TNCC frontman Matthew Cade was recently provided a batch of horror themed cigars from Famous Smoke Shop, each one named after a famous icon from horror film history. Cade came up with the grand idea that The Doctor should review a film to pair with his cigar reviews. Naturally I thought that this concept was brilliant. The first icon on the docket was Frankenstein, followed then by Leatherface, The Wolfman, that little bastard Chucky, my fellow physician Dr. Jekyll, and last entry we peeked under the cape of dusty ol’ Dracula. Tonight we’ve chosen yet another legendary psycho to place under the wobbly Tuesday Night Cigar Club microscope…
When did I make my first sojourn to Camp Crystal Lake? I’m afraid it would be nigh on impossible for me to pinpoint the moment exactly, for it was many, many summers in the past. Yes, many hot summers ago, when the heat waves shimmered on the horizon, the pungent aroma of freshly cut grass hung in the air and mingled with the scent of the suntan lotion as it was slowly applied by the nubile co-eds to their tanned torsos, the sound of the drop of fresh ice into my sweating glass of whiskey as I observed those co-eds from the seclusion of my treehouse… well, as it says in Ecclesiastes, time and something happen to us all, but Friday the 13th will forever hold the key to a special chamber in the Doctor’s heart. I waxed philosophical for an entire afternoon trying to determine which entry in the great franchise to review for the TNCC. Would it be Part 6: Jason Lives featuring Thom Matthews? Or perhaps Part 4: The Final Chapter with Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover? The choices seemed limitless, and I pondered weak and weary like Poe’s narrator before finally settling on the 1982 classic Friday the 13th: Part 3. Friday acolytes will of course be aware that Part 3 is actually the first installment where Jason dons his iconic hockey mask, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. So without further digression, let us descend once again into the wooded, mystical land of Crystal Lake with our beers and our rubbers and our youthful sense of invincibility…
The first five minutes of Part 3 are actually just the last five minutes of Part 2, a plan that serves dual purposes. It is a reminder of how things were left off, and for the bean counters at Paramount it’s a cheap gimmick to save a few bucks. To quickly recap for the uninitiated: blonde-haired Ginny manages to trick Jason at the end of Part 2 in order to make good her escape after everyone else has been slaughtered. While standing transfixed in front of the shrine he has made to his dead mother, Jason is bashed in his then sack-covered head by Ginny, who then flees with her erstwhile boyfriend. Jason is alive, of course, but then you knew that because this is only Part 3.
We are treated to a wonderful, post-disco, pre-new wave, early 80’s score during the opening credits. The credits themselves are shooting out at you in a thick, blood red color – because this movie was released in 3D! And I am talking about the good, old-fashioned cheeseball 3D, not that garbage we have today. See Jaws 3 for another example. Jaws 3, the Doctor might have to swim in those waters for a review at some point… pun intended.
For reasons unknown, Jason wanders down the road to a convenience/ grocery store to dispatch Harold the poor shopkeeper and his bitchy wife. This particular scene involves a toy snake on a string (3D!) which quite literally scares the shit out of Harold – the next we see of him, he is seated on the throne and working one out before he gets the meat cleaver. Poor, unfortunate bastard. While not the most thrilling of scenes, it is a perfect example of the Friday the 13th motif, that of a slow burn of building suspense leading up to the slashing. Early Jason Voorhees – and, of course, Michael Myers – stalked their prey before pouncing, not unlike The Doctor at an open bar. It is almost as if they are involved in some sick, twisted game of wits and wills. This is a defining characteristic of any good slasher film and it is on full display here. Why more movies fail to take this tack is beyond me.
What is another defining characteristic of good slasher fare? Yes, you guessed right, a group of carefree and sexually aroused youngsters, rolling into town in a van that resembles the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine! Leading the horny charge are Andy and his girlfriend Deb who have come to Crystal Lake for one reason only. As Andy says “What’s a weekend in the country without sex?” Amen, Andy. I pose that question every time I am in the country, and although I am usually either slapped or sprayed with mace, I refuse to abandon the concept. Rounding out the group are the nerdy prankster Shelly and his blind-date, the sexy Vera, and our heroine Chris, played here by the lovely Dana Kimmell whom film aficionados will recognize as having played the daughter of Chuck Norris in Lone Wolf McQuade. Making no sense at all in this group is the inclusion of two thirty-something weed smokers, hippy Chuck and his pothead girlfriend. That is the beauty and allure of Crystal Lake; it’s all encompassing. It can serve as a summer camp for kids or as a weekend getaway spot for young adults craving a party.
