FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD (1988)
SLASH’S FUCKED UP FRIDAY
For all you Jasonheads out there, it is time to continue reviewing more of this classic Horror series. We left off with Jason at the bottom of Crystal Lake/Forest Green Lake, chained to a huge boulder; put there by that wily Tommy Jarvis. Ten years have gone by, with Jason patiently waiting for an event that would free him.
It was planned that this would be the film to pit Jason Voorhees against Freddy Krueger, but Paramount & New Line Cinema could not agree on the particulars, so the script had to be rewritten as a kind of JASON VS. CARRIE kind of a plot. Freddy would not face off with Jason until 2003, when the eleventh film, FREDDY VS. JASON was released.
For those of you paying attention to the old Slash Man reviews, I already reviewed that one as part of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series.
This film was directed by John Carl Beuchler, who is an actor, producer, F/X artist, writer, & director. His last name is pronounced “Beekler”. He had fumed publicly many times over the years about the strangle hold that the MPAA had on Horror film creativity, always threatening to brand a film with an “X” rating if it was deemed too gory or sexy. This film actually had to be submitted to those pencil-head power geeks 9 times before it was finally granted an “R” rating–so it quite probably exists as the most heavily censored entry in the series canon.
To complicate matters even more, Beuchler had to clash with associate producer, Barbara Sachs continuously, including the idea that Jason could be seen a lot without his hockey mask, showing off the fabulous prosthetics. She vetoed the idea, but he secretly filmed a lot of the movie that way regardless. You know, we just view a movie, see what is there, & criticize it for what is not, without ever fully knowing how many hands were cooking the celluloid pudding. Beuchler appears in the film as the firefighter who picks up Jason’s broken mask in the end.
Beuchler has directed 18 films since 1984, including TROLL (1986), CELLAR DWELLER (1988), WATCHERS REBORN (1998), CURSE OF THE FORTY-NINERS (2002), A LIGHT IN THE FOREST (2003). As a Special Effects man, he has worked on dozens of films, including ANDROID (1982), GOULIES (1984), HARD ROCK ZOMBIES (1985), TROLL (1986), DOLLS (1987), SLAVE GIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY (1987), NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET IV: DREAM MASTER (1988), HALLOWEEN 4 (1988) [As well as directing this film in 1988], & BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR (1989).
Beuchler said, “If you can pull a performance out of a piece of latex, you can do it with actors.”
The script is written by Daryl Haney & Manuel Fidellio. Haney was working on the first draft when his agent demanded more money, even though Haney never authorized his agent to ask for a huge pay raise. Haney was fired, and an Unknown Writer finished the script (I suspect it was director Beuchler), & it was credited to the Nom De Plume, Manuel Fidellio.
Taglines: On Friday the 13th, Jason will meet his match.
Jason is back, but this time someone is waiting for him.
The musical score was about half canned, pre-recorded stuff from previous JASON films, written by Harry Manfredini, but a lot of it was written by Fred Mollin,
who has written 47 film scores since 1974, including FAST COMPANY (1979), SCREWBALL II (1985), FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (1989), TEKWAR (1994), & THE TIME SHIFTERS (1999).
The cinematography was done by veteran Paul Elliott, who has lensed 54 films since 1985,
including PRISON SHIP (1986), CYCLONE (1987), 976 EVIL (1988), THE LAST CAPONE (1990), CITIZEN COHN (1993), TRUMAN (1995), KING OF TEXAS (2002), & TRUE GRIT for the Cohen brothers in (2010).
I love the Parental Advisory for this film, Rated “R” for horror violence, sexuality, nudity, language, & some drug use; definitely my kind of film–if only the damn MPAA had left their stupid fucking mitts off it. The budget was 2.8 million dollars, & its domestic gross was 19 million. All the exteriors were shot this time in Alabama, but many of the interiors were shot in the studio in Los Angeles. To its credit, it was the #1 BO attraction the week end it premiered. The script was camouflaged as BIRTHDAY BASH in the early stages; not a David Bowie album to my knowledge. The body count was a respectable 16.
Walt Gorney, who played Crazy Ralph in the first two movies of this series, returns in this one as voice of the narrater in the opening of the film.
“There is a legend ‘round here. A killer buried, but not dead. A curse on Crystal Lake. A death curse. Jason Voorhees’ curse. They say he died as a boy, but he keeps coming back. Few have seen him & lived. Some have even tried to stop him. No one can. Most people forget he’s down there….waiting.”
Kane Hodder played Jason in this outing. Director Beuchler had been very impressed with his work on PRISON (1987). If it had not been for Beuchler’s insistence, the role would have got again to C.J. Graham, who was very upset to lose the part. Hodder is the only actor to have played Jason in four of the films.
