(back of video blurb):
"From the people who brought you "Friday the 13th, Parts 1 and 2" comes the most hair-raising horror yet - PART 3. An idyllic summer turns into a nightmare of unspeakable terror for yet another group of naive counselors (sic). Ignoring Camp Crystal Lake's bloody legacy, one bu one they fall victim to the maniacal Jason who stalks them at every turn...
"Friday the 13th, Part 3" will have you frozen with fear, as Jason finds his way into YOUR living room."
"That should teach you a valuable lesson- a beautiful girl like you shouldn't go out in the dark alone!"
- Shelley justifies his pranking to Vera
Slash with panache?:
(Warning: this review is chock full of spoilers!)
God, I just keep thinking of how much fun it would have been to see this flick in all its glorious 3 dimensions! Sitting there in the dark, surrounded by hundreds of others balancing those flimsy glasses on the end of their noses, dodging illusory harpoons and checking to make sure that flying eyeball didn't really land in their popcorn. Did I get to see this fun-fest as it was meant to be seen? … No, worse luck. I was all of thirteen when this second sequel came out. I was tall for my age but there was no way I was going to be able to creep past the eagle eyed old hag at my local Odeon. For 3D thrills I had to make do with that even hokier sequel AMITYVILLE 3, a year later (which got an adolescent friendly rating), but I'd much rather of swapped seeing Meg Ryan being terrified by a rubber hand puppet for Jason Voorhees strutting his funky stuff over at Crystal Lake. Pah, I've had to put up with a peculiarly washed out VHS tape ever since…
The film kicks off, sensibly enough, recapping the final boffo minutes of the previous sequel where final girl par excellence, Amy Steel, dons Mrs Voorhees' skanky sweater and uses a little bit of pop psychology on everybody's favourite Momma's boy (complete with that Betsy Palmer cameo- yeah!), before grabbing a nearby machete. The only difference here being that, instead of that glass shattering climax (and the all important return of Muffin), we see a new shot of Jason dragging his bloodied torso across his cabin's floor- machete firmly in hand. And then- oh, yes … and then, those opening credits kick in. Now, I can only but wonder how cool it would have been to see those cheesy 3D titles zoom out over the audience's heads, but, even if my video copy is woefully flat, I can at least dig that disco sound! Who would have thought that Harry Manfredini's score would be filling the dance floors?
Cut to Crystal Lake immediately after the slaughter from the last movie. A housewife, her hair in rollers, sits mouth agape as a news reader relays the morbid details of Jason's deadly work from the goggle box (that newscaster is Steve Miner, by the way). Meanwhile her slob of a husband is skulking around their deserted store talking to bunny rabbits and stuffing his face with chocolate donuts. … It's soon pretty clear that although we're not able to enjoy the 3D we're not going to be able to forget that this film was shot that way. Laundry flaps out in a breeze and broom handles' are noticeably poked into the imagined audience. It also becomes clear that what may have passed the audience by and looked pretty convincing to a load of people squinting through cardboard spectacles looks, in some instances, pretty darn fake when seen in 2D flato-vision. Most noticeably a snake that leaps out of a rabbit's hutch- the attached cord couldn't be more obvious if it were a flashing optic fibre! … Anyway, back to the action. Jason (taking stalking hints from a certain someone over in Haddonfield, no doubt), stands around in the couple's flapping laundry, before utilising a knitting needle and a meat cleaver to whittle away yet more of the town's population…
And then, here she is- princess of cheese, Dana Kimell! … She's like the James Dean of bad slasher trash cinema. She may have only made two of them (this and, God help us all, from the same year, SWEET 16), but she left her mark all right. And her appearance here is even more priceless because a few years later she got all born again and blasted her exploitation past, bleating the likes of -"I believe movies should be doing a better job of standing up for good values and morals.", when she deigned to be interviewed by Fangoria about her connection with the FRIDAY movies (check out the SWEET 16 review for my full rant on the subject!). Kimmell is also not too popular with fans of the series after she managed to get the end of this movie changed (for more information you'll have to wait till the end of this rambling review) … Anyway, before I get carried away I better get on with it… Dana plays Chris one of the teenagers who pulls up in a boogie wagon with the rest of her friends (Debbie (Tracey Savage) and her boyfriend Andy (Jeffery Rogers), two suspiciously middle-aged looking stoners, Chuck (David Katims) and Chili (Rachel Howard), and the requisite dorky, prank playing fat kid, Shelley (Larry Zerner)). They've gone to pick up another friend, Vera (Catherine Parks), before they zoom off for a weekend of fun and relaxation at the Chris' childhood home by a certain notorious lake (and we're not talking Lake Michigan here!). When we first see Kimmell she's smiling benignly at a group of kids playing baseball in the street (allowing a 3-D friendly poking the bat into the screen shot, natch), and then magnanimously says to her friends (after chiding them about thinking too much about sex), "I want you to have a good time this weekend. What happened to me by the lake happened a long time ago. I'm fine really- just forget about it…".
The merry gang get on their way after one weak practical joke from Shelley and one weak joke from Miner, where the kids think their vans' on fire as smoke billows out of it only to find it's just the stoners smoking a fat one (Kimmell throws them a disapproving look naturally). More dope smokin' fun as they hit the road and a police car races towards them, everyone panics and attempts to eat the evidence (all bar Debbie (who's pregnant) and Kimmell's Chris who looks down her nose at the offered dope and tuts, "No thanks, I'm driving"), only to find that the cops overtake them on the way to the scene of the film's first double murder. Passing the store Kimmell slows down to a crawl and gawps at the body bags being loaded into the back of the meat wagon, practically leaning horizontally out of the van's window to get a better look.
Next, Kimmell has to stop the van to avoid running over a tramp who's lying across the dirt track in front of the them. Everyone gets out to see if he's OK. He is, he's just been having a somewhat unlikely nap in the centre of the road. One of them goes to help him up, but Andy delicately says, "Don't touch him you don't know where he's been!"- which is probably for the best as the old coot (who's obviously a blood relation of dear old, now sadly departed, Mad Ralph) jumps to his feet brandishing an eyeball, saying, "I found this today- there were other parts of the body…". Coming to their senses the group hightail it back to the van and speed off with the old nutter barking after them, "He wanted me to warn you- look upon this omen and go back from whence thee came- I have warned thee… I have warned thee!". Did they listen to him? Did they heck!