Sometimes 3D can actually 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 thing and fail at the other. Texas Chainsaw 3D and The Final Destination looked fine in theaters, but there wasn’t much to either story.
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 really a good thing. Sadly, this is the way it goes for most 3D films that have been told in the horror genre. They’re following a trend and trying to stay current and showing the film in the third dimension is more distracting than anything else.
I think something 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. And again, My Bloody Valentine 3D is just a total thrill ride. It feels like 3D movies should be designed to feel, which is basically that it feels like a theme park experience.
I guess most horror movies probably don’t lend themselves to 3D, but man, haunted houses have to be the least logical choice for that format. 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 even have worked with the audience of the time. 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 film’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 decision, especially the idea of converting it to 3D. The story doesn’t lend itself to that at all. The most frustrating thing 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 of watching it normally.
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 that either. It’s just a bad zombie flick that wastes Sid Haig and looks even stupider 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 distinguishing title.
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 butt was 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 stuff 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 things about it are the 3D elements. 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.