Our editor-in-chief Nate Yapp is proud to have contributed to the new book Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks, edited by Aaron Christensen. Another contributors include Anthony Timpone, B.J. Colangelo, Dave Alexander, Classic-Horror.com's own Robert C. Ring and John W. Bowen. Pick up a copy today from Amazon.com!
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
There have been Friday the 13th films that have been dreadful. There have been Friday the 13th films that have been unwatchable (yes, A New Beginning, I’m talking about you). But Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is the first one that’s been utterly dull.
The production values are solid, the acting is uneven but negligible and the script at least tries to inject some new ideas into the series. So what’s so wrong with the movie? Simply put, it isn’t any fun.
Following the one of the best Friday films in Part VI: Jason Lives, B-movie effects maestro John Carl Buechler takes over the directorial reins and makes a movie just competent enough to avoid campy goodness but just bad enough to keep it from being one of the few Friday the 13th’s that’s actually worth sitting through.
The story is suspiciously similar to The Final Chapter, just substitute a telekinetic girl for Corey Feldman and a shady psychiatrist for Feldman’s pet dog and you get the idea: In one cabin, dysfunctional family, in the other, horny teenagers. And still chilling out at the bottom of the lake after Part VI is Jason.
Could someone explain why Jason has enough super-human strength to crush people heads with his bare hands yet he can’t break free from a few chains? Maybe he was just tired. Hacking people up in six movies in seven years has to take something out of you.
Tina (Lar Park Lincoln), the psychic girl, is returning to the cabin where her father died as a child. She feels responsible since her telekinetic powers trapped dear old dad under a dock and drowned him and her psychiatrist thinks it’s a good idea for her to come back and face her guilt. Of course he’s only interested in exploiting her special powers, but you should know that the minute you see that the role is played by Terry Kiser (Weekend at Bernie's). Anyway, psychic girl tries to use her magical powers to bring her father back to life. Wouldn’t you know it, guess who comes popping out of the lake instead. Yep, everyone’s favorite hockey masked zombie serial slasher.
After routinely dispatching the group of nondescript teens, the final 20 minutes features a showdown between Jason and psychic girl which follows this pattern: Psychic girl hurls something at Jason with her mind powers. Jason falls. Jason gets back up. Repeat for twenty minutes.
Getting back to the dead teens: When did the ladies in Friday the 13th movies start becoming unattractive? The original point was that the teens were people you WANTED to see naked, not people you hope keep their shirts on. So what you end up with is Jason killing a bunch of people who are not only obnoxious AND bad actors, they aren’t even good looking.
The film also returns to the tired killer POV shots that went out of style circa 1982. The whole point of these shots is that you don’t know who the killer is. But we know from the beginning that it’s Jason lurking in the woods, what the hell is the point?
The kills are also the most unimaginative in the entire series, supposedly due to cuts forced by the MPAA. Most of the murders follow this same pattern: Jason pops out from behind a tree. Victim takes off running while Jason strolls briskly behind them. Jason somehow catches up and kills them.
My personal favorite moment of stupidity occurs when psychic girl and one of the guys from next store (Kevin Blair) are trapped on a pier. As Jason approaches Blair pulls out a gun and fires two bullets at him. Hmmm, Lets see, in the last ten minutes Jason has been set on fire, blown up, strangled and crushed by a collapsed roof, yet this numskull figures a couple slugs will slow him down? What the hell are you thinking, buddy, get your ass in the lake and start paddling. After all, Jason’s proven he ain’t exactly an expert swimmer.
But small common sense snafus aside, here’s the real question: Where the hell did psychic girl’s lakeside cabin come from? Ever since the first Friday the 13th there has been a kid’s camp in front of the lake where Jason died. In Part VI the camp was still there when Tommy Jarvis traps Jason at the bottom of the lake by chaining him to a giant rock. So if Jason is still in the same spot where Tommy left him, where did the summer camp go? Are the filmmakers trying to say it’s been like 20 years since Part VI? If so, why are all the characters, clothes and dialogue distinctly 80s? Probably because the filmmakers didn’t even bother to watch the other movies.
It’s just another example of the continuity errors that always occur from Friday to Friday. If the Friday the 13th directors don’t even bother to watch the sub-par entries in the series, why should you?