Friday the 13th Part 3 — What’s Playing?

By Casey Campbell

The third film, and arguably the third most self aware of the series, was released in 3D in the late summer of 1982.

When I say “self aware” I’m referring to the fact that it doesn’t exactly take itself seriously, and the constant barrage of 3D gimmicks lends to the audience recognizing how much fun the filmmakers were having with the concept.

If you own the recent Scream Factory release of the Friday films you’ll still find this title in 3D, but only if you have a 3D TV (which I can’t imagine is very common). If you own the Paramount 8 film set, you’ll be able to watch in 3D with the help of those old fashioned red and blue lensed glasses. I own both but always opt for the 3D version with the glasses for the added silly fun of it all.

On the latest rewatch, I noticed just how engaging 3D can be. It creates a neat depth effect that honestly adds to the film more than any of the gimmicks. Whether it’s with the old crazy guy (a stand in for Crazy Ralph from the first and second films) that scares the central group of teens with an eye ball pushed toward the screen, or some idiot playing with a yo-yo, the 3D basically never feels earned and almost always makes me laugh.

In this one, a group of kids head out to the Crystal Lake area. Once there, they start dying in creative ways. Despite the generally unoriginal nature of the basic plot, this entry is interesting for how it creates memorable and unique characters out of a group of youths. And even the characters that aren’t in the central group are quirky and strange in the best way possible.

Take quirky asshole Shelly, for example, whose main goal is to piss off everyone in the group with his juvenile antics and pranks. Not only do you relish the idea of his character being taken out by Jason, you get a few dumb red herrings out of him.

Then there’s the pregnant woman, Debbie, who says out loud that she’s pregnant once and it’s never brought up again.

Or the bikers who antagonize the group of kids, only to be brutalized in a barn. Or the store owner at the beginning with a penchant for self-theft by eating his own goods.

This entry gave every character a little something and that’s why I find it so engaging and fun (along with the silly effects). Moreover, Jason gets his famous mask and cemented his place in the cultural zeitgeist. It’s a blast.

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