Entertainment Magazine

13 Things You May Not Know About Friday the 13th Part 3

Posted on the 15 February 2014 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

We’ve been looking back at the prior Friday the 13th films to dig up some interesting bits of insight now that Paramount is planning a 2015 release for the 13th film in franchise history.  We already covered Friday the 13th and Part 2.  Here are 13 things you may not know about…

THE FILM: Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982), aka, the one where Jason finally gets his signature hockey mask, and for one film only the franchise experimented with 3D


THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT: By the time Friday the 13th Part 2 came around in 1981 theaters had become overrun with low-budget/low-quality slasher fare with titles like The BurningNew Years Eve, Prom Night, Christmas Evil, My Bloody Valentine, Happy Birthday to Me, Graduation Day, Terror Train, and Final Exam.  Not surprisingly, slasher film fatigue set in, and Part 2 opened big but ended with a domestic gross barely more than half of what Friday the 13th pulled in a year earlier.  It was still hugely profitable thus ensuring a sequel. However, Part 2 left a loose end with Ginny (Amy Steel), and everyone agreed Jason needed a better mask than that stupid pillow case.  Plus, after the way Part 2 trailed off at the box office they needed a shot in the arm.  They needed a gimmick.  They needed…3D?

[My sources from this point forward are either the documentary Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th or the companion coffee table book of the same name]

1. Amy Steel Could Have Returned for Friday the 13th Meets Cuckoo’s Nest


Amy Steel in the ending of Friday the 13th Part 2

They learned their lesson with Part 2: don’t kill off your sole survivor in the opening moments of the sequel.  This has since turned into a horror movie cliche [see: Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween: Resurrection, Maniac Cop 2, Scream 3].  As is, we never learn what became of Ginny after Part 2.  However, Friday the 13th producers didn’t want that; they wanted her to be their Jamie Lee Curtis.

Director Steve Miner and Martin Kitrosser, the script supervisor for Parts 1 and 2, ran with the idea of Ginny having entered a mental institution as a a result of the events of Part 2.  Eventually, Jason would arrive to settle his vendetta against her, and start killing off guards and mental patients.


Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween 2

Wait – isn’t that just Halloween 2 (1981)?  Kind of, except there everything happens immediately after the events of the first Halloween, and it’s just a regular hospital.  It’s possible Miner and Kitrosser were influenced by Halloween 2, which came out nearly 6 months to the day after Part 2.  

They eventually got cold feet, scared fans would reject a Friday the 13th which didn’t follow the established formula: attractive young people show up at camp, Jason kills them in gruesome fashion, one girl survives, confusing dream sequence ending.  However, Amy Steel might have helped change their mind when she declined to come back.  She thought her career was about to take off, and she was initially right, ending up in regular roles on two short-lived TV shows (The Powers of Matthew Star, For Love and Honor) between 1982 and 1984.  However, by 1986 she was again up on screen evading a knife-wielding killer in the sort-of slasher parody April’s Fool Day.  Today, Steel says she regrets not coming back for Friday the 13th Part 3.

2. The hockey mask came about mostly due to general laziness and a crew member’s love for hockey

Look at that guy down there – is that really all that terrifying?  Sure, in a backwoods hick kind of way, but it’s only really memorable for how goofy it looks.

Friday the 13th 2 Burlap

For Part 3, they wanted a mask which wouldn’t cause audience members to snicker.  So, here’s how that happened:

Miner requested a make-up test to get an update on what Jason was going to look like and whether or not the 3D was working.  However, no one wanted to do the make-up, and the head of effects on the film knew the 3D effects supervisor, Martin Jay Sadoff, kept a bag with him full of hockey gear since he was a hockey fan.  So, they just used Detroit Red Wings goaltender mask for the test. Miner loved it.


The moment Jason first dons the mask in Part 3

They then created their own mask which was bigger, featured multiple airholes, and had strategically placed red markings.  Miner approved everything, but no one person can claim total ownership over the idea.   

