Worst Applications of 3D in 80s Movies

Today, I am totally psyched to present a guest blogger! This article was written by the awesome people from Found Item Clothing. They sell t-shirts that are from ’80s movies such as Real Genius, This is Spinal Tap, Top Gun, and Ghostbusters. But, that is not all! They also have their own blog on the site called It Goes to 11. They write some great articles that I’m sure you would love, such as:
Karate Kid Celebrates 30th Anniversary, Misunderstood 80s Movie Villains, 5 Best Roles of Michael J. Fox, and Why The 80s Were A Great Time For Science Fiction. So, be sure to check them out. And enjoy this article about the worst applications of 3D in ’80s movies.

Worst Applications of 3D in 80s Movies

You could argue that the first 3D movies were plays and ever since the first the first curtain fell, people wondered “Is there a way to have a dimensional experience without having to be near these weird actor people?” For centuries, people suffered through stuff like Hamlet and The Importance of Being Earnest until the miraculous day in the early 1900s when movies were made. In the early 1950s, 3D movies were finally being made and saw a revival in the early 80s

Would studios learn from their mistakes in the 50s to use this technology to advance the art form? Would they take their potential to make eye-popping visual displays to complement a great story line? Or would they dump 3D into movies like salt into a soup of garbage to try to make it tasty? Unfortunately there were a lot of terrible soups made in the early 80s and we’ll take a look at a few of them here.

Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Admittedly, 3D was made for movies with action, executives asked themselves “How do we make this meat cleaver in this scene more interesting?” so 3D started out pretty heavily in the horror and sci-fi wheelhouse. But in the case of Friday the 13th, the 3D just trained you Pavlovian style to assume that whatever was 3D was going to be killing someone. Examine:

That pitchfork was a doozy, no? But throughout the movie, Friday the 13th would make a yo-yo going up and down in 3D and you’re expecting a murder but it turns out to be harmless fun. The whole movie was a mediocre plot followed by a kind of self-indulgent “Look what we can do,” application to 3D. But hey, it’s the first time we see Jason with a hockey mask.

Jaws 3D: “The Third Dimension is Terror” (1983)

The fact that 3 Jaws Sequels were made is a testament to the greatness of the original Jaws. To watch Jaws 3-D is to remind yourself that the business of Hollywood is business. If making more money means having 3D sprinkled in the movie to remind you which terrible sequel of Jaws you’re watching, so be it. The movie can be summed up by one of the lamest climaxes in movie history:

In life, there’s a fleeting panic and then annoyance when you realize you’ve been robbed, that’s what I felt in when I saw that glass break.

Now compare that to the original Jaws:

There’s more terror and suspense in that briefest moment of Jaws than in the entire Jaws 3D combined.

Amityville 3D (1983)

When Roger Ebert describes the cinematography of the movie you’re about to watch “really mean-spirited filmmaking,” you know you’re in a for a treat. The viewing experience had polarized lenses that were supposed to be a new beginning, a departure from red-cyan glasses that were a 3D movie staple. Instead those lenses were wasted on a film that was shot so whomper-jawed that several images looked blurry & distorted.

With no 3D, the acting, lighting and are enough to give most a headache. So if you want to test your limits, by all means try out this monstrosity.

With all of the great 3D movies out there, we hope you’re able to appreciate the sacrifices made to get this point. There can be no Godzilla (2014) without Jaws 3D nor any Lego Movie without Friday the 13th Part 3. We’ve come a long way.

We’d like to thank Return to the ’80s for allowing us to share our thoughts on some 80s movies with you all! We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our world of 80s movies and pop culture. If you want to read more articles like this, head over to our blog, It Goes to 11! And if you’re hankering for a t-shirt or two from Jaws or other cult classic movies, check out Found Item Clothing: we’ve got you covered.

9 thoughts on “Worst Applications of 3D in 80s Movies”

  1. The clothesline scene in Friday the 13th reminds me of a scene in Seven Samurai where Akira Kurosawa shows off the film’s use of deep focus by swaying a katana in close to the camera while maintaining focus in the rest of the frame (I can’t find a picture online). But you know, that movie was good and that was more slick and boastful than ridiculous like these examples. Thanks for sharing!


    1. I still need to see a Kurosawa film. That’s definitely on my bucket list. I’ve heard so much about Seven Samurai, so I probably should make that one my introduction. Is that the best one?


      1. Unfortunately Seven Samurai is the only Kurosawa film I have seen. I have had a hard time tracking his other works down like Yojimbo, Ikuru and Rashomon. A lot of his movies were remade in the US (you can’t say that remakes are a modern Hollywood invention) like The Magnificent Seven for Seven Samurai.


    2. I can’t say I speak for all of the 80’s 3D films that were made and taken over the top just to ruin a potentially good film but I can say that, as a 12 year in old and going to see Friday the 13th in 3D was an amazing experience for me. I can understand the glasses and how dorky and weird they may have looked and how everyone says that the technology is far more superior now. To be honest, the 3D glasses pairing with screen actually worked and you could enjoy eye popping, in your face 3D that made the movie experience worth the $5.50 to go see it. I’ve seen 3D of the 2019 and the 80’s and the 80’s 3D still kicked butt. Today’s 3D is more pixels and large screen which gives the illusion of 3D while sitting and viewing the movie through good awful gawky, caterac, wanna be MIB glasses. Worst application in way of design, yes but did it work as 3D glasses in the 80’s, YES.


      1. 3D in the ’80s was cheesy. But, what a novelty! It was all about fun. 3D today is a bit different. It is more of a tool to immerse you into the film. In order to get the more cheesy fun, and have a great time, is to go to the Muppet 3D movie in Disney at Hollywood Studios. The scenes, especially with Fozzy, are glorious!


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