Friday the 13th Part III (1962) / Drama-Romance
aka Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D
MPAA Rated: R for strong violence, some gore, sexuality, brief nudity, and language
Running time: 95 min.
Cast: Dana Kimmell, Richard Brooker, Catherine Parks, Paul Kratka, Jeffrey Rogers, Larry Zerner, Tracie Savage, Rachel Howard, David Katims, Nick Savage
Director: Steve Miner
Screenplay: Martin Kitrosser, Carol Watson
Review published July 29, 2013
There are only two notable developments in this long-running horror series for Part III: it's the one that had been shot to be seen in 3D, and it is the one that debuts the trademark hockey mask famously worn by Jason in the rest of the entries to follow. It is also, with a few variations in setting, the one that set the basic formula plot that would be used the rest of the series.
There isn't much of a plot other than a group of teenagers who end up at Crystal Lake, who apparently didn't hear about the highly publicized murders that happened there just the day before. They smoke dope, try to have sex with one another, and then get horribly butchered in gruesome ways by the homicidal Jason.
As for the rest, it's all pretty much by the numbers as far as conventional slasher movies go, with the hedonistic boys and girls getting dispatched in the nastiest ways by a mad killer, while the "good girl" (Kimmell, Lone Wolf McQuade) seems to be the only one able to go toe-to-toe with the hulking man-monster for the climax.
Lackluster acting and uninspired direction mar this gimmick-laden outing, as Steve Miner (Soul Man, Lake Placid), who helms his second straight entry in the series, is more concerned by offering up plenty of cool shots for the 3D experience that he neglects to inject much else of note for the rest of the running time. Such shots make little sense in 2D, as we watch characters play with yoyos directly into the camera or fake-looking snakes attack right in your face, while Jason's many objects of impalement stick straight out for our viewing pleasure, including such sick silliness as having a victim's eyeball pop out and shoot toward the screen. It would all be abysmal if not for the fact that Miner, working from a script by Martin Kitrosser (Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, Facing the Enemy) and Carol Watson, manages to have a sense of humor about it all, even if it doesn't always translate to anything for the audience to laugh at.
What's really missing from the first two films, which weren't particularly good to begin with, is any more to the psychological story of Jason and his mother outside of a lengthy recap of the climax in Friday the 13th Part II at the beginning of the film. The ending of the movie makes absolutely no sense at all; how does a character imagine Jason's mother coming out of nowhere to kill her when she doesn't even know she exists? It's just another gimmicky shock-scare among many, which is really all this film achieves from beginning to end. With the exception of the aforementioned 3D and hockey mask introduction, it's about as formulaic and unmemorable an entry as they get.
-- Followed by Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
©2013 Vince Leo