3. Why did they decide to do it in 3D?

They needed an advertising gimmick now that audiences had caught on to their storytelling formula, and 2 months after the release of Part 2 a 3D comedy western from Span called Coming’ At Ya! made a stunning-for-the-time $12 million mostly due to the novelty of its use of 3D.  Since Friday the 13th was built around stabbing instruments protruding outward against the screen a 3D version seemed natural.  So, Friday the 13th Part 3 became the first Paramount film in 3D since 1956 as well as the first ever 3D film to receive a wide theatrical release from a major Hollywood studio since the scarcity of 3D-equipped theaters in the past demanded 3D films only play on a limited number of screens.

4. They had a new stuntman playing Jason because they were too cheap to pay Jason from Part 2′s airfare to California

For Part 3, they moved production from Connecticut to California where they could be closer to the Hollywood experts needed as for a film attempting to revitalize 3D.  They told the East Coast-based Steve Daskawicz if he wanted to play Jason as he did for most of Part 2 he’d have to pay for his own airfare out to California.  He objected, so the part was re-cast with Richard Brooker, a former English trapeze artist who could perform his all of his own stunts and standing 6’3″ appear physically intimidating.

5. No one actually says Jason’s name

For whatever reason, Part 3 is the only Friday The 13th film in which none of the characters actually say the name Jason.  Maybe this is because Part 3 takes place 1 day after Part 2, and Jason’s legendary slasher exploits are effectively still developing over a long-weekend at that point.

6. So, was Jason supposed to have raped Dana Kimmell’s character at some point in the past?

Flashback Chris

Chris’ Flashback in Part 3

Even after Amy Steel turned them down, they just couldn’t completely drop the concept of their lead character having been emotionally traumatized by Jason in the past.  So, the new female heroine, Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell), gained a very ambiguous past encounter with Jason.  She recounts a story of having been attacked by Jason several years prior, but she stops short of explaining the nature of the attack.  The flashback we see as she monologues mostly entails an unmasked Jason grabbing at her legs in a forest-like environment while she struggles to get away.  However, she stops short of describing the altercation any further.  Some people on the film claim this ambiguous resolution was always planned since actually outright calling it a rape would be too much for audiences to take whereas others say Dana Kimmell, a devout Mormon, forced their hand, since she was deeply uncomfortable with going so far as calling it rape.

7. Frank Mancuso, Jr. turned down an offer working for Robert Evans to produce Part 3


At the beginning of Part 2, 21-year-old Mancuso, Jr. was but a lowly production assistant nobody knew, but by the end he had catapulted up to line producer and everyone knew he was the son of the President of Paramount Pictures.  Due to that Paramount connection, he had an opportunity after Part 2 to either produce his first film or work as an assistant for former Paramount studio executive Robert Evans, known then for classics like Rosemary’s Baby, Love Story, The Godfather, and Chinatown but known now for his imitable audiobook reading/documentary narration of The Kid Stays in the Picture.  Mancuso, Jr. was advised by Part 2 producer Dennis Murphy to say no to Evans, do the movie.  That movie?  Friday the 13th Part 3, i.e., the one where Mancuso took over as producer and Murphy was not asked back.  Murphy had no idea that’s what Mancuso meant.

8. Larry Zerner was “discovered” on a street corner


Larry Zerner, middle, as Shelly in Part 3

By Larry Zerner’s own admission, his character in Part 3, the chubby, insecure, afro-sporting Shelly, is both a fan favorite as well as among the most hated in the history of the franchise.  However, he’s also one of the most important characters in Friday the 13th history as it is from his cold, dead hands that Jason takes his iconic hockey mask.  It’s complete luck that Zerner ended up in the film at all, though.  The screenwriters, Martin Kitrosser and his wife Carol Watson, simply spotted Zerner one day handing out fliers for the movie The Road Warrior, and they knew he was perfect for Shelly.  Part 3 became his first ever professional gig as an actor.

