Friday the 13th, Part III
Director: Steve Miner
Starring: Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, Catherine Parks, Richard Brooker
Running time: 95 minutes
Genre: horror, slasher
Massacre a trois: After an anticlimactic showdown at the hands of Ginny and Paul, Jason wanders around Crystal Lake till he happens across a small market, run by Harold and charming Edna, who also live on the premises. Despite the adorable rabbit Harold likes to carry around, Jason murders the pair and steals some clothing off their clothesline, and then goes to ground in the barn of a nearby lakeside cabin. The cabin belongs to the Higgins family, and daughter Chris is bringing some friends of hers for the weekend. By a not-so-strange coincidence, while staying at the cabin two years prior, Chris was attacked by a hideous stranger; it is her first time returning there, and she has hopes of laying her fears to rest. Sucks to be disappointed, doesn’t it?
On their way to the cabin, Final Girl Chris and her friends Debbie, Andy, Shelly, Vera, and hippies Chuck and Chili, encounter a bizarre old man who brandishes an eyeball at them and warns them of certain death if they don’t turn back. Though disgusting, this is hardly discouraging, and when Chris’ boyfriend Rick arrives, the group prepares for a restful weekend. Insecure because of his schlubbiness, Shelly plays a series of pranks on his companions that do not prove endearing, though they do lay down the expectation for the Boy Who Cried Prank’s early demise. Shelly does regain a little respect when he and Vera go to a local market (not Harold and Edna’s, though; I wonder how many such marts the Crystal Lake economy can actually support) and encounter some surly bikers. Said bikers track the pair down to Higgins Haven intent on revenge, but are murdered in the barn before they do more than siphon the gas out of Chris’ shaggin’ wagon.
While Chris and Rick take a long walk and discuss what happened to her there before and what it all MEANS, shit starts to get real. Woebegone at the loss of his beloved potato sack, Jason murders Shelly, then steals his hockey mask and goes to town on the weekenders. Soon Chris is the last one standing, and she goes mano a machete with the first Jason Who Wouldn’t Die.
Fisty: In this installment we learn that even though fish food tastes good the mayfly eggs are not good for you, a surefire cure for the backdoor trots is swilling Jack Daniels on the toilet, motorcyle punks fuckin’ HATE hay and other barnyard accouterments, and everything is better in 3D: laundry poles, baseball bats…
Bill: …eyeballs, popcorn, yo-yos…
Fisty: …snakes, joints, etc. Oh, and Harry Manfredini started doing coke in 1982.
Before we get to the bitchin’ awesome disco theme and 3D credits, we have to sit through a 2D recap. The first six minutes of F13P3D are just the Ginny/Paul (WHERE IS HE?)/Jason showdown from F13, except this time, Jason just crawls away and there is no Return of Muffin. So where does that leave F13P2’s finale? Was it all a dream? Did Jason never leap through the window? And did Muffin never return? WHAT ABOUT PAUL? We are forced to fill in the blanks for ourselves. Perhaps Jason crawled into the woods, recovered himself enough to butcher Paul whilst he Secured the Perimeter or some other such macho nonsense, and then ran away because of the Coming of the Authorities who took the raving Ginny away, dropping one of Paul’s eyeballs in the process. No one will ever know. Ever.
Bill: You’d think, if they were going to retcon the ending, they’d do so in a way that clarified what happened, but it’s even more confusing now. Also confusing is Chris saying she was attacked in the woods two years ago and hasn’t been back to Crystal Lake since, even though Rick, who seems to be a local, talks about how she’s changed since last summer. Did he go and visit her somewhere else? They never make that clear. And her story is never really explained either. She says Jason attacked her and she passed out and woke up in her own bed and no one ever talked about what happened. So, um… WHAT HAPPENED?! Are her parents in on some big conspiracy about Jason? Maybe, if everyone is just ignoring his presence in the forest; someone should’ve filled in the cop from F13P2 about it before he went and got himself killed in Jason’s swinging bachelor shack.
Fisty: OH CHRIST ON A PONY, I KNOW. Chris’ backstory confused the hell out of me. Rick seems like a townie, so I figured they had some kind of summer romance going on (though how many people of that age can stick with something like that longer than two weeks?), but it did seem like he must’ve gone elsewhere to be with her at some point, according to her statements. And yeah, did her parents just interrupt Jason having his baghead way with her in the woods and simply pick her up and tuck her in as though nothing happened? Was that whole interlude a dream? Who fucking knows!
Now, aside from the baffling backstory, I don’t have any major problems with this installment. Well, other than the bunny murder. I like the gimmick of it continuing right after F13P2. It’s largely silly, with some enjoyable deaths. The characters didn’t do much for me, however; they weren’t overtly offensive, but they weren’t all that developed or um, interesting. Chris’ insane history aside, of course. Chuck n’ Chili were pretty amusing, and who doesn’t enjoy a good hippie death or two? (And just how did they scarf so much weed and not freak out?) Vera apparently has some drama as evidenced by her mother’s ‘tude in the beginning, but we never learn anything about it. Debbie and Andy are pretty much my favorite deaths, but the super fascinating tidbit shared about them–that smokin’ hot Debbie is preggo–is never again touched on at any point. How could Miner fail to harp on that later? And then there’s sex-crazed Rick, who acts like a sixteen-year old boy, though he looks to be twice that age.
