Before the Camera:
Dana Kimmell (Lone Wolf McQuade)
Paul Kratka (The Day They Came Back)
Tracie Savage (The Legend of Lizzie Borden)
Jeffrey Rogers (Surf II)
Catherine Parks (Weekend at Bernie's)
Larry Zerner (Hadley's Rebellion)
Rachel Howard (Deep Space)
David Katims (The Invisible Kid)
Nick Savage (Fright Night)
Gloria Charles (Brewster's Millions)
Kevin O'Brian (Warlock)
Cheri Maughans (only feature!)
Steve Susskind (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)
David Wiley (Society)
Richard Brooker (Deathstalker)
Look fast for:
Steve Miner (director!)
Behind the Camera:
Directed by Steve Miner
Produced by Lisa Barsamian, Tony Bishop, Frank Mancuso, Jr, and Peter Schindler
Written by Martin Kitrosser, Carol Watson, and Petru Popescu (uncredited)
Yes - I'm about to word vomit another lengthy treatise on my favorite horror franchise from the 80's. Amid all the theorizing, I will review the movie too. See you on the other side!
For the third year in a row in the early 80’s Paramount grabbed a teat on that cash cow called the Friday the 13th franchise and milked a new series entry out onto theater screens. They brought back director Steve Miner – a production manager on the first film, director of the second – to sit in the center seat again. However, despite a lot of the movie being business as usual – there were definite changes for this third go-round. Firstly, they moved the shoot to California this time – instead of New Jersey – and shot this one at a “movie ranch” on the West Coast. They also hopped on the bandwagon of a returning cinematic fad that was back on theater screens for the first time in thirty years: 3-D! Past these two details, though, most everything else was business as usual.
In the 3-D version I saw in the theater in 1982, the flick opened with a printed screen with some instructions that although the opening minutes of the film are not in 3-D (being a chopped down recap from the end of the last movie) viewers should go ahead and wear the glasses. This leads to the first place where this movie doesn’t meld with the previous movie seamlessly. In the end of Part 2, Ginny and Paul seemingly escape Jason after whacking him in the shoulder with a machete and unmasking him off camera. However, shortly after they make it back to a cabin of safety – said safety goes out the window – the same window Jason leaps through, showing off his hairy malformed face in all its shocking glory – and leading to a final scene of Ginny being loaded in an ambulance asking “Where’s Paul?” plaintively. If you stopped watching the entire series with Part 2 – then that ending might be exactly what you see. But there are problems with it even then. However, in Part 3, Ginny and Paul leave Jason in his tidy little home, and suddenly the film is in 3-D as Jason has pulled the machete from his shoulder (which was present when he jumped through the window in Part 2) and crawls off, obviously not feeling up to another stalk back to that other cabin, let alone leaping through the window to kill Paul off camera and leave Ginny alive. So, with this new look at the overall story – it is obvious that a big portion of the end of Part 2 is a dream sequence. Where that dream stops and starts is open to a wide variety of interpretation, with Paul’s reappearance after battling Jason back in the counselor training camp and subsequent disappearance a big factor not easily worked out. I will leave that for another post, I guess, because this is supposed to be about Part 3 and I’m digressing big time. However, no matter what else you believe about the end of Part 2 being a dream, said dream definitely encompasses Jason’s leap through the window, because here it simply doesn’t happen.
After all that – Jason heals quickly enough that the next day he’s not only back to his old lethal self, but he’s also expanded his murderous worldview to include not just sex-crazed teens, but basically anyone who gets in the view of his eyes. This leads to the sad end for Harold and Edna – shopkeepers with a weird train themed convenience store on the shore of Crystal Lake. After they have been dispatched, we head off to meet our Final Girl and her crew. Chris Higgins (Kimmell) is a serious minded Girl with a Secret – and she’s headed with a van full of friends to Higgins Haven – a lakeside vacation home owned by her parents. Coming along for a few days of rest and relaxation are her best friend Debbie (Savage), Debbies’s boyfriend Andy (Rogers), Andy’s obnoxious college roommate Shelly (Zerner), Hispanic friend Vera (Parks); and for some reason, the much older Chuck and Chili (Katims -n- Howard), two stoners in their 30’s that I’m betting were picked up hitchhiking in an earlier draft of the script as there is never a mention of how this Cheech and Chong knockoff duo are friend connected to the others, easily ten years their junior.
