Horror history was made this day as unsuspecting audiences applauded the vicious return of Jason Voorhees who hacked and slashed his way back to the big screen and expediently changed the face of the slasher genre (again) forever.
Originally Friday the 13th: Part 3 was going to follow previous Friday survivor Ginny (Amy Steel) into a mental institution as she struggled to cope with her traumatic experiences back at Crystal Lake. Ginny would be Jason’s primary focus of revenge and heads would roll if anyone dared get in his menacing way.
Personally, I’m glad this isn’t the route they chose for the third entry. Already we have a good clutter of sequels set in either hospitals or mental wards. The minds behind Friday the 13th knew what worked. Keeping it simple has always been the proven approach to success for the Friday movies.
Still, there was buzz around the studio saying that the budding franchise needed a little more ‘something’ to help keep the new movie fresh and appealing to audiences. Even though a script had been turned in, the studio felt the film could use a little more sinister and menacing touch (thank goodness!).
Director Steve Miner also felt the movie would greatly benefit from the revival of an old gimmick. So when it came time to travel back to Camp Blood for the third installment of the infinitely celebrated Friday the 13th series, Jason found himself against one of his greatest challenges to date, a challenge that has often proven to be a certain and ugly defeat for many growing franchises – the dreaded (or to some audiences the highly-praised) 3D gimmick.
It proved to be an immediate success which launched a brave new interest in what other horror films could pull off the third dimension. So if Jaws-3D is your thing you, can thank Jason for that.
Friday the 13th: Part 3 may have taken a risk by exploring gimmicks, but – and perhaps entirely by happy accident – it clearly demonstrates just how inescapable Jason truly is. This time played by Richard Brooker, the character is portrayed as cunning as he is lethal, like an inhuman force that only a very lucky few have ever escaped from.
According to Brooker, the direction he was given was: “Jason is like the shark in Jaws. He doesn’t have any motivation.” A sentiment the actor strongly disagreed with. In Crystal Lake Memories Brooker has stated, “If you’re playing a role like that, the way you move and your body reactions can create a certain kind of character, which I think, hopefully, Jason in Part 3 is.”
Part 3 may not be commonly praised as a favorite among most fans, but this movie is far more than just a mere stepping stone bridging two superior movies. That’s because Jason 3-D is in no way inferior to any other installment in this legendary franchise. As fans, we owe our gratitude to Part 3 if for not but one single contribution the movie added to the series as a whole.
The iconic hockey mask. The face of horror would never be the same.
As soon as Jason puts it on, we are somehow held captive by the enormity of what is developing before us. We may not have known it at the time, but it was then that a legend was born among us. We were but midwives to the event.
People who have never even watched a single movie in the Friday franchise will tell you, “Oh Jason? He’s the guy in the hockey mask.” It’s just stabbed into our collective consciousness.
The movie turns 35 today. No better time to out on a pair of bloody 3D glasses and re-watch the makings of a legend.