Traumafession:: Unk on Friday The 13th Part 3 (1982)

About a month ago (April 30th), FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 was celebrating its 40th anniversary. While singing its praises I nearly stated that Jason Voorhees, as presented in that film (with a THE ELEPHANT MAN-type sack on his head), is at his scariest (because generally he is) but something stopped me in my tracks from doing so. If I was being completely honest, the most frightening I ever found Jason Voorhees was at the end of the next film in the series FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3.

Come to think of it, I was hardly a child at the time and at that point, had watched the first two films multiple times (to say the least). At the point of the film I’m referring to, most of the film’s killing, violence and bloodshed had already occurred and I had devoured it all handily.

But his was the sort of scare that hit me on a purely visual level. It felt like one of my nightmares; I was shook as they say.

Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell) had endured a rough night but it appeared that she had finally defeated her hockey-masked assailant and exhausted, fell asleep in a boat on a shallow portion of Crystal Lake. She is awoken by a screeching bird and is clearly (and rightfully) still in hyper-survival mode. She looks about and sees only her familiar farm. After a panicked jolt when the boat hits a floating branch (!) and a jump scare provided by an obnoxious duck loudly flying by her head (!), she comes to accept that the nightmare may indeed be over and that she is finally safe. But that’s when she sees him in the window…

A fleshy, almost pig-faced, mask-less Jason in all his deformed glory, covered in blood and somehow audibly groaning!  He begins to scratch and claw at the windows glass in a frenzied manor (I don’t know why figures behind glass get to me (SALEM’S LOT?) but they always do). He finally gives up on his nonsensical attempts to reach Chris through the window and disappears while Chris finds the boat she’s trying to row away in stuck on another damned branch.  Jason CRASHES through the door (!) and we get an even better look at his almost smiling (?) heavily breathing visage. He starts to run for Chris (and directly toward camera) but then suddenly disappears (along with the merciless, cow-prod score).

It’s OK! Chris has just lost her mind! The window is empty. The lake is at peace. Of course this is all just to distract us from what’s coming out of the water (an iffy, worm-enhanced homage to the first film). Hey, it works. I’m not sure why it worked so well on me but it did and I have to admit, it still does. Something about the brazen early morning clarity is truly jolting and even though the series was already notorious for such last minute trickery, I continue to fall for it hook line and sinker.

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SmallDarkCloud
SmallDarkCloud
3 months ago

Unkle Lancifer – you might know this already, but a scene was shot of Jason actually catching and decapitating Chris – which would have lead to Chris waking up, so, yes, another (different) dream sequence.

Still photos of the scene exist, including shots of the special effects crew working on it, but I don’t think the footage has ever surfaced. At some point during production, the decision was made to drop this in favor of Mrs. Voorhees emerging from the water instead.

Last edited 3 months ago by SmallDarkCloud
Sebastian99
Sebastian99
3 months ago

Figures behind glass (especially when seen from a distance) always creep me out too. I don’t know what it is about seeing something through a window that makes it so much scarier than it would otherwise be, but it sure does. And this is a great example of that.

Ben S
Ben S
3 months ago

I also think that F13 3D has the most underrated final chase in the series. It’s suspenseful!

bdwilcox
bdwilcox
3 months ago

The first thing like that which freaked me out as a kid was the silently screaming Kryptonians (General Zod, Ursa, and Non) locked behind the glass of their mirrored, two dimensional prison in the Phantom Zone. I get chills just thinking about being locked in a place like that.

Last edited 3 months ago by bdwilcox
SmallDarkCloud
SmallDarkCloud
3 months ago

The one that scared me as a kid was a scene in, of all things, one of those two Ewoks movies that were made for television, broadcast in the 80s. In one of them, a kid is swimming in a lake when a witch transforms the surface into glass. Cue the terror, as the kid bangs on the glass, desperately trying to get out (up). That scene terrified me. I don’t exactly remember which one of the two it was, but I think it was the first one.

bdwilcox
bdwilcox
3 months ago

The Phantom Zone prison gave me nightmares for years. Now it just gives me the heebie-jeebies when I think about.

Oh, and don’t forget about the Dust Witch (Pam Grier) locked inside her glassy ice casket in 1983’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Last edited 3 months ago by bdwilcox
Luki8701
Luki8701
3 months ago

Yes! This is the scene that has stuck with me ever since I’ve seen the movie for the first time! The way this scene is shot (and looks even better in 3D) and edited along with the sound is just highly unnerving in a way the rest of this movie is not. Such a simple moment on page, but extremely effective. The first three F13th movies all have these little careful moments sprinkled throughout that are so simple, yet effective (Mrs. Voorhees’ hand on the shower curtain in the first movie comes to mind…)