Non Canon Review: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

JANUARY 8, 2009

GENRE: SLASHER
SOURCE: DVD (OWN COLLECTION)
LAST SEEN: 2005

I really don’t like Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. I didn’t like it as a kid, I didn’t like it as an 18 year old (in college I re-watched the entire series, the last time I did so until the DVD boxed set came along), and I don’t like it now. I know it has some defenders, but I honestly don’t know why. If you are one of those confused folks, please, in detail and preferably in non “Fuck you!” grammar, explain why in the comments.

Nothing about the movie really works. There are a couple of good kills (sleeping bag), and the Jason makeup/actor (Kane Hodder’s first appearance) are among the best ever, but it’s simply a dull film from start to finish. The attempts at a Friday 4 style plot (with the two houses – mom and daughter in one, rowdy kids in the other) are admirable, but at the same time, simply call to attention how far the series had fallen in quality. It doesn’t help that absolutely NONE of the kids are interesting even in the slightest (with possibly the minor exception of Eddie the sci-fi geek); I’ve seen the movie probably 6 times now and I still can’t remember most of their names.

And even though the movie was rushed (filming began 6 months before its theatrical release), there is simply no excuse for the shoddy work here. Half of the kids are killed in the lake (or near it), and no one hears their screams despite the house being roughly 12 feet away (and since when are the cabins right on the lake?). Jason is resurrected, and yet walks about 4-5 miles away to kill 2 folks (how’d he even know they were there?) before returning to where he just was to kill the rest of them. Tina finds a collection of newspaper clippings about Jason – why would someone make a scrapbook? Lengthy flashbacks to 6’s finale are shown, yet the surrounding area (the dock, the cabins) doesn’t look anything alike. Director John Carl Buechler is one of the all time great makeup FX guys, and the various decapitated heads are among the worst I’ve seen in a horror movie post 1970 or so (for the record – Buechler wasn’t responsible for the effects). And so on. I can forgive minor plotholes and inconsistent setting errors (like in 4, when Rob is on this seemingly life-long vendetta to avenge his sister’s murder, which in the Friday timeline only occurred 2-3 days ago), but it doesn’t even seem like anyone involved was even trying.

The most problematic thing though, is the unfortunate introduction of telekinesis in order for the film to compete with the increasingly popular Nightmare on Elm St movies at the time. With Tina’s trauma and powers, she seems like she wandered in from Dream Warriors instead of a Friday the 13th film. Again, yeah, its part 7 and they need to do something different, but come on – this was the best they could come up with? And plus, it’s barely even utilized; Tina uses her powers to throw household objects at him (which pretty much every Final Girl has done with her own two hands) before setting him on fire (which is what Tommy did in the last one). Hell, at the end of the movie, Jason is back in the lake (courtesy of the only unique thing in the movie, when she ‘resurrects’ her dad to have him drag Jason back down), which means you can skip this one entirely and not even break continuity. Her powers are also inconsistent – since when does telekinesis come with bonus visions of the future? Plus – why does she see the death of a guy she never met (Bill Butler’s character) but not any of the other kids?

Some people will claim that the MPAA butchering of the film (which is pretty severe – the only blood you see in THE NEW BLOOD is at the very beginning, during the flashback montage to the previous films) ruined it, but I honestly don’t think it will help much. Yeah, the kills will be more fun, but everything in between those kills will still be dull as dirt. The kills may always be the highlight, but I was never bored when folks were just talking or running around (even the stalk scenes are pretty bland here) in the previous movies.

The DVD is probably the closest any of the films got to a special edition in Paramount’s boxed set, as it is one of the few to get a commentary track (and the ONLY one to get a new 5.1 sound mix). Buechler and Hodder are the participants, though Hodder mainly only talks about his kill scenes. They both discuss the MPAA cuts a lot, but they don’t address any of the film’s other faults, and even praise things that don’t make any sense, like the fact that no one knew about Jason this time (why the fuck not?). What little good info there is can be learned from either of the F13 books, so just read those and spare yourself from sitting thru this one again.

What say you?

