, horny clichéd teenagers doing stupid things, lots of sharp implements, etc. The film looks almost exactly the same as the previous two (and even picks up hours after the first sequel) and this is where I get confused a little because trying to differentiate them when you haven’t seen them for a while is a bit challenging. So many of the characters, situations and even locations are interchangeable and almost the same that it becomes a little tiring.

Friday the 13th Part III is the first one to really throw in a bit of cheese and silliness to the proceedings, which clearly would become more prominent as the entries progressed. It’s not as serious as the first two and as a result, loses a lot in the scare stakes. I don’t actually find the first two scary but they do have some decent tense moments and the chase scenes manage to conjure up a bit of atmosphere in them. Here the deaths scenes have begun to take more of a priority as well as showing as much of Jason killing people as possible. This ups the body count a little more, taking the total to twelve kills (compared to nine kills in both of the previous films) so you can clearly see the direction that the series was starting to take.

The film has the honour of containing some of the best death scenes from the entire series including a harpoon gun in the eye and, in arguably the film’s nastiest moment, a teenager showing off doing handstands gets chopped in half lengthwise with a machete! A black biker also gets his hand lopped off by the same machete, which is really funny because you think Jason killed him earlier on in the film. Jason’s reaction to the sudden re-emergence of this ‘dead’ victim is hilarious as he makes sure he gets the job done second time around!

Even worse this time, it was filmed in 3-D which spelt out the death curse for any film back in the 80s. 3-D films may work in the cinema when you have special glasses given to you but on the small screen, it just sucks and looks more ridiculous when characters deliberately ram props into the camera to make them stand out (especially when one guy gets his head crushed by Jason and his eye pops out into the camera). The acting is still pretty bad as usual with most of the cast failing to give their characters any sort of personality to distance themselves from the person who played their token role in the previous or following film. So the horny couple are no different than the horny couple from Part 2, the straight-jawed sensible male is still the same as he was in the previous film, etc.

A couple of the characters are a little more sympathetic though, namely Shelly, the prankster who cries wolf too many times and is the unfortunate schmuck to ‘give’ Jason the hockey mask. Dana Kimmell gets a lot of stick from Friday fans for having the ending changed but she does a great job as the final girl. She’s also very cute which helps matters greatly. At least we’re not rooting for Jason at this stage and kudos to Richard Brooker who does a stellar job in the role of the maniac. He’s got a different move set to some of the later actors who just played Jason as a lumbering zombie. Here he is energetic and genuinely creepy, almost like a pervert at times with the way he peers at people from distance.

 

Friday the 13th Part III isn’t the worst of the series by a long way but apart from the hockey mask, it’s not got enough in it to really distinguish itself from the first four films. The less sound about the terrible disco soundtrack, the better. That’s enough to warrant knocking off marks.

 

 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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