Paramount // 1982 // 95 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // February 3rd, 2009
A new dimension in terror...there's nowhere to hide. We dare you to try.
Friday the 13th Part 3 3-D was intended by the studio and creators to put the final nail in a series that spawned a couple of financially successful horror films. Honestly, everybody involved thought this would be the end of the line. Nobody held faith it would do all that well, and the idea was never to continue the story of the world's most disgruntled camper indefinitely. There wasn't much going for this chapter other than two things: it was the film where Jason Voorhees finally got his signature hockey mask and it was in 3-D. Oh yeah, and this one featured the funky disco version of the theme song over the credits. Other than the groovy "kill kill kill" remix, the third Friday the 13th was a paint by numbers '80s slasher film where the bad teenagers were picked off one by one while the virginal heroine lived to see another day. Somehow this installment has been released several times on DVD, but never has there been an attempt to bring the original 3-D version to a home format in the United States. Fans of the series have been dying to see this one in the "coming at ya" style ever since it went out of theaters in 1982. I mean what good are shots of yo-yos, cats, and flying popcorn in a film that was never intended to be seen on a flat format? Not to mention knives, pitchforks, chains, spear guns, hot pokers, and gouged out eyeballs for even more fun with gimmicks. We wanted "Jason in a whole new dimension" right in our living rooms, and now Paramount seems to have answered the call. Well...sort of!
For some reason this one takes place in the two days after the first sequel, but without any returning actors from part one or two (the female lead declined to reprise her role). It's no longer Friday the 13th in the story, and none of the characters mentions the name Jason or Camp Crystal Lake. They do try to set up some continuity with the idea the lead has encountered our killer before in the woods. Chris (Dana Kimmell, actress doomed to cameos for TV shows like Hart to Hart) barely remembers who attacked her in the trees near Camp Crystal Lake last year, but that doesn't stop her from coming back with her hormone challenged friends. Little does she know they are lambs for the slaughter since Jason (Richard Brooker, Deathstalker) remembers her all too well. The girl and her gang are trapped on a rustic farm with nobody left to turn to except maybe a motorcycle gang. Luckily one of the victims has brought along a hockey mask, so Jason can ditch that silly pillowcase he wore in the second movie. How did the scrawny malnourished and half-rotted kid who popped out of a lake in the original Friday the 13th get so damn big? And why is the "hairy hillbilly" of Part 2 now suddenly bald and looks like he's been working out? Hell if I know, just sit back and watch the carnage.
The big question on everyone's minds is,"What about the 3-D?!?!?" Don't get your hopes up too high, it's not that great. In theaters the film used field sequential 3-D provided by the use of two projectors, which is near impossible to recreate on new digital televisions, so an anaglyph version is coming to DVD. Yes kids, time to put on red and blue tinted glasses that insure you will miss any color in the film. The effect at home is headache inducing, color draining, and often doesn't work when things are aimed straight at the camera. Most of the time when something is supposed to leap out of the screen you just end up seeing two or three of them at once. Some people will find the process doesn't even work if they have any color blindness or trouble with depth perception. Yet now and then a moth flies out and looks good, or the background does seem far away and in three dimensions. It's fun they did succeed in preserving a handful of the 3-D effects, and the presentation seems slightly better than the bootleg field sequential versions floating out there on eBay. Inside the package are two pair of 3-D glasses, which are Jason themed and kind of fun.
Some hints for making the most of the 3-D:
1) View this in as dark a room as you can find, avoid daylight or bright lamps. If you can manage complete darkness other than the television you're headed in the right direction.
2) Adjust the colors to be brighter since the glasses are going to drain them down quite a bit, and the effect relies on color differences.
3) Sit back at least 8 to 9 feet from your television.
4) Position the TV to be straight ahead so you are not looking down or up at the screen.
5) For some reason this 3-D version works best on flat screen Digital TVs. I noticed less effect on a computer screen or on a traditional old school television. Seems the bigger the screen the better off you are.
6) Bear in mind and heed the written warning the first couple of minutes that show Part 2's climax are not in 3-D.
7) Always pretend the effect works for you no matter what your friends say they are experiencing. Shout "Whoa, dude!" even when a blurry image fails to come off the screen.
The 2-D version looks better in regard to color, but little has been done to up the quality of the flat transfer. During a scene in the van there is a noticeable hair on the lens, and we see tons of scratches and grain throughout the entire soft looking feature. During the climatic battle we even see water spots on the print. There are so many flaws and bumps it's hard to believe this is a second or third dip for the studio. Not much care has been taken with the image, and that has been true for every incarnation on DVD. Now the surround sound five channel track is certainly a nice feature, and it does fine with creating three dimensions of audible tension. Perhaps that should have been the real selling feature of this one, the audio track is three dimensional.
Many fans are asking if this is the unrated version of the film, and no, it is not. This rerelease is only the theatrical version without additional footage. Missing are any extras, because I suppose the 3-D version is considered the biggest draw. The oft rumored "alternate endings" are not included, nor is the extra gore trimmed to get the R-rating. The two scenes included in the Canadian print are also still missing from this US pressing. We do get a trailer, which is kind of fun, but nothing more. This "Deluxe Edition" seems to be movie only with one super cheesy advertising spot, but I suppose having 3-D will be enough for most. With this round of releases, part one of the series gets 14 seconds of gore added back in, while the second and third chapters remain the same edits we've always seen on DVD.
Well, this isn't quite the 3-D version everyone was hoping for since the effect itself is rendered in the "red-blue" anaglyph process which does not look as good as the original theatrical field sequential brand. It's never going to compare to the tubular experience from the early '80s which was totally awesome. Still, I have to say Friday the 13th Part 3 3-D is enough fun to recommend simply because it's your basic slasher flick with an added gimmick. No matter how cheesy the 3-D looks, it's something different and unique. And how can you go wrong when Jason gets his hockey mask, and gets to kill a dozen or so annoying teens that get in his way? Even though this one was planned to end the series, Jason came back. The third chapter grossed twice as much as the second film, so we knew nothing would kill the world's most famous drowned camper out for blood. I'd say this is a solid purchase for fans and the curious. Just don't expect the effect or gimmick to work quite so well, and you'll be fine.
Guilty of being an in your face slasher film, Friday the 13th Part 3
3-D is free to go on looking blurry and strange for fans of the series.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic (2-D)
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic (3-D)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Spanish)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 1982
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* 3-D Glasses