With 3-D movies slowly taking over multiplexes and glasses-free 3-D televisions only a few years away, it seems like the format is entering a renaissance.
Given all the hype surrounding 3-D, it’s easy to forget that it was once regarded as little more than a gimmick used to bump up the grosses of B-grade sci-fi and horror movies.
This weekend’s The Final Destination returns 3-D back to its roots by enlivening a cheesy horror film with visual 3-D gags. With that in mind, we take a look back at some of the great — and not-so-great —horror films and thrillers to be released in 3-D.
The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) This classic Universal monster movie has been a staple of costume parties and horror-themed toys for years. But it’s often forgotten that the original film was one of the great 3-D hits of the ‘50s. Though the monster itself is still one of the most memorable to ever be put on screen, the movie is probably best viewed today for nostalgia and camp value.
Dial M For Murder (1954) Alfred Hitchcock briefly dabbled in 3-D with this classic stage adaptation. Rather than simply using 3-D to prod at the audience with pointy objects, Hitchcock used it subtly to create a picture box image that recreated the appearance of watching a stage play. Hitchcock’s careful depth-focused framing is quite atmospheric, and yes the master of suspense does include a few pop-up effects to make the audience jump (how could he resist?). Even though the movie represents one of the most effective examples of 3-D filmmaking, it’s rarely screened in it’s original format.
Andy Warhol’s Flesh For Frankenstein (1973) This Andy Warhol produced, Paul Morrissey directed trashy horror flick is a self-conscious camp classic. Every scene features hilariously convoluted dialogue, ridiculously over the top acting, and buckets of fake blood. The quite funny and oddly sexualized Frankenstein reboot should really be seen in any format, but thrives in 3-D where it’s just that much sillier. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Udo Kier deliver his endless dying monologue while a giant spike pokes through his chest, dangling his heart over the audience. Priceless.
Jaws 3-D (1983) and Friday The 13th 3-D (1982) For a while, horror franchises couldn’t resist releasing their third film outings in 3-D (the title change was just too easy). Jaws 3 and Friday The 13th Part 3 are probably the most famous examples. Both movies are filled with 3-D gags and little else, but have barely been seen in 3-D since the ‘80s. Instead, generations of kids have simply wondered why stuff keeps jutting out towards the camera for no apparent reason.
• For The Final Destination trailer, photos and screen times, or to buy tickets, click here
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