Movie Number– 68
Title– Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
Running Time– 95 minutes (“R”)
Director– Steve Miner
Writer– Martin Kitrosser (screenplay), Carol Watson (screenplay), Victor Miller (characters), and Ron Kurz (character creator)
Starring– Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, and Richard Brooker
This review contains spoilers for Friday the 13th Part 2.
With the continued success of the Friday the 13th series, the third movie of the series came out in 1982, ready to top everything that came before it. Not only is Jason back in Part 3, but he also finally finds his infamous hockey mask and machete, which stick with him for the rest of his storied career. Going along with the trends of the time, Friday the 13th Part 3 was released in 3D. With the latest Blu-ray release from Paramount, those of us who weren’t alive in the early-80s get the chance to see Part 3 in all its 3D glory. Unfortunately the red and blue glasses that come with the BD are incredibly annoying, and alter the color of the entire film. That said, I couldn’t finish the movie wearing the glasses, and had to switch to 2D about 25 minutes in.
The 3D effects were pretty good, giving depth to the scenes, as well as the obligatory broom handles, knives, eyeballs, and so on that pop out in those opening 25 minutes. If one can handle the off-putting color effects that the glasses create, the 3D effects are pretty cool, but extremely gimmicky.
Friday the 13th Part 3 begins the day after Part 2 ends. Jason has survived his attack from the night before, and makes his way to a local diner where he changes clothes, does what he does best, and then heads back towards the lake. In the meantime, Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell – Diff’rent Strokes), and a group of her friends, head out towards a Crystal Lake property called Higgins Haven. Chris is leery of returning to the property because of an incident that still haunts her from two years prior. Trying to shake it off and have a good time, she meets an old boyfriend/fling already at the property: Rick (Paul Kratka). Things are going well until Jason finds his way to Higgins Haven, and another rash of murders are underway.
The story is familiar because it is almost the same as the first two movies, except these kids aren’t camp counselors. Fortunately for the viewer, the characters are a lot more interesting than Part 2, and Jason strikes a lot quicker and more often than in either movie preceding Part 3.
The acting is another step up from Part 2. Dana Kimmell plays the leading horror lady well, and is able to manage the cheesy lines that accompany all slasher films from this era. Her onscreen partner, Paul Kratka, is a different story. None of his line deliveries are genuine, and he looks amateurish next to Kimmell. The supporting characters are fun to watch thanks to their individual personalities that are allowed to shine in specific moments. There isn’t a lot of character development, but slasher films don’t require a ton; Friday the 13th Part 3 gives just enough insight into the supporting characters that they become memorable, unlike Part 2. Part 3 is inferior to Part 2 in only one regard: the portrayal of Jason. In Part 3, Jason is seen without a mask quite a bit. This takes away from the enigma that is Jason and his smiling face humanizes a character that should be larger than life. When the mask is on, Jason is “right”; it just should have stayed on a lot more.
The makeup effects are hit or miss with Part 3. There are some incredible moments that rival Tom Savini’s work from the original, but these moments are inconsistent. There is no excuse for an axe to the head to look better in a $500,000 budget movie than in a film with a $4M budget, but that is the case here. What is admirable about the kill scenes is that each one is unique. The makeup artist gets a pass due to the sheer amount of makeup work needed to deal with over a dozen kills.
Part 3 is an above average slasher film that succeeds thanks to humor and small nods to the films that came before (including a “Fangoria” article about Tom Savini; and a “dream” sequence). Unlike Part 2, Part 3 would’ve been a fun slasher film even without Jason, but it probably would have been lost to obscurity like so many others from that era. Friday the 13th Part 3 delivers in all the ways that slashers should, and, for better or worse, gets us closer to the man known as Jason. It is a worthy sequel that is recommended to slasher fans everywhere.