Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Friday the 13th, Part 3 (1982)

... aka: Friday the 13th 3-D

Directed by:
Steve Miner

Some well staged / directed shock scenes, intentional humor and (slightly) more-fleshed-out characters help to make this a bit better than most of the other sequels. And yeah, more people die real good. This one starts with clips from Part 2 (featuring Amy Steel) to let viewers know that Jason (Richard Brooker) is still alive and on the loose. Eight young people (not camp counselors this time, just regular young folks taking a vacation) travel via van to Camp Crystal Lake, encounter a bum who warns them to go home and end up having to chow down on a bag of weed when the cops pull up behind them. When they get to their cabin, some biker punks harass them and Jason finally pops in to kill everybody off. And that's basically about all she wrote, though at least heroine Chris (Dana Kimmell) - who had a traumatic run-in with Jason years earlier - seems to have a little more common sense than usual and fights our masked killer with a knife, axe, log and shovel. Speaking of masks, this is the entry where Jason trades in his potato sack for his legendary hockey mask, which may be the most noteworthy thing about this one. The casting is pretty mediocre, but the characters themselves are tolerable for the most part.

There are a couple of pitchforkings, a couple of stabbings, a neck slashing, a fire poker impalement, an electrocution, a knitting needle to the back of the head, a head squeezed until the eyeball pops out, an arm hacked off and other gore scenes. The two best bits are when a girl gets shot in the eye with an arrow and a when guy walking on his hands is split down the middle with an axe. Some of these effects were made all the more effective because the film was originally shown in 3D, a gimmick that helped this gross more during its original theatrical run than all seven of the other 80s Friday entries. Part 3D has also been recently reissued on DVD with 3D glasses included, so now you can spice up an otherwise one-dimensional Jason experience with three-dimensional effects in the comfort of your own home.

The cast includes Catherine Parks (a former Miss Florida and first runner-up in the 1977 Miss America Pageant who is probably also the best actor in the cast) and Tracie Savage (who'd go on to become a three-time Emmy winning newscaster out of Los Angeles and provides the sole flash of flesh here). The director also has a cameo.


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