Y'know the quickest way to kill a horror franchise? Well, okay, you set it in space, yeah. But the second-quickest way to kill a franchise is to make it 3-D. Think about the number of GOOD horror film sequels you've seen in 3-D. See what I mean? And that brings us to Friday the 13th 3.
This movie should be a train wreck. It should be the worst in the franchise. And yet, it has a lot going for it, including likable characters and some pretty good suspense. And, continuing the tradition of the second film, it recaps the action of the previous movie. As always, it's SPOILER time!
The movie begins, as I said, with a recap of the ending of Part Two. Ginny is running through the woods, and finds her way to Jason's cabin. She finds the bodies of her friends(and the body of the first movie's heroine), as well as a shrine featuring the severed head of Jason's mother and her ratty old sweater. Desperate, Ginny puts on the sweater, just before Jason bursts into the shack.
Ginny speaks to Jason in calm, soothing tones. He sees the sweater and his confused mind sees Ginny as his mother. She's holding a machete behind her back, and as he lets her get closer, she plans to kill him. Unfortunately, Jason glances at the severed head behind Ginny, and the illusion is dispelled. He stabs her in the leg at the same time that she brings the machete up. Lucky for her, the male lead rescues her and together, they seem to kill Jason. Ginny's final act is to unmask him, then they leave his body in there and wait for the police.
We see Jason's hand grab his machete and he starts to crawl away. Then, as the camera slowly gives us a closeup of Mrs. Voorhees' severed head, the credits swoooop out in EYE-BULGING 3-D(or, in this case, EYE-INDIFFERENT 2-D.), to the cheesiest disco music in the history of everything. Why did they abandon the iconic theme music for DISCO??? Anyway, since this was originally 3-D, expect a shitload of scenes where objects are pushed toward the camera for no reason.
So the credits finally end(as does the crappy disco THANK GOD!!!!), and we meet the redneck proprietors of Crystal Lake's own general store, Harold and Edna. They seem remarkably similar to the redneck mother and son in the second film, as Edna's favorite pastime is screaming out orders at Harold while she watches game television. Harold himself prefers his various pets to his nagging wife, and is seen walking through their store eating various goods while petting a large rabbit.
Edna is busy getting freaked out. She's been hearing news reports about Jason's latest killing spree in the area(we see Ginny being lifted into an ambulance, so this one takes place IMMEDIATELY after the events in Part Two) and she's spotted Jason out in her backyard stealing Harold's laundry, and she just naturally assumed he was Harold. Yeah, because Harold looks JUST LIKE a hulking, bald man-child with severe facial deformities. Anyway, when she goes outside to check the laundry, she starts yelling about how he only took in his clothes and not hers. Jason lurks nearby, and stays just out of view whenever she notices his presence.
We know, of course, that it wasn't Harold. When Edna goes to the store to bitch him out, the poor guy looks completely baffled. Of course it's pretty difficult to defend yourself with a mouthful of chocolate doughnuts, so I guess silence was probably a good idea on his part. Harold brings his bunny out to the barn, and finds another pet mutilated. When he tries to get a closer look, a snake nearly gets its fangs into him!
Frightened, Harold jogs back to the house, and nearly gives his wife a heart attack as he lurches into the bathroom. Apparently he crapped himself when he saw the snake. Lovely. We get treated to the sight of Harold on the toilet, which is probably going to be the scariest scene in the movie. While drinking a bottle of liquor he had stashed nearby, Harold hears a sound. Across from the toilet are a series of oily, ragged curtains. One by one, Harold begins to yank them open...and finds nothing. Then, as he decides it was his imagination, he leaves the bathroom and gets an axe to the chest.
Edna sort of hears him fall to the ground, and decides to go looking for him. She does the same slow, ponderous exploration Harold just did, and comes face to face with a white mouse. Grossed out, Edna backs against the wall, and right into Jason's grasp. He covers her mouth with one hand, and uses the other to shove one of her knitting needles through the back of her neck. This kind death gets repeated later in the film, so I hope you enjoy deja vu.
