There are a lot of things that come to mind when you think about the 80’s, and most of them are probably bad. For instance, during the early part of the decade there were a number of movies made in 3D, primarily the 3rd entry in a film series. For instance, we had Jaws 3-D, Amityville 3-D, and today’s movie, Friday The 13th Part III. Now by now, most people are probably starting to get sick of this series, and having it filmed in 3D was probably a way to get people interested in it. That being said, this film is particularly noteworthy because this is the movie where Jason finally dons what would become his signature look, a hockey mask. Now I know the 3D aspects are not going to hold up after all these years, but let’s see if the movie itself has fared any better.
The plot: Shortly after the events of the previous movie, a storm threatens to pour as Edna yells at her husband Harold as he starts to close up their market. Turning back to her television, Edna watches a news report about the murders at the camp ground when a noise outside causes her to look out the window, where she sees someone walking by her laundry that is hung up to dry. Edna goes to bring the laundry in, then catches Harold sneaking food from the market and tells him to take the rabbit that he was carrying back to it’s pen. Harold goes to put the rabbit up, but when he discovers a snake had killed the other rabbits, he is scared so bad that he races back to his apartment and heads to the bathroom, where he ends up being killed when Jason buries a meat cleaver into his chest. Edna hears the commotion and goes to look for Harold, only for Jason to grab her through the window of a door and stab a sewing needle into the back of her head. The next day, Chris Higgins and her friends Debbie, Andy, Shelly, Chuck, and Chili stop at a house to pick up Shelly’s blind date Vera before heading up to Chris’ family cabin on Crystal Lake. As they get close to the cabin, they almost run over an old man named Abel, who was sleeping in the middle of the road and waves an eyeball that he found as he warns them but they quickly drive away from him. When they finally reach the cabin, everyone heads to the lake except for Chris, who goes to take her bags inside and is surprised to find her boyfriend Rick inside waiting for her. As the group gets settled in, Shelly pulls a prank pretending that he has been killed, which ends up pissing everyone off. Vera decides to head to the store and Shelly asks to come with her but while they are there, they get into an altercation with three bikers; Ali, Loco, and Fox. As they go to leave, Shelly accidentally backs over the bikes, causing Ali to bust the windows out of their car but as Ali goes to get on his bike and chase after them, Shelly turns around and runs over Ali’s bike and wrecking it. Shelly and Vera get back to the cabin and explain what happened to the others, then Chris and Rick head out to be alone while the others stay at the cabin, unaware that Jason is watching them from the barn where he was hiding. Ali, Loco, and Fox show up at the cabin, intending on getting some payback on Shelly by siphoning gas from Chris’ van and using it to burn the barn down. As Ali and Loco siphon the gas, Fox goes exploring the barn. Loco heads out to the barn to start pouring the gasoline and finds Fox swinging from the rope used to bring hay up to the loft. Loco yells at her to stop screwing around and when he looks back up, he sees she has disappeared. Loco heads inside to try and find Fox and discovers her body pined to a rafter by a rake, then ends up being killed by Jason himself. Ali heads to the barn and yells out for the others and when he goes inside, Loco’s body falls down from the hay loft on top of him. Seeing Jason drop down from the rafters, Ali goes to attack him but Jason hits him over the head, then proceeds to bludgeon him to death. That night, as Chris and Rick sit out in the woods, Rick asks Chris why she came back to the cabin and she explains that she was there to face her fears. Chris explains that two years earlier, she had been attacked in the woods by a deformed man, blacking out from fright as he dragged her into the woods. When she woke up in her own bed, her parents thought she had made the whole thing up but she swore it had really happened, which is why she never came back to the cabin. Back at the cabin, Chuck sees someone enter the barn and, thinking it is Shelly, he and Chili decide to try and scare him but they see no sign of him. Meanwhile, Vera is sitting on the dock when Shelly plays another prank on her and she asks him why he plays these stupid pranks and Shelly walks off with his feelings hurt. Back on the dock, Vera still has Shelly’s wallet from when they were at the store and when she accidentally drops it into the lake. She goes in to get it and sees someone wearing a hockey mask and carrying a spear gun and she thinks it is Shelly, as that is what he was wearing when he scared her, but it is actually Jason, who shoots her in the eye with the spear gun. Jason makes his way inside the cabin and heads upstairs, where he kills Andy as he is walking on his hands. Jason then heads into Andy and Debbie’s bedroom as Debbie finishes her shower, then lays on their hammock and reads a magazine. When blood suddenly starts dripping onto the magazine, she looks up to see Andy’s body in the rafters, just as Jason grabs her from underneath the hammock and stabs her through the chest with a knife. Meanwhile, Chuck is cooking some popcorn when Chili asks him to check the fuse box