Horror-A-Thon: Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Friday the 13th Part III is my favorite in the series. I’m honestly not sure why, and if you asked me to put a finger on it I’d probably point to it being the film that truly establishes Jason. It sees him donning the hockey mask for the first time, thus creating an iconic movie maniac image that transcends genre and even film. Even my mom knows who Jason is and she’s not watched these movies.

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Part III was originally released in 3D and there are lots of camera angles in the film that take advantage of this. To the viewer watching at home it’s going to seem odd, but it always made the movie feel more interactive to me…like Jason was attacking ME. Something else that I love about this film is that it still has that early 80’s grit to it. The feel of the classic 70’s horror films hadn’t quite transitioned over into the glossy 1980’s yet and it adds a sense of foreboding that the later films in the franchise just don’t have.

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Originally intended to close out the Friday the 13th series as a trilogy, Part III kills off Jason and doesn’t have a jump scare or any indication that the killer could still be alive. What happened? Money talks, that’s what. Friday the 13th Part III unseated E.T. at the top of the box office and ended up being the #2 grossing film of the year behind Poltergeist.

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The plot of co-eds hunted down at a house on Crystal Lake may seem eye-rolling at this point, but Friday the 13th Part III set the bar. It not only spawned imitators in its own franchise but also influenced countless other films to use the same plot with their own crazed killers. It’s by no means high brow, but this film, along with the first two Fridays, are of a different caliber as far as quality goes. It’s always one that I come back to.

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