As the scene fades to white, we say goodbye to poor Edna and Harold, we meet our next batch of victims: There's Andy, a jock with a sense of humor; Shelly, who is Andy's roommate, a big doofus with a fixation on gory practical jokes; Vera, who's been set-up as Shel's date; Chrissy, who's driving the van and was a camp counselor a few years earlier; Chuck and his main squeeze Chili, the pothead hippies of the film; and Debbie, who is Chrissy's best friend.
As everyone's getting to know each other, 2 cops show up behind the van, both with sirens and lights going. Everyone races to ingest all of Chili and Chuck's drugs, until the cops both go speeding past them. Turns out they were called in to investigate the murders from the previous night at the local general store. The van slows down to watch the body bags being loaded into an ambulance, then resume their trip.
Another body is soon found by the group, this time on the road. They get out of the van to get a closer look at the guy, who seems to be dressed like a homeless cowboy. They remove the cowboy hat from his face, and the old geezer wakes up. He thanks them for helping him, and returns the favor by trying to give them an eyeball he found. Hope he kept the receipt.
They all quickly pile back into the van, leaving Crazy Ralph II waving the eyeball at the camera in SEXY, MIGRAINE-INDUCING 2-D!! Back on the road, the group finally get to the site of the new camp, Higgins Haven. The van crosses a rickety bridge, and drives right into the middle of the new campsite, observed by an unknown figure in one of the cabins. The only thing we know about this observer is that they are wearing a plaid shirt. Maybe it's Kurt Cobain?
Nope. It's Rick, Chrissy's summer romantic partner from 2 years ago. As they start unpacking the van, Chris realizes that one of the doors on the van was previously open, and now it's closed. She cautiously opens it again, only to be scared by Shelly, who's hiding in the van. He tells her that the others went skinny-dipping, and he felt too self-conscious to join them.
Next, Chrissy shows Debbie where her bedroom is, because it was Chrissy's 2 years earlier. Instead of a bed, she has a hammock. And instead of a horror film, I have a sleeping aid. Oh, and as Chris looks out the window, we get to see an ominous-looking barn. Gee, I wonder if anyone's hiding out in there???
Speaking of the barn, the following scene features Rick and Chris, having an in-depth discussion about hay. As Rick is lifting the bales up to the loft, he notices they seem to be getting heavier. That's because Chrissy is riding the last one as he's pulling it up. It'll be her fault when he has to file for worker's comp...
Suddenly, there's a horrendous scream! Chrissy and the Rickmeister run back to the cabin, and he checks the ground level as she investigates upstairs. she hears a muffled thumping noise and approaches a wardrobe, giving me terrifying flashbacks of Morty from the 2 Fear movies I had just watched. Nope, it's actually Shelly, with an axe embedded in his forehead. Andy and the others run in, and Andy rushes over to check for a pulse.
Well, it's another prank. Shelly starts giggling, and gets up. When he sees that he upset Chris, he tries to apologize, but no one wants to hear it. Vera asks Rick for the car keys, so she can make a quick run to the store for some kitchen supplies and other things they need. Shel begs her to let him tag along, and she gives in.
Deb catches up with Chris in a field, where Chris reveals that she was the survivor of something traumatic. The memories still haunt her, and she's having serious difficulty deciding whether she should stay or go. Awwwww...
At the store, Vera doesn't have the money to cover the groceries, so Shel tosses her(and us) his wallet, in GLORIOUS, MAGNIFICENT 2-D!! A biker chick gets the wallet first, and she and her friends enjoy terrorizing the 2 teens...or the 2 20-somethings PLAYING teens. Anyway, Vera doesn't back down, so she gets the wallet back, pays for the food, and she and Shelly run to the car. Vera gives Shelly the keys, and he backs into the gang's motorcycles.
That doesn't go over too well with the bikers, and one smashes the car's windows and one side of the vehicle with a heavy chain. Well that just makes Shelly mad, and he drives over the pile of motorcycles on his way back to the road. Elated that he stood up to the biker, Shel is happier than a pig in mud.
