The home improvement store scene was mostly shot in an actual store. They were only allowed to film after the store was closed and had to leave the store the exact way they found it. While different parts of the scene were being filmed, other crew members were often putting objects back on the shelves. In addition, they had to turn objects around to hide brand names, bring in other brand names, and put things in the way to block names from appearing due to the store not wanting their name or products being associated with a "teen death movie".
Tony Todd, who played the mortician in the first two films, provides the voice of the devil above the entrance to the roller coaster. He also provides the speaker's voice saying, "This is the end of the line" in the subway towards the end of the movie.
One of the first times that the director and DVD team collaborated from inception to DVD release. Film was shot with the DVD interactive features in mind so many scenes were filmed several times with varying outcomes.
Much of the on-ride footage was filmed on the "Corkscrew" at Playland, part of the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, Canada. The actual ride has an initial drop of 65ft and turns back around on itself before entering the double corkscrew, whilst the drop in the movie is 200ft, followed by a double corkscrew.
While filming the scene in front of the Drive-Thru, a 900lb hydraulic cylinder that was being used to assist in the truck stunt broke free and went whistling across the set, knocking over both the "a" and "b" cameras. Not much damage was done to them, as they are tough German cameras.
References to presidential assassinations include the name of the town and high school (McKinley), and the names of the subway stations in the final scene (Booth, Oswald). Looking at the map, you can also see Ruby Drive, 63rd and Hidell stations. Oswald used the name "Alek J. Hidell" and was killed by Jack Ruby.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The tanning bed scene was based on four urban legends. One is the legend of a bride-to-be, in some versions a sorority girl, who wanted the perfect tan but ended up cooking her insides by over-using tanning beds. The second and third legends involve the Ohio Players's hit song "Love Rollercoaster", which plays during the tanning scene. One of the legends goes that the scream heard between the first and second verses of the song is that of a woman being murdered while the song was being recorded. The other goes that the scream is that of the woman who modeled for the album cover art, because her flesh was torn off when the acrylic substance ladled over her naked body (to make it look like she was dripping with honey) was clumsily removed by crew members. The fourth urban legend is the one of the newlywed bride playing a game of hide-and-seek on her wedding day, who dies when the trunk she hides in locks with her inside. In some versions of the legend, something falls on the trunk, preventing the bride from being able to open it from the inside, much like the way the shelf fell onto the tanning beds, jamming them closed.
Originally, the character Frankie Cheeks was not meant to die. Rather than being fatally struck from the back of the head by a spinning engine propeller as shown in the final film, he looks at his rear-view mirrors and narrowly escapes his supposed death himself with only a broken neck. He is then later arrested by police and is charged for indecent exposure, due to the police seeing his camera having photos of "too revealing" girls.
According to a newspaper article you find through the "Choose Their Fate" feature Kimberly Corman and Officer Thomas Burke died when they ran into each other at Goldstein's Hardware. A Camaro (owned by Evan Lewis, victim in FD2) rolled down a hill and crashed into the front of the store. The two attempted to escape from the rear only to meet their fate at the hands of a woodchipper. Kimberly's coat got caught, Thomas attempted to save her, both were pulled into the woodchipper. The woodchipper was owned by Roger Gibbons (whose son died at the end of FD2).
In the final subway scene, the three leading characters would meet the two survivors from FD2. Wendy and Kimberly were originally meant to be cousins. The plan was that Wendy would be in the subway with her cousin and her boyfriend before she ran into Kevin and Julie. The presence of Kimberly and Officer Burke would make perfect sense considering that Death's plan would reach its end with all the survivors dying. The two actors were not available for the re-shoots and therefore the scene was staged with Wendy 's roommate and her boyfriend instead.
Depending on the 'Choose Their Fate' feature, either Ashley or Ashlyn get a slightly worse death than the other. In the original scene where they are both burned, Ashlyn gets the worse death as Ashley inadvertently breaks the glass on her tanning bed due to struggling and thus stops the heat. But Ashlyn's bed continues to pump out heat, scorching her worse than Ashley. In the alternate scene, Ashlyn simply gets knocked out by the shelf whereas Ashley is trapped and burned in addition to being electrocuted later on.