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By Scott Phillips

SEPTEMBER 29, 1997: 

Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

You didn't believe me when I said I was gonna watch the whole pile of Friday flicks? Well, it might be akin to whacking oneself in the head with a brick simply because it feels so good when you stop, but I'm in this for the long haul, baby. This one starts where the last one left off, although they tweaked the ending of Part II slightly to make it seem less like running into a wall. After spending 10 minutes on a really unpleasant couple (one of whom occupies at least two of those minutes planted on the toilet), director Steve Miner sends psycho killer Jason into the game, and the white trash weasels are quickly dispatched so we can move on to the main cast of idiots--and once again, Jason does a service to mankind by eliminating these dopes before they can reproduce. There are two reasons why this otherwise lousy entry in the series is important: It was shot in 3-D (unfortunately, the video release is flat, but I still found myself oohing and aahing at appropriate moments), and it marks the first time Jason dons his signature hockey mask (taken off the corpse of a truly despicable "sympathetic" character). However, there's a problem with watching a bad 3-D movie in 2-D. Take the scene where Jason crushes a guy's head, sending his eyeball hurtling audience-ward--only we now realize it's a fake eye on a stick, and the threat of drippy body parts landing in one's lap is reduced to mere speculation regarding the terror we might have experienced. And what's with our lovable slashmeister, anyway? While wearing his hockey mask, Jason comes off almost smooth, yet when the mask is knocked off, he capers around like a gibbering schmo-tard! Many a college paper could be written about this guy, lemme tell ya. Surprisingly little gore, annoyingly little nudity, Part III serves only to set the stage for the far superior ...

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Director Joseph Zito (The Prowler) brings us the finest Friday yet (damning with faint praise, I know). It sure is funny to see that "Final Chapter" subtitle wedged on the video shelf with five more Friday flicks trailing after it, but this one understandably made some money, and, as long as there's a cash cow to be milked, you know there's gonna be a producer with his ass on that stool. Once again, the running time is padded with footage from the previous installments, then we get rolling as Jason's seemingly lifeless body is hauled into the morgue. The attendant, immersed in "The 20-Minute Workout" (the greatest exercise show of all time), is startled when Jason gets off the slab and nearly tears the health-conscious fellow's head off. After playing slaughterhouse with a prick-teasing nurse, Jason heads for his old stomping grounds, scoring bonus points along the way by ridding the world of a fat hippie chick. Then we're introduced to the Jarvis family: lonely, middle-aged Mom, busty and virginal Trish--don't worry, she won't get naked (but she did in Massacre at Central High)--and wannabe makeup effects guy Tommy, played by li'l Corey Feldman. And they're the lovin'est family ever! Their peaceful, country lifestyle is only slightly disturbed when a plethora of horny teens move into the house across the way for the weekend. Corey digs peeping at The Girl With The Reputation, while Mom frets and Trish is merely amused. The teens, including Crispin Glover (the first person to actually commit acting in a Friday flick) and a horrible Loverboy-lookin' guy, meet up with--gasp!--two slutty twins in Flashdance sweatshirts, and the whole gaggle of goobers goes skinny-dipping! That night, the teens party down as the slutty twins shotgun beer, and Crispin Glover performs a seizure-like dance (alone worth the rental) to a cock-rockin' tune. Soon, the entrails are spilling in copious amounts as Jason goes to work. Amazingly gory thanks to the return of Tom Savini, this Friday delivers the groceries on all counts--if you can stomach the sight of a bald-headed Corey Feldman rabidly wielding a machete as he attempts to save the day. Rent! Rent! (Paramount)

--Scott Phillips


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