Review Date: October 18, 2000
Released by: Paramount
Release date: 10/17/2000
Region 1, NSTC
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16x9: Yes
The third entry in the popular and lengthy Friday the 13th
franchise has finally made it to DVD from Paramount. Friday the 13th Part 3
was made in 1982 and once again features Jason Voorhees who decides to kill more unsuspecting youths in various creative methods with a versatile selection of edged weapons. Part 3 has some significance in the series since this film was shot in 3D and it is also the film in which Jason gets his notorious hockey mask, which would go on to, be a series trademark.
Picking up right where Friday the 13th Part 2 left off, it would seem that the blow Jason received from Ginny (Amy Steel) was not enough to put ole Jason away for good. Now Jason abandons his makeshift cabin and leaves his mother's head behind in search of new prey in the forests surrounding Crystal Lake. He begins at a local grocery store that is owned by a married couple. Jason makes quick work of the two of them and moves on leaving the police to pick up the pieces. Meanwhile Chris (Dana Kimell) and her friends Debbie (Tracie Savage), Andy (Jeffrey Rogers), Chuck (David Katims), Chili (Rachel Howard), Vera (Catherine Parks) and Shelly (Larry Zerner) are heading up to Chris' parents house in the country for a weekend of fun, relaxation and although they don't know it yet, murder! On their way there they come across a crazed homeless man sleeping in the middle of the road. He shows the group a souvenir he received from one of Jason's latest victims. He warns them to go back whence they came, but if they do that there wouldn't be a movie right? So lets move on...
They soon arrive at the farm and begin to get settled in. Chris meets an old acquaintance, her boyfriend Rick (Paul Kratka). It seems something terrible once happened to Chris around Crystal Lake and she's been afraid to return ever since. But her friend Debbie comforts her by telling her not to worry since nothing is going to happen when they're all together - yeah right. After a couple of misunderstandings between Rick and the rest of the group, Rick decides to take off. Chris asks him not to leave but he wants to anyway. Rick gives in and lets Chris come with him and they leave the others behind at the farm. With all the teens separated Jason begins his hunt and systematically kills off everyone in the usual fashion. Meanwhile as nighttime approaches Chris finally tells Rick what happened to her one night when she was out in the woods. She explains that when Chris returned home late one night after being with Rick, she and her parents got into a huge fight. Angered and upset Chris ran out into the woods in order to punish them for what they did. In the woods she took cover from a rain shower underneath an old tree and was suddenly attacked by a hideous man. During the struggle Chris was knocked unconscious.
She awoke in her bed the next morning surrounded by her parents, but she has no memory of what happened after she blacked out in the woods. Rick and Chris finally decide to return and when they do they find the farm abandoned. They search the house and confirm that nobody's home and Rick suggests he go check outside. In true slasher tradition Jason kills Rick and soon Chris finds herself alone with the machete-wielding maniac. Chris soon discovers the bodies of her friends and must relive her worst fears while trying to survive against an unstoppable foe.
The Friday the 13th
films were some of the first horror films I'd ever seen and they succeeded in exposing me to the genre. Revisiting the films on DVD has been both a joy and a disappointment. On one side it's great to finally see these films as they were shot and not pan & scan hack jobs, but on the other it's clear these films haven't aged very well. The Friday the 13th
films are simply brainless slashers in every sense of the word. They follow the "rules" of that particular style of horror film down to every last detail making them very predictable and at times extremely mundane. Really there isn't much to these films at all except a repeating cycle of "mindless teen gets separated from group, mindless teen meets Jason, and mindless teen gets slaughtered". This cycle repeats as necessary for the films 90-minute duration until the predictable final confrontation between Jason and the last survivor.
If I'd have to pick out a particular batch of Friday the 13th
movies that are a cut above the rest of the series I'd definitely pick parts 1 through 4. After part 5 the series really began to degrade with maybe the exception of part 6 Jason Lives and to a lesser extent part 7 which managed to retain some good qualities. Part 3 is interesting enough because this is where Jason first gets his infamous hockey mask, which became a trademark of the Friday the 13th
series. The film was also shot in 3D so sprinkled throughout the film are shots which were obviously meant to give off the 3-D effect and creep out the audience. Of course on home video this stuff doesn't hold up well but even without the 3-D effect one of the death scenes is still very well done. Of course I'm talking about the harpoon death of Vera; the first scene where Jason emerges decked out in the hockey mask for the first time. I really enjoy that scene and it's one of my favorites in the series.
