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Old 03-04-2009, 03:34 AM
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Scored: 7
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Friday the 13th, Part 3D: Deluxe Edition





Reviewer: Rhett
Review Date: March 3, 2009

Released by: Paramount
Release date: 2/3/2009
MSRP: $16.99
Region 1, NTSC
Progressive Scan
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16x9: Yes
1982



In 1981, the year Friday the 13th, Part II came out, sequels nearly unprecedented, especially for Hollywood. The seventies had essentially done a bang up job at destroying any old regimes that could rely on familiar characters or franchises. Everything had to be new and different. Even Hammer, who had relied on all its iterations of Dracula and Frankenstein throughout the fifties and sixties, found themselves branching out into unfamiliar territory as the seventies and then eighties rolled around. So for a cheap little cash in on Halloween to get a sequel, that was big. For there to be a third film, though? Unheard of. Star Wars didnít even have a trilogy at that point. With the invariable faux pas of a third film, Paramount decided that the only way it would be successful would be with a gimmick. So paving the way for Amityville 3-D and Jaws 3D came what many fans cite as their favorite, the hockey mask birthing Friday the 13th, Part 3D.


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Being the only film shot in the 2.35:1 scope aspect ratio to better enhance the 3D effect in theaters, Friday 3 has always had a rough run on video. The VHS releases were horribly cropped, often missing characters and deaths tucked on opposite corners of the frame. When the DVD came out in 2000, it finally allowed all those panoramic compositions to be admired for their surprisingly detailed mise en scene. But still, it wasnít the way it was meant to be seen. This is a 3D movie, and there is never a second that the blocking, framing and action isnít exploiting that conceit. So to watch it in 2D is to be the sober guy at a frat party. Thankfully now, though, with the special edition re-releases of the first two films, the third is also following in the much requested, and finally complete, 3D cut. Throw on your glasses and get ready, because now no screen can imprison Jason any longer.


The Story

Friday the 13th Part 3 begins with a pretty fitting allusion to the feral/civilized complex that has always made Jason such an interesting character. It begins at a grocery store seemingly in the middle of nowhere, where the owner picks out his pet rabbit from the produce section. Following that, thereís a big jump scare with his caged snake jumping out at the camera. Both these wild animals forced into domestication sort of speak out at the dichotomy Jason as a tragic hero seems stuck between. Loved early as a regular boy but grown up as a beast in the wild, heís as much an animal as Tarzan. Thatís about all the subtext youíre likely to get here, though, evident when a full scene seems intent solely on the ownerís wife adjusting the TV antenna into the screen for added effect in the third dimension. The owner dies in the crapper, and the woman dies by knitting needle Ė how is that for reinforcing gender stereotypes? Come on, Jason, your mom was so much more than just a housewife.


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So after that lengthy prelude, we descend into Friday formula proper. Itís a day or so after the murders in the second film, so logically we can let this next batch of cabin dwellers off the hook. A few things have changed since the first two films, though. No longer are they camp counselors, and no longer are they in Crystal Lake. Theyíre now at Higgins Haven, which is apparently only a few miles away from Crystal Lake, but if vegetation is any indication, itís about the distance from New Jersey to California. Gone are those dense, multi-colored forests and in are Hollywood backlots. Hey, Jason was bound to sell out sooner or later, right?


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As far as story goes, Chris (Sweet Sixteenís sleuth, Dana Kimmell) brought a van of wingmen and women to help her rekindle a relationship with old flame Rick (Paul Kratka). A few years prior they had a fling, but it was cut short when some maskless mongoloid (you guessed it) tried to violate her in the woods. Could it be, Jason in love? Heís back once more after, if we are to make any sense of the attempted story continuity here, taking a pit stop across the pond to off the counselors from Part 2. Determined not to blow his second date with Chris, he seeks out to improve his appearance. Lucky for him, chubby goofball Shelly (Larry Zerner) just happens to have a hockey mask packed in with all his gag props (nobody seems to have any luggage, but Shellyís got fake knives, blood, masks and a harpoon gun, go figure). Jason takes the mask, and before getting to his main coup, does off with a couple pot smokers who, despite being visibly at least 10 years older than these teens, somehow have tagged along for the ride. There are also lovebirds Debbie (Tracie Savage) and Andy (Jeffrey Rogers) to plow through, who manage to do a few series notables, like make love in a hammock, read Fangoria and walk on their hands before finally getting cut in half. Rickís about to have an eye-popping experience, and Vera (Catherine Parks) is about to learn how Orca felt when she was harpooned by Richard Harris. Itís she with the androgynous name, Chris, who must face off (mask off?) with Jason, but as Rob Zombie taught us with Halloween Ė love hurts, and in the third dimension it really stings.


