A New Dimension In Terror: Celebrating 35 years of Friday the 13th Part III


Today marks the 35th anniversary of Steve Miner’s ‘Friday the 13th: Part III’. To celebrate, we’re looking at the landmark film where Jason gets his mask.


It’s early 1982 and the landscape of horror is changing. After the original Friday the 13th begins making horror mainstream, itself an imitation of John Carpenter’s Halloween, imitators begin flocking. Seemingly everywhere, no holiday is safe and masking men as maniacs becomes the new black of Hollywood. But it wasn’t until the third film in the iconic franchise that horror hits the stratosphere.


Steve Miner’s ‘Friday the 13th Part III’ — Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Would you be yourself if you looked like this? — Shelly (Larry Zerner)

In early August, Friday the 13th Part III debuts and changes everything. Hitting theaters the 13th of the month, the film takes the series on a different path in many ways. The first Friday to shoot on the west coast, the film also uses 3D to get the summer fun crowd in the theater. It’s also features the debut of the infamous hockey mask, making the film one of the most important movies in horror history.

Ditching the potato sack, the Georgetown Production picture features another round of hapless characters awaiting their demented destiny. With Chris (Dana Kimmell) as the film’s protagonist, Friday the 13th Part 3D ditches the camp for Higgins Haven, a near by farm owned by Chris’ family. With so may tools around such a location, Jason has a lot of toys at his disposal — and it’s playtime.

Made for $2.3M as a negative pickup for Paramount Pictures, the third Friday the 13th eventually rakes in $36.7M, with $34.5M coming domestically. While critics tear the film apart, this fright train is really beginning to roll with no signs of stopping. With horror at an all-time high, there seems to be a new genre in Tinseltown taking tickets — and a few names with it.

More from Friday the 13th

Today, the film turns 35. With bloody candles to blow out, the horror genre owes a huge debt the third Friday. The last film in the series directed by Steve Miner, the only 3D Friday is certainly important. But mainly, its a film that shows our horror family is here to stay. It’s one of the films that made horror truly mainstream and let the naysayers know — we’re the monster squad and Jason is one of its founding members. And we’re never going away.

So let’s all raise a glass to Friday the 13th Part III. While you’re not one of the best film in the series, you are one of the most important. And that is irrefutably something to celebrate. Here’s to another 35 years you beautifully bloody bastard, may your day be filled with many machetes.

Next: Friday the 13th Part 3: 6 things you might not know

Love ‘Friday the 13th’? Celebrating the third film’s milestone? Let the other camp counselors know what you think in the comment section below.