Twitter Plot Summary: Not only does Jason finally put on his iconic mask, but he also does so in THREE DIMENSIONS!
Five Point Summary:
1. Stop poking sticks at me, bro.
2. The motorcycle gang are bad.
3. The fat guy is annoying. Really annoying.
4. Nice groin-related death.
5. Jason unmasked! Gnarly.
In what apparently became a standard aspect of the franchise, Part 3 opens with a replay of the final scene from Part 2, with Jason Voorhees seemingly defeated… temporarily at least. Events continue shortly from that conclusion as yet another bunch of teens arrive in the area – and this time there are even more of them who are no doubt all going to die in the next 90 minutes. Unlike the previous two groups of unfortunate teens, a few of this group do at least have some defining characteristics. One of the guys is overweight and a bit ugly, for example, and insists on playing silly pranks as a coping mechanism for his poor genetics.
There’s a couple of new elements added to the mix, most notably a motorcycle gang, more relationships between the young cast – both good and bad – and the introduction of the now iconic hockey mask, although that doesn’t stop the film from being filled with cheap jump scares and shrieking musical cues. Literally everybody in the film is a potential target, and odds are that in the same tried and tested formula that all but one of them will die.
Part 3 was released in 3D, which was no doubt absolutely awful in 1982. This results in a number of moments where the filmmakers are clearly giving the audience 3D moments, although in the least dramatic ways possible – a TV antenna and a washing line prop are two early examples of characters pointing things towards the audience, and a yo-yo is introduced later on just to show off the 3D effects. They’re all the more obvious when not watching it in 3D, and with few exceptions little of it relates to Jason’s killing spree.
As for the killing frenzy he embarks on, it does raise the question as to why he continues with it at this stage, other than initially seeking revenge for the death of his mother. Maybe he just objects to teenagers having fun? In any case, he’s dressed a touch more appropriately for the situation this time around, and now he can at least see where he’s going. The series lacks any consistency beyond the teen deaths in this respect – you never saw Freddy Krueger undergoing this many wardrobe changes.
In a couple of areas that Part 3 does get right, there’s a good third of the film without any killing after the opening death salvo, and the subsequent build-up of suspense is actually rather well done. The various deaths are a step up in terms of variety and style, and even the climactic showdown with Jason has a bit more to it – there’s even opportunity to prove that he can be stopped with a little bit of lateral thinking and good luck. Or the writers trying to dig themselves out of a hole of their own creation, of course.
If you can’t take any other positives from Friday the 13th Part 3, then take this: the funky 80s theme song, whilst cheesy, is actually quite good. In fairness, you don’t even have to watch the film to enjoy it.