Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
|Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Carl Buechler|
by Victor Miller
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$19.1 million (US)|
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is a 1988 American slasher film directed by John Carl Buechler and starring Lar Park Lincoln, Kevin Blair, Susan Blu, Terry Kiser, and Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees, a role he would continue in for three subsequent films. It is the seventh installment in the Friday the 13th film series. The film follows a psychokinetic teenage girl who inadvertently unleashes Jason from his grave in Crystal Lake, where she and her friends are staying.
The film was released after Jason Lives, and was intended to have a higher standard of quality than that of the previous installments, with high-profile directors being considered to helm the project. Paramount Pictures sought a partnership with New Line Cinema to create a crossover film between the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street series, which would not come to fruition until New Line bought the rights to the franchise, releasing Freddy vs. Jason in 2003. After several failed concepts, screenwriter Daryl Haney suggested an idea akin to "Jason vs. Carrie", in which Jason would battle a teenage girl with psychokinetic abilities.
The New Blood was released on May 13, 1988, and grossed $19.1 million at the U.S. box office on a budget of $2.8 million, and received negative reviews from critics. It was followed by Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan.
Several years have passed since Tommy Jarvis chained Jason Voorhees at the bottom of Crystal Lake. The Shepard family live near the closed campgrounds. Young Tina Shepard witnesses her alcoholic father physically abusing her mother. Tina attempts to leave the chaos of her home on a boat, and when her father follows her outside, accidentally unlocks previously latent telekinetic powers, which results in her father's death at the bottom of Crystal Lake.
Several years later, a teenaged Tina is still struggling with the guilt surrounding her father's death. Tina's mother, Amanda, takes her to the same lakeside residence as part of her treatment from her psychiatrist. Dr. Crews begins a series of experiments (verbal assaults) designed to agitate Tina's mental state, forcing her powers to become more pronounced. However, it is later revealed that Dr. Crews is really trying to exploit Tina's psychic powers.
After a particularly upsetting session with Dr. Crews, Tina runs from the cabin and to the dock thinking about her father's death. While thinking about him, she wishes he would come back. Instead, she accidentally resurrects Jason and releases him from his chains. Jason ascends from the bottom of the lake and renews his terror on the area once again.
Next door to the Shepard residence is a group of teens who are throwing a birthday party for their friend Michael. The group includes Michael's cousin Nick, preppy Russell and his girlfriend Sandra, Ben and his girlfriend Kate, science fiction writer Eddie, stoner David, perky Robin, shy Maddy, and snobby socialite Melissa. Nick, who has arrived just for the party, becomes attracted to Tina, much to Melissa's chagrin. Melissa attempts to break up Nick and Tina, even going as far as kissing Eddie to make Nick jealous, but her schemes are to no avail – other than making Eddie feel spurned thereafter. Tina tells Nick about Jason and has a vision of Jason murdering Michael. Meanwhile, Jason kills Michael in real life, along with Michael's girlfriend Jane, and later kills another couple camping in the woods.
When Tina goes off with Nick to find her mother, Jason proceeds to kill the other teens in a series of incidents. Russell and Sandra go to the lake for a swim. While Sandra goes skinny-dipping, Russell is killed with an axe to his face. Sandra discovers his body before she is pulled under the water and drowned. Maddy goes looking for David but finds Russell's body. She runs for help, but Jason attacks her in a nearby barn and kills her with a sickle. Jason then kills Ben by crushing his skull and then Kate by driving a party horn into her eye. Inside the house, Jason stabs David and slices Eddie's neck open. Upstairs, Robin finds David's severed head and is thrown out a window to her death. When Jason attacks Dr. Crews, Crews saves himself by using Amanda as a human shield, but Jason eventually kills him with a pole chainsaw. Tina finds her mother's body shortly afterwards and uses her powers to electrocute Jason and to crash the house down on him. When Nick and Tina try to tell Melissa what happened, she thinks they are crazy and tries to leave, but Jason kills her with an axe to the face.
Nick tries to fight off Jason, but he is quickly subdued. Tina unleashes her powers, which forces Jason's mask to tighten until it breaks in two, revealing his disfigured face. As the battle rages on, the Shepard lakeside cabin is destroyed by an explosive fire and the attack continues on the dock. Although Tina is unable to kill Jason, she unknowingly summons the spirit of her father, who emerges from the lake and drags Jason back down with him into the depths of Crystal Lake, chaining the killer once more.
The following morning, Tina and Nick are taken away in the ambulance. Someone finds Jason's broken mask in the wreckage and the screen fades to black while Jason's whispers can be heard from far away.
- Lar Park Lincoln as Tina Shephard
- Kevin Blair as Nicholas Rogers
- Susan Blu as Mrs. Amanda Shepard
- Terry Kiser as Dr. Crews
- Staci Greason as Jane McDowell
- Debora Kessler as Judith Williams
- Michael Schroeder as Dan Carter
- Susan Jennifer Sullivan as Melissa Ashley Emerson Paur
- Elizabeth Kaitan as Robin Peterson
- Jon Renfield as David Peabody
- Jeff Bennett as Edward Kelso
- Heidi Kozak as Sandra Dier
- Diana Barrows as Madison Paulson
- Larry Cox as Russell Bowen
- Craig Thomas as Benjamin MacNeal
- Diane Almeida as Katherine Pataki
- Kane Hodder as Jason
After the previous installment, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, which reintroduced the Jason Voorhees character, Part VII was originally intended to be a crossover film between Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger. With each Friday the 13th sequel, the box office profits were diminishing, with the films in the Nightmare on Elm Street series grossing nearly twice the amount of the Friday films. Paramount Pictures proposed the crossover idea to New Line Cinema, the rival company who held the rights to the Elm Street films, with Paramount controlling domestic distribution and New Line controlling international distribution. The idea was abandoned after the two companies failed to come to an agreement, with the concept only coming to fruition after New Line purchased the rights to the Friday the 13th franchise, releasing Freddy vs. Jason in 2003.
