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John’s Horror Corner: Friday the 13th Part III (1982), making Jason more boring, 3D and campy than ever.

October 17, 2017

MY CALL:  This summer camp slasher is way more campy than its predecessors. I found this to be the most boring of the series so far.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Friday the 13th Part IIIObviously, Friday the 13th (1980) and Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981).  For more classic ‘early modern’ slashers one should venture A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Sleepaway Camp (1983), The Burning (1981) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).

Part 2 SIDEBAR:  The last movie ended as Ginny (Amy Steel; April Fool’s Day, Friday the 13th Part 2) discovered the severed head shrine to Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer; Friday the 13th Parts 1 & 2) and impersonated her to fool Jason. But after our relief from Jason’s defeat—SURPRISE!  He’s still alive with a machete deeply embedded in his torso!

We open by replaying the last 5 minutes of part 2 as an elaborate recap and pick up part III the very next day.  So, with part 1 occurring in “present day” (1980) and part 2 occurring 5 years later (1985), this also occurs in 1985.

Having recovered from his horrible injury from part 2 (1980), Jason (Richard Brooker, 6’3”; Deathstalker) has come back meaner and bigger (part 2’s Warrington Gillette, 6’1”) to harass more horny lakeside twentysomethings.  Oddly, these victims are neither campers no camp staff.  Some mentionables from the cast include Rachel Howard (Deep Space), Dana Kimmell (Sweet Sixteen), Kevin O’Brien (Warlock) and Catherine Parks (Looker).

Ever-tougher Jason SIDEBAR:  Jason is still clearly human (as he was in part 2).  He dresses human, acts rather human (although homicidal), dives out of the path of cars, limps when he’s hurt, and is injured by stab wounds.  He’s bigger and uglier than before, but still human.  Although, he does somehow survive being hanged—which is about as remarkable as surviving his machete-embedded torso in part 2.  He even appears to survive an axe to the head…but that was presented as perhaps a dream.

After introducing us to Jason Voorhees, Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part 2, Warlock, House, Halloween H20, Lake Placid) returns for his second sequel with the popularity of the franchise garnering ever-enlarging budgets ($550K in ‘80, $1.25M in ’81, and now $2.3M in ‘82).  However, despite this, I was quite underwhelmed with the movie.

This sequel is not just the campiest so far, it’s simply crass.  There are pooping sound effects (yes, pooping!), sex and shower scenes, needless punks, unexciting kills, horrendous dialogue and perhaps the lamest 3D ploys in history largely limited to simply holding things in front of the camera (e.g., passing a joint).  The death scenes were largely stale, although I almost enjoyed the spear gun kill, the handstand death provoked a stupid giggle and who doesn’t like an eye-popping head crush (the only appropriate use of 3D in the movie).

It seemed that so much attention was afforded to making (now) idiotic things 3D, that no attention went to making the movie any fun.  Despite all the 3D hullabaloo and having its moments, and I do mean only “moments”, this movie was really boring for its first 50 minutes and slightly less boring for the last 40 minutes.  I mean, we see Jason way too often (opening and shutting doors, ooooooh scaaaary) and it never seems to matter.  In the final act we see him scuffling about in lame barn skirmishes like a clumsy street fighter.

The only definitive good to come from this sequel was Jason’s discovery of the hockey mask.  As iconic as the mask is to the character, it’s a sad irony that it was founded in such a circumstantially silly manner and in such a weak movie.  The best part of the movie was the surprise ending which plays on the stylings of the previous two movies, both of which had greater impact than this.  I’ll admit this is probably more rewatchable than part 1…it’s just less significant and it pales to part 2.  This may be the worst in the series.

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