Friday the 13th Part III

“‘Oh shit’ is right! Let’s get out of here!”

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III, a.k.a. FRIDAY THE 13TH 3-D, picks up near the end of part II. It replays much of the climax, but at the part where he seems to be dead (before the whole thing where he comes back with no mask on) he sits back up and suddenly THE MOVIE BECOMES THREE-DIMENSIONAL! At least if you’re seeing it in 3D, which is how I fortunately got to see it on two occasions at all-night horror marathons in the ‘90s and early 2000s. (Man do I wish I had the equipment now that that version is available on blu-ray.)

In the tradition of the first two, the opening titles are what are known in the parlance of our times as “absolute bangers.” The logo looks really cool flat, and even better in the proper format, where it emerges from the screen at you. But the excellent graphic design almost doesn’t matter because the topper here is the synthy-disco-ish theme song, honestly one of the most badass horror themes of all time, at least if you like them danceable (which I absolutely do). It’s credited to “Hot Ice,” but it’s Harry Manfredini with Michael Zager, a producer who worked with The Spinners, among others.

Steve Miner returned as director, but with new screenwriters – the husband and wife team of Martin Kitrosser (writer/director of SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 5: THE TOYMAKER) & Carol Watson (MEATBALLS PART II), with an uncredited rewrite by Petru Popescu (Peter Weir’s THE LAST WAVE – no shit). And they got a new Jason (Richard Brooker, DEATHSTALKER) and new makeup crew headed by Doug White (THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER, C.H.U.D. II, DESPERADO), who gave Jason a new look. It’s the next day and the hair’s completely gone, so I guess we gotta infer he stopped somewhere to shave himself bald.

Crystal Lake has also changed, since for the third time they moved the filming to a different state. The opening was shot in New Jersey, but the rest in California. The credits shout out Veluzat Movie Ranch, Saugas, California. From what I can gather, they filmed the main cabin scenes there. Other movies filmed partly on the ranch include HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES and LAST MAN STANDING.

I swear to you I never realized until just now that there’s a shower head on this poster. I thought he was just behind a curtain for some reason.

I like slasher sequels that start the next morning. This also worked well in HALLOWEEN II and HALLOWEEN REMAKE II. We’re with Harold (Steve Susskind, A GNOME NAMED GNORM) and Edna (Cheri Maugans, Archie Bunker’s Place), the eccentric proprietors of a train-themed produce market, as news about the events of part II – the “most brutal and heinous crime in local history,” which is saying alot in Crystal Lake! – hits the news. But of course it’s just background noise to them. They don’t know it’s important because they don’t know they’re in a horror movie.

I like this slasher tradition of a character who’s clearly not going to last long, but we spend a little time with them being themselves. We see that when alone in the store Harold does things like nibble on his own products, taste fish food, swig from the whiskey bottle he hides next to the john, and talk to one of his large pet rabbits. So this poor guy and his wife are doomed, but we get to kinda like them in that short time because they’re goofballs.

I have a very important theory to present here. I don’t know if anyone has hit on this before, but I definitely hadn’t until now. Harold notices his rabbit acting strange and asks what she’s “so nervous about, huh?” It could be because there’s literally a snake in the barn (we find that out in a bit), or because one of the other rabbits has been killed (either by the snake or by Jason). But it could also be that Jason is nearby and about to attack.

A little later we see a different rabbit dead on the road. Maybe it’s just for scenery, like the dead armadillo in THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. But this guy is not roadkill. Doesn’t it seem like Jason is supposed to have killed him? What I am proposing is that rabbits can sense Jason, and Jason knows it. They’re like dogs to Terminators. If he doesn’t want people to see him coming, he has to kill all the rabbits in the area. And if so that means the best way to be safe from Jason is to carry a rabbit around in a cage, like Jean-Claude Van Damme in THE SHEPHERD: BORDER PATROL. Think about it.

Anyway, that opening gives us some kills and gets Jason a new outfit, but the movie proper begins as young Chris (Dana Kimmell, SWEET SIXTEEN, LONE WOLF McQUADE) heads to her family’s cabin (apparently called “Higgins Haven”) with friends Debbie (Tracie Savage, later a news anchor in Dayton and L.A.), Andy (Jeffrey Rogers, SURF II), Shelly (Larry Zerner, now an entertainment lawyer representing many horror fans who want to know Shelly), Vera (Catherine Parks, WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S), Chuck (David Katims, “Man in Parking Structure,” THE FIRST POWER) and Chili (Rachel Howard, DEEP SPACE), and they’re meeting up with Chris’ boyfriend Rick (Paul Kratka).

The thing we know about Chris is that she’s been away from the cabin for two years while trying to deal with something traumatic that happened there: “What happened to me at the lake happened a long time ago.” Debbie’s thing is that she’s newly pregnant, Andy is her boyfriend, Shelly is an awkward nerd with low self esteem who considers himself an actor and juggler and likes to do pranks even though they only annoy and anger everybody, Vera has been set up as a blind date for Shelly which is very uncool, and Chuck and Chili are stoners who love marijuana more than most people love anything. There’s a joke about how cop cars are coming up behind them so they all decide they have to eat their pot to hide the evidence, but then the cars zoom past them. Ha ha, but the nice touch is that those cars are reporting to the scene of the opening murders. Simultaneously funny and ominous.