Bill: I don’t even know of any teen boys that would act like him. I think he might be a sociopath. Chris returns for the first time (after how long? A year, at least) to the place where she was stalked through the woods and practically raped by a 6’5″ mongoloid town legend and Rick startles her by grabbing her from behind and expecting sex on the spot. When she’s upset, he asks, “Did I do something wrong?” Then, when she still doesn’t spread for him right then, he remarks, “I can only take so many cold showers.” She’s only been there for two minutes! Then he tries to make her feel guilty by telling her about the girl he’s not fucking right at that exact moment because he chose to spend time with her. Then he all but says outright, “Gee, Chris, I’m really sorry Sloth from The Goonies touched your no-no spot and your parents covered it up and you’re super creeped out and keep seeing scary shit everywhere, but you’re not fucking me right now, so I’m going to go home and leave you all by yourself.” This is the guy that’s supposed to be the male hero of the flick?
Fisty: You have obviously never been in an LDR. When reunioning in one–no matter how much time has passed–it is imperative to bang away on one another ASAP. Chris has some seriously fucked up priorities.
Speaking of main men, this installment also features some off the least menacing non-villains (you know, those antagonists who end up as fellow victims of the real killer) in the form of the punk biker gang. Fox, Ali, and Loco are monumentally lame, dressing like extras from Slamdance! and getting their jollies loitering in countryside convenience marts and beating up innocent haybales. Why is it that so many movies portray punks so very lamely? My god, Fox dresses like my mom’s 1982 punk bunny costume. And I mean, it was a great costume for my mom in 1981, but it does nothing for either Fox or the movie. Of course, we must remember that mainstream cinema has a long history of fumbling badly when it comes to depicting punks–they can’t all be TR Kids.
Bill: The crazy old foreshadowing guy was also a bit of a let down in this sequel. They never should’ve killed Crazy Ralph in Part 2, because Paul’s Eyeball is a Sign from God Guy is a very poor substitute.
Fisty: Let’s talk Jason. This movie throws yet more mystery on the ending of F13P2–like it needed it. In P2, Jason is very much a feral mutant hillbilly momma’s boy, lurking in the woods and gutting small mammals and the occasional stray hiker or camper, and experimenting in potato sack haberdashery. Somehow, between the final act of P2 and the start of P3D, Jason metamorphoses into a silent but deadly killing machine, having at anyone who crosses his path. This is a major turning point for the franchise, yet it is never explained or explored in the slightest. What happened to Jason, what did this? Did lightning strike him during that final battle with Paul and Muffin? Did they roll into toxic ooze? Did he quit his anger management group? We’ll never know–unless P2 gets its own reboot.
Bill: Whoa now! Don’t get ahead of yourself. I really think he only seems to have changed because we’re finally seeing him take some punishment. We never really got the chance to see how tough he was in Part 2. Also, his more proactive kill ’em all ‘tude could just be his territoriality, since they reopened the camp. Or maybe Ginny screwed him up by defiling mom’s sweater. Who knows? He did finally find his face in this one, when he picked up the hockey mask. He still seems mostly like himself to me, however. Same MO… Stalk, sneak, stealth kill, hide bodies to pop up later. Maybe he’s just a little more bold.
His kills were certainly bolder! I’m so glad Part 3 wasn’t completely neutered, like Part 2 was. Still not completely balls out, but you don’t feel cheated either. I rather enjoyed the speargun to the eye. The gimmicky 3-D is fun, as well. I love having phallic objects poked into my face in three dimensions.
Fisty: You certainly do. P3 doesn’t seem any less neutered than P2 to me, though. They cut the kill scenes like crazy to avoid an X rating (suck it, MPAA!), and it shows. All I can think about is what I’m missing! Of course, I was that way about P2, too. But they’re still some good kills, some of my series faves.
Bill: Really? While, yes, it’s still far from being the abattoir of a film it should’ve been, it seems to me like they waited just a fraction of a beat longer before cutting away from the kills in this one, as opposed to the second movie in the franchise. Plus, there were some great eyeball gags (in 3-D!) to up the gore factor. There really was a lot of eye damage in Part 3. Sadly, there was far less eye candy. The dearth of boobies in Part 2 carries over into this film, as well. What gives? Why do they think I watch these things anyway?
Fisty: Let’s be real, Bill. F13 has always been light on the boobage. It’s even brought up in His Name was Jason. But the total lack of tits in P3 is well nigh unforgivable.
Bill: Even more annoying to me than the lack of T&A is the stupid stinger at the end. *SPOILER WARNING, KIDS* Who the fuck was that jumping out of the lake? Couldn’t be Mrs. Voorhees, since she had her head off and Ginny took her sweater, but it couldn’t have been Ginny in the sweater, since she isn’t all dessicated and shit. It was just in Chris’s head, right? But she seems to have no knowledge of Jason’s legend or his mother, so why did she imagine that?! Ugh. And, as if being totally nonsensical wasn’t enough, it’s a very poorly executed jump scare. The stinger from the end of the first Friday the 13th still gets me. Something about it always stops me from figuring the timing right to expect it, so it never fails to make me jump, but the imitation here, in Part 3, disappoints miserably.
Fisty: Fuck the stinger. Maybe it’s Jason’s dream–I don’t know and I don’t care. I really hate that whole sequence in F13, and would prefer to just forget it. Otherwise, I’m gonna get pissed.
Part 3 is a largely forgettable installment in the series, only worth watching as part of the whole. Or if you’re stoned out of your gourd. The characters are largely shallow and interchangeable, the lines aren’t especially memorable, the story’s lost some of its logical elements, and there are no boobies. None! The 3-D is fun, the girls are wholesomely hot, and there are some nice kills, but that’s pretty much it.
Bill: But, man, does that disco theme rock!
IN 3-D. IT’S IN 3-D. DID WE MENTION THE 3-D?