Wednesday, March 4, 2015
The 13 Days of Friday the 13th: Day Three
Another year and another entry in the Friday the 13th series.
Jason Voorhees returns for the third installment in the franchise, bringing director Steve Miner back with him, on another rage-fueled murder spree. Picking up only a day after the events from the second film, Friday the 13th Part III (1982) would prove to be one of the most successful sequels, larger in scope and in execution than its predecessors. While moving the carnage away from Camp Crystal Lake, it otherwise maintained the familiar plot and structure; introducing a new batch of fun-loving twenty-somethings, content to spend a weekend away, smoking copious amounts of dope and enjoying casual, premarital sex.
There's also a random trio of bikers with names like Fox and Loco, and a shopkeeper who talks to rabbits and eats fish food.
Spoilers: They all die.
Miner and company appear to be having a lot more fun this time around. There's an incredible, disco-inspired theme for the opening and closing credits. The group of fodder youths includes a pair of stoners obviously inspired by Cheech & Chong. We have Abel stepping in as the resident eye-wielding doomsayer, replacing the dearly departed Crazy Ralph. There are gratuitous scenes of fruit juggling and yo-yos, because, yes, Part III was shot in and intended to be viewed in 3-D.
It's sorta' a mess, absolutely, but it's an enjoyable mess.
Oh, and about midway through, nearly two and a half films in, we finally get the iconic version of Jason, once he's introduced to his hockey mask thanks to perennial loser and overweight prankster, Shelly (Larry Zerner). I doubt Miner or anyone else involved realized that the simple prop mask would eventually become an instantly recognizable pop culture image in the years that followed. As closely associated with the franchise, with the entire horror genre, as anything else in the series' decades-long history.
Three down, with nine left to go, I'm still feeling good about this undertaking. I was initially concerned that, without nostalgia playing a real role, I wouldn't find much appeal to the earlier entries in the series, but that's hardly the case. I've actually enjoyed each film a little more than the one before, and heading into Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), I know my luck will hold out for just a bit longer.
Tomorrow introduces Tommy Jarvis after all.