Many of my Saturday afternoons (as a young teen) in the early 80s were spent going bug-eyed at the local cinema watching 3-D films. I recall mostly that my expectations were always greater than any of the films' production values. It was my introduction to real Hollywood schlock comin' at me.
Comin’ at Ya! (1981)
This cheapo Western from Spain was released in the USA and started the 3-D craze in early 80s films. The plot involves a good guy tracking down his girlfriend held hostage by bad guys. The film was reviewed as “generally boring with bad 3-D effects”.
Money shots: Bats, rats, guns, flaming arrows...and in one hysterically tasteless shot a baby's butt is lowered onto the camera!
House of Wax (1953) ???!!!
Strangely, the Warner Brothers horror film starring Vincent Price was re-released to keep up with the demand of the 3-D matinee audience.
Demi Moore stars in this futuristic horror movie as Patricia Welles, a young woman struggling to get by in a post-apocalyptic world where a flesh eating parasite is terrorizing the city. Also-starring Cherrie Currie of “The Runaways” rock band.
Money shots: A steel pipe pierces a body and blood flows out; a thug sticks his fingers into the parasite tube; a gun barrel points toward the audience; a parasite falls from the ceiling, and even parasites bursting from flesh come at ya.
Friday the 13th part III (1982)
Psycho-tard Jason Voorhees moves on to a Crystal Lake property called “Higgins Haven” where he slaughters teens and bikers and chases a woman whom he attacked (raped?) two years earlier.
Money shots: Opening Title Credit, a yo-yo, machete, pitchfork, and an eyeball comes at you.
Funfacts: Budgeted for $ 4 million, the film earned $34.5 million in the States.
Amityville 3-D (1983)
This was the first Amityville film to not be based on or inspired by the so-called "true story" of the original book and movie. The film stars Tony Roberts, Tess Harper, Meg Ryan, Lori Loughlin and Candy Clark (the former Mrs. Marjoe Gortner!).
Money shots: Flames, pets, and a demon from a cellar pit come at you.
Jaws 3-D (1983)
The film involves the oldest son from the first two Jaws films, Michael Brody (played by Dennis Quaid) working for SeaWorld in Florida, which is preparing for the launch of its new "Undersea Kingdom," a set of tunnels where people can "view the wonders of the deep without ever getting wet." You can imagine the outcome.
Money shots: shark’s teeth, shattered acrylic glass, and shark blown up bits come at you.
SpaceHunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)
A sci-fi film about bounty hunter on a mission to rescue three women stranded on a brutal planet. He meets a vagrant teenage girl (Molly Ringwald) along the way.
Funfacts: Budgeted at $ 14.4 million, the film grossed $ 16.4 million.
Executive Producer: Ivan Reitman. Elmer Bernstein composed the score.
MetalStorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983)
This sci-fi western involves a space ranger in search of an intergalactic criminal with supernatural powers named Jared-Syn, (played by Michael Preston). Also-starring Kelly Preston (Mrs Travolta) and Richard “Night Court” Moll.
Fun facts: Critics pointed out that the title, "...the Destruction of Jared-Syn", makes little sense since the villain is never destroyed and actually gets away in the end.
Treasure of the Four Crowns (1983)
Spaghetti western vet actor/producer Tony Anthony stars as a JT Striker - a fortune hunter seeking valuable gems hidden inside two of the remaining four Mystical Crowns which are guarded by a cult lead by the evil Brother Jonas.
Funfacts: Music by Ennio Morricone. Treasure of the Four Crowns was rushed into production by Cannon Films after the runaway success of Comin' at Ya! by the same producers. It was released just as the 80s 3-D era was coming to an end.