Friday the 13th Part III (Steve Miner, 1982, USA)

Friday the 13th Part III represents an upgrade for the franchise. While director Steve Miner is returning at the helm, we realize we are in for something different when the opening credits roll. Henry Manfredini's usual whispering soundtrack has been replaced by a funk disco score, set over titles meant to showcase the film's 3D. The film arrived during the 1980s revival of 3D cinema when it seemed that every third film in a franchise had to be "3D". The 3D in Friday the 13th Part III is excessive and comical - it seems that someone is shoving something into the camera in almost every other scene, whether it is a yoyo, popcorn, or an eyeball. 

Friday the 13th Part III benefits from better pacing and special effects than the first two films (its budget was significantly higher), and overall feels more polished and entertaining. While the film ostensibly takes place in New Jersey, this was the first film in the series to be shot in California. The characters are predictably one-dimensional, although there is an interesting development of some Cheech and Chong-type stoners, as well as a biker gang that gets in on the action.

Like the other films in the series so far, Part III has a strange and ambiguous ending. The film is also notable for introducing the hockey mask. Jason as he is popularly known first surfaces here. He is much more of a killing machine in this film and has grown significantly from a boy to a hulking man. There is a great deal of slapstick humor in the film, with Jason often getting beaten up. Also of note is how often the filmmakers show Jason's deformed face - it is curious that he even needed to wear a mask at all. While Part III is not the best in the franchise, it is very entertaining.



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