Vera has to defy her mother, who doesn’t want her to go. Unlike the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series, where the parents are often wrong and the threat is in fact caused by their past choices, this is someone who would not have been killed if she had listened to Mom.

In the absence of dear departed Crazy Ralph there is a new doomsayer named Abel (David Wiley, SOCIETY), a mentally ill and religiously obsessed homeless man who the kids meet because he’s passed out in the road and they have to wake him up to get him to move out of their way. He starts babbling about someone who we must assume is Jason, and says, “He wanted me to have this,” showing them an eyeball he found! I’m not sure who’s eyeball it is. Abel never gets killed by Jason as far as we see. Good for him.

As always, the young people do their young people stuff, including skinny-dipping.

I love what Minder does with the barn next to the cabin. There’s a pulley for lifting up hay bales that some characters play around with, lifting each other. Miner really messes with us, knowing we’re waiting for a scare, knowing we’ll think any character being lifted outside of the frame is gonna be a dead body by the time they get to the top. But really he’s getting us tense while establishing the geography and potential weaponry for a much later scene. Unnecessary, but appreciated.

Shelly and Vera start to hit it off a little more in a goofy-ass scene where they go to a convenience store and get into a vehicle altercation with three bikers named Ali (Nick Savage, “Bouncer #1,” FRIGHT NIGHT), Loco (Kevin O’Brien, WARLOCK) and Fox (Gloria Charles, BREWSTER’S MILLIONS). The bikers follow them back to the ol’ Haven because “Hey, we gotta even the score.” Their payback includes siphoning the gas out of the van (oh shit, this is gonna come up again later – in fact, at the same time as a rickety bridge established in another scene comes up again) and burning down the barn (except Jason is in there and he gets them).

I’m of two minds about these biker characters. On the negative side, I think they mark the shift in the series from characters who are pretty natural, relatable people to cartoonish stereotypes. On the positive side, I like these particular cartoonish stereotypes and they are a fun addition to Crystal Lake. And then back on the negative side if you’re gonna have them they should team up with the others against Jason, they shouldn’t just be bad guys. It’s exciting when Ali turns out to still be alive, but then Jason immediately finishes the job.

The makeup director this time is Douglas J. White (CANDYMAN: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH), and (as is tradition) the gore and the lead up to it are well executed. In a sign of the growing popularity of the genre, one victim’s blood is seen dripping onto an issue of Fangoria. But there’s alot of the types of things that will quickly become old hat in these movies: in the shower, talking about beer to the boyfriend you don’t realize has already been killed; “I don’t know what kind of game you guys are playing, but I don’t like it!”; that questionable idea that if someone is thrown against a fusebox they will be electrocuted.

Of course this one’s claim to fame is that it introduced the accidentally iconic hockey mask. But they clearly weren’t thinking “We’re gonna make a bunch more of these and for now on this is what he wears!” It was random both in the movie and behind the scenes. In the movie Shelly has the mask and wears it for a fake scare (but how was it scary before it became associated with Jason?) and then Jason finds it and puts it on. Behind the scenes, 3-D supervisor Martin Sadoff (visual effects supervisor of MIRACLE MILE, director of the Evel Knievel documentary THE LAST OF THE GLADIATORS) happened to have a goalie mask because he was a Red Wings fan. They realized it was a cool idea but the real mask looked goofily small on Jason, so White made an enlarged version and added the holes and triangles. That’s why actual hockey masks never look quite like Jason’s hockey mask. He only wears bespoke.

Anyway, yeah, Jason putting on the mask is important to cinematic history, but we all know the coolest thing about that scene is him shooting the fucking spear gun! The way he tilts his head and the weird way that thing arcs at the camera – especially if you’ve seen it in 3D. One of the best shots in the whole series.

There are other good scares. I absolutely love the part where Chris comes out the door looking for Rick and doesn’t see what we see: he’s right around the corner, Jason holding him, hand over his mouth. Jason ends up crushing Rick’s skull with his bare hands, causing an eyeball to pop out. This was always my favorite part because it’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen in 3D, but also it’s just so wonderful that Jason has super strength.

Also scary: Jason just hurling Rick’s body through the window like a threatening note tied to a brick. It serves to terrorize his prey and also to create an entry, which he then uses. In my opinion Chris is not as memorable as Alice or Ginny, but god damn, she pulls a knife out of Debbie’s body to use on Jason! And she hits him over the head with a shovel and hangs him from the pulley in the barn. She’s a badass. Respect.