The next bit of MESMERIZING, BONE-CHILLING 2-D!!! is a yo-yo being used by Andy. The group of counselors are sitting around doing jackshit when Shelly drives up in the wrecked VW. Even Jason emerges from the barn to check out the damage! Rick sees what happened to his car and blows his top. He plans to abandon the camp, until Chris convinces him to change his mind, but they still take off for a little while. They drive right past Jason and never notice him.
As the happy couple drive away, the bikers sneak onto the property for a little revenge. Ali, the one whose bike they ran over earlier, is siphoning the gas from the other camp vehicle with a sidekick named Snake. While they work on stranding the campers, Ali's girlfriend, Fox, decides to check out the barn.
Wanna guess what happens next? After Fox enters the barn, she acts like she arrived at Buckingham Palace. I've never seen anyone look so enraptured by dust 'n' rust. As expected, Jason reveals sneaks up behind her while she plays with saddles and cowbells and shit. At one point, she even senses his presence, but still sticks around to fondle saddles and canteens. She trips at one point, and nearly gets a pitchfork through her face, which would've been kind of funny: Imagine watching a Friday the 13th sequel where every death was accidental. At one point, Jason could even look at the camera, wave by-bye, shrug and go take a nap or something.
Anyway, after nearly frenching a pitchfork, Fox decides to climb up into the hayloft. As her feet hit the first rung of the ladder, a clump of loose hay comes at her in ELBOW-SCRATCHING EARTH-SHATTERING 2-D!!!! While Fox is making the slowest ladder-climb in history, Ali and Snake are finishing up the gas theft. Ali tells Snake To find Ali, and Snake runs off toward the barn, armed with a full canister of gas and a cigarette between his lips. Einstein.
It doesn't take Snake long to find Fox...she's swinging on a rope in the hayloft, hooting and hollering. Snake scolds her about keeping their presence unknown to the campers, but when he looks up at the hayloft again, she's gone. Snake enters the barn, demanding that she show herself and stop screwing around. When he gets no response, he decides to climb up into the hayloft to find her. Once there, he fails to see her corpse pinned to wall by the pitchfork, whose handle is pointing at the camera in UTTERLY KNEE-SKINNING 2-D!!! When he does turn around and finally spots her, Jason attacks Snake with a different pitchfork, sticking it through the bikers stomach in PANTS-WETTING, BRAIN-FREEZING 2-D!!!
Standing outside the barn holding 2 heavy-looking containers of gas, Ali kicks the barn door a few times before putting down the gas and simply opening the door the, you know, SMART way. Incidentally, wasn't the guy playing Ali also one of the nightclub bouncers in Fright Night? I KNOW I've seen him in some other movie before this one. Eh, whatever...Ali hears something up in the loft, and gets pissed. When he demands that they come down, Jason throws Snake's corpse at him. Ali grabs a nearby machete and runs after Jason, who has jumped down from the loft to fight the biker. It doesn't last long: Jason throws Ali across the room, then uses the machete Ali found to stab him several times before leaving.
The cameraman decides to wander off to see whatever happened to Chris and Rick. They wound up in some clearing next to a drainage pipe. Rick pointedly asks Chris why she decided to come back to the camp after surviving whatever the hell she survived, and she tells him that she felt she needed to prove something by returning. While they act out a scene out of "General Hospital", Shelly and Andy are having a juggling contest in STUPEFYING, ROCKET-LAUNCHING 2-D!!, and the 2 potheads are zoning out.
Andy loses the contest when his girlfriend tempts him away for sex, and that leaves Shelly with Vera. Vera gets up to poke at the logs in the fireplace, giving Shelly(and US) a great view of her ass. He tries to ask her out, but Vera doesn't even let him finish the sentence. She tells him that she needs some fresh air, and that they should talk after she gets back, then she quickly heads outside. Shelly watches her a bit from the window, then turns his attention back to the roaring fire--just as Jason strolls past the very same window.
