The “golden era” of 3D began in 1952 with Arch Oboler’s “Bwana Devil,” a lion-hunting adventure starring Robert Stack that, given its immersive enhancement, was extraordinarily flat, both dramatic and visual. Still, people were tickled by the experience of lions seemingly leaping off the screen, leading to a solid two years of 3D exploitation filmmaking. Eventually, the gimmick became old-fashioned and the 3D era came to an end.
In 1981, Italian filmmaker Ferdinando Baldi attempted to revive the format with the ostentatious spaghetti western “Comin’ at Ya!” The first US release in two cities was a minor sensation. Nearly 30 years after the advent of 3D, the public was giddy when objects flew off the screen at them. Perhaps there was life in this gray gimmick after all. If so, what better way for a studio to dip its toe in water than by applying it to a critically reviled slasher series? Paramount paid close attention and hit a gold mine with “Friday the 13th Part 3”.
As 3D horror chestnuts from the format’s golden age, such as “House of Wax” and “Dial M for Murder,” were re-released in theaters to capitalize on Paramount’s horror hit, rival studios mindlessly rushed trash like “Jaws 3.” -D’ and ‘Amityville 3’. -D” in production. Given the involvement of sci-fi/horror pioneer Richard Matheson in the first, there was reason to believe that the third round with a voracious great white could be of value. Aside from the fact that Simon “Manimal” MacCorkindale was half taken in by a shark, the film was a miserable failure.By 1984, 3D was dead again.