Friday the 13th Part 3 1982 Review
Friday the 13th Part III 1982
Directed by: Steve Miner
Starring: Dana Kimmell, Richard Brooker, Tracie Savage
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
It’s ten pm on Friday the 13th of January 2012, I’m browsing through the channels to see what’s on Sky and gawd damn – they’re showing the entire Friday the 13th series from one to six! Awesome – I’m not working tomorrow, I’ll crack open a bottle and order a pizza. “You look tired baby, might as well go to bed”, I told the Mrs. This is a night that I just had to experience.
So I missed a couple, but now it’s part 3, not my all time favourite, but hey; it’s from Steve Miner, the beers are cold, the pizza’s hot and I have time to burn burn burn…
Friday the 13th part 2 had been a very good, although not great success, but Paramount knew that there was still more cash to be made. They came up with the idea of shooting the next one in 3D as a hook and it paid off with the movie making a box office killing almost immediately. I have a copy on DVD that is in complete three-dimension, which you need glasses to watch, but even on a huge screen, it is no substitute for how this must’ve looked in theatres.
A few hours after the massacre from part 2 and Jason is still on the loose, taking out an amusing and undeserving couple in the first ten minutes. Next up we meet a group of youngsters who are heading to a site not too far away from camp Crystal Lake. After they arrive, we soon notice that someone is watching them and it doesn’t take long for the killings to start…
Aside from money, do you know the one thing that I don’t have enough of now I’ve turned the thirty-year corner? It’s time. On top of my job, having two kids, a demanding Mrs AND this website, I would kill to purchase a few extra hours on eBay if I could. Sometimes, when I’m writing these reviews late at night and I have work the next morning, I notice that I lack a creative spark. Tiredness makes me type without focus and I reuse stuff I’ve already written and when I read it back, it just seems – well, dull as the paint in a doctor’s reception. Now I love Steve Miner and Friday the 13th part 2 is arguably the best slasher movie anywhere ever. But here, like a worker in his fourth hour of overtime, he has lost some of that innovation. It’s almost like he put his all in to the previous chapter and this time around was suffering from a dose of director’s block. He seems to have blatantly copied so much from the last two entries and re-shot it that the movie feels slower and drained of freshness. It came as no surprise when I learned from Martin Jay Saddof that production on this had started even before the second instalment had hit cinemas, so the time needed to refuel the artistic engines of imagination was extremely short and you can see it in the end product.
With that said though, Part 3 is still a good slasher flick, which finds retribution in its huge body count and outstanding final twenty minutes. It also has some cool characters, including the first Latin female in a slasher and the fat practical joker whose demise leads to Jason finding his hockey mask for the first time. The strength of some of the performances are key to what lifts this above mediocrity, including a wonderful turn from Richard Brooker as the marauding Jason. Dana Kimmell is interesting as the virginal heroine and she does well in her battle with the killer, even if she was responsible for changes in the script. Brought up in a very religious family, she felt uncomfortable with some of the violence and pleaded with Frank Mancuso Jnr to allow her character to survive. Three endings were filmed and in the first alternative, Jason decapitates her with a machete, leaving no survivors. In the second, she escapes with Ali, who lives after his duel with Mr Voorhees, but the camera cuts back and the fiend’s body is not there. Now these were definitely shot, but whether Paramount kept the drums of leftover footage is another matter. People who have had access to the vaults have said that most of the leftovers have been destroyed, so a director’s cut with what we most want to see is highly unlikely. In fact, it’s impossible unless there’s a miracle discovery.
This also means that we will never get Andy, Debbie or Edna’s full death scenes, which from what I hear, were absolutely fantastic in their entirety. It’s so frustrating to me that I can never witness the effects that I’ve read about so many times and I believe that for a series with such a large cult following, it’s just unforgivable from Paramount. If it’s not bad enough that we can never view the reputedly brilliant double impalement from Part 2, it’s awful that this one will also never be played as it were intended.
Although the pace is nowhere near as intense throughout the runtime as it was in the previous rounds and much of the fear factor has been replaced with cheese, the last chase sequence between Chris and Jason is immense. Watching it on widescreen is a breathtaking experience and even if Miner may not have built as taut a stream of tension this time around, he still pulls off some fantastic stalk and slash postcard shots like the one of Jason watching Debbie and Andy through a barn window. Gerald Feil and Miner really put effort in to some of the photography and its those small things that cover up some of the lesser parts, such as the heinous sense of continuity. Jason had in the few hours after having a machete stuck in his shoulder, not only managed to remove it, but also he found new clothes, a hairdresser and someone to give him plastic surgery to change his entire appearance from the last film.
This is most certainly not one of the best of the franchise and it was the first dip that was thankfully well recovered by Joseph Zito in ‘The Final Chapter’. It still has its moments, one of them being the first sighting of Jason in a hockey mask and some great gore that we may never get to see.
Steve Miner is underrated as a horror maestro, which is a shame, because for me he is just that. Nevertheless, this is still an important chapter in the franchise and to the entire genre in general. It’s a disappointment that it was so rushed and it’s a slasher film in third gear instead of fifth, but that’s still a darn site quicker than the crap we get more recently and an all round treat for horror fans
Final Girl: √√√