Sometimes 3D can be a lot of fun. I’m not a naysayer for the format by any means. I think My Bloody Valentine 3D is pretty much the best modern example of how to have fun with this format. It’s difficult to maintain a balance between the gimmick elements of 3D and actually telling an interesting story. Way too many movies succeed at one and fail at the other. Texas Chainsaw 3D and The Final Destination looked fine in theaters, but there wasn’t much to either story.
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Other times, there’s an interesting story that just doesn’t need to be in 3D. The gimmick is distracting from the plot and the characters and that’s never a good thing. Sadly, this is the way it goes for most 3D films that have been told in the horror genre. Often, showing the film in the third dimension is more distracting than anything else.
I think a film like Creature from the Black Lagoon is a great example of strong 3D because you can see where all the gags are, they’re fun and kind of weirdly inviting. But they don’t take away from what’s going on. The following are great examples of how not to make a 3D horror picture.
I guess many horror movies don’t lend themselves to the 3D format, but man, haunted houses have to be the least logical choice. At least with slashers, it makes sense to have so many sharp objects flying at the camera. Here, there are a lot of weird ghostly specters and flies—mostly flies—moving slowly toward the camera. The effects are terrible. It doesn’t help that the story isn’t very good, either.
Jaws 3D might actually contain the worst 3D gag in the history of cinema: A totally inanimate cutout of a shark, badly superimposed, moving incredibly slowly toward the viewer. I can’t imagine that shot could have worked with audiences of the era in which the film was released. As someone currently living in Florida, I find the thought of the shark being set loose on SeaWorld to be a hilarious concept, but the picture’s only real saving grace is that it’s not Jaws: The Revenge.
My Soul to Take
I hate to say it, but it’s like almost every decision made in My Soul to Take was a bad one. Especially the idea of converting it to 3D. The story doesn’t lend itself to that at all. The most frustrating aspect is that this was Wes Craven’s last original film as writer/director and it should have been great. The concept really works, but the movie doesn’t and watching it in the third dimension only doubles the headache.
Night of the Living Dead 3D
I don’t think anyone was really led astray by Night of the Living Dead 3D, to be honest. I find it hard to believe that anyone went into this one expecting to be pleasantly surprised. Maybe they were hoping it would be fun in a “so bad it’s good” way, but it’s not. It’s just a bad zombie flick that wastes Sid Haig and looks even worse in 3D. To be honest, I think the only reason it’s in 3D in the first place is to give it some kind of distinction from the original.
Parasite is just a bad movie and whether the 3D is good or not, it doesn’t save it. The only real redeeming value is that it stars Demi Moore long before she was famous. This would have been her second big break after her backside was reportedly featured on the poster for I Spit on Your Grave. There’s nothing about it that really lends itself to 3D and there’s no way to really see it in 3D. But man if Charlie Band didn’t market the hell out of that singular aspect more than anything else in the film.
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
I totally get the idea behind using 3D for the final act of Freddy’s Dead. It’s supposed to be the last Elm Street movie and you want a grand finale. That makes total sense and is kind of cool as an audience participation thing. The problem with it is that it actually comes in at the worst possible time and distracts from some of the most interesting scenes in the entire feature. Most of the 3D sequences are flashbacks of Freddy’s backstory. That’s stuff I actually want to see without gimmicks or glasses.
Friday the 13th Part 3-D
Let me set the record straight before I ignite a flame war: I think Part III is a great entry in the series. It’s not my favorite, but it’s certainly toward the top of the list. But the worst thing about it is the 3D aspect. The gimmicks are so obvious and over-the-top and the majority of them aren’t even in focus. Maybe they really played in theaters and if that’s the case, we need a total restoration because the 3D on the DVD/Blu-ray is kind of nauseating.