Title: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
Director: John Carl Buechler
Written by: Manuel Fidello, Daryl Haney
- Lar Park Lincoln
- Kevin Blair
- Kane Hodder
- Terry Kiser
Plot: Jason Voorhees returns to Crystal Lake when he is brought back to life accidentally by a teenager with psychic powers.
Review: Carrie Vs. Jason.
A month after the events of Jason Lives, Tina (age 7) and her mother and father are staying at a cabin out at Crystal Lake. One night Tina hears her drunken father abusing her mother and runs out to the lake. When her father tries to retrieve her and apologize, Tina’s anger unlocks her latent telekinetic powers, causing the dock he’s standing on to collapse, drowning him.
Ten years later, Tina and her mother return to Crystal Lake with her doctor, Dr. Crews, who begins testing Tina with her abilities, explaining they are a side effect of her guilt feelings. In reality he hopes to exploit them for his own benefit, purposefully keeping her stress levels high to increase her reactions. Next door, a group of young adults are gathering for a birthday party of a mutual friend, Michael. That night, Tina runs to the dock alone while grieving for her father. Sensing a presence in the lake and mistaking it for him, she inadvertently releases a badly decayed Jason from his underwater prison.
Jason hits the ground running, taking out the various teenagers who were at the Lake for the weekend, while Tina sees hallucinations of Jason killing various people, including her mother. Jason eventually makes his way through the teenagers, leaving Kevin, a boy from next door who’s fallen for Tina, along with Dr. Crews and Tina’s mother. Jason ends up killing Dr. Crews and Tina’s mother, before the final showdown with Tina. The fight takes place throughout the cabin, with Tina electrocuting Jason, dropping a porch on him, hanging him, dropping him through a staircase and even setting him on fire.
The cabin explodes with Jason inside but he escapes unharmed, coming for Tina and Kevin one last time on the dock. Tina, using all of her strength, summons her father from the lake who grabs Jason and forces him back to his underwater prison before Tina passes out. The next morning, as the fires are being put out by local firefighters, Tina is put aboard an ambulance with Nick who asks where Jason is. Tina calmly replies “We took care of him” before the ambulance drives off into the smoke-filled morning.
When I was a kid, I gushed over The New Blood because it was something different for a franchise that was based on repetition. I think the special effects are great, and John Carl Buechler crafted some great kills and effects. He’s an effects man anyway, having worked on Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, and he really knew what he was doing here. I also enjoy the characters, even though they’re all cannon fodder. I like that Tina had a love interest who actually survived.
The pacing was pretty good, and I never felt bored watching the film with all of the kills and characters to enjoy. If you accepted that Jason came back to life in Jason Lives then you can accept it here, but really I can see why people wouldn’t care for the film. Is Tina a good opponent for Jason with her powers? Meh, not really. The problem was you had Jason as this unstoppable zombie, so you had to put someone up against him that could match him in some way.
The effects of Tina’s powers were really good back in the day, but these days, it’s all pretty hokey. One thing I will complain about was how the film ended, with Tina’s father coming back looking the same that he did when he drowned. On top of that, he really didn’t do anything besides drag him under water. For a guy who survived so much crap in the last twenty minutes of the film, a little water shouldn’t stop Jason.
I also gotta mention how they made sure Jason’s head/face was updated with all of the ways Jason had been hurt in previous films. The axe mark from Friday the 13th Part 3 and the machete hit from The Final Chapter are included when Jason’s mask gets ripped off. That’s dedication.
Acting: Lar Park Lincoln did a great job as Tina. She was vulnerable, tough and cute as hell way back when.
Kevin Blair did a fine job as Kevin, the love interest who actually lives. It’s a shame he didn’t go on to do much more after this. He had a leading man look about him.
Terry Kiser as Dr. Crews was great. He was a total asshole and you just wanted to see this character get his. Terry does a great job chewing up the scenery when he’s on the screen.
Kane Hodder is okay as Jason. I’m not one of the fans that gush over Kane Hodder as Jason, as really the other actors who played Jason did just as good of a job as he did.
Gore Factor: Let’s run it down: cut throat, face split in half, sleeping bag against tree death, horn in eye, buzz saw to stomach, tent spike to neck, beheading, and an axe to the face. OUCH!
Nudity Factor: We get a set of boobs and a butt from a skinny dipping teen, and the stoner chick shows off her stuff for a few seconds.
- This film was originally intended to bring Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger together onscreen for the first time. But when Paramount Pictures (who at that time was holding the rights to the “Friday the 13th” film series) and New Line Cinema (who holds the rights to the “Nightmare On Elm Street” series) couldn’t agree behind the scenes, the script was rewritten to pit Jason up against the telekinetic Tina Shepard instead.
- John Carl Buechler was so impressed with Kane Hodder when he ate live worms on the set of Prison (1988), that he pushed for Paramount Pictures to let him cast Hodder in the role of Jason. If it had not been for Buechler’s persistence, the role of Jason Voorhees would have been reprised by C.J. Graham.
- Kane Hodder did all his own Jason stunts in this film, including falling through the stairway and having the porch roof fall on his head.
- Director John Carl Buechler stated that he clashed with associate producer Barbara Sachs continuously over many ideas that he had for the film. This included showing Jason unmasked for a quite a bit of the movie. She vetoed the idea, but he ended up going behind her back and filming it anyway. He also stated that the final sequence of Tina’s father coming out of the water was to be more elaborate and feature full prosthetics and a life size dummy. That sequence was completely over ruled and he ended up filming what he considers an inferior version of the sequence.
- John Carl Buechler has stated that Jason spent 10 years chained and inert before the main action of this movie.
- Jason’s mask in this film was cast from the same mold as the original mask from Friday the 13th Part III (1982), but was modified slightly; in addition to the damage seen in the mask (the axe cut and propeller damage), the edges of the mask have been trimmed to make it smaller, to allow more of actor Kane Hodder’s head to be seen around the mask.
Overall: Friday the 13th VII: The New Blood is not boring, but I can see why people wouldn’t care for it due to the whole telekinetic powers deal. I also don’t get what The New Blood stands for as a subtitle, but whatever. The film isn’t scary unless you’re seven, but it’s still a fun watch. Check it.