9. David Bowie homage?  Or just dodging the unions?

Beginning a recurring tradition for all future Friday the 13th films, Part 3 operated under a fake named derived from a David Bowie song.  This time, it was “Crystal Japan.”  However, this wasn’t just done to prevent plot leaks.  No, they also did it to evade the attention of various film industry labor unions who did not like these Friday the 13th movies making so much money for Paramount despite mostly employing non-union labor at every level of production.

10. Tom Savini homage


Debbie’s (Tracie Savage) death in the film via a knife through the throat from below is a clear homage to the infamous death of Kevin Bacon in the first film.  In fact, they re-used Tom Savini’s effect from the first film to achieve the shot.  So, it’s basically a recreation of the Bacon death scene with the victim’s gender reversed and a hammock in for a bed.  However, before Debbie dies what magazine is she reading?  Fangoria, and not that the audience can definitely tell but it’s an issue of Fangoria whose cover touts an article about Tom Savini.  Those sly bastards.

11. Alternate endings

As is, Part 3‘s ending is a recreation of Part 1‘s, except instead of Jason emerging from the lake to attack the sole survivor it is Jason’s mother.  How exactly her head is now re-attached to her body is best left unpondered since it’s only supposed to be a dream. It doesn’t make any sense but neither did Part 1‘s ending (or several other Friday the 13th endings).

However, there were multiple alternate endings.  In the original script, Chris wakes up in the canoe, returns to the barn to find the bodies of all the victims, and then decapitates Jason.  In the novelization of the script, both Chris and Ali (Nick Savage) survive (as opposed to just Chris), but when the cops arrive Jason’s body is nowhere to be found thus setting up the inevitable sequel.  In the first ending that they actually filmed, Chris dreams she’s in the canoe, hears Rick (Paul Kratka) calling to her from the house, and she races to greet him at the door.  However, instead of Rick it’s an unmasked Jason at the door, and he slices Chris’ head clean off with his machete.  They decided it was too depressing to kill off the sole survivor, even if just in a dream, and that Jason sans mask just looked too monster-like.

12. The 3D was a logistical nightmare

Friday the 13th Part III

Part 3 was the first production to use the Marks 3-D system, and it was a constant learning process.  The earliest scenes they filmed, e.g., the opening tracking shot, Shelly and the bikers at the convenience store, had to be completely re-shot due to difficulties with the 3D camera. Plus, they had to be careful about which colors to include in costumes, and everything had to be lit far brighter than normal.  It took hours to set-up individual shots meaning the actors on the film spent most of their time simply sitting around waiting for the next shot to be set-up, a common on-set experience for actors but just far longer than normal this time.

This focus on 3D spilled over to the actors.  The producers were more interested in the actors throwing a wallet or dropping a yo-yo right to the camera on cue than deliver their lines with any believable emotion.

13. Paramount had to spend millions to equip theaters to be able to show the film in 3D

By some estimates, Paramount was forced to spend between $8 and $10 million to actually get Part 3 into theaters.  They ended up making, supplying, and installing the individual lenses and silver screens required to project Part 3 in all 1,079 theaters which showed the film opening weekend, August 1982.  They also had to train the projectionists at theaters, and establish a 24-hour hotline for all of the theaters encountering problems with the 3D.

The effort paid off immediately as they made their money back on opening day.  However, it was probably not worth the trouble.  Paramount was actually sued shortly thereafter for antitrust violations related to the work they did to equip all of the theaters for Part 3.  They actually lost the case, and recalled all of the lenses they’d installed in the theaters.  That along with the less-than-stellar box office for Jaws 3D and Amytville Horror 3D killed 3D until around the time James Cameron gave us Avatar.

The final damage in Part 3?

  • Body Count: 12
  • Box Office: $34.5 million domestic (like $98.2 million at 2014 ticket prices) on $2 million budget;  In adjusted dollars, that makes Part 3 the third highest grossing Friday the 13th film in franchise history.

We’ll do future “13 Things…” lists for all of the Friday the 13th sequels.  Next Friday, we’ll tell you whether or not everyone on Part 4 hated Corey Feldman.

Original Friday the 13th Part 3 Trailer

The Opening Credits Featuring The Disco Version of the Friday the 13th Theme

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