Friday the 13th Part III (1982) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

The WTF Happened to This Horror Movie series looks back at the 1982 Friday the 13th sequel Friday the 13th Part III – released in 3D!

Last Updated on July 11, 2024

Its late summer in 1982 and you’ve seen the preview for Friday the 13th Part III, which told you a few things. The first piece of information that the preview had in store for you was that this was very much Jason’s movie. While Child’s Play would fully embrace the name change and just start using Chucky in the title, Friday the 13th would hang on to that particular superstitious day for a bit longer. Jason is named almost as much as the fact that this sequel in the Friday the 13th franchise would be in 3D, which is to say, A LOT. The preview also shows another detail that at the time would be innocuous but looking back was the catalyst for what many people see as the key to the series. This is the first movie where Jason gets his iconic hockey mask. Put on your trusty red and blue glasses as we push this film right into your lap and find out what happened to Friday the 13th Part III, in 3D!

Friday the 13th parts 1 and 2 were incredibly popular raking in 59 million and 21 million off of their rather small budgets in 1980 and 1981 respectively. While the critical perception wasn’t great, that didn’t stop the public from coming out in droves which means there was a guarantee we would see more from this franchise. Paramount owned the rights at the time and decided to add a wrinkle to the production with the addition of 3D. This was part of a boom in the early 80’s of 3D productions that also included Amityville 3D, Jaws 3D, Silent Madness, Parasite, and a whole list of others. The reason for Paramount and the Friday the 13th team to choose it was because of a movie called Comin At Ya made a lot more money than it should have, presumably based on the fact that it was released in 3D. With Paramount’s stature and ability to fund, they went big on it.

Friday the 13th Part III (watch it HERE) would be the first 3D movie released by Paramount since the 50’s and would end up being the first wide release of a 3D movie by a major studio. It would show up in over 1000 theaters nationwide and be the first production ever to use the Marks 3D system and while the budget says it was just above 2 million, Paramount paid anywhere from 8-10 million to install the proper equipment in movie theaters to be able to smoothly run the film including training for the projectionists and a sort of war room like number for them to call for trouble shooting. With that much effort and money put into the production of the flick, they were going to get their money’s worth.

The poster has a 3d looking effect and multiple scenes were filmed just to get extra 3d involved including a scene that was only shown in the theatrical run. A few of the actors even recalled years later that they were told to focus more on little things they could do that would look good in 3D even above their own acting. Things like yo-yos and any number of objects being hurdled at the screen, juggling, and of course the infamous eyeball pop all were designed to make the audience feel engaged. Some of the scenes ended up being very complicated and needed to be shot multiple times, like the car window being broken, a process that proved to be very expensive and time consuming. In addition to this, they had to shoot the movie far brighter than they normally would and even had to take into consideration what colors would be used on screen.

Friday the 13th Part III

To helm a very much more ambitious project, Steve Miner was brought back into the fold as director after his success with part 2. Miner, an Emmy nominated television director as well, has quite the horror resume with credits after Friday part 3 including House, another collaboration with Friday creator Sean S. Cunningham, Warlock, Halloween H20, and Lake Placid. The original idea of the movie was to have the final girl from part 2, Ginny, played by Amy Steel, come back and be put in a mental hospital after the events of part 2. Jason would track her down and kill all of the hospital staff and patients while setting up a final showdown between the two. While that sounds a bit derivative of slasher contemporary Michael Myers in Halloween 2, it was all for not as Steel was unable or unwilling to come back to the fold.

This changed the approach and Ron Kurz, who wrote the previous movie, was offered the chance to write a script for the third feature but he too declined to be involved. The first draft of the final script was written by the husband-and-wife team of Martin Kitrosser and Carol Watson. Watson wouldn’t have much more on her resume after this, but Kitrosser would go on to write Friday the 13th 5 and be the script supervisor for nearly all of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. While a lot of that script was used in the final movie, Paramount also brought in Petru Popescu to help as they felt the movie wasn’t mean enough. With the 80’s slasher boom at its peak in the first third of the decade, you needed your slasher movie to really stand out and this was already an established series on top of that. While it is said that Popescu added a significant amount to the final movie, he remained uncredited when all was said and done.

