Director: Steve Milner
Starring: Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Richard Brooker
Review Author: Tony
Synopsis: Following the events of the previous film, Jason is still alive and as bloodthirsty as ever as he continues his killing spree. Fortunately for Jason, a whole van of young, fresh victims have chosen his stomping grounds for their weekend of debauchery. It’s a Friday the 13th film, do I really need to explain anymore?!!!
Continuing this week’s focus on horror icons I couldn’t pass on: the machete wielding, hockey mask wearing, momma’s boy, Jason Voorhees. Selecting one of his films to focus on was pretty difficult considering there’s 12 films in the franchise and how his exploits have expanded from Camp Crystal Lake to Manhattan, Elm Street, and even space!!! Ultimately I settled on Friday the 13th Part III because it was the first film to feature Jason wearing his iconic hockey mask.
Similar to the Nightmare on Elm Street series, most of my viewing experience of The Friday the 13th franchise was through a station called the Horror Channel, which aired various films in no particular order. I’m pretty sure my first Friday The 13th film was A New Beginning. As mentioned above, the series has gone in a pretty strange direction over the years from backwoods slasher, to an action horror in space. Many fans divide the films into two subcategories, Hillbilly Jason and Zombie Jason.
Part III is far camper than the first two entries in the series. Momma Vorhees is no longer the driving force behind Jason’s rampage, now he just kills’ because it’s his vocation. The kills are some of the best in the series and a highlight of the film. Director Steve Milner does a good job of bringing in a tense atmosphere as Jason silently stalks his victims. The opening scene where he kills a couple who own a local shop is chilling and really well shot.
Much of the film is derived from horror cliches, or cliches specific to the series itself. The cast is full of horror caricatures from the spunky final girl, the promiscuous friend, the prankster, the stoner, the jock; none with any character arc other than providing Jason with a new notch to his kill count. Part III was released as a 3D film so the moments and kills that were designed to play into this gimmick can be pretty jarring without this effect. The film seemed so invested in this new 3D technology they designed the surrounding film with little semblance of a story. Fortunately, this worked to the series advantage as fans flocked to each film cheering on Jason rather than each new cast of interchangeable body bags.
Friday the 13th Part III is where the series really found its footing and laid the groundwork for tropes that fans would come to love about the films.
This review is a part of this month’s focus on horror films as part of Halloween season. You can find the full schedule, along with weekly subgenre and previous reviews here.
Bottles of Canadian Breakfast Stout