Monday, September 16, 2013

Census Bloodbath: The Third Die-Mension

If you're new to Census Bloodbath, click here.

Year: 1982
Director: Steve Miner
Cast: Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Richard Brooker
Run Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
MPAA Rating: R

Here is where I brag about how cool I am.

Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D was the third feature in Friday's mini-marathon, and the theater screened it in actual red/blue 3D, be still my heart.

Hi, Sergio!

Nevermind the fact that red/blue 3D is the easiest way to make your brain explode this side of Fran Drescher, it's authentic! I never thought I'd live to see this film in 3D in theaters and I am immensely grateful to live so close to LA and have this opportunity.

It's only a minor detriment that the film sucks, this is Friday the 13th we're talking about here.

This never fails to make me happy though. Maybe I'm a terrible person.

Friday the 13th Part 3 manages the impressive feat of being visibly worse than Part 2 within about 2 seconds when it turns out that the first five minutes of this film are just the last five minutes of the previous film shoved in there unceremoniously like the final peg after hours of building IKEA furniture.

The film proper doesn't fare much better with its first scene in which Crystal Lake shopowners and odious comic relief characters Harold (Steve Susskind) and Edna (Cheri Maugans) wander around their general store, shove things into the camera, and die in the toilet for no reason.

With that over with, we can meet our real heroes. And what a bland vanilla whitebread bunch they are!

We have Andy (Jeffrey Rogers), who is one half of the couple who has sex; Debbie (Tracie Savage), who is the other half, but with the added twist that she's pregnant which is mentioned in two lines and promptly forgotten about; Shelly (Larry Zerner), Andy's roommate and the what we can by now call the obligatory prankster who pulls a series of the most malicious and unjustifiable stunts yet all in the name of having low self esteem; and Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell) whose family owns the lakefront property they're driving to despite her not quite having gotten over What Happened.

This wouldn't be a sequel if there weren't more meat than that, but luckily our new characters are doled out in small enough chunks that they are all pretty distinguishable from one another.

In the second dollop we get Vera (Catherine Parks), Shelly's way out of his league blind date who has to deal with the twin problems of growing up in a Hispanic household and struggling to afford groceries with food stamps despite the fact that she looks like she just stepped out of Little House on the Prarie; and Chuck (David Katims) and Chilli (Rachel Howard), two outlandish hippie stoner stereotypes who feel the need to prove their hippiness by saying "man" every three words and are palpably older than the rest of their crew. 

At the property we meet Rick (Paul Kratka), Chris' on-and-off boyfriend whom she left behind to go to college. Please ignore the fact that he looks like he's about 30.

And to top all that off, Shelly and Vera attract the unwanted attention of some motorcycle thugs during an altercation in a grocery store. Foxy (Gloria Charles), Ali (Nick Savage), and Loco (Kevin O'Brien) perform a vital task in the movie as they sneak onto the property, disable the car, and get summarily murdered to fuel the audience's bloodlust after such a large amount of exposition.

I'm sure you guys could use a little break yourselves.

You're welcome.

The next part is all spontaneous nighttime and unnecessary backstory (Chris apparently was attacked by Jason in the woods years ago, which in no way ties in to the rest of the film considering she doesn't even recognize him until the end. Also, the word "Jason" isn't even said in this film. Whatever.) as the expendable characters get picked off in various 3D versions of other scenes from the previous films.

Debbie's death is especially heinous. She's lying in a hammock reading a magazine until blood spatters from the ceiling and she is pierced with a knife from below more or less exactly like Kevin Bacon in the original. So much for being pregnant (Jason is equal opportunity. He murders regardless of race, creed, gender, sexuality, disability, or fetus-having status).

Evidently after having sucked Twitch of the Death Nerve dry of gore scenes to rip off, Friday the 13th turned to its previous entries and began to devour itself. Part 3 bears the brunt of it, but this will be a common problem throughout the series from this point on.

Luckily, the creative deficit isn't yet at its all time ebb and we get some admittedly pretty great shots of Vera getting gored by a harpoon and Andy being split in half while walking on his hands, all rendered in glorious three-dimensional photography.

What an eyesore.

Fun Fact: Jason gets to wear his iconic hockey mask for the first time in this film.

Sad Fact: He stole it from this guy.

Shelly ruins everything.

But enough with these clowns. What about the important guys? What of Jason? What of the Final Girl?

