Starring: Lar Park-Lincoln, Terry Kisser, Susan Blu, Kane Hodder
“There’s a legend around 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 and lived. Some have even tried to stop him. No one can.” (Narrator, Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood)
The Friday The 13th series has jumped the shark so many times I’m surprised Jason Voorhees isn’t dressed like Evel Knievel.
After apparently killing their iconic slasher villain for good in Part IV, introducing a copycat killer in Part V then resurrecting the original as a zombie in Part VI and chaining him to the bottom of Crystal Lake at the end, Paramount decided it was time to fill an entire swimming pool full of sharks, jellyfish and piranha and jump that instead.
Enter Tina Shepard, the heroine of Part VII: The New Blood. Not content with merely being the latest in a line of sole survivors in Friday The 13th films, Tina is different because (drum roll) she has telekinetic powers. Yes, she can move things with the power of her mind.
The film opens with a 10-year-old Tina causing her abusive father’s death by destroying the dock near their house, causing him to fall into Crystal Lake and drown. Fast-forward a decade and a now-adult Tina is still struggling with the guilt of her dad’s death, finding herself in a mental institution.
Tina’s doctor suggests that it might be an idea to take her back to the scene of the incident so she can confront and defeat her guilt head-on, so she, her mum and her doctor head back to Crystal Lake to spend the week at their old house there.
The twist is, sneaky Dr McPrickface isn’t interested in helping Tina at all. He wants to study her telekinetic abilities, which only seem to kick in when she’s stressed, which is why he’s taken her to the most stressful place she knows. What an arsehole.
One night, after a particularly harrowing session, Tina runs out to the dock and believing she can resurrect her dad (no, I don’t get it either) she inadvertently raises Jason from the bottom of the lake instead. Cue further slashy-choppy-killy hijinks.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Friday The 13th film without a bunch of randy teenagers eager to bump uglies with one another, so The New Blood sticks a load of them in a neighbouring cabin, as they wait to surprise one of their friends with a birthday party (unaware that Jason’s already rammed a tent spike into his back).
This is the seventh Friday The 13th film I’ve reviewed, and each time I’ve reeled off a list of inventive deaths featured. The New Blood is no different.
Expect to see Jason punching through someone’s chest, impaling someone to a tree, hacking a scythe into someone’s neck, ramming a party horn into someone’s eye and – in one the most famous deaths in the series’ history – grabbing a poor lass in her sleeping bag and thwacking it against a tree until she’s mush.
Again, sadly, most of these kills suffered at the hands of the MPAA and much of the gorier detail was left on the cutting room floor. Get your hands on the special edition DVD or the Blu-ray box set and you’ll see the cut scenes in the extras menu – it only drives home the point that their removal is a real shame.
The New Blood‘s main highlight is the introduction of Kane Hodder as Jason. It may be odd to suggest that a certain actor can give a better performance as a character famed for wearing a mask, but Hodder’s sheer size and aggressive body language make him a far more powerful, vicious Jason who seems truly capable of doing some real damage.
Hodder aside, this one’s just silly. It was clear that by Part VII Paramount was starting to push it a little in terms of ideas, so having a zombie Jason fighting against a telekinetic girl takes things even further from the more traditional ‘freaky man stalks helpless teens’ formula that made the first few films a success.
It’s certainly saying something, then, that despite the general silliness of the film the ending still manages to stand out as something particularly ridiculous. When Tina’s zombified father, dead for ten years, comes out of the lake and drags Jason back underwater, a disbelieving cry of “oh, fuck off” is perfectly natural.
In fact, the only way it could get more bonkers is if Jason was to board a cruise ship and sail to New York. Anyway, what’s next? Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan? Oh.
If you’re craving a more overall Friday The 13th experience you have three choices. In the UK your only main option is this DVD box set, which contains DVD versions of Friday The 13th Parts 1-8.
This same DVD box set is also available in the US, though by far the best option is the recently released Friday The 13th: The Complete Collection Blu-ray box set. This is only available in America but I can confirm it’s region-free (I bought it myself). It’s also currently the only way you can get The New Blood on Blu-ray.
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