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FRIDAY THE 13TH: PART 3 (BLU-RAY)
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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: Steve Miner

Starring:
Dana Kimmell
Paul Kratka
Larry Zerner
Steve Daskawisz

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about

Picking up a day after PART 2, another group of dumb, horny teens make their way to Crystal Lake where they spend some time on a farm, ignoring what went down the day before. Anyhoo, Jason is back after getting a machete to the shoulder, and decides to get back to doing what he does best. Only this time, he does it with a change in attire, and in 3D! Oh yeah, some chick named Chris has a connection to Jason, but really, do we care about that?

Is it good movie?

The FRIDAY THE 13TH series holds a special place in my black little heart for adding fuel to the fire that is my love affair with the horror genre. Apart from the EVIL DEAD series, nothing gets me more psyched than seeing Jason on the prowl. Yes, the dude's had his ups and downs over the years, but he's still a mainstay in film history, horror or otherwise. But before the series started to scrape the bottom of the barrel in terms of new and exciting ideas for Jason to carve folks up, we have ourselves the birth of the most recognizable version of Jason in PART 3.

Being that this is a FRIDAY THE 13TH film, you're not going to get much in terms of character development or intricate plotlines. However, director Steve Miner does cook up a few bits for some of the characters and is able to generate tension at certain points, as well as attempt to give us more than a rehash of PART 2, largely in part due to the use of the 3D gimmick. Frankly, while watching the film, the shots that are meant to be popping out at you tend to be telegraphed beforehand and are pretty shameless at times. But really, that's just part of the film's charm, which now comes across as being an unintentional comedy (seriously).

Keeping with this notion of unintentional comedy is the acting by some of the performers (alright, all of them). Aside from Dana Kimmell's satisfactory performance as Chris and Larry Zerner's turn as Shelly, everyone else is just, well, terrible. I swear, I laughed my ass off when Chuck bit it, or when Chili was running around bawwing that Shelly was dead, climbing the stairs only to find more bodies, then blubbering all the way back down to meet Jason. Yeah, I know it's cruel to be saying that in the context of the situation, but dammit, it's funny!

But the main draw of any FRIDAY THE 13TH film is, obviously, the creative and nasty ways folks buy it. Jason is nearing the top of his pre-zombie game here, and doesn't screw around when it comes to killing folks. The highlight kill has to be the handstand gag. Really, having someone bear down on you with a raised machete just screams "Oh, shi-!" The rest of the kills unfortunately aren't as bloody or shocking, but like the acting, some have the unintentional effect of being funny. Again, it's the charm. Adding to that charm is Harry Manfredini's score, as well as the disco-themed opening for this one.

So yeah, PART 3 isn't the best acted, nor is it the most gory or the best in terms of plot, nor is it the best of the series. But because it's silly and scary at the same time, you can't help but fall in love in with it. Jason's scary, the kills are fun, and Miner is able to coax tension out of the film thanks in part to Harry Manfredini's wonderful score. Plus, it's in 3D!

Video / Audio

Video: Thankfully, Paramount listened to fans this time around and gave us both the 2D and 3D versions of the film. Regardless of viewing option, the 2.39:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers are, in a few words, grainy as all hell. Possibly due to the setup for the 3D cameras (detailed in David Grove's awesome book, The Legend of Camp Blood), some of the shots are slightly out of focus and murky-looking, in addition to exhibiting dirt. Still, the fact that the film's nearly 30 years old, and isn't what many in Paramount's camp consider to be a classic, this is still a decent transfer.

As for the 3D version, this anaglyph format (the red and blue glasses for those wondering) is okay, but you do get motion blurring and ghosting effects here and there, on top of the softness and dirt. Again, far from perfect, but decent enough for viewing in high definition 3D. Paramount also didn't pay attention to New Line and its NOES boxset, which had four pairs of 3D glasses. Instead, we only get two.

Audio: Sporting an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track as well as Dolby Digital Mono tracks in English, French, and Spanish, purists will probably flock to the mono track, which is inferior compared to the first choice. The TrueHD mix sounds clearer and less tinny than the mono, as well as delivering more punch in certain respects, but still remains true to the original mono by having the ambient effects dispersed to the surrounds. Like the video, it's adequate.

The Extras

Gotcha! Paramount once again sticks it to fans by offering more extras for the Blu-Ray version of the film, and by that, I mean less. Yep, screwed again...

Remember that great audio commentary for PART 3 that was in the boxset a few years back? Paramount doesn't, so we don't get it here. What about the short-but-somewhat-informative featurette from the boxset? Nope.

First up, we get Fresh Cuts: 3D Terror in HD. Moderated by Crystal Lake Memories writer Peter Bracke, this 13-minute retrospective on the film includes things such as the decision to go 3D (and its repercussions), as well as the different endings that were considered (including one that involved Stan Winston's handiwork for Jason). Like the previous Friday The 13th Chronicles featurette, this isn't as in-depth as many would like, but it's nice to have.

Following that is Legacy of the Mask, which runs 10 minutes and is also in HD. This serves as a rundown of Jason's evolution throughout the series up to his Vanc-, er, Manhattan stroll. The focus is on the mask (natch), and how the crew's hockey games led to the decision to go the route we've all come to know and love.

The final featurette entitled Slasher Films: Going for the Jugular is really just a fluff piece. Featuring several series alumni as well as Tyler Mane aka the HALLOWEEN remake's The Shape and Tony Todd aka The Candyman, this featurette goes into just what makes a good slasher flick, and these films' appeal. Interesting, but at seven minutes (in HD), it feels sort of wasted.

The next entry in the Lost Tales from Camp Blood series is another throwaway piece, although the killer (who isn't masked nor is he Jason) does a nice job of stalking and putting a hammer to good use. Otherwise, it's forgettable. As well, there's PART 3's theatrical trailer in HD.

So, obviously Paramount held back once again when it came to giving us a definitive version of PART 3. No commentary, no detailed retrospective, no cut/alternate footage (if any now exists), no poster gallery and no scripts. You know, the stuff that fans want? Piss on Paramount for basically forcing fans to upgrade to get a slightly better version of PART 3 instead of the flat-out lie the Deluxe Edition DVD was.

Really, it seems the only way to get the goods on the series is to check out both Peter Bracke's and David Grove's respective books. At least you'll find lengthy and detailed recollections by cast and crew on the films, along with behind-the-scenes photos and cut/alternate shots. What's here with the disc is good, but could be oh-so-much better.

Last Call

A silly-yet-fun entry to the FRIDAY THE 13TH series, and this time we get it in 3D. Unfortunately, Paramount continues to stiff fans and ride on the remake's success by handing out so-so "deluxe" editions of the older films. While this is still a great buy for the 3D version and the okay extras, those looking for the nitty-gritty stuff will be disappointed.

Bottom line: keep your F13 boxset, grab this Blu-Ray disc and the above-mentioned books. You'll get more out of going that route than from just grabbing this shameful playing of fans' emotions by itself.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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