Upstairs, we get an all-too-brief look at Deb's breasts, as she and Andy climb into the hammock for some swinging-rope sex. Kinky! I approve. Too bad the director didn't--we get pushed outside for more melodrama with Chris and Rick. She reveals to him that the last time they went out together, her mother threw her out of the house the same night. Chrissy eventually got lost walking in the woods, and fell asleep under a big tree. When she woke up, she heard what she thought was her father coming to look for her. It wasn't....instead, she came face-to-half-face with Jason. He had chased her around for a bit, before dragging her away.
She passed out, and when she came to, Jason was gone. She has no other memories of that night, so she decided to try to jog her memory by returning. At this point, Rick's car dies. They decide to walk back to camp, and Rick mumbles something about a shortcut.
At the cabin, Chuck wakes up from his drug binge. He goes outside to use the outhouse(what is it with outhouses in this franchise?), and gets spooked by something. The call of nature overcomes his survival instinct however, and Chuck decides to use the toilet anyway. So far, this outhouse is the scariest image in the film.
Chili wakes up alone, but apparently the movie could care less, because we return to Chuck on the toilet smoking a joint. The outhouse starts rocking, and the dimwit fails to notice at first. He pulls up his pants to go confront the guy, but instead bumps into Chili, who came outside to find him. They decide to check out the barn, because Chuck thought he saw Shelly go in, but WE know it was actually Jason.
Vera is seen next, sitting on the dock by Crystal Lake. A hand grabs her by the ankle, and it's attached to someone wearing a hockey mask and holding a spear gun. It turns out to be Shelly. He tries to apologize yet AGAIN for his dumb practical jokes, but Vera gets upset. Shelly calls himself a jerk and leaves Vera there feeling bad for him. He waddles onto the porch at the cabin and watches Vera from a distance before deciding to go out to the barn. Uh oh.
At the barn, Shel starts knocking on windows and calling out Chuck and Chili's names. When that doesn't get a response, he enters the barn and nearly wets himself when a dusty-looking cow-skull nearly hits him. At the same time, Vera finds and goes through Shelly's wallet. A noise startles her, and she drops the wallet into the lake. Vera removes her shoes and wades in to get the wallet, just as someone wearing the hockey mask and holding a spear gun approaches the lake. She explains to him that she dropped the wallet and managed to retrieve it, and she gets a spear shot into her right eye....in LOW-DEFINITION, LACTOSE INTOLERANT 2-D!!! Jason then sees the bedroom light on and goes after Andy and Deb.
The happy couple are just finishing up their snuggle in the hammock. While Deb takes a shower, Andy announces that he's going downstairs to grab a beer. Someone enters the bathroom while Deb is showering and creeps up on her. When Deb pulls back the curtain, it turns out to be Andy, walking on his hands. He asks her if she wants a beer too, then resumes his hand-walk out into the hallway. As he rounds a corner, Jason blocks his path and brings the machete down hard on the poor idiot's crotch. I think I speak for every guy in the world when I say, "OWWWWWWWW!!"
Deb climbs back into the hammock, oblivious to Andy's demise or the danger she's in. She picks up a copy of Fangoria magazine and starts thumbing through it. Blood drips onto the page she's reading, and Deb looks up to see Andy's corpse hanging like a pinata. Before she can do anything beyond a scream, Jason grabs Deb's forehead to pin her down, and plunges his blade into her back and up through her chest. (see what I meant earlier about the similarity???)
Chrissy and Rick get closer to the camp, but apparently the film crew couldn't care less because the movie switches back to Chuck, who has decided to make popcorn on a stove top in CHOLESTEROL-INDUCING, HEART-EXPLODING 2-D!!! Chuck, being the dumb ass that he is, lifts the lid over the popcorn, has it fly up at his(and ours) face, and actually tries to catch it in his mouth. Chili walks in just as the dingle berry puts the lid back. Good save, bro.