One of the concepts for Part VII was conceived by associate producer Barbara Sachs, and was noted as being similar to the plot of Jaws, wherein a corporate land developer covers up the previous Jason Voorhees massacres in order to profitably build condos on Crystal Lake. Executive producer Frank Mancuso Jr. resisted the idea, and screenwriter Daryl Haney stated "There’s always a teenage girl who’s left to battle Jason by herself. What if the girl had telekinetic powers?" Sachs, who considered the "Jason vs. Carrie" concept to be "an interesting idea", wanted the installment to be more respectable than the previous entries in the series. Haney stated that "She wanted it to be unlike any other Friday the 13th movie. She wanted it to win an Academy Award". Several high-profile directors were considered for the job, including Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini.
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The film's original working title was Birthday Bash, chosen to conceal its identity as a Friday the 13th film. The entire production of this film was scheduled, completed, and released within seven months. Shooting took place from October to November 1987 in Baldwin County, Alabama, at Byrnes Lake off Highway 225, and in nearby Mobile.
This film marks the first of four appearances by Kane Hodder as Jason, the only actor to ever reprise the role. Although C. J. Graham, who had portrayed Jason in Part VI, was initially considered, Hodder was ultimately chosen based on his work in the film Prison, for which The New Blood's director, Carl Buechler, had worked on as the special effects make-up artist. In that movie, Hodder filmed a scene in which his character, a prisoner executed in the electric chair, rises from the grave; Hodder himself had suggested to Buechler that he have maggots coming out of his mouth during the scene to heighten the effect of decomposition, and went on to film the sequence with live maggots spilling out of his mouth. Buechler remembered Hodder's commitment to the part when casting The New Blood, and chose Hodder over Graham. Graham expressed disappointment, as he had hoped to reprise the role of Jason and make himself synonymous with the character, as Boris Karloff had with Frankenstein's monster, but ultimately expressed satisfaction with Hodder's portrayal and said that he bore no ill will about not being asked to return. Hodder would go on to make cinematic history for the longest uninterrupted onscreen controlled burn in Hollywood history. For the scene in which Tina causes the furnace to shoot flames at Jason, Hodder was actually set on fire by an apparatus rigged so that the ignition could be captured on film (as opposed to being edited in later with trick photography). Hodder was on fire for a full forty seconds, a record at the time.
Though one contemporary critic noted that the film is "nearly devoid of blood and gore by '80s slasher standards," several explicit scenes of gore were cut in order to avoid an X rating. Among these were the murder sequences of Maddy, 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 revealed the gory aftermath of a party horn to her eyeball; 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 Dr. Crews; Dr. 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 workprint footage; however, the deluxe edition features more additional footage than the boxed set.
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood opened on Friday, May 13, 1988 in 1,796 theaters, debuting at number 1 and earning $8.2 million in its opening weekend. Ultimately, the film would go on to gross a total of $19.1 million at the U.S. box office, placing it at number 53 on the list of the year's top earners.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood holds a 35% approval rating based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 4.47/10. The consensus reads: “As lumbering and bereft of conscious thought as its unstoppable star, Friday the 13th Part VII - The New Blood finds the franchise in desperate need of the title ingredient.”
Gene Siskel gave the film one star in the Chicago Tribune, citing its weak finale and predictable killings, as well as a perceived misogynistic subtext to the entire Friday the 13th series. Steve Davis's review in the Austin Chronicle, written entirely in verse, characterized the repetitive plotline of the series as tiresome and implausible, with campers repeatedly coming to Crystal Lake despite the repeated slaughter of visitors. He gave it a bomb. Susy Flory of the Santa Clarita Signal wrote: "It's Hollywood's idea of every teenager's dream—a bunch of lovely, nubile young girls, a rustic cabin in the woods, a stash of marijuana, and, gore galore courtesy of a zombie superhuman psycho killer." The Star-Gazette's Amnon Kabatchnik wrote that the film is "geared to appeal to the viewers' baser instincts, horrific moments of graphic mutilation are interwoven with nude-and-sex sequences," adding: "The offbeat Tina is reminiscent of Stephen King's Carrie, but unlike Sissy Spacek, Lar Park Lincoln is unable to flesh out a human dimension. Cult devotees of the series probably won't care."
John Carl Buechler, the director, who also created the special make-up effects for the film, is credited[by whom?] with creating "the definitive Jason" in the audio commentary of the film from the series' DVD box set. The film is later mentioned in the novels American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
The Deluxe DVD Edition of Friday THE 13TH PART VII was released September 15, 2009.
In other media
Reference is made to the events of The New Blood in the novel Friday the 13th: Hate-Kill-Repeat.
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