10 comments:

  1. I've always been a big fan of this one....probably because it hit theaters when I was in the 7th grade (a prime age for nostalgic attachment), and a photo in Gorezone of a body whose face had been split down the middle with a hatchet (cut from the movie, sadly) had been the nastiest thing I had ever seen at that point. I didn't get a chance to see the movie until the VHS came along, but I bought a previously viewed copy with a hefty chunk of my first paycheck at my first job (a mom-and-pop video store called Videovision). I still have that copy, and stand tall in my support of the movie, despite the fact that it really isn't, you know, any good. I never thought about Tina's character being a lost Elm Street-er before, but that could explain it too as I've always been a bigger fan of Freddy than Friday. Anyway, thanks for the blog, I'm an almost-daily reader, and I always enjoy the reviews regardless of whether or not I agree.

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  2. I'm a fan of this one. Alot of the faults you identify are valid for sure. Those things don't bring the movie down for me. It's not as good as part IV or VI, but still enjoyable to me.

    I believe this was originally supposed to be a Freddy vs Jason film but Paramount and New Line couldn't come to an agreement so Paramount proceeded and Freddy became a telekinetic girl. That being said it's different enough that the end battle of her beating him with things was fun to me. The best part about this movie is Jason's make-up/look. His look really shows the damage he has taken over the course of 6 movies and it really turned out well.

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  3. I love the The New Blood. They tried something different with this one, and I can only appreciate them for it. The film definitely has it's "WTF" moments. Seriously, where did Jason get a weed-eater with a buzzsaw blade in the middle of the woods at that time of night?

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  4. I must admit I recently watched this and really enjoyed it.

    Yes everything you noted wrong with it is in fact true but I still think it's one of the better ones in the series.

    Never thought about the idea of them trying to copy the Freddy movies but I really didn't like those that much so that might be why it worked for me here

    For some reason the pacing of this movie really worked for me plus Jason looked bad ass

    then again my favorite Jason movie has always been Part 8 so what the hell do i know anyway

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  5. This and Part 2 are my favorite.

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  6. It... sigh... well, there's... sigh... I'm sorry, even though I loved this movie as a kid, it sucks donkey nuts now. Kane Hodder and the best Jason makeup in the series (hopefully Nispel will trump it in the remake) are pretty much the only things worth watching this for. I can't even defend it by saying (lying) that it sets up the whole Freddy vs. Jason thing started in Final Friday by introducing a lost Elm Street Dream Warrior teen. It just sucks ass. Not as bad as 8... just bad.

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  7. I actually thought this one was worse than 8.

    I felt it fell through in quality between 6 and 7..
    6 was a great quality. it was a jump up from 5 big time. I loved that 80s movie look.
    7 went down from there. I really wasnt a fan that much.

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  8. This is my fav after part IV so go figure. I'll take The New Blood anyday over the watered down remake... I also loved the character of Maddy, the nerdy girl.

    Oh, who could forget Melissa the bitch who gets her head wacked with the axe, good times.

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  9. My parents never let me watch horror movies so I had to sneak a few here and there. I used to get excited about new horror movies when I'd see the trailers, and then that was it. So, now I'm watching all of the horror movies I got excited about as a kid but never got to see. I saw the trailer for this one a hundred times and I remember the shot of Jason starting up that trimmer. I thought that was so damn cool. Now, I got to see it in context. It was cool to discover which movie that was from. One less thing I need to do before I die.

    Anyway, for a Friday the 13th film, I thought this was perfectly adequate. As has been said, he looked cooler here then ever before. I was surprised how much I liked the characters and I cared when a few of them were killed. The addition of the telekinetic girl wasn't great, but I didn't hate it either. If someone can give me a non-ridiculous reason for Jason's constant resurrections then I'll be happy to renounce the telekinetic addition.

    I thought it was cool that "Jason in the Water" killed Tina's father many years earlier. However, I didn't like that he popped out of the water to pull Jason in. Either this is a very arbitrary plot point, or this means that Crystal Lake is possibly the source of Jason's resurrections. That might be kinda of a cool idea if countless Jason victims hadn't been killed in the lake and never came back to life. Therefore, it was just a stupid idea which made no sense.

    Anyway, I think this one was just as fun and had no more holes in it than previous sequels.

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  10. We watched this on Friday the 13th as tribute and I agree with a lot of your criticisms. I would also add that I don't understand her father pulling Jason down. Was his body never recovered? Was he a corporeal manifestation of her powers? Maybe there was a piece of dialogue I missed that explained it.

    The other thing I found silly was how many times the girl used her telekinesis on Jason and assumed he was dead. "Well, the electricity didn't kill him, but I'm sure the flimsy porch collapsing on him did! Hmm. Neither of those worked, but I'm sure hitting him with a light fixture and sending him through the stairs will do it! Nails to the face? Fire?"

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