There’s one aspect of this movie that seems very strange in retrospect, since they thankfully never did anything else like it in subsequent sequels. Chris eventually explains to Rick the horrible thing that happened to her here two years ago. It turns out she went out on a date with him, against her parents’ commands, had a great time. When she got home her mom slapped her, and she was so mad she stormed out and hid in the woods, where a strange man attacked her and she blacked out. It was of course Jason, as we see in flashbacks, and though it’s not explicitly said that he raped her or intended to rape her, it is certainly implied by the way he grabs and drags her, completely unlike the killing machine Jason we’re familiar with.

On the timeline I guess this flashback scene would’ve been after he killed Alice in her apartment, but before the rest of the events of part II. Why would his m.o. have changed so much since then? I don’t know, but I’m glad it did. I know murder is terrible, but I think most of us agree that, sensible or not, murder can be fun in movies while sexual assault just can’t. That doesn’t mean it can’t be depicted in movies, including horror movies, but that’s definitely not the type of horror I want from Jason.

I’m not trying to dredge up Jason’s past and get him cancelled, but this scene happened and there’s an admission of guilt: when he attacks her in the present he pulls up his mask to make sure she remembers he’s the weird fucked up guy from the woods two years ago! What the fuck, man. So I think it’s unfair how often people claim that Freddy Krueger is a child molester, something that is not indicated in the movies (remake doesn’t count as a movie), but they completely gloss over Jason’s past here.

Anyway, it’s fucked up, and it makes it so terrible that right after we hear this story there’s a part where Shelly tells Vera, “A beautiful girl like you should never go out in the dark alone, ha ha ha.” She rightfully scolds him for that bullshit.

The end of the movie is a variation on the end of part I. I like that. She hides in a canoe and falls asleep in it and has a terrifying dream about maskless Jason running at her. When she apparently wakes up, instead of little boy Jason coming out of the water to grab her it’s a maggoty, decomposing Pamela Voorhees corpse. That would be cool if in the next sequel it turned out she never was beheaded and has been living in the woods.

Another thing about this scene is she gets frightened when the canoe bumps into a big knotty log. And I know this is not the intent, but it looks like the log that they had to move out of the road when they were driving into town. I wish it was the same log. I don’t know what that would mean, but I know I would enjoy puzzling over it.

I would also like to point out that Chris is another one who gets away. She’s giggling like TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE’s Sally as they drive her off in the police car, but we can hope she recovered, and not by trying to come back again.

I never realized it before, but I have decided on this viewing that this is my favorite portrayal of Jason. I was always partial to the bag head in part II, but I just think the way Richard Brooker (stunt coordinator and “Oghris” in DEATHSTALKER) looks is the best. He has broad, sort of hunched shoulders, but a narrow waist, so he’s intimidating without the beefiness of later Jasons. Weirder and more crooked looking. I like the makeup of his head and ears behind the mask, which looks deformed, but not as exaggerated as most other versions. And then whenever we see his face it unleashes a manic energy in him. He seems to be smiling at how horrified you are by his face.

Seeing this movie in 3D with an audience was an absolute blast – that’s the best way to see a slasher movie anyway, and it’s powerfully enhanced by Miner’s fervor for “comin’ at ya” shots. Tell me if I missed any, but here’s a list: sheets on a clothesline blowing in the wind, Harold holding a wooden pole pointed right at the camera, Edna adjusting the TV antenna, a snake striking, a rat walking on a plank toward the camera (weirdly that also happens in the 3D western COMIN’ AT YA!), a kid’s baseball bat, a joint being passed (obviously a huge crowdpleaser), Abel holding out the eyeball Jason gave him, a hay bale swinging on the rope pulley, Ali’s chain-covered fist punching through the car window, a yoyo, Fox swinging on the rope, a pitchfork stabbed at the camera, the handle of the same pitchfork pointing at the camera, the firing of the harpoon gun, popcorn popping out of a pan, a hot fire poker, Rick’s left eye popping out (possibly the most applauded 3D gimmick I have experienced), books dropping from a tipped-over shelf onto Jason, a tossed knife, Chris dropping from the rafter onto Jason, Jason dropping on the rope and kicking his feet around, Jason reaching with both hands with the ax handle protruding from his mask (iconic), and finally Jason dead on the ground, the ax in his mask/head, the handle pointed right at the camera.

By all accounts, Miner was so wrapped up in making the cameras work that the actors felt neglected. But man, did he pull it off. I don’t think he’s ever gotten enough credit for doing such a good slasher movie while trying to figure out how to use brand new, very difficult technology. Interestingly, his followup project was to obtain the rights from Toho for an American Godzilla film shot the same way. GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS 3D was scripted by Fred Dekker (NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, THE MONSTER SQUAD), with creature design by William Stout (PAN’S LABYRINTH, THE MIST), who storyboarded along with Jonny Quest creator Doug Wildey and THE ROCKETEER creator Dave Stevens. Along with the traditional suitmation, it was planned to use stop motion and a full scale animatronic head to be built by Rick Baker. But Miner couldn’t find an American studio to fund it before the rights reverted to Toho, and they used some of his ideas on GODZILLA 1985. Man, that’s a shame that that didn’t happen.