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Iím of two minds about Friday the 13th, Part 3D. On one hand, it seems a trifle Ė a side-story, really to the true legacy of Jason Voorhees. It doesnít happen at Crystal Lake, that whole flashback attack scene in the woods breaks all continuity both with the series and Jason as a character, and plot wise, it doesnít really add anything of note to the series mythology. Had he not got his mask in this film, which despite its significance with his iconography today, is really arbitrary and without motive, Jason would really have nothing of note to carry over to the next film. The first, naturally, introduces him as a boy and sets up his grudge, and Part 2 shows him as an adult and really works in the mother complex. In The Final Chapter we have Feldman directly addressing Jasonís childhood trauma, a hiker out for revenge from a past murder, and ultimately his death. Even if A New Beginning didnít even have Jason, it still fleshed out the Tommy Jarvis character as an offset of Jason himself. Jason Lives developed it further and kept with continuity by bringing Jason back from the grave and then putting him back in the lake where he belonged. So on and so forth. Each film depends on the other both for continuity and for the filling out of the Jason Voorhees story. Delete Part 3 from the canon, and really, all you are missing is a mask. Thatís it.


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In many ways, itís as if the gimmick of waving objects in front of the screen took precedence over any sort of story. Steve Miner returns after directing Part 2 to perfection, but really brings nothing new but another dimension. Even the ending is a total rehash of the previous two films, making the proceedings seem even less relevant than they already were by the time the credits roll. At this point you canít really add more to the Jason mythos Ė heís been established too long for any sort of change to keep any ground. But in 1982 Jason was only in his second film as a star, and opportunities were ripe to really develop his character. Instead of making him as a subject a fully three dimensional character, they opted instead to do so with the film. From that point on, Jason was what he was, and the other films were sort of locked into trying to build backstory onto an underdeveloped foundation. Itís for that reason, and maybe because of all the weird subplots with the pot smokers, bikers and grocery store owners, that I often hold the third film in contempt.

Thatís one side. The other part of me really takes to the characters, fun and overall presentation of the film. This movie gave us Shelly, one of horrorís most lovable doofuses, Rick, whose ďbut this is the sweat of a worker on my forehead, not a loverĒ line deserves retroactive inclusion in any book by Karl Marx, Chris, the best looking and best screaming Final Girl of the bunch, and a whole cast of entertaining victims. Nothing against Crispin Glover, Corey Feldman, John Furey or Amy Steel, but the whole cast of campers in Part 3 is without a doubt the best of the series. They donít have a story to latch on to, but each one is developed with a great deal of humor and even, dare I say it, depth. I love those guys.


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Technically, too, the movie is in another league compared to the other films in the series. The scope cinematography, storyboarded compositions and elaborate angles and crane moves all add for what could almost be dubbed epic storytelling. While the first two films have a definitely ďfrom the ground upĒ camp quality that works wonderfully, the attention to detail visually in this film is something to really be appreciated. Every inch of the frame is being utilized in some manner, whether itís to provide foreground or background to the three dimensional compositions, or more interestingly, to hide Jason in the corners of the frame that just couldnít be done in 1.85:1. It may not be in the preferred, recognizable east coast wilderness that gave the first two films such character, but as a beast all its own, Friday the 13th Part 3D looks really great.


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What the film doesnít deliver in story or relevance, it at least delivers in kills. There are some great visual gags here, from the out of the screen needle and eye deaths to the handstand splitter. The deaths have great variety, but the key here is that they evolve out of a natural environment. Too many times in some of the sequels Jason was grabbing at obscure objects just because. The horn in The New Blood, the guitar in Jason Takes Manhattan and even the beloved corkscrew in The Final Chapter. Here, the objects all feel fitting as murder weapons, and the way Jason pulls each one out of context adds to the ďanything goesĒ persona he takes when punishing victims. The damage thatís done to him, from the axe to the face or the rope hanging, are also some notable bits of backlash from the Final Girl and again bits that come naturally from the environment around them.

