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Friday the 13th Part 3

Friday the 13th Part 3

Steve Miner

USA, 1982

Credits

Review by Thomas Scalzo

Posted on 30 October 2006

Source Paramount DVD

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Where other entries in this hallowed series make at least a modicum of effort to advance the Friday mythology, offering a richer Jason back story, enhanced Jason powers, or an expansion of Jason’s terrible influence, Part III contents itself to tread water—offering a gaggle of stereotyped characters, recycled imagery, and predictable dead-teen setpieces at every turn. The film even manages the astonishing feat of never mentioning its star killer by name. Were it not for the opening flashback sequence replaying the slow-motion climax from Part II, it would be easy to doubt that this film is even part of the series.

And yet, Part III epitomizes everything that has come to be associated with the Friday franchise: the hockey mask (introduced here), inventive death scenes (including the glorious harpoon through the eye), creative dead-body placement designed to further terrify those who have not yet been killed, and an ending pointing the way to yet another sequel. It’s as if the powers that be behind the Friday universe realized the need for a film created in service to those that would follow, a predictable gore-fest from whence the blood-curdling tales of Jason would come.

As such, the film succeeds enormously. Although picking up precisely where Part II leaves off, Part III does not burden itself with the oft-confusing explanations as to Jason’s origins, and does not make clumsy attempts to tie up the plot threads of what has gone before. As a result, we can simply sit back and watch Jason coming into his own, handily and creatively dispatching the requisite prankster, pothead, jock, even an entire motorcycle gang—mindless fun surprisingly absent from several of the increasingly convoluted films that follow. Often considered a banal low point in the series, were it not for the efficient entertainment of Part III, Jason Voorhees as we know him would not exist.

→ Continue: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

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