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Review Friday the 13th Part III (1982): The one where Jason gets his hockey mask!

genre: horror, slasher






Jason finally gets his mask. How does he get it? He takes it from a prankster called Sheldon "Shelly" Finkelstein. Surely this would be one of the most special and epic sequences in the film. right? But in my version I did not get to witness this scene. You can thank the MPAA for that. They made the film makers cut scenes so that it would pass the R rating. A few seconds later Jason shoots a spear through an eye which you can see in all it's glory. Censorship of this kind simply doesn't make sense. Anyway this is just one of many things that are wrong with this film.

While this third part in the Friday the 13th film series seems like it is more of the same it is actually a little bit of a departure from the first two. It can be argued and assumed that the killer in those two movies is human. Sure the second one more than the original played around with the idea that not everything is what it seemed and that perhaps something supernatural was going on. But there was always this ambiguity where the fantastic elements could be logically explained. Well, Part III let's go of this ambiguity and turns Jason into an unstoppable killing machine. It is also the first time that we are shown that Jason seems to really enjoy killing people. Oh what joy!

Like it's predecessor this part opens up with the conclusion of part 2 where we see Ginny survive her nasty ordeal. More important we are shown that Jason is alive and well and not death as assumed. Originally it was planned for Amy Steel to reprise her role as Ginny but she declined to returned so this opening doesn't really fit in this part. Actually the connection between the events of part 2 and Chris (Dana Kimmel) and her friends is a little screwy. Because right after the opening sequence they cut to a scene with a peculiar but random couple who have no ties to any of the characters in previous films or the main characters in this third part. Apparently Jason needs new clothes and like the douchebag he is he rather kills them than paying them. 

The biggest flaw is perhaps the lack of tension and suspense. Director Steve Miner showed a much better understanding of horror 101 in part 2. But for some reason he dropped the ball on this one. However this might not have been entirely his fault. He probably had counted on Ginny returning so that he could continue with his plans to have her admitted in a psychiatric hospital where then Jason would go on a killing spree in order to get her. If this plot sounds familiar then you are right. It's the plot from Halloween 2. Not a particular original idea however in hindsight it could have been far more compelling than what they came up with. I mean this part is so random and messy. For example Shelly and Vera managed to anger some gang members who of course feel compelled to deal with them. And what do you think their evil plan is? They steal gasoline from the van that plays a crucial role later in the film. That is so very gangster of them. Best of all is that one of the gang members named Fox (Gloria Charles  March 3, 1955 -  December 8, 2016) gets all hyper and excited when she sees a barn. If you can't tell whether it was intentional or not there is some comedy to be experienced that tonally feels out of place. 

Honestly I am not sure what to think of this part. I didn't dislike it. Nor did I like it. It just didn't do it for me. It felt underwhelming. I did care for some of the characters like Vera, Rick and Chris even when they all looked too old to pass off as teenagers.  Some of the kills were creative and memorable though. But compared to the first two this definitely is a step down. 




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