It didn’t take the Friday The 13th film series long to reach down into the gimmick bag. The sad thing is that the franchise didn’t really need a gimmick. Steve Miner returned to the director’s chair, and he delivered an important, if not great entry into the franchise’s history. Jason would, for the first time, don the hockey mask that would make his image the iconic horror visage it remains today. This was also an important film because a young makeup artist from this staff would break out to become one of the best in the business. Stan Winston was an uncredited artist on this film. Of course, I have no way of knowing what was his, but can there be any doubt that he left his mark throughout the film? Winston didn’t often talk about the film at all. It’s almost as if he never considered it a part of his resume, but he’s likely the biggest thing to come out of the movie.
There’s nothing new at all in the story. A fresh group of teens converge on another section of the banks of Crystal Lake. This time we’re on a farm that just so happens to border the bloody lake. Jason sets about doing what Jason does, and soon there are less and less of the teens going around. In 2D the film looks silly at times. There are so many obvious scenes intended strictly for the quick 3D effect. These moments include a wash pole, an eyeball in the hands of a Crazy Ralph clone, a snake, and a passed joint. Unfortunately these stretches make this the slowest of the Jason films. Still, there’s plenty of killing to go around, and while the effects don’t quite catch up to Tom Savini’s work in the first film, there are more creative moments here than the second film. With a new system in place, the MPAA didn’t feel the need to go crazy in chopping the film, so it benefits from a smoother edit than the second film had.
You get the chance to see the film in 3D for the first time since the movie’s original release. The package includes 2 sets of glasses. Unfortunately it doesn’t work very well. I honestly could not get through more than 10 or 15 minutes before the eye strain kicked in. I was hoping for one of those switchable presentations like the recent colorization films have been. With those you can switch back and forth seamlessly between the color and black & white versions. No such luck here. Once you decide you can’t take the strain, you need to reset the film in order to enjoy the 2D version. It was a nice touch, and I think it would have worked better in HD. You will need to really calibrate your color to make sure this works. This was the days of red and green/blue 3D process. Monitors vary considerably, and that’s why the effect has never really worked as well at home. The newer polarization process has far better chance of succeeding. I tried this years ago when the Nightmare On Elm Street Box Set arrived. You could watch one 3D scene there as well. Again, it never really worked correctly. For what it’s worth, you can get the 3D effect to work, but it will strain your eyes. Maybe I’m just getting too dang old. Unfortunately, the film does lose a lot in translation to 2D.
Friday The 13th Part 3 is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. I’m going to strictly talk about the 2D version here. It would have been better to have the two versions of the film on separate discs, since you weren’t going to be able to switch between them. Putting both films on the same disc might have saved Paramount about 4 cents, but it meant a bit rate often under 4mbps. That means a lot of digital noise. That could have also been one of the culprits behind the 3D eyestrain issue. In any case, the film shimmers and moves to the point of distraction. There are incredibly large black spots or blotches on the film throughout. This has to be the dirtiest print I’ve reviewed in years. There’s hair and scratches galore. Likely Paramount rushed this film out to coincide with the remake release which incorporates elements from the first three films in the original franchise series. Much of the color appeared washed out. Occasionally you got treated to a nice splash of color, but these moments were very rare indeed. This is a disgraceful transfer, and someone at Paramount should be ashamed of themselves for it.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track isn’t at all very expansive. No complaint at all. The original was mono and I’m against overly changing the mix on these earlier films. The score was about the only place that the field expands any. Dialog is clear, and it all happens pretty much front and center.
Just the 3D version of the film.
This was a time of the resurgence of 3D. It was actually getting to be quite common for the 3rd entry in a film franchise to use the gimmick. Some of those films were quite good in their own right, like The Amityville Horror 3D. Some of them were sacrilegious nightmares, and none more so than Jaws 3D. Like the same trend in the 1950’s, it was gone almost as soon as it had come into our lives. We all got some cheap thrills, but mostly had to watch some bad movies. This one was somewhere in between. Sure, it’s hokey and not as scary as other Jason films, but it had it’s moments. This release is the sloppiest and least watchable of the three Friday releases that came together with a Blu-ray version of the first film. I’d tell you to check this one out, but “tere are better things to do with your life”.