I think Miner went on to have an admirable filmography anyway. Though I won’t vouch for some of his comedies (especially SOUL MAN) and I hated his 2008 remake of DAY OF THE DEAD, there are plenty of officially sanctioned “masters of horror” without a filmography as impressive as FRIDAY THE 13TH II and III, HOUSE, WARLOCK and LAKE PLACID. And then he brought back those FRIDAY slasher sequel chops for HALLOWEEN H20: TWENTY YEARS LATER, which I think is one of the best HALLOWEEN sequels and I think even those who don’t like it will admit there’s a good chase and slaying at the end. Thank you for your service, Steve Miner.


If you’re a Shang-Chi fan, you should know they have two different issues of Master of Kung Fu at the mini-mart, Green Valley’s Waterhole.


Although it’s a general cliche, Shelly is the character I most associate with prankster characters in horror. I had that tradition in mind when I had my character Reese annoy Adam with a talking frog toy, though the whole subplot is inspired by a long-running joke I was involved with in the workplace. I don’t consider “prankster” to be Reese’s defining characteristic, though. Making him an ex-stoner who now prefers sensory deprivation tanks and still recites hemp facts post-legalization was my jokey twist on stoner characters like Chuck and Chili.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 6th, 2021 at 10:40 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

57 Responses to “Friday the 13th Part III”

  1. “That would be cool if in the next sequel it turned out she never was beheaded and has been living in the woods.”

    Hahaha, well-played, Vern!

  2. This one was never a favorite but it’s grown on me over the years. I still actively do not enjoy this iteration of Jason. He’s just a dick. The one thing that separates Jason from the other slashers is that he generally won’t fuck with you too much. No one-liners, no leering, no taunting, hardly even any stalking if he can help it. And CERTAINLY no fucking raping. He just needs you dead, alright? It’s nothing personal, he just has this weird little hangup where he gets anxious when the living are around. He’ll try to make it as quick and painless as possible. He appreciates your cooperation in this matter. That’s why I kinda hate that shot of him removing his mask and gloating. I just don’t think Jason would do that. That’s some other guy. A guy who is a dick.

    Still, even though this is my least favorite entry in The Voorhees Chronicles Phase 1: The Brown Years, the great atmosphere, somewhat more memorable characters than usual, and general filmatistic elbow grease put it well up in the upper half of the series overall. I also appreciate that it’s got the only brunette final girl in the whole franchise. They didn’t even give her highlights or anything.

  3. For whatever it’s worth, as a gigantic Friday the 13th fan I also never noticed the shower head in that poster.

  4. I’m a strict Spandexian Jasoninte, a sect derived from the teachings of one Mr Majestyk who coined the term “Spandex Jason” to discuss our lord’s final three outings in the 80s, and I never quite got the Old Testament of Jason as a whole, but I have always enjoyed this one, which makes sense because it’s the silliest of the early works. I am tempted to give Part-the-next-one another look though, as I understand it is generally considered the most sacred of the early texts.

    RE: Mr Kruger’s proclivities, I have been thinking recently about how people at the time didn’t like how the 2010 film made him explicitly a child molester, but I have a feeling that in an alternative world where a remake didn’t come out until now that if it *didn’t* make this element explicit it would be accused of soft-peddling or some such. Although I guess not so long ago the IT movies as far as I recall avoid anything explicit so maybe not.

  5. I’m digging this retrospective series and I’m glad Vern is finally getting to give each installment its own review. And good news Vern (or bad news)- the 3D Blu Ray is actually not a regular 3D Blu Ray, ie it doesn’t require a special 3D TV. It’s blu ray but it still uses the good ole red and blue cardboard glasses, so as long as you can procure a pair (I used the pair that came with my DVD of Spy Kids 3D), you’re all set. It’s no Avatar or Step Up 3D, but the 3D is definitely noticeable and looks OK.

    As for the movie itself, it’s my favorite of the original quadrilogy and the one where the series settles in and finds its footing. It’s still mean-spirited like its predecessor but also tries to be kind of delightful, and mostly pulls it off. And even if Jason never got the hockey mask, I still think this is one of the best versions of him in the series – there’s a dream-logic to his appearance and powers in this one that give the finale a Halloween-esque sense of dread that the other ones don’t really try for.

  6. I believe there have been two 3D Blu-Rays, one with the old timey red and blue glasses and a recent release which does utilise\require a 3D TV, which is a little odd as they’re not really out there any more. I bought a 3D compatible BluRay player (my first) in 2016 with the intention of getting an appropriate TV, but put it off until it was too late.

  7. I got the 3D DVD with the old school red and blue glasses when it first came out. It never worked for me. Neither did FREDDY’S DEAD or any of the other 3D DVDs with the red and blue glasses. All it ever does is turn the picture into total mush. I don’t know if it’s my eyes or the technology but I don’t even bother trying anymore.

  8. The red and blue type never looks good to me (and yes, I used to have that edition) but the newest version in the Scream Factory box set is a legit 3D blu-ray that hopefully some day I can bring over to a friend’s house and watch.

