Friday the 13th Part III

FRIDAY-the-13th-3In Friday the 13th Part III, we get three Jason incarnations: The Town That Dreaded Sundown Jason as well as Unmasked and Masked Jason.

However it was the goalie mask version of the Crystal Lake butcher, unveiled for the first time here, that captured the public’s attention, catapulting the character to the very top echelon of horror film iconography.

Part III has a madman-on-the-loose, talky, suspense-filled slow burn as its first half. That’s followed by more camp than a 1000 Crystal Lakes second, complete with an extremely silly biker gang shoehorned in to up the body count.

However it’s the latter part that also features the three things we’ve come to expect from the Friday the 13th series:

  1. The infamous goalie mask, which changed horror, Halloween and pop culture forever.
  2. The upping of the indestructibility ante. The newly masked Jason became (and continues to be) a Timex Jason*: he takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.  Here, a hatchet, shovel, chunk of firewood, knife to the hand and knee, and a hanging prove ineffective.
  3. Galileo may have discovered the mathematical formulation for the Law of Falling Bodies, but in Friday, it’s put into practice with dead victims flopping down onto people trying to get away. How the killer times these just right is anybody’s guess.

*with fewer people wearing a watch these days, this is a dated reference indeed.

Friday the 13th Part III also features all the horror folks we’ve come to know and love vacationing in the woods. There’s the butcher, baker and candlestick maker of horror – here the hotties, the jock, the joker/fatty and the stoner.

Friday-the-13th-Part-III-Jason-VoorheesIndefatigable joker/fatty Shelly – sympathetic if he weren’t such a desperate misogynist – sports a giant Afro mane resembling two Rosses: insult comic and roast-master Jeff and PBS painter Bob.

He’s the one pulling the pranks, donning a wet suit to emerge from the lake after dark and burying a prop hatchet in his own head. And Shelly is the one jump-scaring everyone with a Jacques Plante goalie mask from the early 60s that the killer would later don.

Part III doesn’t quite come together as a cohesive whole. The subtle Hitchcockian suspense of the start is jettisoned in favor of over-the-top kills and silliness. However, a few of these kills are bona fide classics, including the harpoon eye-piercing. And you can’t beat the Manfredini score and the hat-trick that is the Jason mask.

*** (out of 5)


Published by Really Awful Movies

Genre film reviewers covering horror and action films. Books include: Mine's Bigger Than Yours! The 100 Wackiest Action Movies and Death by Umbrella! The 100 Weirdest Horror Movie Weapons.

8 thoughts on “Friday the 13th Part III

  1. Not enough Timex references in horror reviews these days.

    Out of the first 4 (my favorites in the series), this is the least. For me, the best part is Jason setting up his home base in the barn and watching everyone for a while. He’s at his best when he’s stalking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As far as I’m concerned, The Final Chapter (Part 4) is by far the best in the entire franchise, but then again, it was my first and you always remember your first. 😉 Having said that though, I also feel that Part 6 (Jason Lives) is severely underrated. It’s sly, clever and just plain fun.


  3. Not enough Bob/Jeff Ross references either. I always thought Part 3 had all the elements of greatness, but like you said, it just didn’t quite come together. It’s still fun though.

    Liked by 1 person

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