Four Long Nights at Camp Blood, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Meet the new blood, same as the old blood. This was the installment that was supposed to have the Jason and Freddie Kreuger showdown, but as these things go, that didn’t happen until much later. Fifteen years later to be precise. The idea was then floated about  that it could be a Jason vs Carrie, which the producer’s liked. One producer in particular wanted this installment to be unlike any other of the sequels, and had even suggested Fellini direct it.

Well, Fellini didn’t pan out, so we got makeup effects wizard, John Carl Buechler. While not the strongest entry, it’s certainly not the worst, and will be remembered for several things: 1) Kane Hodder’s first appearance as Jason 2) Jason’s iconic look was cemented in this entry, and 3) death by sleeping bag. The second one can really be attributed to Kane Hodder as his mere presence onscreen is enough to make one shit their pants. He;s big, imposing, and more importantly, silent and seemingly everywhere.

Like other past sequels this one opens up with a montage of the previous movies to remind everyone of the Dickensian plot and characters.  After all it had been a whole two years since the last movie, and people had forgotten this masterpiece of cinema. Once that’s over, we see a little girl Tina, who is telekinetic, and kills her father in a fit of rage after he hit her mother. The dock collapses under him and he drowns.  By sheer coincidence it happens to be the same lake that Jason was left in, in the last movie.

We flash forward ten years or so, and Tina and her mother, plus her psychiatrist are going back to the house on the lake so Tina can confront her past and move on. She apparently has been in a mental hospital for the past decade. Her shrink, Dr. Crews is played by none other than the Weekend at Bernie’s corpse, Terry Kiser. In another coincidence he gets to play a corpse here as well, at least for a little while anyway. It becomes quite clear that the good doctor has no interest in treating Tina, he only cares about her abilities.

After a particularly tense session with him, Tina runs to the dock, and ends up raising Jason from the (un)dead. As far as reviving Jason goes, this is pretty original, in a check your brain at the door type way. Since Jason has never been one to waste time, he sets about killing people immediately. He comes across a couple lost on the woods. They’re on their way to the other house for a surprise birthday party. Surprise may be an understatement here, as Jason makes short work of both of them and then goes on the hunt for more.

Lucky for him there are plenty to choose from. We have the token minority, the geek, the bitch, the bookworm, the slut, and the stoner, to name just a few. One of the members, let’s say the bad boy who’s repented, takes an interest in Tina, and even when she freaks out because she sees a vision of someone being murdered, he still goes after her. As it turns out, Jason does murder the person she sees in her vision, the cousin of Nick, and the reason for the party. Jason also kills his girlfriend and another couple off gallivanting in the woods.

Tina has a row with her Doctor who threatens to commit her against the mother’s wishes, and she runs from the house. The mother and doctor go after her and run into Mr. V with yet another sharp bladed instrument. I’m not sure where he gets all of these things but the kills are far more entertaining for having them. The Doctor uses Tina’s mother as a shield and Jason kills her. He runs away but it’s not too long before he’s tracked down and dispatched with. Because the producer on this sequel wanted to class it up a bit, the kills are virtually bloodless. You don’t see a ton of gore, and most of the effects were left on the cutting room floor. While it doesn’t necessarily take away from the movie, it certainly seems to defeat the purpose. What this producer didn’t understand is the things she disliked are exactly what the audiences wanted to see. As a result the picture suffers for it, but not for lack of trying on Buechler’s part.

As one can imagine when dealing with a teen with telekinesis, there’s a showdown with Jason and it’s actually pretty good, if a bit cheesy. The special effects aren’t bad for the time, and it’s fun to watch. Jason of course gets blown up in the house, yet somehow manages to return intact, only to be dragged to the bottom of the lake by Tina’s father. If the movie has a weakness it’s this second ending with Jason returning and the father comes out of the lake. It’s silly, pointless and seems like a cheap trick.

Buechler does a commendable job on a script that really could have been far worse, and by rights it should have been worse, yet he lifted it up. While he’ll never be known as a classic director of the genre, he certainly can make an entertaining movie, and in the end that’s about all you can hope for.

I give Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood 6 machetes.