  9. I saw this in 3D once but all the gags gave me double vision. Seemed to be working on the crowd tho. I know my eyes aren’t great with 3D but I do ok with the new stuff, but of course they don’t do the sticky outy gags.

    I think I have more fun with a 2D blu-Ray appreciating how the gags were intended for 3D.

  10. Was the Red/Blue 3D ever the default for theatrical exhibition, even in the 50s? It’s my understanding that this and JAWS 3D might have screened that way in some theatres but were always intended to be stereoscopic and it’s only when the multiplexes came in that we started getting cheapskate efforts like Freddyvision and SPY KIDS 3D until the stereoscopic 3D revolution of 08/09 took hold.

  11. Red-and-blue (or red-and-green) was used prior to the ’50s, but of course back then there were hardly any 3D films at all. Since then it’s been rare, at least in first run. But I have seen the red-and-blue process used on 16mm prints where the original 35mm prints required polarised light.

  12. Vern, I don’t know if you’ve ever actually used a 3D TV but…I would lower your expectations if I were you. It’s more annoying than impressive. Without the big screen, the 3D effect just doesn’t amount to much. Fred is right that it’s actually more effective using your imagination with the 2D version. Plus no uncomfortable heavy plastic glasses.

  13. Majestyk – I’d say the problem lies more with the movies than the 3D TV technology itself – the only live action movies that I think really blow me away are Avatar (obviously) and Step Up 3D (Step Up 4 and 5 are also both in 3D but don’t have that Disney money behind them, so the 3D isn’t anywhere as good). But I think the technology isn’t to blame since almost every animated movie is great (Coraline is pretty mind-blowing), and I absolutely love watching 3D documentaries. Getting high and watching a good animal/nature documentary or something like Pina or Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a blast.

    But yeah, most normal movies are much better in their 2D form. I was so excited to rewatch 300: Rise of an Empire in 3D and even though the 3D definitely “worked”, the action scenes are just alot clearer and more fun to watch in 2D, where your eyes aren’t constantly scanning for the part of the screen that pops out.

  14. I remember enjoying MY BLOODY VALENTINE in 3D when I saw it, but I don’t know enough to attest to it actually being good. I don’t normally go for 3D. I tend to stop noticing it partway through the movie, so why bother. I liked it better when it wasn’t the whole movie and was just gags spread out throughout the movie.

  15. I remember MY BLOODY VALENTINE being pretty good use of 3D in the way God intended it to be used; to thrill, disgust and amuse. FINAL DESTINATION 4&5 are among the most enjoyable cinema going experiences I’ve ever had. SAW 3D, it pains my Hoffman stan heart to say, is one of those that made you wonder why they bothered.

    Matthew B.-Thanks for the info.

  16. Majestyk – I haven’t watched a whole movie in home 3D, but have watched scenes and felt it worked. I have a friend who actually does have a projection screen the size of a small theater screen and we’ve been talking forever about watching the STEP UP 3D and PROTECTOR 2 3D blu-rays I own. So we’ll see how that goes if it ever happens.

  17. I do blame the timid and embarrassed filmmakers for most of the underwhelmingness of modern 3D (by far the best 3D experience I’ve had is JACKASS 3, because those guys have no shame whatsoever), but that’s not what I’m talking about when it comes to 3D TVs. No matter how big the TV is, the smaller screen just doesn’t allow enough space for the dimensionality to pop, in my opinion. In the theater, a hand coming out of the screen seems to stretch 20 feet, but at home, it’s barely noticable and definitely not worth the added effort and expense.

    I did see CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS in the theater. I like the movie itself, but after about the fifteenth 3D shot of a 2D drawing, the 3D stopped being added value. I also took a nice nap but that is not unusual or even unwanted when I watch a Herzog film, which I do with some regularity.

  18. For what it’s worth, I thought GRAVITY looked good on a 3D TV.
    I also thought MY BLOODY VALENTINE in 3D was a decent successor to FRIDAY THE 13TH 3D.
    Mildly interesting piece of trivia: when the second movie came out in France it wasn’t advertised as a sequel to FRIDAY THE 13TH, but as THE FRIDAY KILLER. And then when the third movie came out it wasn’t advertised as a sequel either, but as MURDERS IN 3 DIMENSIONS. But then it became THE FRIDAY KILLER 2: MURDERS IN 3 DIMENSIONS. And then when it came out on DVD they changed it to FRIDAY THE 13TH 3: THE FRIDAY KILLER 2.
    Also the French title for CHAPTER VIII doesn’t mention Manhattan but calls it THE LAST RETURN so it was still false advertising but for a different reason and I don’t remember complaining as much about it as the people who can’t seem to enjoy the movie at all just because only the last 15 minutes take place in Manhattan.

  19. I’m all with Vern on two counts here: 1) Seeing this in a packed theatre with 3-D is the best viewing experience of the series and I encourage anyone who has the chance not to miss the opportunity to do so. And 2) Richard Brooker is my favorite Jason, by a pretty wide margin in fact.

