Like most rational people, I own the box set of the first eight FRIDAY THE 13TH films. When they started releasing "Deluxe Editions" of each of those same films I wished them all the luck in the world and held on tight to my wallet. I'm not so FRIDAY-fanatical that I'd shell out more green during a recession just for a couple dopey extra special features and some fancy schmancy 3-D packaging. I was steadfastly committed to my refusenik position, but then along came FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD's deluxe edition; temptation got the better of me and I cracked. Cue THE HUMAN LEAGUE's "Human."
This new edition has an entertaining commentary by director JOHN CARL BUECHLER and actors LAR PARK LINCOLN (Tina) and KANE HODDER (Jason) that while not remarkable in the new info department, at least showcases the enthusiasm for horror of all involved. There is some never seen slashed footage too and two new featurettes; one involving "The Truth About Telekinesis" and the other an impossible to resist, fittingly short, but sweet salute to one of my favorite F13 characters of all time "Maddy."
What is it about THE NEW BLOOD that I adore so much? It's not my favorite in the series by a long shot, but it just might be my favorite one to watch. (Don't hold me to that though; I am an extraordinarily complicated man of ever changing and mysterious whims [AUNT JOHN SEZ: True dat!]) As this is Part VII in the series some familiar ground is stalked (and I say thankfully so), but let us take a moment to reflect on the aspects of this movie that are uniquely its own.
Here is a loose, in no particular order, list of the things that I dig about this quirky addition to the Jason Voorhees saga…
OH, THE DRAMA:
Much as in PART 4: THE FINAL CHAPTER, in Part 7 we are privy to the goings on in two dwellings inconveniently located adjacent to that magnet for mayhem, Crystal Lake. In both films one house roofs a group of teens preparing to party and die, but where Part 4's second residence was occupied by the charming Jarvis clan, here we are introduced to a highly melodramatic, stressed out trio on some kind of yell-therapy retreat. There's pouty Tina (LINCOLN), ungrateful for the telekinetic powers that rightfully should be my own, her hysteric hovering mother Amanda (SUSAN BLU), who has the non-soothing disposition of an amalgamation of DONNA PESCOW and SCRAPPY DOO, and lastly, their evil psychiatrist in tow, the cacophonous Dr. Crews (TERRY KISER) whose prescription for everything seems to be, "Chew two scenes and call me in the morning." In other words, the FRIDAY series may have dropped the counselors and the cabins, but it now has a vice like grip on a different kind of "camp." This is THE NEW BLOOD's deal breaker, you either find these three annoying as hell or a hilarious riot. You can tell where I stand by the giant SUSAN BLU portrait hanging over my bed.
JASON IS PISSED!
If you find the above three characters shrill shenanigans exasperating then get in line behind Jason Voorhees. I used to be one of those who thought it hardly mattered who wore the hockey mask, but this film proves my stupid theory wrong. KANE HODDER as Jason really does bring something anomalous to the character. Sure the MPAA neutered much of the gory aftermath of his kills, but Jason has a frustrated, "Somebody has got to do this job" swagger throughout which nearly makes up for the loss. Look no further than the infamous sleeping bag smack down for verification of this fact. Aesthetically, this is also my favorite looking incarnation of Jason; he's full-blown zombie now and just check out that fashionably exposed spinal column!
THE YUMMY TASTE OF SCHADENFREUDE!
So the deaths are not as drippy as one would like, but the good news is that at least two gigantic assholes get theirs in very satisfying ways. Dr. Crews' douchebag nature is made even more apparent when he throws Tina's mommy under the bus by using her as a human shield. Luckily at this point Jason has developed a BUGS BUNNY like talent for pulling whatever tool is needed from some hidden pocket in his fur, in this case a weed whacker is suddenly on hand and it soon finds its way into Crews' abdomen. Super-bitch Melissa also gets it good and director BUECHLER does a fine job milking her death for all it's worth. After she tells those who have tried to warn her to, "Fuck off" we cut to an axe being dislodged from a tree stump. As Melissa prepares to leave in a huff we see Jason's shadow appear behind her. When she opens the door she is greeted by our boy, the axe is slammed into her face and she is thrown across the room like a sack of laundry…go ahead, don't feel bad about rewinding that one.
Maddy's transformation from ALVIN THE CHIPMUNK to BRITTANY THE CHIPETTE is a thing of rare beauty and is why I sometimes don't mind living on this planet. When I originally saw THE NEW BLOOD in the theater, her "A little touch up work, my ass!" was greeted by hoots, hollers catcalls and guffaws, the memory of which curls my toes to this day. Eventually Maddy bites it of course, but not before effortlessly upstaging the entire cast with but a few scenes.
CARRIE VS. JASON
What a cool idea! Who does not love telekinetic horror and when can I have more? Some might pin point this installment as a shark jumper, but really after Jason's lightening bolt resurrection in PART 6 the series had ventured into the realm of dark fantasy anyway, why not have a little fun? Tina and Jason's showdown is actually exceptionally well staged and certainly paved the way to Jason's eventual audience pleasing run in with that molester in the striped sweater.
MORE, MORE, MORE!
A floating decapitated head in a flowerpot, a party favor horn shoved in an eye, the traditional jumping cat scare, the wondrous "Date with a soap on a rope," I could go on and on. Director BUECHLER says he would have loved to have had the next sequel follow survivors Tina and the Daisy Dukes wearin' studmobile Nick (KEVIN SPIRTAS), but alas it was not to be. Ridiculous as it might sound I think it would have beat that trip to New York.