in the basement, as the lights had gone out. While he is gone, Shelly enters the back door, trying to get Chili to help him as his throat has been cut, but Chili thinks he is playing a joke and so he collapses against the door and eventually dies. Back in the basement, Chuck gets the circuit breakers fixed only to be confronted by Jason, who throws Chuck into the fuse box, causing him to get electrocuted. As the lights go out again, Chili realizes that Shelly is really dead and goes calling for help, only to be killed by Jason, who slams a red hot fire poker into her stomach. Chris and Rick return to the cabin and realize something is wrong when they can’t find anyone inside. Rick goes outside to the basement and Chris calls out for him but sees no sign of him, not realizing that Jason has grabbed Rick and after she heads back inside, Jason kills Rick by crushing his skull. Seeing some water dripping down from upstairs, Chris heads upstairs and finds a bunch of bloody clothes in the overflowing tub. Going back outside to look for Rick, Chris is startled when Loco’s body suddenly drops down from the hayloft. She heads back inside the cabin, locking all of the doors while calling out for Rick, only to scream when Rick’s body is thrown through the window next to her. As she rushes to his body, Jason enter the cabin through the busted window and moves towards her so Chris rushes upstairs and hides, only to find Debbie’s body in the room with her. As Jason breaks down the door, Chris grabs the knife from Debbie’s body and attacks Jason with it, stabbing him in the leg, then quickly runs into another room. She breaks a window and starts to climb out only for Jason to grab her and start to drag her back in, but her Jacket rips and she falls to the ground. As Jason chases after him, she hits him with a piece of firewood, then races for her van and tries to flee, only to have it run out of gas. As she activates the reserve tank, Jason catches up to her and grabs her through the window, causing her to jump out of the car and head back to the cabin. She reaches the barn and attempts to hide but Jason finds her and gives chase. Chris climbs up to the loft and manages to knock Jason out, then quickly ties the rope around his neck and throws him off the ledge, hanging him from the outside of the barn. Making her way downstairs, Chris goes to leave the barn only to find that Jason is still alive. As Jason removes the rope from his neck, the mask comes off and Chris realizes that Jason is the man that had chased her in the woods years ago. Chris cowers in shock as Jason approaches her when Ali, who had only been knocked unconscious, attacks Jason. Jason quickly cuts off Ali’s hand, then proceeds to hack him to death but as he turns back to Chris, Chris grabs an axe and buries it in his face, seemingly killing him. Chris then gets into a canoe and rows out into the lake, where she drifts along for the rest of the night. As day breaks, Chris wakes up and sees Jason is still alive and back in the cabin and he quickly races out to chase her. Chris tries to get away only to get stuck in some debris and as she turns to look, she realizes that she had only dreamed Jason was still alive, just as Pamela Voorhees lunges up from the water and drags her into the lake. Sometime later, the police arrive, and find Chris still in the canoe but don’t believe her story about a woman in the lake and as they take the traumatized girl away, she screams as she sees Jason’s body still lying in the barn where he fell.
Friday The 13th Part III was panned by the critics, currently holding a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that the movie lacked any originality and merely provided a fresh batch of actors to portray teenagers getting killed in gory ways. Originally, the story was supposed to focus on Ginny Field recovering from the events of the previous movie, but when she discovers Paul’s body in her dorm room, she decides to go after Jason for a final showdown, closing out the franchise as a trilogy. However, Amy Steel declined to reprise her role so the idea was scrapped. The film was a box office hit, earning $36.7 million off of a $2.2 million budget, making it the second highest grossing horror movie of 1982 (behind Poltergeist), and was the first movie to knock E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial out of the #1 spot.
Yeh, sometimes these old horror movies can hold up when watched years later, and some don’t. This is one of the ones that doesn’t really hold up. That being said, it can be entertaining just for how bad it is at times. The acting was decent for the most part, though several people were just terrible during their death scenes, particularly Rachel Howard. The story was honestly pretty weak and I really wonder what the movie would have been like if they had gone with their original idea. I didn’t have a problem with Jason surviving and killing again, but the whole aspect of Chris having encountered him in the past honestly felt like a bit of a reach. The special effects were ok, though I always think it is funny to watch a 3D movie without the 3D benefit, as you can tell where the scenes are supposed to be looking like they are coming towards you. While I think most of the scenes added nothing to the overall movie, I do think the scene where Jason shoots the speargun at Vera would have been cool to see, with the 3D making the spear look like it is coming right at you. It’s not a great entry in the series, but it can be fun to watch if you enjoy the movies.
Rating: 2 out of 5