Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood (1988)
Directed by: John Carl Buechler
Starring: Lar Park-Lincoln, Kevin Spirtas, Terry Kiser, Susan Blu, Kane Hodder, Susan Jennifer Sullivan, Heidi Kozak, William Butler, Staci Greason, Larry Cox, Jeff Bennett, Diana Barrows, Elizabeth Kaitan, Jon Renfield, Michael Schroeder, Debora Kessler, Diane Almeida, John Otrin, Craig Thomas
(out of 4)
Get ready for the biggest face-off since the 1972 Fischer-Spassky World Championship Match
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Another year, another edition of Paramount’s long running series of Friday the 13th movies, or as we should just call them – Jason movies. (The guys from New Line would eventually figure that out when they picked up the franchise). Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood (aka Friday the 13th Part 7) delivers the same kind of stuff that the previous Jason movies delivered, only it does so on an order of diminishing returns. It has zero scares, its gore is non-existent, its one-dimensional characters are even more forgettable this time around, and it asks the audience to accept outrageous premises, even for a Friday the 13th film. On the plus side: with Kane Hodder now playing the character, Jason Voorhees never looked better, and that’s most likely because of director John Carl Buechler’s experience as a special effects man. But as we saw with Troll, he’s better at special effects than directing.
This is the point in the series where things go really supernatural. After a brief recap of the Jason Voorhees curse (nicely done by Walt Gorney, a guy you might remember as Ralph!), we come across the Shepard family, where little girl Tina gets mad at daddy’s drinking and accidentally buries him beneath the docks at Crystal Lake using her budding powers of telekinesis. (Tommy Jarvis had just buried Jason there with a rock and chain but nobody seems to know about it?) Ten years later, a teen-aged Tina (Lar Park-Lincoln) returns to her family’s cabin with her mother (Susan Blu) and psychologist Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser) in tow. The doc says that Tina needs to get over the guilt surrounding her father’s death, but his secret agenda is to use Tina as a lab rat so he can film her moving matchbooks around with her mind and who knows what else. I guess he’ll be able to get a good book deal out of it. So our Carrie-avatar meets next door hunk Nick (Kevin Spirtas) who is hanging around with the typical group of idiot teens, including little blonde rich girl Melissa (Susan Jennifer Sullivan), who just wants to exploit everybody around her like all good rich folk do. There’s also a geek guy (Jeff Bennett), a geek girl (Diana Barrows), and a bunch of other meatbags who either had screentimes of about 5 minutes each or just weren’t interesting enough to make much of an impression on me.
It's my party and you'll die if I want you to.
Then Carrie-avatar goes off and tries to resurrect her dead daddy from the lake, but instead wakes up Jason, snapping his chains so he can surface and resume his work, which as everyone knows by now includes decapitations, head crushings, and death by weed whacker. Tina starts having visions of Jason’s victims, which serve to make her more emotionally agitated, at one point causing a TV to fly across the room and in another instance causing a minor earthquake. It’s your typical teen angst and father issues manifested in telekinetic activity, but now poor Tina has to deal with a hulking monster in a hockey mask, and her stupid doctor. Most of the film, though, is your standard stalk’n'slash, but everything about it seems underwhelming. It doesn’t help that there is almost no gore, thanks to the heavy-handed MPAA, who must have decided to be even bigger jerks than usual that day. Other than the occasional curseword, bare ass, and flash of breasts, Friday the 13th Part 7 could probably get away with being shown on network TV without cuts. The movie also seems to have given up on trying to deliver anything close to suspense or terror, having Jason dispose of his victims as quickly as possible. Even the one kill that seems to be popular with fans – it involves a sleeping bag – elicits barely more than a shrug from me. Then there is Jason’s absurd ability to transport himself instantaneously at will; he walks very slowly while his victims run away at high speed, and yet he still manages to catch up with them. (This “ability” is most glaringly obvious in The New Blood, the worst offense occurring when Jason magically appears in the water only a few seconds after killing somebody on shore).
Kane Hodder plays our favorite masked madman this time around (he would go on to play him in Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jason X), and I must say that “look” of the character is great here. He’s this big hulking monster, with lots of rotting flesh and exposed spine, and his facial makeup (after the inevitable unmasking) is well done – it even has a similar appearance to the look in The Final Chapter, except after a decade of erosion by lakewater, of course. The final battle between Tina and Jason is rousing enough and fun to watch – it’s sort of a precursor to Freddy vs Jason (trivia: the creators originally wanted this film to be Freddy vs Jason but Paramount and New Line couldn’t get it together). There’s also some pleasure in seeing mean bitch Melissa get an axe in the head and selfish bastard Dr. Crews take the receiving end of a hedge trimmer. But certain things hinted at only make me imagine what could have been. For example, both Tina and Nick have troubled backgrounds – what would a movie with troubled teens who band together to defeat Jason look like? Could there have been more of a connection made between Jason and Tina’s father?
And now Bernie Lomax is ready for the weekend...
Friday the 13th Part 7 delivers one of the dumbest endings in horror movie history. I hate to spoil it, but I have to talk about it: Tina’s dad is resurrected from the lake to fight Jason. Now, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve had six films worth of incompetent Crystal Lake/Forest Green cops. I can accept this, I can accept that an undead zombie/monster is walking around the woods killing indiscriminately for years but people still camp there, I can even (grudgingly) go with the idea that the killer has access to a molecular transporter and instant delivery of garden tools like tree trimmers. But I have a really hard time accepting that a killer of scores of people, chained at the bottom of a lake, wouldn’t be recovered and taken away to a crematorium with haste, or that a loving father killed in an accident on a dock wouldn’t be recovered and given a proper burial by his wife and daughter who witnessed the accident. No, nobody ever thinks of removing bodies from a crime scene, or simply just draining the fucking lake and putting a gigantic fence around the woods forever. Really, why would they, right? It’s just extra paperwork to deal with. But then the alternate explanation – that Tina “manifested” her dead father into physical form – is even more ludicrous. This movie is maddening.
- Bill Gordon
I held my breath for 10 years! I win the case of beer!
Can I borrow this?
The special features on the Deluxe Edition include:
- Commentary by director John Carl Buechler and actors Lar Park Lincoln and Kane Hodder
- The Making of Friday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood
- Mind Over Matter: The Truth about Telekinesis
- Deleted scenes, including all the gore that was cut for the R rating
- Makeover by Maddy: “Need a Little Touch-Up Work, My Ass”
Buy Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood on DVD