Chuck and Chili exchange some banter about orgasms, and the lights all go out. Chili asks Chuck to go out to the shack to check the fuses, and he does so after some grumbling. While he's out there stumbling around in the dark, Chili hears a sound at the door. She finds Shelly there, with his throat badly slashed, but assumes it's another practical joke. He basically dies in front of her, and she never realizes it.
Chuck, meanwhile, has been unwittingly walking barefoot in blood. He uncovers more weird dusty shit in the shack, like dead bats and rusty waffle irons, before getting the lights working again. Bad news for him: Jason is behind him when the lights come back on. Jason throws him at the generator, and poor chuck becomes a chuck roast.
As the lights begin flickering, Chili finally comprehends that something weird is happening. She approaches Shel's corpse to get him up, and discovers that the blood on him is real. Next, Chili goes upstairs to tell Deb and Andy that Shelly died, and Jason uses the distraction to grab a hot fireplace poker to kill her with. She finds the corpses upstairs, rushes to the front door, but the wind blows it open and she freaks out. Chili hurries the other way, and Jason thrusts the poker through her stomach and out of her back. He then picks her body up, Bride of Frankenstein-style, and decides to decorate the cabin for Rick and Chris.
Right on cue, Chris and Rick come back, and they both smell smoke. They try to get the front door open, but something is blocking it. A corpse? Nope, just a chair. The burning smell turns out to be the popcorn. As Chrissy cleans up the kitchen, Rick goes to explore the rest of the house. When he finds the place empty, he and Chris decide to go check out the barn.
Rick goes out first, and Jason grabs him. As they lurk around the corner, Chris exits the cabin, and calls Rick's name several times. When Chris decides to go back inside, Jason squeezes Rick's head until one of his eyeballs pops out in COTTON-PICKIN', FINGER-LICKIN' 2-D!!
We then get treated to the "final character discovers the bodies" segment. Chris heads upstairs, finds the bathroom flooded, and Snake's body nearly hits her while falling out of a tree. Chris runs back to the cabin and we get a funny scene where every door and window keeps flying open because of the windstorm outside. While she's scurrying around trying to close everything, Rick's body gets thrown through one of the windows. While Chris tries to examine Rick's wounds, Jason climbs in through the broken window to come after her.
Chris runs upstairs and topples a bookcase, sending a ton of books raining down on Jason. While he recovers from the awesome power of literature, Chris tries to find a good place to hide. She gets into a closet and finds a dead body to keep her company. Her scream alerts Jason, and he begins trying to break the door down, first with his fists and then with an axe.
Chris stops hyperventilating long enough to grab the knife out of the corpse at her feet. Jason creates a hole in the door large enough to fit his hand through, and Chris stabs it before he can reach the doorknob. That seems to give her more confidence, and she proceeds to go on the offensive, swinging the knife in wide arcs in front of her while Jason is forced to back up. Eventually, one of her slices lands a hit in his leg near the knee, and she uses the moment to try to escape. She breaks a window, but Jason grabs her coat before she can get all the way out, and she hits him with her hands until the coat rips. Jason has no choice... he lets her drop to the ground below.
Outside, Chris watches Jason descend the stairs and make his way to one of the doors to follow her. She runs around the side of the cabin, grabs a massive log, and waits for him to open the door.When he comes out, she delivers a hit with the firewood that sends Jason flying into the porch railing.
While Jason struggles to get up again, Chris jogs to the van. She gets it started, and nearly runs over Jason as he stands in the road trying to stop her. Unfortunately for her, the van runs out of gas on the rickety bridge. Thanks, bikers! Jason is seen limping rapidly toward the van, and it doesn't take long for the killer to catch up and grab Chrissy by the throat through her open window. She struggles to get free, and finally decides to roll up the window, effectively pinning his arms in place. It isn't much, but it gives her the time she needs to exit through the passenger door.