Unfortunately Dana Kimmell's performance as Chris starts off bland and then starts to degrade like plutonium as the film goes on. It doesn't help that she is given the least to do of any Final Girl yet, running around and shouting for Rick and turning off bathtub faucets and stuff.

She does have the good sense to double tap (she gets Jason unconscious and then hangs him) but then immediately goes out of sight range (where anything can happen) and ends up facing his wrath.

So that's a bust, but upon this screening I gained a real appreciation for Richard Brooker's work as Jason. He has a casual, almost tossed-off vibe to his killings in a way that makes it seem like this is all in a days work for Jason. Which, in fact, it is. And it's immensely cool.

Love Kane Hodder though I do, Richard Brooker is the first standalone Jason (Hodder is the only actor to play the killer in multiple films) that really captured my attention and his performance is truly commendable, more than just an anonymous stunt actor.

And when Jason gets an axe to the forehead he thrusts his hands out in one last ditch effort to grab Chris in a manner reminiscent of the classic Universal movie monsters and that really just got me.

Feel bad for your eyes? Imagine this for 90 minutes.

And there's no way I can get out of this without talking about the ending, can I?

Boy is it stupid. It's campy and ridiculous enough to end on a light note but geez man.

With Jason defeated, Chris gets in a canoe and floats into the middle of the lake.

Sound familiar?

Playing with our suspicions, the film throws a couple of weak jump scares at our tortured heroine (in the form of a log and a duck) before the money shot.

Do you see the zombie of Mrs. Voorhees jumping out of a lake? Cuz I do, but I might be having a fever dream.

If you're gonna make a film as bland and tedious as this one, I suppose it benefits you to have an utterly incomprehensible closing shot so at least the audience has something to talk about. Considering that it made $15 million more than Part 2, I'd say it worked.

As much as I love Jason making money, this doesn't change the fact that this film is less vivacious than its predecessors, has actors way out of age range, features two distinct outhouse scenes, and hinges on the performance of Dana Kimmell. The cherry on top is that returning director Steve Miner is too distracted by waggling things at the camera to frame anything even remotely approaching his style in Part 2.

This film is still worth watching for a Friday the 13th diehard because the mask makes its first appearance, Richard Brooker does right by Mr. Voorhees, and the cheesy 3D effects always elicit a laugh but for a less committed horror enthusiast, I'd suggest skipping straight to The Final Chapter.

Killer: Jason Voorhees (Richard Brooker)
Final Girl: Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell)
Best Kill: This one, filmed in eye-popping 3D.


Sign of the Times: Foxy and the Chain Gang

Scariest Moment: The van gets stuck on the bridge as it runs out of gas and Jason approaches.
Weirdest Moment: Just listen.

Champion Dialogue: "This is the sweat of a worker on my forehead, not of a lover."
Body Count: 12
  1. Harold gets a meat cleaver in the chest.
  2. Edna is stabbed in the back of the head with a knitting needle.
  3. Foxy is pinned to a rafter by a pitchfork through the neck.
  4. Loco gets a pitchfork in the stomach.
  5. Shelly's throat is slashed offscreen.
  6. Vera gets a spear fired into her eye.
  7. Andy is macheted in half while walking on his hands.
  8. Debbie gets knifed through the chest from beneath a hammock.
  9. Chuck is electrocuted on a fuse box.
  10. Chili is impaled with a fireplace poker through the chest.
  11. Rick gets his head crushed by Jason's strong, manly hands.
  12. Ali gets bludgeoned with a wrench, loses an arm via machete, and is stabbed to death. 
Cheesy 3D Effects Count: 26; including my personal favorites, a blunt and a yo-yo.

TL;DR: Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D is cheesy and fun but immensely dumb and unable to overcome its biggest problems at the script level.
Rating: 5/10
Word Count: 1617
Movies In This Series
Friday the 13th (Cunningham, 1980)
Friday the 13th Part 2 (Miner, 1981)
Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D (Miner, 1982)
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Zito, 1984)
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (Steinmann, 1985)
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (McLoughlin, 1986)
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Buechler, 1988)
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (Hedden, 1989)
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (Marcus, 1993)
Jason X (Isaac, 2001)
Freddy vs. Jason (Yu, 2003)
Friday the 13th (Nispel, 2009)

1 comment:

  1. The new boxset has it in actual stereoscopic Blu-ray 3D and for the first time in my life I wish I had a 3D TV. Or PSVR