Of course, every Friday movie has the creepy drunk guy who tries to warn the protagonists away, always to no avail. This guy is just lying in the middle of a dirt road when our crew happens upon him. He’s not quite as entertaining as the bicycle riding weirdo from Part 2, but his presence is a Friday movie staple.
We then meet Chris’ beau Rick, a broad shouldered, flannel shirt wearing, farm boy stud who is also not leaving any doubt as to what is on his mind. As he says to Chris while flexing his traps “I can only take so many cold showers.” He even goes so far as to suggest to Chris that he turned down a sure piece of ass in order to spend time with her at the lake. Man, I love the directness of times past. There are absolutely no mixed signals between the sexes here.
The location for Part 3 is fantastic. There’s the eerie main house with the two-story spiral staircase and the faded, ramshackle barn complete with hay loft. This is quintessential Crystal Lake, everything that this secluded place is supposed to be. Idyllic and sun-dappled during the daytime but isolated and fear-inducing at night when the shadows come out. We don’t see much of the lake, which is a good thing because it looks like it isn’t much more than a pond of brackish scum water. According to the end credits, the movie was shot at Veluzat Movie Ranch in Saugas, California. An internet search reveals that it is still standing! Field trip, anyone? You bring the fruit punch Four Loko and I’ll supply the laughs.
Shelly and Vera head into town for snacks or beer or condoms (Shelly wishes; he’s not getting laid) where they run afoul of a trio of bikers. The bikers – Loco, Foxy, and Ali – trail Shelly and Vera back to the lake in order to provide us with a plot element and also to serve as more victims for Jason. Speaking of victims, there are now plenty to go around, and a stone professional like Jason Voorhees makes use of whatever instrument of pain is at hand. It’s a far better example of adaptability than that silly Who Moved My Cheese video that they force business school students to watch. Jason is nothing if not resourceful. After all, anything involving a barn and hay loft means that sooner or later some unlucky soul is going to get pitchforked. I was almost pitchforked once during an argument that broke out following a Schlitz Malt Liquor tag-team drinking competition. Cade and I had clearly won, but the Schlitz had made our opponents contrary of attitude and they vehemently contested the results. We narrowly escaped the unpleasant experience, but I digress. That will be a story for another time. And it’s quite a story, I assure you…
Galvanized by finding and donning his now historic hockey mask, Jason makes fine use of a speargun (more 3D!) and a searing hot poker iron. Then he locates his machete and it’s love at first sight. They were made for each other, like Romeo and Juliet or Macaroni and Cheese. I sure hope Andy and Debbie enjoyed their final roll in the hammock. With regard to the kill scenes, the visual effects are to be admired. This was back in the good ol’ days when all of these elaborate make-up and effects jobs involving a machete going through a throat had to be constructed by hand. I suppose one or two of them are fairly lame – especially what happens to Rick, which is quite frankly hilarious – but the man-made efforts are still praiseworthy.
Who will survive? Will Kimmell’s worthy heroine make it to another sunrise? You’ll have to see for yourself, and if you are a fan of horror films then The Doctor’s prescription is not to wait any longer. I’m glad I revisited Part 3 myself, it’s one of the best of its kind. Everything that is great about the Friday the 13th franchise and slasher flicks in general is encapsulated in this movie. There is a seemingly perfect balance between character-driven scenes, slight comic relief and, of course, Jason. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do, and lesser films fail at it or abandon the idea of balance all together. Even slight character development can be a major asset to an audience’s enjoyment of a slasher movie. We spend just enough time with them to begin to see different personalities develop – except with the dopers, and we really don’t need to know much more about them anyway. But when filmmakers make you care – even a little bit – about the characters and their respective fates, you will only be that much more emotionally involved in the movie. Unlike many other horror movies that I watch and write about, you don’t even need to be drinking in order to enjoy Friday the 13th: Part 3. A statement like that made by me is the equivalent of getting an A+ on your thesis paper.
