Friday The 13th Part 3 (1982)

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3D! 3D! 3D!

I’m firmly of the opinion that modern “3D” is every bit as much a money-grabbing gimmick as the red-n-green glasses of years gone by, but none of them, not even the old 50s ones like “Creature from the Black Lagoon”, treated it as blatantly as this movie does. A good 5 minutes or so of screentime is devoted to people just pointing stuff at the camera (baseball bats, juggling balls, yo-yos) and a substantial portion more is devoted to the implements our friend Jason Voorhees shoves through various nubile teenagers, with an assist from occasional body parts flying at us.

Does anyone care about the plot? And I’m definitely including the people who made this film in that question. To rub our noses in how little they care, we’re given a recap of the climax of part 2, where we see the dumb survivor swing a machete into Jason’s neck. He’s done, right? Of course not – in footage presumably filmed at the same time specifically for this sequel, we see Jason pull the machete out of his neck and crawl away. To handily illustrate it’s very soon afterwards, a redneck couple (we’re still in New Jersey, right?) are watching the news about the slaughter at the lake, and Jason, passing through, offs them for perhaps very important reasons, just ones he chooses not to share with the audience.

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That’s all preamble, though! Why am I using exclamation marks, this movie is dull as hell! In an opening half-hour that’s impossible to take seriously once you’ve seen “Cabin In The Woods”, we meet part 3’s cannon fodder, who are…some asshole stereotypes. This movie is so old that the stoner in it still dresses like a Cheech and Chong style hippie (and appears a decade older than anyone else in the cast). There’s a super-annoying chubby nebbish, a two couples I couldn’t tell apart, and the main girl with her boyfriend, who seems a bit older and is constantly trying to cajole her into sex. It’s definitely portrayed like we’re supposed to be cheering him on, but put him, completely unchanged, in a 2015 movie and he’d come across creepy, like most of the way to being a date-rapist.

As they go for their holiday in the lovely community of Spree Kill, New Jersey, we meet perhaps the greatest “you’re all going to die!” guy of all time, just asleep in the middle of the road, and a small multi-ethnic biker gang who get into a feud with the campers before being impaled on things. Jason’s progress through the cast is grim, relentless and pointless. The sole point of interest anywhere in this movie is giving Jason his most iconic prop – the hockey mask. Sort of surprising to discover that Jason isn’t fully Jason until an hour into part 3 of the franchise, but he’s never far from it from this moment on.

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With some franchises (“Halloween” being the prime example) you can tell how they started off very strong, but quickly went into the gutter. With “Friday The 13th”, they started off as garbage and stayed there. Even with such a low standard to live up to, this movie still fails though, managing the impressive feat of being the worst of the first three. Am I asking too much for there to be a reason Jason’s killing people? Any reason would do, to be honest. He’s just wandering along, passes the farmhouse and goes “eh, I *just* killed another bunch of teenagers, but…”  Apparently, a number of cuts were made to the deaths to avoid an X rating, leaving the gore (surely the sole reason people went to see this rubbish) curiously absent at times.

Like vampires and zombies have been used to represent all sorts of dark fears (vampires = AIDS; zombies = the risen working class; and so on) I sometimes wonder what slashers are supposed to represent. The only thing I can think of is the right-wing fear of having fun, so kids die for having sex, partying, taking drugs, or whatever. Slasher movies are incredibly conservative movies, for the most part. The problem with that line of thinking, related to “Friday The 13th Part 3”, is that everyone dies, apart from one girl who appears driven irredeemably mad by it all. There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it.

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This was intended as an end to the series, back when a trilogy had some sort of meaning. But it made a bunch of money and here we are, nine more movies, some books and comics, and a TV show, later, with the 6-year gap since the last movie indicating we’re probably a few years away from yet another franchise reboot. Hurrah!

Rating: thumbs down

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One thought on “Friday The 13th Part 3 (1982)

  1. Pingback: The ISCFC vs. Horror Franchises |

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