Hi-hi-hi, ha-ha-ha! It’s Burl, here to review yet another entry in the ever-present saga of Jason and the pokings, the choppings, and the novelty killings! This is the third one, the 3-D one of course, and not much loved, I think! As with the Star Trek movies, this series suffers a bit from Odd Sequel Out syndrome, where the even numbered entries are more beloved than the odds! So, admitting the possibility of predjudice with that syndrome in mind, this installment has always seemed to me a bit of a valley between Part 2 and Part 4! But, ha ha, it’s certainly better than Part 5!
After replaying the climax of its predecessor, as though viewers required a detailed reminder of exactly what occurred in the previous film so they could progress through the new narrative without fear of bafflement, we meet the most miserable storekeeper couple in the world: a shrewish scold of a wife, and the fishfood-eating droopy-dog husband who, by his childish behavior, makes it impossible for her to operate any other way! There’s a bit of not-bad cat-and-mouse with the laundry hanging on the lines, and then these doughty citizens are sliced and poked! Then, finally, it’s on to the main body of the picture!
Dana Kimmell from Sweet Sixteen plays the weedy main girl, who has suffered through an earlier Jason attack but survived it somehow! Jason’s need to complete any task once begun means he’ll soon be after her and her terrible friends as they spend the weekend in a remote country house! Her boyfriend, who knows of her traumas, jumps out and scares her anyway, and then acts like a complete prig the rest of the time, at least until his head is squished and his eyeball shoots out into the audience, ha ha!
(Yes, you’re not allowed to forget the movies was shot in 3-D for long! Not just body parts and sharp tools are thrust into the lens, but baseball bats, yo-yos, juggling balls, joints, and dudes sitting on toilets, of which last this picture has no deficiency!)
Only slightly more tolerable than the boyfriend is Shelley, the tubby jokester of the gang! His inappropriate and ill-timed japes fill much of the picture’s running time or so it seems! There’s a stoner couple, with the man an eerie simulacrum of Tommy Chong! There’s a likeable Latina, and a blandly sexy couple unremarkable except that they always want to have sex with each other, and, in the rare moments when not talking about, preparing to, or actually making love, the fellow juggles and handwalks! Ha ha, your handwalking days are over, you showoff! And then there are special guests: a small motorcycle gang which takes a disliking to Shelley, and later makes the scene to get mild revenge on him for one of his earlier merry jests! All fall before Jason like wheat before the thresh, ha ha!
The sets in this movie fascinate me for some reason! They seem not to have been quite finished; there’s a stagebound unreality that makes it seem like a Lars von Trier warehouse experiment, with the sets just lines painted on the floor! The store at the beginning and the main house in which most of the murderin’ takes place look to be made of sheets of varnished plywood that have been leaned up against each other like an amateur’s house of cards! Ha ha, and the movie itself fascinates me a little! For me it's the one with the most mystique attached to it, which stems from the time a friend’s younger brother went to see it as part of a birthday party outing! This ten year-old’s retelling of the story and breathless descriptions of the murder scenes were more successful in selling the movie than the advertising was! (Though Jason’s knife poking through that curtain is a creepy image, at least to me!)
But the movie really isn’t very good! The direction is off and on, and the camera and lighting needs of 3-D make it sort of strange-looking, and the script tries to gin up drama with pranks and self-abnegation! It’s the only one of the Friday the 13th movies shot at a 2.35:1 ratio, and I like that; and there are some fun Special Makeup Effects; and there are some scenes where Jason is scary; and it’s of interest to historians of this sort of thing in that it’s the picture in which Jason acquires his famous hockey mask, stolen from Shelley no less! But that’s not much to hang a hat on, and so in the end I can give Friday the 13th part 3 only one backup fuel tank!