Hodder is 6’3” & has a very muscular physique. He has the word KILL tattoed on the inside of his lower lip. He did some stunt work as both Freddy Kreuger & Leatherface as well. As an actor/stuntman he has done 105 films, including ALLIGATOR (1980), AVENGING FORCE (1986), as Jason in JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (1989), JASON GOES TO HELL (1993), JASON X (2001), BEST OF THE BEST II (1993), PUMPKINHEAD II (1993), METALBEAST (1995), CHILDREN OF THE CORN V (1998), THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (2005), HACK! (2007), & HATCHET II (2010).
JASON’S BABE GALLERY
The lovely Darcy DeMoss appears as Nikki
in some archival footage. She is definitely one
of our favorite Jason Babes.
Elizabeth Kaitan plays Robin,
& she does one of the nude scenes
in the movie; thanks, Liz.
Heidi Kozak played Sandra,
& she did the other nude scene in the film.
Lar Park Lincoln was our protagonist, Tina.
Susan Jennifer Sullivan played Melissa.
Jason is waiting, no shit, somehow in his super-human zombie state, he has been sitting at the bottom of Crystal Lake (yeah, they returned to the original name, with absolutely no mention of Part 6’s premise that the town & the lake were changed to Forest Green; terminal lameness.
The time lines are blurred & fucked up a bit for this one. We get the Walt Gorney afore-mentioned narration for 8 minutes while we get clips from Part VI, helping to establish some coherence or connection to this movie.
We are introduced to a seven-year old Tina listening to her father slap the piss out of her mother; but we don’t see shit. She is traumatized, never heard such goings on, obviously. She runs down on their dock, & gets in a boat, & goes out about 50 yards onto the lake (there is a trolling motor on this 10 footer, but she never starts it up, so how the hell she gets the fifty yards is a total mystery). The parents run after her, the asshole drunken father out in front.
Tina activates (as a surprise, I guess) her telekinetic Carrie juice, screaming that she hates her Dad, & wishes he would die. As her eyes shine, the lake boils up like it has just ingested a ton of greasy burritos, & the end of the damn dock explodes around the father; everything goes into the lake; one of the timbers hits the old man, I guess, & he drowns –end of prologue.
Cut to ten years later, as Tina & her mother are in a car returning to the lake house. We listen to their prattle, find out that poor Tina, like wimpy-assed Tommy Jarvis before her, has been in & out of mental institutions for the whole decade. (Mental facilities are such a popular trope for Slasher movies). Dr. Crews has decided they must return to the scene if the tragedy in order to work through the guilt, or some psycho-babble bull shit.
As in several other Jason movies, across from Tina’s house there is shit load of oversexed spoiled stupid teenagers. We are sort of introduced to them, but their love lives & plot lines all blur together, & later as they are being killed off by the mute psychopath, Jason, you lose track of who the fuck is with who, & who they are; just fodder for the killing implements Jason uses; a spike, several butcher knives, couple of machetes, couple of axes & hatchets, his bare hands, a branch spear, a buzz saw on the end of lawn edger.
There are two nude scenes; one that has a blond strip off her clothes, & go skinny dipping. We do see the side of her left breast, & perhaps way too much of her plump butt. In the water we see a tenth of second nipple slips.
But Jason, after dispatching the boyfriend, drags her underwater. We get a JAWS underwater shot of her swimming (a body double actually, with bigger tits, & a tighter ass), where we get some nice quick tit-shots, & a couple of beaver flashes.
The other is one of the couples having sex (David & Robyn, but who cares?), & she has a nice pair of tits, which we see as they roll around, then later as she drops her sheet for a second, & later still when she puts her blouse on.
Pissed me off that she was wearing the shirt when she is thrown out of a second story window & breaks her neck, I guess.
Early on we realize that Dr. Crews is an inept prick. Tina gets so angry at him she heads back to the dock. Standing there by the lake, she, somehow senses that her father is still in the lake, & that perhaps she could summon him –& then do what with him, who the fuck knows, maybe sic him on Dr. Crews.
She concentrates like mad, makes the lake water boil, but she fucks up because, of course, Jason is waiting. The telekinetic ju-ju power reawakens him, and bubbles start rising all around him; even though he hasn’t need to breath anything for over ten years. He looks around underwater, snaps the chain off the boulder like it was pewter, & comes to the surface. [WTF; if the timeline is right, when Tina killed her Pop, that was the same time Tommy Jarvis was tricking Jason into his watery grave, so why in hell didn’t her lake bubbling awakening telekinetic powers wake Jason the fuck up at that time?]
