Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday the 13th - Part III

Once again, it is Friday the 13th.

Here's some thoughts on Friday the 13th - Part III (1982)
Friday the 13th - Part III is not as good as the previous two films in the series, but it does have some fun moments.  It is also more than notable for being the entry in which Jason first dons his iconic hockey mask.  At the very least, it has that going for it.

Note:  I did not watch the movie in 3D.  I have the DVD box set that comes with a pair of glasses, but I don't like watching those red/blue 3D movies at home, as generally they give me a headache and don't look very good.  If a theater around here ever showed this movie in 3D, I'd go check it out, but for now I'm sticking with the 2D.

This movie follows the basic Friday formula of young, horny people in an isolated place being stalked and killed one by one.  Making it a little different, these kids aren't camp counselors, they're just out for a weekend vacation, apparently in the direct vicinity of Crystal Lake (if they said that they were on Crystal Lake, I missed it, but I assumed they were).

The movie picks up directly after the events of the second film, opening with a recap of some of the action at the end of Part 2.  After that we get a kinda long opening scene where Jason kills this weird married couple and during that we hear some news reports about the events from the previous movie, which means that basically Jason is now a wanted fugitive.  And what is he doing immediately after his previous massacre?  He's out there starting himself another massacre.  This Jason guy, he's nothing if not productive and singularly focused.

By the way, Jason is back to his non-mulleted, mongoloid look from his cameo in the first film.  Gone are his bag-head and overalls.  Now he's a work shirt and pants kind of guy.  He's also now taller, bigger, and more muscular.  When he gets the hockey mask from prankster Shelly, it really brings the whole look together.

The characters in this movie are all pretty stupid, and by that I mean that they're not very interesting (also, yeah, a few of them aren't very bright).  In fact, this might be the worst overall cast in a Friday the 13th movie (I'll have to verify this, but I feel confident in it) as the acting ranges from mediocre to really bad.  The pair of stoners, Chuck and Chili, are maybe my favorite bad actors in the movie (because of course they are) and easily the best moment of bad acting is when Chili is flailing through the house and screaming "oh my god, Shelly's dead!"

One unique thing:  one of the couples (Debbie and Andy) are newly pregnant and (spoiler) they do not survive the movie.  It seems like that should be a ballsy thing for a horror movie to do, but no, it's not really made a big deal of and it's only mentioned a couple times onscreen.  Plus, it's not like Jason stabs her through the stomach or anything (because that would've been extreme).

Also, I should note that the pregnant chick shows the most skin out of the girls in the movie.

More notes:

The best kill in the movie is the "handstand" kill.  It's maybe one of the best kills in the entire series.

The barn, where a surprising amount of action takes place, is very well lit, especially at night.  I've never seen a barn with so much light in it.

During this movie we see, not one, but two guys sitting on the toilet (and I don't think either of them wiped.  Ewwww!)

Proof that these characters are stupid:  two different people get "dripped on" (one blood, the other water) and both of their reactions are "where's that coming from?"  Um, hello?  It's coming from above you!  Sheesh!

The opening theme/end credits music is stupid funky and oh so 80s.  It's somehow perfect.  The score in the movie however seems to just be recycled stuff from the first two movies.  Oh, Harry Manfredini, you genius..

The director again is Steve Miner.  This would be his last Friday movie and his last movie-movie until 1986's House.

Chris, the Final Girl of the movie, has a backstory where she had a previous encounter with Jason some months (years?) back while lost in the woods.  Her story ends with her blacking out and reawaking at home, but this minor plot point is never revisited and the sole purpose of this backstory seems to be to add extra weight (or maybe believability) to Chris' going mad-crazy at the end of the movie.

Speaking of the end of the movie, they try to re-do the shock surprise ending of the first Friday, but to much, much less effect.  First off, it's telegraphed a mile away.  Second, it looks kinda of chintzy and the slo-mo really lets you get a good look at it.  Thirdly, "it" is Pamela Voorhees as a rotting corpse popping up out of the water with her head somehow mysteriously reattached.  I gotta say. . .it's kind of stupid.

Things that poke out at you in 3D (presumably):  snake, fists, yo-yo, baseball bat, spear, eyeball (x2), apples, pitchfork, popcorn, red-hot poker, and the handles of various kill implements.

I used the word stupid a lot in this review.  Seems that could be interpreted as mean or cruel, but I mean it in a fun way, as in "this is stupid fun."  I am a fan of these movies overall and even a middle-of-the-road entry like Part III is still an entertaining watch and, yes, a stupid good time.  Happy Friday the 13th.

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