Video Rewind Interview: Paul Kratka from Friday the 13th Part 3
"Friday the 13th in 3D is so much fun," explains its star, Paul Kratka, "because almost all of the deaths play out the 3D effect."
Kratka (and Jason victim number 19) says he's still amazed at the popularity of the film which came out on August 13, 1982.
When it comes to the "Friday" franchise, Kratka admits he's not familiar with the series and hasn't seen those before or after the third installment. "I do hear (after the third part) from people saying the first three were better story wise and kind of stuck more to the roots of itself rather than become a gratuitous blood-bath that maybe came after that point."
Back in the early days of his acting career when he was studying acting with a group in North Hollywood, a friend of his auditioned for the role of Andy and told him about the interview. He was encouraged to meet the casting director.
"I read for that part and the casting director said, 'No. You're not right for this part at all. You're really right for the lead.' So they asked if I'd come back the next day to read for the director and producer. The casting director told me that the character of Rick wasn't a city boy, but someone who lived in the mountains and he was a carpenter."
After "dressing for the role" so to speak and thinking he had the job he says they were struggling to find the female lead.
"They wanted Amy Steel (Ginny from Part 2) but she was unavailable and they knew of Dana Kimmel, but she too was unavailable (she eventually did get the lead role of Chris) so for about two months they had me do screen tests with about a dozen actresses. I pretty much knew I had the job, but I hadn't signed a contract and I was excited about being in a movie (his first) but wasn't sure what was going on."
A couple of months before shooting began, he was sent to a special effects laboratory to have them create a mannequin like model of his upper body and head. He said the experience was really surreal.
"They made this mold of me and then they made a reverse mold and then the head was made from a specific latex material that had collapsible plates, so that when they did multiple takes of Jason squeezing my head, the head would collapse."
When he first saw his "clone" he felt as though he were having an out-of-body experience since it was three in the morning, they were in the woods, making a horror movie and "they wheeled this mannequin out and it was me! It was really weird experience."
To get the effect of the popping eye, they ran a fish line that went through the central axis of the pupil of the eye and they lined it up with the central axis of the lens of the camera and shot it over and over.
While he had no comment on being a victim of Jason's he said it was just a part of the movie since the production company spent most of the time on the effects and technical aspects of the film. For his death scene, they spent most of the time perfecting the scene and shot his feet dangling as far as his "death" went.
Now that he was dead in the movie, his body is next thrown threw the window and he said felt sorry for the stuntman as they did it over and over until it was just right. He remembers shaking his head as the stuntman kept going through the window on a pneumatic lift. Once it was just right, all Kratka had to do was lay down on the floor and let them put some glass and blood on him.
So what is it like making a horror movie?
If he knew he would say, but at the time didn't take any mental notes about what it was like. To him, it was being in a movie, but thinks that making a comedy would be much tougher since the timing has to be right.
"You know making a movie is a slow and bit by bit process. You don't feel so much that you're involved in a horror movie, but just that you're in a movie."
Because he wasn't sure of the future of his acting career he switched agents and since it didn't pan out, he went back to school and is now a chiropractor. But before going back to school he was able to make a living as an actor by doing commercial work which helped pay for his education.
He's grateful for the fans who are still devoted to the series and says that they are a dedicated bunch of people. Kratka has also done the convention circuit and says that the people who he's met have been really nice and he enjoys receiving e-mails or meeting fans who are fans or who are just discovering it for the first time.
On a final note, he did talk with a fan once who had bought the DVD of the movie and the fan told him he had bought a pair of 3D glasses on eBay and said the effects worked even in a 2 dimensional world.
Need some trivia to throw around on the next Jason's Day?
*Catherine Parks, (Vera) was Jason's thirteenth victim. The 1977 first runner up in the Miss America Pageant gets speared in her right eye.
*This is the first time the hockey mask is used and became Jason's trademark. In Part 2, he wore a sack over his head in an homage to "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" (1977).
*Part 3 takes place immediately following Part 2 which actually makes it Saturday the 14th.