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John’s Horror Corner: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), where psychotherapy meets telekinesis and Kane Hodder’s zombie Jason.

November 24, 2017

MY CALL:  Not classically campy, per se, but this was one of the conceptually zanier installments of the franchise.  Still buckets of fun and great effects, and still recommended.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Friday the 13th Part VIIObviously, Friday the 13th (1980) and Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) for sure.  Sadly, I’d only suggest part III (1982) for the sake of story continuity (it didn’t impress me at all, but many seem to highly favor it), but part IV: The Final Chapter (1984), part V: A New Beginning (1985) and part VI: Jason Lives (1986) were all quite redeeming.  For more classic ‘early modern’ slashers one should venture A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Sleepaway Camp (1983), The Burning (1981) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).

Part 6 SIDEBAR:  Yup, Jason keeps getting “almost, sort of, nearly killed” and then keeps coming back alive and well like Wolverine.  Part IV ended after 12-year old Tommy (Corey Feldman; Friday the 13th Parts IV-V, The Lost Boys, Gremlins) killing Jason and, likewise, part V ended with Tommy (now 17 or 18) (John Shepherd; Bless the Child) killing the Jason Voorhees copycat. And then, in part V (and since the end of part IV), Jason Voorhees was, in fact, actually dead… only to be resurrected by a lightning strike in part VI, which ended with a yet older Tommy leaving Jason drowned (yet again) and chained at the bottom of Crystal Lake.

Franchise Timeline SIDEBAR:  Part 1 took place in “present day” (1980), part 2 was 5 years later (so 1985), part III continued “the next day” (also 1985), and part IV took place in 1985 immediately after the events of part III starting with Jason in the hospital morgue (a la Halloween II).  Bucking the trend, part V jumped forward 5-6 years (so 1990-1991-ish) and then (probably more of a writing flaw than anything) part VI takes us questionably another 10-ish years yet further into the future (soooo, 2001…?).  Part VII provides no time statement, but could just as well occur in the same year as part VI.

Following the Tommy Jarvis story arc (parts IV-VI), director John Carl Buechler (Troll, Cellar Dweller, Ghoulies go to College) provides a recap of past franchise installments and introduces us to a young girl with psychic powers.  In a flashback, young Tina (Jennifer Banko; Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Barb Wire) unintentionally kills her father in a telekinetic fit of anger.  After years of hospitalized therapy, Tina (Lar Park-Lincoln; House II) and her psychotherapist Doctor Crews (Terry Kiser; Weekend at Bernie’s I-II) return to the scene of her trauma (their house on Crystal Lake) in hopes of concluding her treatment; it seems that her psychokinetic abilities resulted from her suppressed guilt—a movie psychology claim about as “out there” as the psychoplasmics notion in The Brood (1979)!

Not a day by the lake and Tina’s emotions get the better of her, and she inadvertently resurrects Jason (Kane Hodder; Hatchet, Smothered, Chillerama) with a telekinetic outburst.  With his return considered a mentally ill girl’s fever dream, our water-logged zombie Jason looks cooler than ever with his spine and ribs exposed and a chain necktie.  They did a great job with the effects of his decaying body, the reveal of what his undead face now looks like under the mask, and Kane Hodder added flavorful posture to our killer.

Incontinuity SIDEBAR: So, in part VI we learned that the locals of Crystal Lake changed its name to Forest Green to help forget the horrors of Crystal Lake’s past.  But that is not acknowledged and the signs all say Crystal Lake.

Among Jason’s victims you may recognize the following actors: Heidi Kozak (Society, Slumber Party Massacre II), Kevin Spirtas (The Hills Have Eyes Part II, Subspecies II-III), Elizabeth Kaitan (Silent Night Deadly Night 2, Necromancer, Nightwish), and William Butler (Ghoulies II, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Buried Alive, Night of the Living Dead, Gingerdead Man III, Terror Toons 4).

Jason may be up to his typical shenanigans, but (like part VI) this sequel isn’t terribly campy.  He crushes heads, punches through torsos, bursts through windows and walls, and leaps out of water like the good old days while his female victims continue to take every opportunity to take off their tops (including a rather raunchy skinny-dipping scene).  But despite all the boobage, the kills maintain a more semi-serious approach (lacking the sillier eyeball-popping antics of part III).  A favorite death scene of mine, this is the first time Jason employs the sleeping bag slam kill.

Well, hold on. Remember when I said this wasn’t terribly campy? I should have said not “intentionally” campy.  As if no one saw it coming, the movie ends with a long and rather action-packed finale pitting Tina’s psychic powers against our unstoppable Crystal Lake revenant.  The effects don’t hold up so well as she pummels Jason with couches, light fixtures, the porch roof and flower pots… but it’s still pretty fun to watch! LOL. It’s especially pleasing seeing Jason’s face!

Tina finds victory in the strangest of possible ways, returning Jason to his watery tomb and being hauled away in an ambulance with no recovery of Jason’s body.  Typical, I suppose, in preserving the ease of the next sequel.  I’m not complaining. With a bonkers ending like this, I found it hard to take this sequel seriously.  However, it was a really fun ride!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Bret permalink
    November 26, 2017 5:08 pm

    This is quite possibly the most entertaining sequels in the series out of them all. A mixture of great kills, a semi-campy final fight scene and a few bad actors/lines, I still give it high marks.
    I am really enjoying the timeline part of this review…so glad you decided to add this in the review. I know when you review Jason takes Manhattan the timeline will become wacky especially if you see any particular advertisements or dates as he stalks his victims in Times Square.
    Wonderful review.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      November 26, 2017 5:32 pm

      As it turns out, everything about my timeline tracking started with an article from Bloody Disgusting in which the filmmakers behind Jason Goes to Hell suggested it was “cannon” that Jason was, in fact, an evil dead deadite. And despite playful callbacks to the Necronomicon, I found this hard to believe because it was suggested that Jason’s mother used the book to revive Jason (or imbue him with demonic something or other). So… I decided to rewatch these and pay close attention to detail. In doing so, I not only decided that the maker of F13 IX had no idea about the finer elements/events of the earlier films (e.g., the fact that Jason never “rose from the dead” until part VI), but also stumbled across some curious timeline points. Like the fact that parts II-IV all take place over the course of perhaps only a week!

Trackbacks

  1. John’s Horror Corner: Necromancer (1988), just sleazy B-movie trash. | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), teleporting all over the place in a love letter to Dream Warriors and The Dream Master. | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), mixing The Hidden (1987) creature, The Evil Dead (1981) mythology and The Dream Child (1989) twist. | Movies, Films & Flix

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