Friday the 13th part III is a 1982 slasher sequel. Directed by Steve Miner (Friday the 13th part 2, Lake Placid) the film stars Dana Kimmel (Lone Wolf McQuade), Catherine Parks (Weekend at Bernie's) and Larry Zerner. This is the only instalment to be released in 3-D and knocked E.T off the top of the box office.
As usual, the film follow a group of teenagers on summer vacation at Camp Crystal lake. Unfortunately, fresh off his skirmish at the end of the last film, Jason Voorhees has begun a new killing spree, picking up his infamous machete/hockey mask combo in the process. To make matters worse, the teens manage to anger a local motorcycle gang (amusingly named Ali, Loco and Fox) as well as being constantly wound up by SFX prankster Shelley (). As Jason dispatches members of the group in grisly, and 3-D, fashion, Chris () reveals that she was attacked by a horribly disfigured man 2 years ago and now he’s come back to finish the job!
Up until part III, the Friday the 13th franchise had revelled in suspenseful, Hitchcockien horror. However, it’s clear from the neon opening credits set to a disco remix of the “Ki ki, ma ma” theme, that this entry is the turning point into ludicrous 80s slasher territory. Ordinarily, that would be a bad thing, but not for this franchise. This is where the Jason character really comes into his own and makes the leap from lumpy headed hillbilly to one of the greatest horror icons of all time. The mask, the machete…all the pieces fall into place here and no amount of terrible acting or obnoxious pandering to 3-D can bring it down.
The early 80s marks an interesting time for 3-D as it experienced a brief revival between it’s 1950s heyday and the more recent boom that we’re still having to endure. And if you thought 3-D was a tedious money grabbing ploy now, you should see the kind of action we’re treated to in this movie. This includes a yoyo, a paddleball, various brooms being pointed toward the camera and even popcorn popping! That being said, we’re also treated to some of the most memorable deaths in the whole franchise, most of which include eyeballs (this was also the heyday of Lucio Fulci). And if that’s not enough to amuse you, there’s also the shenanigans of the chubby loser horror fan Shelly (what an outrageous generalisation!).
As influential as the original Friday the 13th was for countless clones in the early 80s, part III was the blueprint for all the cheesy, daft slashers that would follow and be equally entertaining in the latter half of the decade. One of the most consistent franchises in horror, Friday the 13th really hit it’s stride with this movie and gave the world the gift of hockey mask Jason and is essential viewing for fans of 80s slashers.
**** 4 Stars
Are you a fan of Friday the 13th films? Do you prefer hockey mask Jason or sack head Jason?