Okay, so they didnít think much about the story surrounding Jason. Itís a pretty fault-worthy flaw. That said, though, the filmmakers here really put a lot of effort into most other things in the film, from characterization to cinematography, framing to fatalities. Iíll never be able to appreciate the film as anything but a side-quest in the overall arc of Jason Voorhees, but Iíd be lying if I said it wasnít one fun frolic in the forest. But seriouslyÖHiggins Haven?


Image Quality

Both 2D and 3D versions of the film were included on this new Deluxe Edition. Both are progressive and in the proper 2.35:1 widescreen ratio enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Since we already have a DVD transfer of the 2D version of the film as a point of reference, letís first compare the 2D versions. Like with the new transfer for Part 2, this new version has considerably better color detail. Again, itís as if the color timer just simply turned on a light when looking at the old footage. Every scene has considerably richer color retention compared to the previous version, where often colors were muted by the dark nature of the transfer. The picture has been brightened, but still retains a strong level of contrast, which is afforded by the improvement of telecine techniques from 2000 to today. The only problem is that because there is so much more detail readily on display, the grain and blemishes make themselves more apparent on this new transfer. Still, a small trade off for a big improvement in quality.


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Because there were issues with framing on the Friday the 13th DVD and Blu-ray, itís worth commenting on the framing of this one as well. Thankfully, the framing hasnít changed much at all, other than a very slight shift to the left of the frame. The picture is displaced about 1% from the previous disc, but that certain falls within the margin of error. There is no zooming present. Also of note, it has commonly been said that sharpness suffers in 3D movies because the two different images are overlaid on top of each other for the 2D mix. This release can definitely confirm that that most definitely is not the case, and that for the 2D mix the right camera of the two camera process is used entirely for the print. When objects get too close to the screen there is just so much displacement that there is no way the two separate frames could ever line up. So keep in mind that every image on screen is probably a bit further left than what was ultimately intended, but itís nothing a little shift in your seat couldnít compensate for, right?


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Okay, so on to the 3D. Two sets of glasses are included so you can force your significant other to take in the nostalgia with you beyond his or her will. There shouldnít have to be too much coaxing once the 3D effects start up though, because as a whole the red-green anaglyph process actually works quite well on this cleaned up DVD. Ensure there is a good distance from the monitor, especially if itís being shown on a big screen. With that done, the 3D effects should be fast and furious throughout, and for the most part successful. Many of the ďhold shit up in front of the cameraĒ gags, which always looked the most 3D conducive on 2D prints, end up looking the worst, since the 3D effect just isnít there. This is sometimes due to focus issues, and others because the movement so close to the camera displaces the two separate frames by a margin great enough that they cannot be put back together in the mind. The scenes that work best are often just the ones that are played straight, like the bits inside the house where the spiral staircase really adds depth to the room, or when my main man Rick is producing all the proletarian sweat when lifting up the hay bales in the barn. The 3D kills that again donít go too close to the foreground, like Jasonís knitting needle puncture, look really great. While the effect is definitely not as good as the newer 3D evident in movies like the My Bloody Valentine remake, for a movie from 1982, the effect still surprisingly holds up.

It should be noted that the 3D effect is hampered at times when print blemishes show up on screen Ė small blotches of black that immediately suggest the artificiality of the effect. They are fairly few and far between though, so otherwise Higgins Haven should be a 3D realm of fear.


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The only snafu on the 3D print, and itís a huge missed opportunity for Paramount, is the fact that the opening credits, which first memorably burst out of Mrs. Voorheesí eyes and then continue to shoot off the screen at varying degrees, are sadly on 2D. If any part of the movie was going to have a convincing three dimensional effect, it would be that. There is a disclaimer at the start of the film from the theatrical print itself saying the first few minutes will only be in 2D, but that should only be in reference to the opening footage culled together from the first two films. Bootleg copies of the film have the credits in full 3D, so why, then, are they not 3D here? Itís only a couple minutes from a 95-minute film, but still, it is an error that if addressed here now can hopefully be rectified by the time the Blu-ray makes its debut here in Region 1.


Sound

Like the previous two Deluxe Editions, this one includes a nicely minted Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track in addition to the original mono mix. I really like Harry Manfrediniís music this time around Ė you can tell he really composed it to go with the action on screen. There is a great bit that comes through lovely on this new mix where Chris is swinging a machete at Jason, and with each swing thereís a resulting orchestral sting. Then when she finally stabs his leg thereís one big musical blast. It again goes with that attention to detail the rest of the film has, and thankfully Paramount put detail into this transfer, too, really bringing out the score once more in the surround tracks. The overall space of each scene is fuller as a result, but there arenít any real discreet directional effects. Yet another fine audio mix for a deserving flick.

