Steve Miner

Friday the 13th Part III (1982, Steve Miner)

Friday the 13th Part III is shockingly inept. Director Miner has a number of bad habits, some related to the film being done in 3-D, some just with how he composes the widescreen frame. Miner favors either action in the center of the frame or on the left. The right is unused. Miner’s shooting for pan and scan. But he also has enough interest to do a quick Psycho homage and a more elaborate one to the first Friday the 13th. So there was some ambition. At least twice.

But even if Miner were a better director, there’s still cinematographer Gerald Feil. Feil does an atrocious job. Sometimes, during the terribly lighted night scenes, it’s impossible to tell whether a shot is interior or exterior. The light doesn’t create anything. It barely even illuminates relevant action.

All of the acting is bad. Some of it is worse. Lead Dana Kimmell is real bad. Not as bad as Paul Kratka as her boyfriend, but still real bad. The rest of the cast isn’t much better. Catherine Parks and Tracie Savage probably give the best performances.

It takes the movie over a half hour to really get going and Miner never matches the care he gives the first suspense sequence (the first after the previous installment’s recap). Maybe most surprising is the lousy score from Harry Manfredini. He opens with a disco thing, then abandons it for a tired rehash score.

Beside that one opening suspense sequence, Part III’s total turkey.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Steve Miner; screenplay by Martin Kitrosser and Carol Watson, based on characters created by Victor Miller and Ron Kurz; director of photography, Gerald Feil; edited by George Hively; music by Harry Manfredini; produced by Frank Mancuso Jr.; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring Dana Kimmell (Chris), Nick Savage (Ali), Paul Kratka (Rick), Rachel Howard (Chili), Larry Zerner (Shelly), David Katims (Chuck), Tracie Savage (Debbie), Jeffrey Rogers (Andy), Catherine Parks (Vera), Kevin O’Brien (Loco), Gloria Charles (Fox), Cheri Maugans (Edna) and Steve Susskind (Harold).


Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981, Steve Miner)

When director Miner finally does a decent sequence in Friday the 13th Part 2, it comes as something of a surprise. Amy Steel is on the run from the masked killer and, even though it’s stupid, it’s somewhat effective. Steel probably gives the film’s best performance (she’s still not any good) and Ron Kurz’s script gives her the most to do. She’s about the only character in the film who thinks. It’s kind of amazing how inept Kurz and Miner are at giving actors character motivation.

But Miner’s sort of off-step throughout the entire film. For the majority of Part 2–Miner shows the killer by his or her legs. Except the viewer isn’t trying to ascertain the killer’s identity, so why be so coy. Because it’s manipulative. It’s also a waste of time.

Miner also doesn’t seem comfortable spending much time with the potential victims. The constant cutting to the killer on the prowl drags the viewer away from any empathic connection to the characters in danger. Many of the directors of other films who Miner rips off here have successfully employed such devices.

There are a couple likable enough actors, Bill Randolph and Marta Kober, and Stuart Charno tries so hard to be annoyingly lovable one has to appreciate the gusto. Unfortunately, in the most obnoxious role, John Furey also gives a rather bad performance.

Harry Manfredini seems confused on the music, which doesn’t help.

Part 2 is artistically bankrupt and incredibly pointless, but does move well.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Steve Miner; screenplay by Ron Kurz, based on characters created by Victor Miller; director of photography, Peter Stein; edited by Susan E. Cunningham; music by Harry Manfredini; production designer, Virginia Field; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring Amy Steel (Ginny), John Furey (Paul), Stuart Charno (Ted), Lauren-Marie Taylor (Vickie), Marta Kober (Sandra), Bill Randolph (Jeff), Tom McBride (Mark), Kirsten Baker (Terry), Russell Todd (Scott), Jack Marks (The Cop), Walt Gorney (Crazy Ralph) and Adrienne King (Alice).


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