    My favorite moment is after he shoots Vera with the spear gun. He nonchalantly drops it, briefly considers his work, then turns and ambles away as if to say “Okay. Well, I did that. So… Moving right along with my massacre…”

  20. Oh, and ‘Rapist Jason’ makes it more interesting to me. For a time he was driven by his human male impulses, makes it more serial killer scary. And to bring the bears into it, imagine him, with said impulses, making every bear in Crystal Lake his submissive. Hell, maybe he got those bears so freaked out that he could play power-bottom.

    Much more interesting to think about (at least for me) than a WWE style heavy breathing teleporter.

  21. I guess maybe I can work it into the franchise’s otherwise airtight continuity that Jason was higher-functioning in II and III (being a homeowner, traveling out of town for work, having, um, husbandly urges) until that machete chop to his frontal lobe at the end of this one turned him into the man-child he becomes in the rest of the series.

  22. Toxic – Ha, I didn’t know any of that. That’s kind of like how WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS in the U.S. was re-edited to hide that it was a sequel to FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD.

    Majestyk – Yeah, I like that!

  23. If I want to watch 3D Blu-Rays I do it on a Playstation VR and the effect is much more impressive.

  24. My problem with 3D movies these days is the lack of poking and throwing shit at the audience.

    I like the organic development of the Friday the 13th franchise. Jason wasn’t the killer in Part 1! He doesn’t get the iconic hockey mask until Part 3! He’s not undead until Part 6! Trying to build upon what came before and come up with new directions, through a mix of desperate flopsweat, capitalist greed, and raw creativity. It’s a lot like superhero comics.

  25. “My problem with 3D movies these days is the lack of poking and throwing shit at the audience.”

    Preach it, Bill. Lord save us all from “subtle” filmmaking.

  26. As much as I’m excited for whatever James Cameron has planned for the AVATAR sequels, I really hope it won’t restart another 3D fad. We just got rid of the last one. I’m not sure if I can take another decade of being unable to watch movies in theatres, because the only 2D versions play Tuesdays at 11pm. (For those who don’t remember, I have really bad vision on one eye, so 3D rarely works for me.) Not to mention all those apparently half-assed post-production conversions.

  27. Now that you mention that Vern, a few French releases of GODZILLA movies removed Godzilla’s name from the title. Like, SON OF GODZILLA was PLANET OF THE MONSTERS, and TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA became MONSTERS FROM THE LOST CONTINENT. But to my knowledge the movies themselves remained the same, they didn’t edit Godzilla out. I guess the idea was to trick people into thinking they were gonna see some Doug McClure vehicle rather than a GODZILLA movie.

  28. Best and longest final chase scene in the series.

  29. Speaking of Steve Miner, I watched Texas Rangers, the Weinstein-butchered John Milius script that sent him to director’s jail for years. And it’s hard to argue the thing wasn’t bungled–God, a Western that was supposed to star Tommy Lee Jones instead has James Van Der Beek, Ashton Kutcher, Usher, and Dylan McDermott as the obligatory gunslinger legend–but I’ll at least give Miner an A for effort. He photographs the hell out of the ol’ vistas and throws a lot of squibs into the gunfights (albeit PG-13, so none of it’s blood, just… walls). These days, it seems the only people who do Westerns are those who really want to do them and really take them seriously, so it’s mostly prestige pieces and however the hell you’d categorize Tarantino’s stuff, which is all well and c’est la vie–but it’s kinda fun to see just a scuzzy B-movie take on the genre instead.

  30. I’m inclined to agree that Westerns these days tend to get made by people who want to do them and take them seriously, but it’s not all prestige stuff like THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES etc, or THE REVENANT, or the Westerns of the Coens or Tommy Lee Jones. There’s also a class of Western I think of as the calling card Western, non-American directors wanting to test their mettle in the quintessentially American genre. Here you have films like THE PROPOSITION, RED HILL, THE SALVATION, THE GOOD THE BAD THE WEIRD, and even Jacques Audiard’s THE SISTERS BROTHERS, although Audiard brings a certain prestige baggage with him.

  31. I would say the “problem” is, that today’s audiences all know that the classic western, that portrays the wild west as a big adventure playground for heroic, square jawed gunslingers in white hats, is, frankly, bullshit. There surely will be at one point a clever film maker who will breathe new live into that certain kind of western and win audiences over big time, but I guess the days of the classic John Wayne-ish western are as over as the alien invasion movie with little green moon men.

  32. THE HARDER THEY FALL was a fun-as-hell western, and you can’t get further from white guys in white hats than that. The answer, I guess, is to ditch the old bullshit and make up some more palatable bullshit that modern audiences can get behind. We still like the legend of the West, but what exactly that means is always going to change with the times. It’s just too rich a milieu to abandon over a little thing like facts. They never stopped anybody from telling a good story before.

