THE NEW BLOOD has always had a soft spot in my heart because Jason finally became fully realized as a character thanks to a truly intense physical performance by Kane Hodder. The stuntman would become a fan favorite and reprise the role 3 more times creating a real presence and continuity for Jason, something a film series like this needed.
Unlike the previous entry, which took the series in a more self-referential direction, PART VII brought it back to its horror roots but with a new twist. Tina, the main character, has telekinetic powers (ala CARRIE), which she uses to defend herself against the masked killer.
The movie attempts a plot. Once again it’s basic but at least it tries. Tina has come to Crystal Lake (I guess they changed it back from “Forest Green” after that didn’t work out so well), with her mother and her psychiatrist, Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser) to work through the guilt she feels due to the “accidental” death of her father many years ago. But Dr. Crews has ulterior motives. He knows about Tina’s gifts and knows he can exploit them when she is at her most emotionally distraught.
Fortunately for Tina, there are some nubile young adults right next door who she can party with, especially hunky Nick (Kevin Spirtas) who doesn’t care about her troubled past. I mean, she’s hot and who doesn’t like “crazy hot?” During one of Tina’s emotional outbreaks, she inadvertently releases Jason from his underwater tomb and then the killings begin.
Directed by Make-Up FX wizard John Carl Buechler, THE NEW BLOOD is well-paced and enjoyable. It also features some of the best FX in the entire series. Especially Jason. He has never looked better and this design still remains the best and most iconic. Unlike the previous entries, we see how his entire body has been ravaged over the years, complete with his spine protruding from his back and most of his face rotted away exposing skeletal features beneath. It’s a fantastic design and Kane Hodder brings it to life with a truly inspired portrayal.
Unfortunately a lot of the graphic violence has been edited out of the film. During the late 80s, the MPAA was cracking down on violence in films and horror films got the brunt of it. They eviscerated THE NEW BLOOD and most of the shots were cut to the bone and unfortunately the film suffers for it. It’s a shame that an unrated version of this entry has never been attempted, as some of the excised footage still exists. One can only hope.
FRIDAY THE 13th - PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD (1988)