FRIDAY THE 13th PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD (1988) Reviews and overview

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Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is a 1988 American slasher horror film directed by John Carl Buechler (Troll; Cellar Dweller; Ghoulies III; et al) from a screenplay by Manuel Fidello and Daryl Haney.


It is the seventh instalment in the original Friday the 13th series and the start of the Kane Hodder era in which he repeated the role of Jason Voorhees three more times. The other leads are Lar Park Lincoln, Kevin Blair, Susan Blu, Terry Kiser (The Offspring).

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Shortly after the events of the previous film, seven-year-old Tina Sheppard witnesses her father abusing her mother, and runs out onto the lake in a boat. When her father tries to retrieve and apologise to her, Tina’s latent telekinetic powers awaken and she accidentally collapses the dock on him, causing him to drown.

Ten years later, Tina and her mother return to the lake at the request of her doctor Doctor Crews in order to face her fear and trauma over the death of her father. Crews tries to incite Tina to use her telekinetic powers through constant persuasion and manipulation, though under the guise of psychiatric care, he plans to exploit Tina’s gifts.

After a particularly disturbing confrontation, Tina runs out to the docks and believes she senses her father’s presence in the lake. She uses her powers to resurrect him, but instead accidentally frees Jason Voorhees from his imprisonment…

The New Blood certainly moves briskly from one violent set piece to the next; as a result of Buechler’s emphasis on narrative momentum, however, the underlying themes, such as they are, never have an opportunity to breathe. With the victims made even more generic than usual this time around, the result is more or less the kind of slasher film the series’s many detractors accuse films in the genre of being as a whole: an empty-headed slaughterfest, with a bit of negligible human interest to offset the nihilism.’  Slant Magazine


‘Although the role of Jason isn’t exactly Shakespeare, Hodder turns in a great performance as the hulking, heavy breathing zombie killer. John Carl Buechler’s special effects are great, even though they were heavily edited by the MPAA. Hodder and the special effects are the main reasons to watch the film, since the rest of the cast sleepwalk through their parts and the dialogue is frighteningly dumb.’ Jim Harper, Legacy of Blood: A Comprehensive Guide to Slasher Movies


“The makeup design this time around is absolutely stunning, and shows an attention to detail that has hitherto been completely absent from any aspect of the Friday the 13th series. Jason really does look like he’s spent a good ten years rotting at the bottom of a lake. His clothes are little more than soggy rags, his skin is greenish and slimed with putrescence, and his bones are visible wherever they lie close to the surface— his ribs, spine, kneecaps, and shoulder blades.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting


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“Most of it is lazy, there’s no graphic gore remaining in the released version and it turns out that pitting Jason against a girl who can routinely demolish houses with her mind drains most of the usual suspense from the climactic mano a mano. This slick, watchable but humourless flick was the first in the series that you can genuinely call “bland”.” Steven West, Horrorscreams Videovault


Several explicit scenes of gore were cut in order to avoid an ‘X’ rating, including: Maddy’s death, who originally had a sickle jammed through her neck; Ben’s death, which showed Jason crushing his head into a bloody pulp; Kate’s death, which showed Jason ramming her in the eye with a party horn; the original VHS and DVD versions only show a full view of Jason as he aims towards her face, but quickly cuts to another scene before revealing the blood and gore gushing from her eye; we see Eddie’s head hit the floor; a shot of Russell’s face splitting open with a large blood spurt; Dan’s original death had Jason ripping out his guts; Amanda Shepard’s death originally showed Jason stabbing her from behind, with the resulting blade going through her chest and subsequent blood hitting Doctor Crews;


Doctor Crews’s death showed Jason’s tree-trimming saw violently cutting into his stomach, sending a fountain of blood and guts in the air; Melissa’s original death had Jason cleaving her head in half with an axe with a close-up of her eyes still wriggling in their sockets. The boxed set DVD release of all of the films and the single deluxe edition have all these scenes available as deleted scenes in rough work print footage, however the deluxe edition features more additional footage than the boxed set.


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Cast and characters:
Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees
Lar Park Lincoln as Tina Shepard
Kevin Spirtas as Nick
Susan Blu as Amanda Shepard
Terry Kiser as Doctor Crews
Susan Jennifer Sullivan as Melissa
Elizabeth Kaitan as Robin
William Butler as Michael
Staci Greason as Jane
Jon Renfield as David
Jeff Bennett as Eddie
Heidi Kozak as Sandra
Diana Barrows as Maddy

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