The Jason Voorhees Marathon: Part 3
We’re into the third film and we’re yet to see the Jason familiar to pop-culture: hockey mask, machete and unable to die. He’s just a big, ugly guy with a sack on his head. After coming up with the idea of Jason being introduced into the film as the killer the producers wanted to round things out with a trilogy of films, which then got expanded into a four-part series. Maybe that was a good move, because this film has a few problems and you would’t want to end on it. Let’s talk about…
Friday the 13th: Part 3D
Director: Steve Miner
Cast: Dana Kimmell, Paul Krakta, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, Catherine Sanchez, Larry Zerner, Richard Brooker
Plot: Chris Higgins and her friends are having a weekend away at Higgins Haven, her family cabin. Jason, left wounded by Ginny and hiding in their barn, sets them in his sights.
Review: We got a few problems here. The intention to carry on the story with Ginny (Amy Steel in Part 2) being hunted through a mental hospital by Jason got scrapped when Steel declined to reprise the role. Instead we have an entirely unrelated group of people in a location that is close to the original crime scenes. Later in the film we learn that our leading later Chris (Kimmell) had her parents killed by Jason in the past, a somewhat desperate attempt to add some background to these proceedings.
You’d think that they would benefit from this, as the characters are bland, shallow stereotypes. There’s some hippies, a prankster, a couple…the other characters were hardly noteworthy but they at least felt like people. These are poor for cartoon characters. There’s almost something interesting with the colourful bikers the campers run afoul of, but they’re the first ones to get the chop.
Jason essentially completes his transformation into the familiar figure they make action figures from. Shelley (Zerner) is the residential prankster whose routine is scaring people (why the fuck do they always invite one of these assholes?) tries to impress a girl by jumping out of the lake in a hockey mask. After Jason blessedly cuts his throat he snags the mask and wear it for the reminder of the film. The only thing we need is the supernatural immortality and he’s complete.
Then there’s the 3D that every ‘part 3’ movie of the 80s was required by law to make. I can’t speak as to how the film looked on release but it has not held up well. They leaned very heavily into the gimmick and we’re constantly subjected to random items poking out at us. Without the 3D effect it just looks like shitty cinematography with random poles plonked in the dead centre of frame.
With little investment into the characters there’s little interest in their deaths. We’re only onto the third film and it’s all beginning to feel routine. Nothing stands out as particular imaginative or well (ahem) executed. When we get to the finale things turn downright nonsensical. Chris is floating on the lake having dispatched Jason when the decomposing body of his mother leaps out of the water in what’s revealed to be a dream sequence. This feels like something written into the Ginny centred sequel and left in the script, because we can’t recall any time Chris learned about Pamela Voorhees or Jason’s backstory. It’s dumb.
This is a pale shadow of what has come before.
Rating: THREE out of TEN
Jason’s Best Kill: There’s not a lot to chose from here. Most of the death scenes involve Jason thrusting pole shaped weapons towards the screen for the 3D effect. We’ll have to settle for Rick getting his head crushed complete with a popping eye effect.