basicallyFriday the 13th Part III is the third summer in a row a Friday the 13th movie was released. It is a direct sequel to part 2 and therefor takes place the very next day. Yes, Friday the 13th Part III actually takes place on Saturday the 14th! It revolves partially around the aftermath of part 2. Jason has slaughtered a bunch of teens at a camp next to Camp Crystal Lake. Left for dead in his cabin by Ginny he manages to evade the police and holds himself up in a nearby barn. It just so happens that a group of young teens plans to stay here for the weekend. Of course they each have their own run in with Crystal Lake’s most notorious inhabitant.
For a third movie in a franchise, Friday the 13th Part III surprisingly brings a few fresh elements to the series. There is the 3D effect which is very dated by today’s standards. There is a relatively fresh setting this time: a barn instead of a summer camp. We now also get some random kills instead of just people who are on the camp grounds. But most importantly, Jason has a completely new look. He walks around in a plain green outfit and halfway throughout the movie acquires a hockey mask from one of his victims. A memorable moment in movie history.
These aren’t major changes to a series which revolves around teens getting killed off. But it’s something, and I find it amazing that the iconic look of a character as famous as Jason came around after 3 movies. Can you imagine Freddy getting the glove in part 3? Or Pinhead finally getting his pins in Hell on Earth?
The story remains largely the same. Jason creeps around the barn for most of the movie and occasionally kills people when they’re alone. Often stabbing them, but sometimes using other techniques like squishing a guy’s head with his bare hands or using a spear gun. There are some bikers who have a run-in with a couple of members of the central cast but in the end their only purpose is to be victims of Jason.
Being a direct sequel Friday the 13th Part III starts off with the final showdown between Ginny from the previous movie. Not a recap, no the entire scene in the cabin. Having just watched part 2 the other day I fast-forwarded this part. It’s obvious home video wasn’t really mainstream back then, since they feel the need to recap the previous movies. The ending of Friday the 13th Part 2 was rather confusing as it ends with Jason bursting through the glass, grabbing Ginny and then directly cutting to her being carried to an ambulance on a stretcher. That footage is also reused but in a news report on TV. I guess we can conclude that everything that came after the cabin scene in part 2 was a dream sequence.
Friday the 13th Part III is also the first movie in the series where they start killing off random characters. In the first movie everybody who was killed was working on reopening Camp Crystal Lake. In the second movie the victims are again mostly camp counselors, or people Jason has a run in with like the Sheriff who found his cabin and Crazy Ralph. The opening scene of part 3, not the recap, features a couple who own a small grocery store somewhere in the woods. They probably have been doing that for quite some time now, but for no good reason Jason pays them a visit. Just to kill some time, eh people. From this moment on the focus of Jason shifts from just people who operate summer camps around Crystal Lake to just everybody he comes across.
This movie is directed by Steve Miner who was also responsible for the previous movie. His style remains largely the same though he seems to have learned from his mistakes and now uses P.O.V. shots correctly. There are sadly no lingering butt-shots this time around, but we do get one girl in a bikini and a shower scene. Most of the gore also toned down. The first movie is still a gore-fest compared to parts 2 and 3. Sadly they’re also toning down on the nudity. Even the obligatory skinny dipping scene happens off-screen. Movies like this need at least a game of Strip Monopoly during the second act!
There are almost no memorable characters in Friday the 13th Part III, save for two. There’s Chris, the final girl, who apparently had an encounter with Jason two years ago and Shelly: the token prankster. He makes a couple of remarks displaying a negative self-image. Even though his pranks make him a douche, you kind of feel sorry for the guy. We all know a Shelly, or in some degree are a Shelly.
Friday the 13th Part III is another decent entry in the series. They play it rather safe as there is nothing really new here. This does however prevent the movie from the pitfalls of convolution. It’s just another simple Friday the 13th movie. Nothing more, nothing less. Not a movie like Halloween 3 where they suddenly have a completely standalone story. Rather some good sloppy seconds than a disgusting full course.