  33. Not to go back to that Power of the Dog Twitter thread (which is worth a read definitely, since it puts this a lot better than I can), but please recall that A Fistful of Dollars came out in 1964 and Unforgiven came out in 1992. The genre hasn’t been ‘John Wayne in a white hat’ for a while, anymore than horror movies are big-titted teenagers getting hacked up at summer camps these days.

  34. Not to open another can of (somewhat tangential)worms, but did audiences really look at John Wayne movies in the 50s and think that’s how things really were? They may not have had the ideological reservations we would have about them, but my general impression of audiences at the time is that they largely saw movies as escapism, and didn’t take them nearly as seriously (for better and/or worse) as we do.

  35. Yeah, but their kids DID take those John Wayne movies seriously…and that’s how Reagan got elected.

  36. Knowing how America hates to teach kids historical facts and how widespread the myth of the “noble, heroic, quick drawing cowboy who protects the supressed from honorless crooks and subhuman Indians” was even far across the American borders, I would say they were taken VERY seriously. There was a reason why the rise of the “revisionist western” in the 70s was quite controversial. And not just because of the amped up violence.

  37. I don’t deny the films represented an ideology and view of history the audience largely believed in (which the “revisionist” Westerns challenged), but I’m not convinced they were really taken as articles of truth. I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that I’m not convinced. I think you’d have to be there to know for sure. It was a time when even social issue films like BLACKBOARD JUNGLE were a lot more heightened and playful than we would expect from such a description today. Musicals died out around the same time as the Trad Western, arguably for basically the same reason (“phfft! This is corny! Where’s the blood!” “phfft! People don’t break out into song!”)

    I’m splitting hairs admittedly, any way you slice it John & Jane Modern viewer don’t want that shit, and haven’t for as long as most or all of us have been alive.

    In conclusion, I’m probably wrong and regretted that post soon after I posted it, but wanted to restore some dignity here and probably failed, and I don’t even like Westerns that much anyway.

  38. There’s a ton of smaller budget Westerns being made, some of them pretty decent. And while no one’s making many in general, there’s still old schoolish ones made now and then. Like 3:10 to Yuma remake, Magnificent Seven, Appaloosa felt classic. Open Range was pretty classic. Looks like Costner’s about to make a series of Westerns so those will probably be more old school.

    But even when Wayne was king, there were the other Westerns that didn’t sell that shit, like High Noon (which pissed off Wayne) or Warlock. There’s a number of those types. And even Wayne made some like Liberty Valance where it’s shown his old school guy wasn’t worth a lot in the world, or of course The Searchers.

  39. Oh! And one of my favorites is The Big Country.

  40. Nah, all good, Pac. But in conclusion I would say that the Western genre is too tainted with its dated stereotypes and all that it represents, to ever return to not being prestige pieces and such. Unless they add some high concepts like “What if THE SEARCHERS ended with a gory fight against cannibals?”, “What if a bunch of colourful comic book-esque characters have a quick draw contest?”, “What if we turn THE LONE RANGER into a tentpole action adventure (that was supposed to be about werewolves)?” or “What if Jackie Chan would team up with a Cowboy?”

  41. I must admit I hoped to get some salacious enjoyment from RIO BRAVO, “Wayne and Hawks’ angry Conservative retort to HIGH NOON” and I had no idea how they thought it was a rebuttal. And I found it pretty dull. Dean Martin was good though.

    (None of us will remember this discussion was in the FRIDAY THE 13th PART III thread soon)

  42. Wow, I always half-intended to see TEXAS RANGERS because of Miner, but had no idea it was a Milius script! That both makes it sound more painful and more interesting. Might have to get to it soon.

  43. RIO BRAVO is just about the only Wayne movie I like unirocially, but the idea that it’s any kind of serious rebuttal of HIGH NOON is ridiculous. HIGH NOON, while heightened in that theatrical 50s way, was a serious meditation on human frailty and cowardice. RIO BRAVO is some childish tough guy posturing for little boys. But I guess that’s the mindstate that chickenhawk Wayne was working with.

  44. Maybe a specious comparison, but we all know that real intelligence work is nothing like James Bond or Mission: Impossible, and is far more morally questionable than ‘saving the world,’ but those franchises and the genre in general are still going strong (if very focused on ‘rogue agents’ and corruption). Likewise with policework and cop dramas. It seems like if you want a totally morally unblemished fantasy, there’s only superhero movies and Star Wars, and you wanna talk about John Wayne in a white hat……..

  45. I don’t think the dearth of Westerns has much to do with outdated stereotypes, it’s just that it’s a genre that had it’s day and now lives in the fringes. Like we don’t have war movies that are just fun stories unless Tarantino makes it, otherwise they’re a human drama. And we don’t have jungle movies or really treasure hunting movies, or big glossy romances or swashbuckler swordfight movies, except for those few times we get a modern one. But as mainstream genres they’re out. But there are still a lot of Westerns out there, just VOD and small budgeted but some good ones. Something just came out with Gabriel Byrne, Richard Dreyfuss and Thomas Jane who is the king of VOD shit now and seems to try to be in as many Westerns as possible.

