Picking up the same night that 'Part II' leaves off (Saturday, July 14th, 1984 according to my timeline), this one kinda hits the ground running. We recap what happened in the previous movie, but this time around, Ginny survives. Paul's fate is often debated, and I believe he is supposed to be alive. With that said, it's time for another fan theory:
Paul simply goes missing in the aftermath. He seemingly survives, but a news report at the beginning of 'Part III' mentions eight victims. Paul could be included in this, missing and presumed dead, it's just never really mentioned. This way, he can survive, but his overall fate still remains a mystery. Anyway, this report is seen in the first few minutes of the movie by Jason's first couple of victims, the kindly Harold (Steve Susskind) and the bitter Edna (Cheri Maugans).
We are soon introduced to a fresh new crop of could-be victims. Our third lead, Chris (Dana Kimmell), we find out had an encounter with Jason in the summer of '82 (according to the timeline). She's headed to Crystal Lake with her friends as a sort of therapeutic way of dealing with her memories. Among them are sex-staved couple Andy (Jeffrey Rogers) and (pregnant) Debbie (Tracie Savage), hippie stoner couple Chuck (David Katims) and Chili (Rachel Howard) and a practical joking asshole named Shelly (Larry Zerner) who the friends attempt to hook up with a lovely girl next door type named Vera (Catherine Parks).
Once they arrive at their lake getaway, we also meet Rick (Paul Kratka), who is Chris' romantic interest, thus giving Jason a grand total of four couples to potentially tear apart. Things pretty much play out as one would expect, but with the exception of giving these characters a bit more personality than last time, mainly Shelly. We don't like Shelly much, but it's kinda the first time we see the geeky loser type in one of these. And what's so interesting about him being a geeky loser is that Jason (who was also once considered the same) gets his famous mask from him.
At this point, the slasher genre was in a sort of "popcorn" era, and it was decided that the series' game would get stepped up by utilizing 3D technology. Thus, a lot of scenes lend themselves to the idea of 3D, but it's only available to see that way nowadays on a special edition blu-ray box set, and it uses the oldschool red/blue 3D. Thankfully, I own this set, so I'm able to do that. Needless to really say, it doesn't hold up very well, but it may have been fun in theaters back in the 80s.
This wraps up what I like to refer to as the Original Trilogy, covering everything from Jason's Mother to Jason getting his mask and becoming the anti-hero we all know and love. Although it's a bit slow to get going, once it does, it's everything you wanna see in a 'Friday the 13th' film for the first time. That includes the stereotypes all coming together as groups of couples, a badass Jason who has very little trouble hitting his target this time, and of course, some nice, gruesome kills, compliments of makeup artists of the time.
For my money, this is the first one that actually gives us a little bit of a thrill ride while we're watching it. The first one is much more creepy, the second one is much more goofy, but this is worth the odd rewatch as a 'Friday the 13th' fan, just to have fun with it, and finally be able to really route for Jason. It's here that the villain really becomes the pop culture hero who has lasted through the decades as a true horror icon.
Body Count: 12