Friday the 13th Part 3: Special Edition (Blu-ray) (1982)

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Released 30-Sep-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Featurette-Legacy Of The Mask
Featurette-Slasher Films: Going For The Jugular
Featurette-Lost Tales From Crystal Lake, Part 2
Featurette-Lost Tales From Crystal Lake, Part 3
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1982
Running Time 95:14
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Steve Miner
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Dana Kimmell
Paul Kratka
Tracie Savage
Jeffrey Rogers
Catherine Parks
Larry Zerner
Richard Brooker
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $39.95 Music Harry Manfredini


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby Digital 2.0
German Dolby Digital 2.0
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Spanish
Dutch
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Portuguese
Swedish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     A critic I had read with some frequency because he was featured in the Sunday Telegraph's TV guide supplement (remember those?) once described the entire Friday The 13th franchise as being "the ultimate in recycling", to the extent that after a while one cannot tell which episode of the franchise they are watching. I mention this (and if he wants to be cited and credited for it, he is free to drop Michael D's staff a line) because he is dead right. Well, at least in the sense that the variation level evident from episode to episode at the time of writing was less than two percent. Two more sequels, a crossover, and a remake later, and whilst the accuracy of his assessment of the series as a whole has diminished, it is still not by much.

     Also relevant here is the current raging arousal Hollywood is feeling for the optical illusion referred to as 3D. If you seriously consider it to be an improvement to theatrical projection, then consider that prior to the über-childish Avatar, the record holder for most profitable 3D film in history was none other than Friday The 13th, Part III. In fact, there may well be some room for debate as to which 3D film is more successful, as FT13P3 (as I will mostly call it going forward) made 36.6 million and change on an estimated budget of a mere four million dollars (if one percent of that went on the script, colour me surprised). Avatar only brought in 760,507,625 dollars… on the back of 237 million (estimated). I will save you the trouble of doing the math. In the former case, that is very slightly more than a ninefold return. In the latter, three point two and change. Without adjusting for a lot of inflation in FT13P3's case or quibbling about raw numbers, I know which return on investment ratio I prefer.

     Now that those things are out of the way, I suppose the question is the quality of the film. I suppose that if you locked a classroom's worth of five year olds in a room, told them they could not come out until they had all written a thousand words each, cut the papers up into individual words, then taped them all together so that they resembled complete sentences, you might get a less thought-out story than FT13P3. But do not count on it.

     FT13P3 begins with a flashback to the ending of its predecessor, in which a young woman named Ginny defeats Jason Vorhees by putting a machete through one of his shoulders. After some meaningless dialogue between Ginny and a fellow survivor, Jason crawls away and begins carving up a new pack of morons cardboard cut-outs characters. I repeat, Jason is able to kill people using mostly hand-to-hand weaponry (in some cases requiring the use of both arms) despite having sustained an injury that all primates generally find crippling. And with the time allowance given, even with round-the-clock medical care, your chances of regaining use of a limb damaged to the extent shown are somewhere between nil and the square root of minus one.

     If you have seen any other Friday The 13th film, you know how it all goes. The question is what makes this episode different from the other eleven (yes, eleven). For one, this is the film in which Jason picks up the hockey mask that has been his trademark ever since. For another, the opening credits in this episode are so hilarious in presentation that they make Ed Wood films look credible. And finally, the full extent of 3D's uses as a storytelling device are shown, with random objects held out at or thrown at the camera with little if any contribution to the plot.

     If you have enough interest in film-making, then you can use this film as an example of how not to tell a credible horror story. The acting all around is amateurish, the photography is amateurish, the editing or shot sequencing is on a similar par with that of sequences from Predator 2, and the script was probably written on a few scraps of used tissue paper. Making the whole thing even more sad is that the people behind the camera seem to have simultaneously no passion for the story they are telling, nor any sense of humour regarding it.

     But if you want to have a Bad Film Night™, then this might just fit the bill. Might.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Friday The 13th Part III was shot on 35mm film using what the IMDB describes as a single-strip 3D process. The Wikipedia has it that the camera used was the Arrivision "over and under" 3D camera. None of the films in this series prior to New Line's acquisition were shot using high quality materials, but, as we have come to expect now, the 3D process only exacerbates things.

     The transfer is presented in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1 within a 1920 by 1080 progressive window.

     The transfer's sharpness varies quite dramatically at times. In regular bridging shots where the near-illiterate dialogue is the main horror on display, the transfer is sharp. Not as sharp as should be expected of a 1982 film, but certainly not terrible. Unfortunately, special effects shots and shots in which the subject is distant from the camera are fuzzy. Shadow detail is poor. Anything that is not directly lit during the night shots, which comprise most of the second half of the film, is basically black. Thankfully, low-level noise is not an issue.

     The colours in the film do not appear to have been manipulated in any fashion. On a budget of four million, I doubt the idea ever even occurred to the producers. They are, however, generally faded and dull, with little range between the warmest and dullest colours in the palette. Given the lack of bleeding or misregistration, the transfer appears to perfectly reflect the source material in this sense.

     Compression artefacts were not noted in the transfer. Grain is variably present, with the first twenty minutes of the film showing the most of it. This was, even at its worst, well within acceptable limits when the age of the film is taken into account. Aliasing was not visible in the transfer. Occasional wobble was noted, but this may have been due to the camera mechanism in use. Film artefacts were occasionally visible, but far less so than expected in light of the age and pedigree of the film.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Friday The 13th's miniscule budget is also reflected in its audio transfer, which, whilst an improvement upon all other media it has been released on to date, is definitely not something you want to use to show your system off to friends.