  46. Well, yeah–I’d say it’s not a genre that still has mainstream appeal, but then Yellowstone and its spin-offs are apparently the biggest thing on TV now, so I think it’s more that Hollywood can’t make a big glossy Western without it turning into The Lone Ranger. Or Wild Wild West. Or Jonah Hex. (Cowboys & Aliens I remember as being *almost* good, but not anywhere near as good as it should’ve been.)

    (Which is a shame, because I like the concept of the weird Western as much as the pulpy throwback adventure movie, but Zorro, The Rocketeer, and The Phantom have produced *way* better movies than cowboys + sci-fi. You’ve got no excuse for not embracing those, general audiences!)

    But anyway, I’m not complaining that we’re not getting 4-5 Westerns a year, just that there’s a paucity of genres right now that get any kind of budget. Man, I would like to see a treasure hunting movie! Or a jungle movie! Or a swashbuckler swordfight movie! But it seems like every year, we get twelve of the same basic blockbuster instead of a smorgasbord. Even for a guy who’s into nerdshit, it’s a bit like eating pizza every day of the week.

  47. “Man, I would like to see a treasure hunting movie! Or a jungle movie! Or a swashbuckler swordfight movie!”

    Then you should have lined up opening night for THE ROCK IS DISNEY’S JUNGLE CRUISE because it’s all three. It feels like the entire thing was shot in a flooded parking lot surrounded by a green screen but it for sure is a treasure-hunting jungle swashbuckling adventure.

  48. I would say Kaplan, that it’s easier to get audiences to watch a Western on tv as opposed to paying for one in a theater. Also, Yellowstone only seems kiiind of Western from the little I saw, if anything it seems more like Ozark or something of that ilk…big family drama with the crime throughline, twists and doublecrosses and shocking murders.

  49. For those bemoaning the fate of the Western:

    Kevin Costner Wants to Split His Western Epic ‘Horizon’ Into Four Movies (EXCLUSIVE)

    Kevin Costner has big plans for his long-awaited fourth directorial effort “Horizon,” an epic western that’s going into production at the end of August. The “YellowstoneR…

  50. And echo the comments here that the Western hasn’t really disappeared, it’s just gone where “Old School Action” now mostly resides: DTV, VOD, Streaming etc. If you’re fan of it (like I am), you go looking for them and you’ll find them. BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN, IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE, THE DUEL, THE KID. They’re not epics like DANCES WITH WOLVES, nor carry the prestige and complexity of an UNFORGIVEN, but if you like some sagebrush in your viewing diet, then they’re a perfectly adequate meal.

  51. >Disney’s Jungle Cruise

    If I wanted to watch Pirates of the Caribbean without any of the charisma, I would watch one of the sequels to Pirates of the Caribbean.

  52. Yeah KayKay, it’s kind of crazy that it seems like every month or so another Western comes out. Most are lower budgeted but still look good enough with real actors, and then you get a few bigger ones like that Netflix one with Idris Elba. It’s like everyone wants to make one. And they’re still better and bigger produced than the b-Westerns of the 50s. I saw one a few weeks ago called The Last Son with Thomas Jane and Machine Gun Kelly (which I had no idea of as I watched it, I thought he was just an actor, he was quite good. Gore Verbinski produced it! I liked it but could barely tell you a thing about it.

  53. On a related note, I watched Quigley Down Under, which I think is a good example of what I’m talking about. It’s not a prestige picture, it doesn’t take itself too seriously–but at the same time, it’s not too much of a throwback or an “are you TRIGGERED YET?” edgefest. The hero wears a white hat and refuses to sleep with women unless they’re in their right mind and can consent and he fights on behalf of the Aborigines against their genocidal oppressor, while also sparing his enemies and giving them a chance to surrender whenever possible. Just a fun, well-made amusement park ride that’s there simply to show the audience a good time. Even the eighties high-concept of it taking place in Australia is pretty mild compared to how over-the-top later Western blockbusters would get (GIANT. ROBOT. SPIDER.).

    Shame it never got a sequel, but on the other hand, with all the underwhelming, unnecessary sequels there’ve been, it’s fitting that this class act would know when enough’s enough and leave it at that. I highly recommend it as a modern example of what the genre can do without needing to have any big hook grafted onto it.

  54. Quigley Down Under is a pretty good movie but also a good reason why they don’t make those movies as much, especially for theatrical…it was kind of a bomb.

  55. I still believe that the main reason for QUIGLEY’s bombing was that the title makes it sound like a light hearted comedy.

  56. Quigley Down Under rules! From the director of The Phantom, Vern.

  57. One of the masochistic pleasures of coming here is to notice that a thread originally about FRIDAY THE 13TH part III have turned into a discussion about the state of the western genre. Then I have to scroll back to when the Ancient Greeks roamed the earth to catch the start. And then when I come to the end EVERYTHING has been mentioned, and I can’t even join in on my favourite subject.

    The new series THAT DIRTY BLACK BAG looks good in a spaghetti western, HELL ON WHEELS and DEADWOOD kind of way!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>