Anyway, they arrive at Higgins Haven, and because they don’t represent enough of a body count challenge for Jason, Chris’s former boyfriend Rick (Kratka) crashes the party. Across the next several minutes, we discover several things – Rick is more than a bit of a douche (Chris is having intimacy issues due to her Secret, but Rick pushes for sex like Steve Martin in The Man with Two Brains); Traci Savage looks marvelous in a bikini; and Shelly is even more of a loser than he initially appeared to be. They also manage to hook in a subplot with three bikers who come to Higgins Haven looking for revenge on Shelly, who ran over their motorcycles in an amusing though extraneous subplot shoehorned in moments before. Jason takes on the extra work with aplomb, and soon the ranch is quiet again. Across the rest of that evening, Jason proceeds to whittle the group down one by one in his own inimitable fashion, working towards his climactic chase and stalk session with Final Girl Chris. But there are a couple of moments that stand out amid the carnage – first – after Shelly scares Vera wearing a wet suit and hockey mask – Jason takes Shelly out off camera and dons the hockey mask – and thus a horror icon is born. All these years later, it seems every single crew member down to the craft services guy takes credit for suggesting the hockey mask, so we might never really know who came up with it. I'm going with director Steve Miner, who does get mentioned in a few people's memories as the brain trust behind that decision. And boy it works. On paper it sounds goofy, but seeing that big hulking bald guy in that hockey mask – awesome.
|Gonna getcha! Gonna getcha!|
The other moment that needs examination is Chris’s reveal of her Big Secret – because as should surprise no one – it involves Jason. Apparently, two or three years previously while her family was vacationing at Higgins Haven, Chris stayed out late with Rick, causing her to get in a big fight with her parents when she got home. She ran away into the night, eventually trying to get a few winks under a tree near the lake. Of course, who should come trundling along but our boy JV? So the first seeming discrepancy is that this flashback happens before the entirety of Part 2, because that movie’s events were only a day or two before Part 3. And when we catch a glimpse of Jason in the flashback – he’s bald and hulking, looking not at all like the smaller and much hairier version on display in the final moments of Part 2. However, as discussed earlier – this probably isn’t a discrepancy – the Jason we saw unmasked at the end of Part 2 was Ginny’s dream version. Apparently the lack of hair seen in his drowning flashback in Part 1 continued into adulthood and he was never the shaggy critter Ginny imagined him to be. The second part of this though – is what exactly happened between Chris and Jason? She doesn’t know – she says she was trying to fight him off but he was too strong and she passed out – then woke up later in her own bed with parents who would not speak of that night. So what happened? Are we supposed to believe Jason sexually assaulted Chris? And she never realized – as she doesn’t act like someone who’s been through that experience? Hard to believe. Was he trying to kill her, and he got interrupted? Possible – but why not show it? Then both Chris and the viewer can know how narrow her escape was, making the later stalk scenes potentially even more exciting. In fact – this would have been a prime opportunity to tie this movie to the earlier films – as the interruption that prevents Jason killing Chris could have been the arrival of Crazy Ralph on his bicycle, or maybe Sgt. Tierney – the latter being more likely to cause Jason to break off and head home. It could have been a neat cameo for either gentleman – but that’s not what we ended up with. Even in my mid-teens I was wary of this kind of plot contrivance - sure for a moment that Chris was going to end up having Jason's baby. Then I remembered it was a flashback to more than a year before - so that obviously wasn't it. In any case, these factors all make the flashback problematic - another place in the series where you kind of have to put your hands over your ears and go LA LA LA for a couple of minutes if you want your continuity cohesive.
So, the rest of the movie features another lengthy sequence with Chris on the run from Jason and turning up the corpses of her friends one by one as she tries to find a place of safety. But it is an exciting climactic chase - in slick 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it was of course all the more cool on the Big Screen in 3-D. The ending (the second one shot) manages to do a fine job ripping off the first movie - and I do have to give it to Dana Kimmell - her last scene is an absolute corker - she is spot on in her performance in the last moments she has in the movie.
|Look out for that yo-yo, yo!|
Of course, this is one of my favorites of the series. There is a well known horror blogger who thinks this movie is silly because of all the stuff thrust out from the screen. He truly doesn't get it. That's what 3-D is. Depth, yes, but also everything a character holds should be shoved out into the viewer's face. 3-D is silly by definition - so you bet I want you to load the movie with as much of it as humanly possible! This one keeps moving, and gives us some fun characters to watch in their final moments on Earth. All in all an essential piece of gloriously cheesy 80's cinema, and it gets a high recommendation as a result!
Let's Get Out of Here ?
Quite appropriately for a part three - we get The Line three times!
At around 29:05 Paul Kratka doesn't want anyone to look at Shelly, preferably by not being in the room with him.
At approximately 33:14 Catherine Parks thinks running over the motorcycles was a bad idea.
And at roughly 55:44 David Katims reveals he really hates the barn.
Eye Candy ?
Oh you know we got some with this movie!
and Dana Kimmell!
Welcome to the list, ladies!
Buddha Man's Capsule Review
|Buddha Man says: "Friday the 13th Part 3 is like director |
Steve Miner said in Fangoria - more of the same, only deeper!"
Pegged it as usual, Mr. Man! Thanks! Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!