October 6th, 2009

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 7: THE NEW BLOOD (1988) ** ½

As a kid, Tina (Lar Park Lincoln) had a telekinetic temper tantrum and killed her abusive alcoholic father by drowning him in Crystal Lake.  Ten years later, she goes back to the lake for some therapy with her demented doctor (Terry Kiser from Weekend at Bernie’s) who just wants to exploit her powers.  Shortly into her treatment, she has a meltdown and tries to wish her father back to life from out of the lake.  She doesn’t realize that Jason (Kane Hodder) is also down there and instead of resurrecting dear old daddy; she summons Jason by mistake.  It doesn’t take long for old Hockey Face to start hacking up teens left and right.  Eventually, Tina learns to harness her powers so that she can battle Jason.  In the end, she finally brings her father back to life and he returns Jason to his watery grave.

 

The New Blood is one of those Jason movies that I have a soft spot in my heart for.  First off, it was the first Jason movie I ever saw in a theater.  It gave me nightmares as a kid, which means it gets high marks in the scary department.  More importantly, it marked the first time Kane Hodder essayed the role of everybody’s favorite hockey mask wearing psychopath.  Hodder would go on to play Jason three more times and he really puts forth an authority and a personality into the character.  This is probably my favorite Kane performance of them all.

 

Unfortunately The New Blood has one of the worst endings to ever come out of Hollywood.  As good as most of the movie is; the ending is so heart-stoppingly bad that it will literally make you pull your hair out from the roots.  If the movie ended with Tina blowing up Jason in the house, everything would’ve been fine and dandy and the flick would’ve skated by with *** ½.  As it stands, we get 83 minutes of a pretty great Jason movie; then the flick thoroughly shits the bed in record time once the dead dad comes back to life to defeat Jason.  So bad is the denouement of The New Blood that I have to knock an entire Star from the rating. 

 

Let’s face it folks, this ending is dumb as all get out.  Are we really supposed to believe that Tina’s dad comes back to life and chains up Jason?  Let’s talk logistics here for a second.  Why would her dad’s body still be in the lake after ten years?  Wouldn’t the police have dragged his corpse out of the lake after his death?  And even if they didn’t, why is his corpse perfectly preserved?  This shit is just hurting my brain it’s so damned dumb.

 

Before he completely botched the ending, director John Carl (Troll) Buechler delivered the goods more often than not.  I particularly liked the atmospheric opening montage of Jason’s greatest hits narrated by Crazy Ralph himself, Walt Gorney.  (“People forget he’s down there… waiting!”)  The Jason sequences are top notch and feature some good kills.  There is:  a spike through the neck, a spike through the back, a hand through the back, an axe to the face, a drowning, the requisite head crushing, a party favor to the eye, a knife in the chest, a machete to the neck, a bimbo thrown out of the second story window, a sickle through the chest, a weed whacker to the stomach, and another axe to the face.  Then of course, we have the immortal sleeping bag kill; one of Jason’s finest moments.

 

Jason gets as good as he gives.  The extended brawl between the telekinetic Tina and Jason is a doozy and although it has a tendency to get a bit hokey, it’s still loads of fun.  She electrocutes him, throws a sofa (as well as a potted plant) at him with her mind, brings down a porch on his head, tosses a ceiling lamp at him, strangles him, send some nails flying in his face, sets him on fire, and resurrects her dead fath…  Umm… the less said about that, the better.

 

Buechler also did the special effects for the movie and his work is second only to Tom Savani’s in the series.  Jason’s make-up is simply incredible.  Buechler took Jason’s new zombified look and ran with it.  You can even see his exposed ribcage and spinal cord poking out from his coveralls.  The coolest part is that you can actually see his skeletonized knee joints move when he walks!  His face is also pretty dope too as he looks like a cross between The Colossal Beast and an oatmeal cookie.  The gore for the most part is so-so.  That’s because the MPAA neutered the majority of Buechler’s gore effects in order for the film to get an R rating; so we can’t really be mad at him for cutting away so quickly once Jason starts doing his thing.

 

Performance-wise, things are fairly generic.  Lincoln does a decent enough as Tina.  She isn’t great or anything but she hits her marks.  If we’re singling out great performances, I’d have to say that Elizabeth Kaitan had the two best perfectly rounded performances of the whole movie. 

 

When all is said and done, Friday the 13th Part 7:  The New Blood should’ve been called Carrie vs. Jason.  The stupid ending aside, this was not the worst gimmick they could’ve come up with for poor Jason.  Future gimmicks included Jason in Manhattan, Jason “dying” (although he had already “died” in Part 4), Jason in Space (Leprechaun beat him there though), battling Freddy Krueger, and the ultimate gimmick:  Being remade by Michael Bay.

 

<Tomorrow’s Horror Franchise Movie:  Friday the 13th Part 8:  Jason Takes Manhattan>