I think I have made my point clear. Hopefully you have fond memories of your early trips to Camp Crystal Lake as well. And if not, then I suggest you queue up Friday the 13th: Part 3 at your earliest convenience. Just lean back in your favorite chair and imagine the sun shining on the honeysuckle, the freedom of summer in the air and the image of Debbie in her bikini…
Here is wishing you all a happy and fruitful Friday the 13th as we move into 2017. As always, The Doctor wishes you all a clean bill of health.
reviewed by CADE
That was a fantastic write-up by my good friend The Doctor on what is easily my second favorite horror franchise of all time. But how the hell could he not mention the perplexing casting of poor Harold’s wife in the opening scene!?!?
For some odd reason they cast a young attractive actress to play Edna and then threw a ratty bathrobe on her and put her hair in curlers to try and make her look thirty years older than she actually was… why not just hire someone age appropriate? And judging from this behind-the-scenes photo she certainly didn’t seem too happy about it either…
Even as a kid that left me scratching my head but I’m here to talk about a cigar so I’ll leave the film criticism to the experts.
And what a good looking cigar it is! The Tatuaje Skinny Jason has a very dark brown wrapper with just the right amount of give when squeezed. There’s a nice clean cap and overall the polished presentation of the cigar is far less rustic and rough in appearance as the majority of other Skinny Monsters have been so far. I smell barnyard and rich chocolate on the pre-light sniff.
The cap cuts very easily with my scissors and the draw is great. A nice spice greets me upon toasting the foot and it’s accompanied by that rich chocolate note that was foreshadowed before ignition. The spice gradually, slowly, dissipates and a warm woodsy note takes its seat at the table. Woodsy, eh? You know, a certain hockey mask wearing killer hung out in the woods quite a bit. Coincidence or the result of some masterful cigar blending? We shall see…
The rich chocolate and woodsiness continue to dominate in the second third. Construction has been fantastic so far with an even straight burn line and tremendous smoke production. Out of all the actual cinematic madmen and horrific creatures we’ve featured so far in this Monster Series of reviews, Jason is by far my personal favorite (2nd in big screen slashers only to Michael Myers) BUT I’m trying hard as a professional cigar reviewer to not let that influence my impression of the cigar. Shit, I hope all this FDA regulation bullshit doesn’t keep Tatuaje’s Pete Johnson from releasing a Myers themed “The Shape” monster cigar in the future… that’s the one expensive dress box I might have to splurge on.
Back to the stogie, I’m starting to get a faint coffee bean note that’s playing very nicely with the chocolate. The woodsiness has died down a bit here in the middle of the cigar. There’s also a mineral note and something resembling mommy issues… or maybe that’s just a general harshness that’s creeped in. Yep, the Skinny Jason is starting to burn a little harsh but the woodsy and coffee notes (which have increased over the chocolate) are still fighting through it.
I was worried, ok I was fucking terrified like a camp counselor about to lose his virginity, that the harshness that evolved towards the end of the second third would destroy this otherwise pleasant smoking experience but – thankfully – that wasn’t the case. The harshness holsters its machete and quickly recedes into the night, it’s smooth sailing from here on out. In fact, a slight creaminess has entered the log cabin that is my palate and all eyes are on it. These Camp Crystal Lake puns doing anything for you? I thought so, I’m glad you’re enjoying them. I’m forced to do a quick relight after removing the band but that’s no biggie. I thought about stepping outside and letting a bolt of lightning from the incoming storm relight the stogie but I just used my Xikar dual flame lighter instead.
Smoke production kicks right back in and the cream and woodsiness are back. Just like Jason Vorhees himself, you can’t keep a good cigar down for long. These flavors remain steadfast throughout the remainder of the smoking experience which comes to a close after a little over an hour and fifteen minutes.
I LOVE this movie and I loved this cigar. Bias be damned, I suppose, yours truly really enjoyed the Skinny Jason. Nice flavor transitions, surprises construction-wise that never wavered the experience, overall a solid entry (and one of the best by far) in Tatuaje’s Skinny Monster series. I’m kinda sad that we only have three of these monsters left to review. Kinda sad and also kinda angry… it makes me want to just squeeze someone’s head until their fucking eyeball pops out!!!
So head over to Famous Smoke Shop using the ad banner on this page and get your hands on some Skinny Monsters and try them out for yourself. And then find us on Facebook and let us know what you sucks think!