"Torment is what I give...Torture is what I love...The downfall of the heavens above" - Slayer/ The Antichrist
Guten tag fiends and welcome to my long overdue appraisal of in my opinion the TRUE Prince of mother fucking darkness Jason Voorhees in his third actual appearance. This time portrayed by the most athletic pre-Derek Mears stuntman Richard Brooker. This Jason does not fuck around, he is fast, powerful as hell, and hellbent for vengeance. This is the film which debuts the famous hockey mask. It seems as though this version of Jason spent some serious time at Gold's Gym between parts 2 and 3. For example the Jason played by Steve Dash was probably more realistic in his scuffle with the final girl's boyfriend at the end. Of course Jason wins, but with visible signs of effort. In part 3 we see the emergence of superhuman strength as the final girl's boyfriend not only poses absolutely no threat, but gets his head crushed liked a rotten melon. He also had time to shave and get a haircut.
This was 1983 so of course you have your garden variety group of victims, the two hippie potheads (who look like they are 2o years older than their companions), the no self esteem guy, the ladies man, the troubled girl(hint, hint final girl....), and the country boy she left behind a few years back, and a few other objects of machete fodder. Oh! And in this film you find out how Jason feels about the outlaw biker culture. Very touching scene. Kudos for Steve Miner for very briefly touching on racism endured by those of Hispanic origin in the store scene where she and Shelly go to pay for groceries and the clerk says "we don't take the welfare card here". You get rekindled romance, outlaw bikers crying for a hug, a girl coming to grips with a mysterious past, AND social injustice commentary all in one epic film. Oh and you get Jason kicking the dogshit out of everything he sees. Of course Paramount rapes this film of all quality gore leaving it on the cutting floor, and gives us the fan the finger by not releasing an unedited version. Great effects. My personal fave is how Jason handles being hung. This scene shows just how strong this bastard truly is. He is also still human, and can be hurt which shows his determination to finish the job, He would make an awesome Delta operative, but I digress.
These early films are my favorite because after part 6 Jason is no longer human, and so cannot be hurt, or killed. The Hodder era while cool, lacks the human element portrayed by a young Ari Lehman, Steve Dash, or in part 3 Richard Brooker. In some ways the living Jason was scarier because the plot was more believable in some ways.(and ridiculous in others) The early character is driven by pure rage and adrenaline causing him to feel little pain just the drive to persevere and destroy. I was never quite sure about the motivation of zombie Jason or how lightning regenerates flesh.
An 80's Cheese Classic that I love that also leaves the door open for my favorite in the series part 4.
Oh and a word to the wise, watch the 2-D version. The shitty 3-D gave me a headache with poor effect. You have been warned.
Let's talk Blu-Ray
Video: 3 out of 5
Lets face it the source material is getting old, and Paramount while making copious amounts of money always seemed to be ashamed of these classic horror films. New Line gave Jason the respect he deserved. There is a few really clear shots of the lake, and in the beginning store scene, but honestly looks no better than an up=converted dvd.
Audio: 4 out of 5
Manfredini's cheesy post disco soundtrack rocks nicely though 5.1 re-mastered sound. Little use of rear channels, but subtle sounds are there giving a nice resonance not heard before. Not bad considering the source material.
Final word: If you already own the DVD , you may be disappointed by a lack of true upgrades, but if not by all means grab the blu-ray. It will never look any better. A must for true horror fans.