As Chrissy takes off towards the woods again, Jason gets his arms free by head-butting the window. She returns to the barn and uses a spade to keep the double-doors shut. That doesn't give her much time: Jason merely reaches through a crack in the doors and lifts the spade up enough to get the entrance open again. Once inside, he uses the wooden plank that serves as the real barricade to close her in the barn with him. Then he starts hunting her down.
Jason goes through piles of old debris, throwing objects everywhere. He then moves to the stables. When that still doesn't get him anywhere, the camera pans up to show us that Chris is hiding in the rafters, clinging desperately to a narrow beam above Jason's head. As he starts getting royally pissed and tearing the barn apart, Chris swings herself upside down on the beam, and drops down on top of him. Chris runs to the door, but can't lift the beam Jason used to close it quick enough. He grabs his machete and sprints after her. As he swings it, Chris ducks and the machete gets imbedded in the door.
She climbs up to the hayloft and uses a large bale of hay to block the narrow entryway and buy herself some time to come up with a plan. Said plan consists of weilding a shovel and hiding behind more bales of hay. As expected, Jason pushes his way up into the hayloft, and Chris whacks him in the noggin with the shovel. While Jason is unconscious, she wraps a length of rope around his neck and manages to push him out of the hayloft while he starts to wake up.
Poor Jason...His body swings down, and his neck appears to snap. Chris starts to leave the barn, and uses a metal wheel to dislodge the plank of wood enough to get the doors open again. She then comes face-to-hockey mask with Jason, who hoists himself up enough on the rope to give him some slack. Then he lifts the hockey mask to confirm to Chris that it was him that chased her that night she got lost in the woods.(The make-up of his face is never consistent in these things...in most of them, one eye is deformed, but in this one it's his teeth that are the most grotesque feature, along with a pig-like nose. Whatever.)
He jumps down to the ground and snatches up his machete. Prepared to finish killing Chris, Jason raises the weapon over his head, only to be foiled by a still-alive Ali! Jason turns and hacks off Ali's hand at the wrist, then bends over him to continue slashing away. Chris spots an axe nearby and plants it in Jason's forehead when he turns back to her.
Jason reacts to this new development by thrusting his arms out in TWISTED, GOOSE-BUMPING 2-D!! He staggers forward a few steps, before finally falling at her feet. Chris then does the dumbest thing ever(until I watch the next one, anyway), and gets into the cursed canoe that provided the jump-scare in the first movie. Chris kneels by the water to wash some of the blood and dirt off her face, then pushes the canoe into the lake.
The next scene shows her waking up in the canoe. The police have arrived, and Chris relaxes...until she sees Jason in an upstairs window of the house, preparing to come down. She desperately starts to row away, but the undead corpse of Mrs. Voorhees this time appears(head intact, no less...nice lack of continuity!!) and drags her into the water.
We then see a cop who looks kind of like B-movie actor Tim Thomerson arrive on the scene. It's revealed that the previous segment was a dream(DUH!), and the cop escorts her away from the house. The closer they get to his car, the crazier she gets, until his partner has to restrain her in the backseat. The camera creeps over the campsite until it shows Jason's body in the barn with the hatchet still intact. There is a brief shot of the lake, where we see a ripple in the water, then it fades to black. THE END.
Well, that was a pretty involved storyline for a sequel! I liked that it kept me guessing(at one point, I figured maybe Shelly was the killer, given his demented and awkward pranks), and the 3-D was funny as hell in 2-D. But the film kept up the tradition of having a cute female lead, the story added some new twists to Jason's story, and there were some honest-to-goodness surprises along the way. I'd give it 3.5 killer trees out of 5, only because the gimmicky 3-D and slow start prevented it from being rated higher in my view.
So, what did Friday the 13th III teach me?
-A heck of a lot of cute actresses made their way into this franchise!
-The gimmick of 3-D adds NOTHING to a movie (unless piranhas are involved...). Hollywood, take notes!
-Some hockey masks have the magical ability to transform the face of their wearer every time they put them on!
Next week: We bid a fond farewell to Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter. I'm positive that this movie ends the Jason franchise...I mean, Hollywood wouldn't lie to us, would they?