My first 3D experience (in 1991)

Contrary to popular opinion, even before the turn of the century, there have been movies that utilized 3D technology in cinemas. Believe it or not, there was a time when movies that featured 3D were considered a refreshing novelty and not just a bandwagon that filmmakers exploit to earn a couple of extra bucks off the moviegoers. There was a time when it was necessary to a film’s outcome.

My first 3D experience was actually in ’91, seeing  Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. I was 11 when I first saw the movie in an old theater in Manila’s Avenida district and I was quite surprised that I remembered so much about the plot when I chanced upon the movie’s beginning on HBO last night. Seeing it on the small screen was a welcome treat that transported me back to the time I was a kid watching movies with my parents in the now demolished theaterhouses in the area.

In this sequel,  Freddy tries to find his missing daughter so he can use her to victimize more kids. See, he needs a new playground after he finishes off all of the children in the town of Springwood, his punishment on the townsfolk for taking his child away from him after he murdered his own wife.

Of course, there are many disposable characters featured in the movie and Freddy has another field day torturing them in their sleep. In this supposed finale, some insight is given into Freddy’s childhood and boyhood leading to his dysfunction and thirst for murder. I love watching Elm Street movies with Robert Englund as Freddy and curse the day they did the inferior reboot.

A scene from the movie's 3D version

Back to the topic, being 11, I was really psyched when I was handed my 3D glasses before entering the cinema. I was kind of surprised what it was for because 3D was a very foreign concept back then and the movie was not even marketed as such. The glasses were made of cardboard, and red and blue cellophane, similar to 3D glasses they include in special DVD packages nowadays, and wearing them for the first time was an experience in itself.

Now that I think about it, the use of the 3D glasses in the movie when Maggie (Freddy’s kid) entered the dream was not explained, nor was it really significant, but wearing them at the same time she put them on was so exciting, like going to another dimension or something. Unlike in some 3D movies or IMAX features, there was no blinking sign at the bottom of the screen saying wear your glasses now, but her action in itself was enough of a signal to give the cue. It was great and as a viewer, I felt as involved in the film as Maggie, the heroine.

When I watched the movie on TV again last night, I broke out my own 3D glasses from our DVD of Journey to the Center of the Earth to relive that moment and it was just as great, even though the effects were not at par with the CGI of this generation. It was classic and it was awesome if not perfect.

This was one great moment that I was glad to revisit. 🙂