Tina is so frightened when she sees Jason, she passes out. He does not touch her, just heads into the woods.
As required, as expected, Jason takes the next 40 minutes to murder every one but Tina, & her hunky boyfriend, Nick. When it came time for the Tina vs. Jason showdown, she does get in some good licks, wraps him up with tree roots, flopping him face first in a mud puddle, then dropping a live severed wire from a phone pole into the water, electrocuting Jason; blue sparks buzzed & fried his raggedy ass. But he recovers, & chases her. Inside a work shed, she uses a can of huge nails to stab him; she crashes a porch roof onto him, which he shrugs off; she stabs him, knocking him down some stairs, crashing through them, but he punches his way out of that; later she brings more roof down on him, making him crash into the basement; which just pisses him off; in the work shed again, she sprays him down with gasoline & lights him on fire, & as she escapes, the whole house explodes like a USAF drone had dropped a napalm load on it. Jason survives it all, catching Nick & Tina at the dock. Nick shoots him several times, but he shrugged off the lead mosquitos. But Tina is crying & straining like a constipated crazy Carrie, & this time as the lake water boils up, her father rises up out of the lake,
puts a chain around Jason’s neck, & drags him back into the lake. (now, WTF, even in the land of undead reanimated zombies, Jason would have been a bad undead mother fucker, he would have torn the head off this punk bitch effortlessly–maybe he did).
The cops & fire department arrive (thankfully we did not get any red neck Barney Fife cops in this movie), & Tina & Nick are taken off alive in yet another ambulance. “Where’s Jason?” Nick asks. “Don’t worry,” Tina says with a smirk, “We took care of him.” Sure you did, bitch, sure you did.
Roll end credits.
THE PART VII PICTORIAL:
ROTTEN TOMATOES rated this movie at 38% Critic’s Approval and 38% Audience Approval.
Feliz Vasquez, Jr. of CINEMA CRAZED wrote: “This further look demonstrates just how the series became goofier & goofier, & hinted at Jason’s inevitable foray into Space.”
Stefan Birgir Stefansson wrote: “This was a more supernatural turn for the series.”
Tim Brayton of ANTAGONY & ECSTACY wrote: “By this seventh entry in the series, being different just for the sake of it really is justification enough.”
Ken Hanke of the MOUNTAIN XPRESS wrote: “This is sort of Jason Meets Carrie outing that is about on par with all the rest of the silly series.”
Clint Morris of MOVIE HOLE wrote: “The only thing that needs new blood injected into it is this franchise itself.”
James Kendrick of Q NETWORK FILM DESK wrote: “This one turns out to be all swing & no follow through, essentially wasting an interesting premise on tepid writing, bad acting, silly characters, & mediocre direction.” (Amen, brother, amen).
At least in an Asian film, acting prowess is never something anyone gives a shit about. Half of the actors in this one perform like their last gigs were playing lawn fairies in some fucking children’s theater production.
Per usual, the writing was pretty lame, illogical, disjointed, & listless. Lar Park-Lincoln is an insipid scream queen, looking the part, blue-eyed blond with no tits & minimal acting chops. Kevin Blair, somehow, played Nick fairly well, showing some talent.
The musical score really was from Hurtsville; the Manfredini canned music was not some of his best, & the Fred Mollin score was like he had trained on 1920’s melodramas, all rising crescendos & ape shit strings.
The cinematography was serviceable, but too often we got hand-held jump-cut bull shit; hard to tell who to blame, the camera man, or the fucking director. Jason could show up miraculously in the deep woods one minute, & in a bitch’s bathroom the next. He seemed to be able to find that garden work shed easily, grabbing one killing tool after another.
Kane Hodder didn’t show me shit either. He was adequate, but he did not have the animal grace, the physical aura that C.J. Graham had in Part VI. I think that director Beuchler used poor judgement in casting Hodder; although maybe he will get better over the next three films he plays Jason in.
Now I face the rating conundrum. On the one hand, this was a spirited campy, almost humorous movie that delivered all the standard Slasher components; the special effects were pretty good, even though the genitals were cut off the gore scenes, the Jason unmasked prosthetic mask scenes worked well, the crashes, fires, killings, electrocutions, were all done superbly. So using the expected Generation X simpleton’s system, the film could have been rated at 6 stars, maybe 6.5; but on the other hand, I laughed, cringed, shouted at, & was disappointed in the writing, musical score, cinematography, directing & acting.
As a serious critic, I would have rated it at 2.5 stars; so let’s split the fucking difference, which gives this grandiose sequel as whopping 4.5 stars; that’s my story, & I’m fucking sticking to it. IMDb gave it 5.2 stars.