After the success of Friday the 13th Part 2 in 1981, a sequel to the film was inevitable. Released on August 13, 1982, just over a year after the release of Part 2, Friday the 13th Part III stormed into theaters to critical failure but much box office success.
Directed by Steve Miner (producer of the first film and director of the second), Friday the 13th Part III is unique in that it is the only film in the series to be filmed in 3D. Dubbing the film Friday the 13th Part 3-D, Miner threw everything at the screen from yo-yos to eyeballs to harpoons. It is also notable for featuring Jason in his hockey mask for the first time.
Friday the 13th Part III gets a lot of hate from fans, with many considering it one of the worst films of the series (see here, here and here). It’s one of my favorite entries in the franchise. I ranked it second when I re-watched all the films back in November (I sometimes rank it third, depending on my mood), writing:
Ginny may get all the love, but Chris is a formidable Final Girl. It’s a shame she went crazy in the end of the film. Still, her chase scene and eventual fight with Jason is probably the best in the series. The moment where you know she’s in it to win it is when she wraps the rope around Jason’s neck and hangs him. Such a clever girl. Shelly seems to be a point of contention among fans, but I find him quite endearing. I root for the underdog. Sue me. Part III is the film where Jason gets his mask, which is what the film is famous for, but it’s so much more than that. Nearly all of the characters are likable, the script is well-written (for a Friday film), it has some fantastic kills (with the handstand bisection being the standout) and is just a lot of fun to watch.
Friday the 13th Part III went on to gross $36.7 million ($91.7 million in 2016 dollars) domestically, almost 16 times its production budget of $2.3 million ($5.7 million in 2016 dollars). This was almost double the $21.7 million gross of the second film but just shy of the $39.7 million that the first film made. It would be the second highest grossing film in the franchise until Freddy Vs. Jason was released in 2003. The high box office gross could be because of the higher priced 3D ticket sales at the time, but it’s still a commendable achievement.
Happy anniversary, Friday the 13th Part 3. You may be not be the most beloved of entries in the Friday the 13th franchise, but you’re a damn good one. Celebrate the anniversary of Jason wearing his mask by revisiting the second sequel today. You may find more to like about it!