Supplemental Material

inline ImageRemember that great cast commentary from the From Crystal Lake to Manhattan box set? Paramount sure didnít. Other than the trailer, there are no extras on this release. Considering most of the actors have made themselves available for previous extras (like the commentary), conventions and interviews, Paramount dropped the ball big time in not getting any of them to partake in the DVD. This film had the best group dynamic of any of the films, and not highlighting the actors (especially since Steve Miner seems to never want to talk about these movies, ever) certainly makes this disc feel far less deluxe than it should. Whatís worse, there was already some great on-screen interviews with Larry Zerner on the previous box set that should have been put here on this disc. The recent His Name Was Jason documentary rubs salt on the wound, since there are some awesome extras devoted entirely to the film, including a mock commercial with Zerner in character as Shelly and better yet, a return to all the locations used in the film with head biker Gloria Charles. Even the makeup guys recently spoke up on the Faces of Death Blu-ray, so thereís just no excuse. Paramount put a lot of effort into getting extras for the first film, and considering the sequels are often held in even higher regard they should be treating them with the same courtesy. The non-3D credits hurt, but this one cuts deep.


Final Thoughts


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Being able to finally see the film in an overall effective 3D presentation opens up multiple layers to a previously flat frame. That said, the film itself exists on multiple layers, too. On one, itís a silly trifle that ignores the Jason mythology just when it should have been getting the most interesting, instead infusing it with silly sub-plots, a poor change of scenery and a derivative finale. On the other, though, itís a fun slasher exercise with some amusing kills, some great scope cinematography and the best cast of campers in the entire canon. The 2D transfer is a big improvement over the previous DVD, and the 3D would get top marks too were it not for the fact that the opening credits is mistakenly not in 3D. The big problem with the disc isnít that oversight, though, itís the total lack of extras. Other companies were able to make Part 3 extras, hell, even Paramount made some for their box set. Not including them here on what is supposed to be a ďDeluxe EditionĒ has as many holes in logic as Jasonís mask. If youíve gotta have it, then you shouldnít be disappointed with this release, but all others are urged to wait for the Blu-ray in hopes Paramount will add some extras and fix the 3D.

Rating

.
Movie - B

Image Quality - B+

Sound - A-

Supplements - D




Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Running time - 1 hour and 35 minutes
  • Unrated
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • English mono
  • French mono
  • Spanish mono
  • English subtitles
  • French subtitles
  • Portuguese subtitles
  • Spanish subtitles

Supplements
  • 2D & 3D versions of the film
  • Theatrical trailer
Other Pictures

 

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Old 03-05-2009, 08:38 PM
Oddly enough, I had that LP. It sat between my Kiss "Love Gun" and Ozzy "Bark at the Moon" records. Wonder what that would be worth these days...
 
 
Old 03-06-2009, 12:12 AM
Moderator
Thanks for that update on the score, interesting stuff. If it wasn't Manfredini who did it, then at least SOMEONE did a fine job of making all their cues match the action. Nora Roberts doesn't write those 5 novels a year of hers that get published, but she still gets credit anyway, so why can't good ol' Harry?
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:47 AM
Rhett,

Big thanks for replying to my private message, and I just shot ya on over anotehr one.

Right now, in the process of a move, both of my fine copies of Crystal Lake Memories are in larged, marked with a gel pen boxes, though I believe (though please do not quote me on it) Michael Zager, who did the infamous 'haunted disco' opening and closing theme, helped tidy up most of the middle section reels that Harry chould not get to because of his orchastrating broadway scheduale.

Again, your welcome, and I'm just glad to help out. Truely ...
 
 
Old 03-11-2009, 03:09 PM
Horny Spirit
Waiting for blu-ray box set. I'm looking forward to the rumored extras on the later films in the series, too.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:36 AM
Stalker
Having recently double-dipped from the deluxe dvd to the region 1 blu ray, I must say I was happy with not only the noticeably improved 3-D effects in HD, but actually having some extras to go with it! Despite the fact that I'm still sitting to close to my 46" plasma set (as a result of my temporary living situation) I could still notice the "pop" of the 3-D.
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