The actors were chosen almost completely based on their looks rather than their acting ability or how well known they were. Dana Kimmell, Tracie Savage, Paul Kratka, Catherine Parks, Jeffrey Rogers, Rachel Howard, and David Katims were all among the main cast who would get terrorized by Jason and Larry Zerner who plays Shelly was found after handing out flyers. When it comes to playing Jason, we would get a third straight movie with a third different actor in the role. British Stuntman Richard Brooker would get the call several films before the role was cemented in the minds of many by Kane Hodder. At 6 foot 3, he was certainly a tall enough Jason but was very trim and ended up having to wear a lot of padding to seem as bulky as the character was needed. He did all of his own stunts for the movie and was lucky enough to be forever tied to the now famous Hockey Mask that the killer wears throughout the series.

The mask was a very fluky occurrence that may not have happened if the movie wasn’t being shot in 3D. The 3D effects supervisor, Martin Sadoff, was a massive hockey fan, specifically of the Detroit Red Wings, and he kept various hockey equipment with him at all times. During a lighting break, he happened to pull out a goalie mask that director Miner loved. When they shot scenes with it, however, it appeared too small on Brookers face so they tweaked it to fit his face better. in addition to resizing the mask, the red triangles and extra hole punches were added to make it stand out. The mask itself was accompanied by a few different prosthetic masks that went under it and took several hours to apply each day.

While the actors, including who played Jason, were new, one thing that stayed the same was series composer Harry Manfredini. His now iconic scores for the series have been played all over and parodied while also being released on vinyl as stand alone or collections over the years. One thing that did change was the opening credits theme, while it had been up beat and jazzy in the past, it was a full blown disco theme for the third movie. Manfredini partnered with Michael Zager for the tune and he would go on to say that it was quite popular at the time in both Discos and Gay Bars. The opening song would become the stuff of legends but the rest of the movie has the trademark Friday the 13th score with all the queues that fans had grown to expect from the series after the first two movies. To that end, Part three marked the first of multiple occasions that the movie was shot under an alternative title and more specifically under the name of a song from pop and rock legend David Bowie, something that would happen again in the series.

Friday the 13th Part III

Filming the movie had to move all the way across the country from Connecticut to California where they would build nearly every building on the valuzet movie ranch. Part of the reason we received Richard Brooker as the new Jason is because Jason from part 2, Steve Daskawicz, was offered the role but was told that he would have to supply his own travel from his east coast-based home to the new shooting location in Saugus California. He declined and that is why Brooker was able to join and be the first man in the mask. The main reason for the move to California was to be closer to the burgeoning 3D technology that they were going to be using on the film, something Paramount was sued for in the realm of 25 million dollars by Marks Polarized Corporation.

The movie, like many slasher films, would also need to be cut down in a lot of areas to avoid the dreaded X rating. While the script was changed to have a darker and more menacing feel, the gore, deaths, and some of the scenes from that script needed to be changed. One of the more famous instances of this is an alternate ending where survivor Chris walks back to the house only to have the door burst open and have Jason grab her hair and decapitate her. While this would later be revealed as a dream, it was deemed too dark and violent to include. The scene is also notable for using an alternative mask created by none other than Stan Winston. The mask remains in this scene and is not visible in other parts of the movie with the entire design of the character getting an overhaul.

The deaths of Andy, Vera, Edna, Chili, and Debbie’s deaths all had to be cut down in varying degrees to appease the then MPAA from branding them with an unusable rating. In addition to the cuts that were filmed, another element of the script was excised completely. Originally it was going to be implied that Jason had sexually assaulted some of his victims, but several executives thought that this either went too far or that it would make Jason less marketable, perhaps some foresight that this series still had a lot of legs left to it.

Friday the 13th Part III was released on Friday, August 13th, 1982, and raked in almost 10 million dollars in its opening weekend. That number is significant because while it was only number 21 for the year in terms of box office numbers, it surpassed the first movie in terms of opening weekend numbers. In addition, as recently as 2020, it’s the 4th highest grossing movie in the franchise and with inflation its one of the highest grossing slasher films of all time. Its nearly 37 million take at the box office is impressive but the critical reception was cold. While reviewers at the time didn’t think much of it, it is usually near the top of fans rankings for the series and continues to be a crowd pleaser for over 40 years later. Now you can say you don’t need 3D glasses to see just What Happened to Friday the 13th Part III.

A couple of the previous episodes of WTF Happened to This Horror Movie? can be seen below. To see more, head over to our JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe while you’re there!

Source: Arrow in the Head

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