     A total of four soundtracks are offered on this disc. The first, and default, is the original English dialogue in Dolby TrueHD 5.1, which I was not able to determine the bitrate of. Dubs in French Dolby Digital 2.0, German Dolby Digital 2.0, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0, European Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0, and Latin American Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 are also offered. I did a very brief comparison of the dubs, and to say that there is a massive drop-off in quality, even by lossless-versus-lossy standards, is an understatement.

     The dialogue is clear and easy to understand within the limits of the actors' enunciations. All the better for one to hear how asinine the script is, I suppose. None of these actors come across as being particularly profession, so it should surprise nobody that some lines are a little quiet. Having said all of that, however, the remix does eliminate nearly every problem with intelligibility that previous media, especially VHS, suffered. Dana Kimmell's voice shows minor clipping as she narrates the otherwise nonsensical flashback, but this is easily the worst dialogue-related problem in the transfer.

     The music is credited to Harry Manfredini. Much like the plots in this series, if you have heard the music in the other films you have heard Manfredini's contribution to this film. With one notable exception. The disco themes heard in the opening and closing credits set a whole new standard for discord between the material being presented on the screen and the music accompanying it. If the whole score had been approached in this manner, then the producers might have been onto something. Alas, it was not to be.

     The surround channels are used to separate the music from the sound effects and dialogue. Dialogue is centre-focused and never moves away from it, whilst sound effects seem to remain wholly within the two front channels. Fundamentally, this is a mono mix with each of the three main elements of the soundtrack split into different "areas" of the sound field.

     The subwoofer assisted with the occasional door slam, machete chop, or other violent sound effect. Aside from those, and the disco music, the subwoofer pretty much had the night off.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     A small helping of extras are present on this disc. Unless otherwise indicated, they are in high definition at a 1.78:1 aspect ratio with excerpts from the film proper at 2.35:1, and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Featurette - Fresh Cuts: 3D Terror

     Slightly under thirteen minutes in length, this featurette basically explains how the decision to make the film in 3D, and the challenges that this decision imposed upon cast and crew. The cast in particular found the shoot arduous, with nearly as many takes due to the 3D process as is said to have occurred on Stanley Kubrick films. Oh yeah, and worth mention is that it closes with a brief reprise of that incredibly silly opening credits music.

Featurette - Legacy Of The Mask

     As I mentioned in the plot synopsis, this is the episode in which Jason acquires the hockey mask that has since been his trademark. For just over nine and a half minutes, the process of choosing to give Jason the hockey mask is explained. So too are the processes by which the masks used in production were made. As are the reasons why the producers have stuck with the mask ever since. Especially worth hearing are Larry Zerner's and Peter Bracke's comments.

Featurette - Slasher Films: Going For The Jugular

     Just over seven minutes, this is basically a string of randomly-assorted comments by various persons associated with this film, other FT13 episodes, other horror franchises, and persons associated with the horror film industry. Worth a watch, but I would have preferred a more complete interview with Richard Brooker, the man who played Jason in this film. As is said on High-Def Digest, it brings nothing new to the table.

Featurette - Lost Tales From Crystal Lake, Part 2

     Slightly under nine minutes, this appears to be a new short film made solely to document murders that were missed in the series proper. Like the feature proper, it is in an approximate 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Also like the feature proper, it has terrible acting, is amateurishly staged, and is really just something to throw on for a time-waster. To misquote a line Jason Statham delivered brilliantly, you see it once and you can go home.

Featurette - Lost Tales From Crystal Lake, Part 3

     At under five minutes, this continuation of the series is much more to-the-point, but has little else going for it. Again, it is presented in an approximate 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The acting is of a better standard than most of the performances in the main feature, but that is hardly saying much. Whomever was in charge of lighting the piece certainly needs to be kept away from a set in future.

Theatrical Trailer

     The restoration job on the feature proper may be well below what the format is capable of, but this trailer in 1.78:1 at times shows just how terrible the picture could have been. I will not go into whether this trailer reveals anything significant about the plot or gives anything important away because, in contrast to some other films we can mention, such elements are nowhere to be found in an FT13 episode.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     An edition of this film is available in Region A that includes the 3D version of the film, and two sets of 3D glasses for the viewing "pleasure" of the audience. Worth noting, however, is that the 3D glasses are the old-fashioned red-blue lens kind, and the 3D transfer on that disc reflects this. Also worth noting, from my point of view, though, is that 3D films exhibited in this manner, though still poor in resolution, are much easier and more pleasant to view. Your mileage might vary. Reports indicate that the 3D transfer leaves a lot to be desired.

     This aspect aside, the only differences to speak of are in the language options. Specifically, the Region A disc has mercifully fewer of them.

Summary

     It both captivates and horrifies me to know that there is a whole generation who will grow up without knowing that there was once an independent film industry that churned out junk like Friday The 13th Part III with great regularity. In all probability little of that output survives today. In some cases, that is a great shame. But the even bigger shame of it is what has fallen by the wayside whilst entries like Friday The 13th Part III survive. That is not to say that it is a reprehensible or even entirely bad film, but if one held a drinking game based on it during which one must have a sip when they see something being done badly or less than optimally, they would be out on the floor before the end of the second reel.

     Having said all of that, however, nobody can deny that this film kept some people employed for a while and turned a profit that, whilst modest in absolute terms, is pretty impressive compared to total investment. Make of that what you will.

     The video transfer is pretty ordinary, even taking into account the age of the film.

     The audio transfer is good when you consider what they had to work with, but definitely nothing to write home about.

     I will take the time out to commend Paramount for getting the extras aspect right, on what is presently a rare occasion in this format's life. Although the number of extras is modest, most of them have something interesting to tell the viewer, and whilst the extras' audio is no great shakes, their video being exclusively in high definition most certainly is.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMP-BD45, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-P50U20A. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR606
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Wharfedale Xarus 1000 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, Wharfedale Diamond SW150 Subwoofer

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