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Friday the 13th: The Complete CollectionFriday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Directed by John Carl Buechler
Written by Daryl Haney and Manuel Fidello
1988, Region A, 86 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on September 13th, 2013

Starring:
Lar Park Lincoln as Tina
Kevin Blair Spirtas as Nick
Kane Hodder as Jason
Terry Kiser as Dr. Crews
Susan Jennifer Sullivan as Melissa
Heidi Kozak as Sandra
Elizabeth Kaitan as Robin
Diana Barrowa as Maddy
William Butler as Michael
Susan Blu as Mrs. Shephard

 

Review:

Young Tina Shepherd hates it when her parents fight and following the latest round on a Friday the 13th in October, she runs away from home and takes a boat out onto the lake. Her father catches up to her, begging her to come back, but the girl is angry and wishes him dead. Tina is telekinetic and before she can take back the words, her powers force the dock that daddy is standing on to collapse. His body was never recovered and she remains traumatized by the event. After years spent in various psychiatric facilities, Tina's mother brings her back to the house at the request of her therapist Dr. Crews, in hopes of making some radical progress in her treatment.

Upon their arrival we meet Nick and his friends, who have gathered at the house next door for a surprise birthday party. Dr. Crews has no time for such shenanigans and urges Tina to try and move an object on his desk. When she is reluctant he screams at her and she runs back to the dock where all her troubles began. It is here that Tina senses a presence in the water and she uses her powers to reanimate her father. Unfortunately, she is really standing in front of Jason Voorhees (still chained to the bottom of the lake) and he gets to ride the buddy pass back to the land of the living.

What follows is the usual routine of Jason showing up and wrecking a party until somebody steps in to call him on his shit. Earlier installments have been guilty of the stereotypical nerds, pranksters, lovers and so on, but this time the characters are generic stereotypes that do little but get on each other's nerves. There is little reason to believe any of these people would hang out together except when waiting to be slaughtered in a bad horror flick. Once the guests have all been dispatched, we make way for the title card match: Jason vs. Carrie. Sure nobody asked for this, but the producers really wanted to pit him against Freddy Krueger, who wasn't available. So, instead we borrow a page from Stephen King's library and mayhem ensues in the form of mind over splatter.

 

When Tommy Jarvis accidentally brought Jason back to life in Part VI, I gave him grief for being irresponsible. Seeing how things play out in Part VII makes me want to give Tommy a pass; at least he was an active participant you could root for. Tina is a pretty annoying lead character, deliberately kept in a state of emotional unbalance for her entire weekend. She's a bigger party pooper than Jason. At least we get to see the surrounding automatons die in truly disgusting ways, right? Not so fast. The MPAA had its fill of the Friday the 13th franchise six films before and took apparent glee in neutering this film of anything resembling bloodshed.

Is there anything worth seeing here? Yes, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood features the debut of Kane Hodder (Prison) in the role of the iconic maniac. Hodder's Jason is all menace, and the actor takes the stance that Jason doesn't run. Well... Jason does in a couple of earlier films, but who's counting. I wonder if he doesn't run because he always appears out of breath. Maybe undead Jason is asthmatic and it is difficult getting air into those water-logged lungs. Helping Hodder out is director John Carl Buechler, himself a legendary effects man who also designed the incredible new look of a rotting Jason. The character really is mesmerizing and well worth the price of admission.

Buechler keeps things moving at a pretty decent pace and brings some salaciousness back to the franchise with a fair amount of nudity that was missing in the previous film. With all of the money shots removed by the censors, there is little to look forward to beyond boobs and the hope for a big finishing move. Luckily for all of us, Buechler knows how to stage a third act battle as Tina brings out the big guns and throws everything at Jason, including a severed head in a potted plant!

Friday the 13th Part VII is more of a guilty pleasure as it is the last time the story is set at Crystal Lake. The next three adventures experimented with sticking Jason in different environments and it was never really the same. I understand the need to branch out, but there are other directions the franchise could go besides outlandish gimmicks like putting Jason in the ghetto or sending him to Las Vegas or having him fight terrorists. Honestly, fans would be happy just to have him do the same routine in the snow. One of the biggest problems with this film is that it looks cheap. The previous film had a gorgeous atmosphere but this movie looks like a straight-to-video sequel. Still, rotting Jason looks cool and the finale is filled with some fine stunt work by Hodder.

 

Reflections from Behind the Mask (may contain spoilers):

Tina apparently dropped her father in the lake somewhere in the immediate vicinity of Jason's watery grave. Despite standing in the spot where he fell and concentrating on her father as hard as she can, why is it that Jason is able to return and not dad? For that matter, why was dad never pulled from the lake and why does he show up in the nick of time to save the day at the end? Why is he still wearing his sweater?

At the end of Jason Lives, Tommy returns to the camp and chains Jason to the bottom of the lake while Megan and the kids watch from the shore. Given the proximity to his body, the events in The New Blood suggest that Tina's parents somehow ordered the camp torn down and had their house built on its remains.

The prelude with young Tina would benefit from an on screen title reading "seven years ago" followed by "present day" when we meet her as an adult, otherwise this film is set somewhere in the future.

The protagonist is emotionally unbalanced in parts five through eight. Does this pattern exist to make them any more vulnerable than the virgins of other horror films?

 

 

Video, Audio and Special Features:

Video, audio and special features for this collection will be discussed on the final page of this review.

 

Grades:

Movie: Grade Cover
Video: Grade
Audio: Grade
Features: Grade
Overall: Grade

 

 

Which Friday next?

 

 

Want to comment? You can leave one at the end of the review or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.

 

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