One of the better aspects of the Friday the 13th
films has always been the big reveal at the end. In almost every Friday film Jason is eventually unmasked and we get to see whatever the make-up artist has concocted. Some are pretty laughable like in part 8, but some are genuinely startling. I'd have to say the make-up of Jason in this film leans more to the startling and was definitely effective in scaring me when I was younger. As for the acting and characters this entry has some pretty lame and unlikable ones. Lets see...we have the two hippies who look a lot older than the rest of the cast and at the same time completely out of place, an oddball loser with a really bad hairdo and a group of bikers; one of which enjoys barking like a dog. Not one of the better casts to say the least, however I do like the heroine played by Dana Kimell. In fact I'd say she's one of the best "damsels in distress" in the whole series and is my personal favorite. Well, Friday the 13th Part 3
isn't going to win any awards for originality and neither will any other entry into the Friday the 13th franchise, but for fans of the series it's one of the better entries.
Paramount presents Friday the 13th Part 3
letterboxed at 2.35:1 in a new 16x9 enhanced transfer. Overall I found the transfer to be very good, but with certain flaws that keep it from an A rating. Hats off to Paramount for doing a new 16x9 transfer, but despite the added resolution the film appears soft in many cases. Scenes taking place in daylight exteriors are the only shots that have a consistent sharp look to them while most of the other shots tend to appear much softer. Colors looked good but occasionally seemed a little subdued as well. The print used for this transfer was in good condition with some noticeable dirt specks and an occasional scratch or two, but other than that the print is nice and clean. Blacks looked good and solid and I didn't note any grain or noise.
It's great to finally see Friday the 13th Part 3
in widescreen. Really there is so much picture information missing in a butchered pan and scan version that I find it hard to believe I've watched it that way so many times in the past. This is the first time I've realized that when Debbie lies on the Hammock she is reading an issue of Fangoria! Or that when she looks up and discovers the body of Andy his insides are hanging out on the left side of the frame. It's films like this that make the case that pan and scan NEEDS to be abolished. It is simply an unacceptable means of viewing films and anyone who openly admits to prefer watching films that way should have their DVD players taken away and replaced with a VCR.
Friday the 13th Part 3
is presented in its original mono sound and as you might have guessed it's pretty weak. With so little happening in this slow and at time plodding film there's little opportunity for a discrete channel mix so I doubt were missing much. Dialogue was clear but like most mono mixes sounds flat and hollow. I didn't hear any distortion in the score or dialogue throughout the presentation. Paramount has also provided a French mono track as well.
For their release of Friday the 13th Part 3
, Paramount has only given us a theatrical trailer, letterboxed at what appears to be 1.66:1. The trailer is 16x9 enhanced. These edited movie only editions of Friday the 13th
films are getting pretty tiring. Why does Paramount continue to release these films with the hack job R ratings? Other studios like New Line Cinema and Universal release "unrated" versions of their films on DVD so why can't Paramount? What makes them so damn special? Where's the footage of Jason beheading Chris in the nightmare scene that was cut out of the film? It's so pathetic that films with twice as much gore and violence have been able to score R ratings yet the Friday the 13th
series seems to be singled out and forced to cut most of its gore.
Well you either love or hate the Friday the 13th
sequels; I don't think there is much middle ground to stand on. Regardless, the Friday the 13th
series has a large fan base and although I wish I could say this DVD is a great edition for fans Paramount's refusal to release unedited versions is an insult to the people who have stood by this series all these years. Those looking for uncut versions of the Friday the 13th
films should keep an eye on the import market as they are bound to be released uncut in other regions one of these days.
Image Quality - B+
Sound - C+
Supplements - C+
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- 14 Chapter Stops
- English/French Dolby Digital Mono