Oh man, the wonderful world of Camp Crystal Lake. I'm going to probably piss you guys off by saying that I have only really seen the first four Friday the 13th films and also obviously Jason Goes to Hell and Freddy Vs. Jason (because I'm not insane). So I was somewhat ambivalent about seeing this film on Tuesday. I do love a good slasher film, don't get me wrong, but I find myself getting bored with series that have waaaay too many sequels, except for Hellraiser because Pinhead. Once I was in the theater though, I decided to give the movie a chance, and it really wasn't all that bad. It's no Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, but here again, I am a person who wants Crispin Glover to be in literally every film ever released, so I don't know if this is any kind of real judgment or just my Glover-kink - but anyways - this film holds a small piece of my heart, and is a worthy addition to the Friday the 13th canon.
According to our host Eric Walkuski, Editor-in-Chief of Arrow In The Head, the seventh entry into the F13 franchise was intended to be Jason's art film. He said "It [The New Blood] was supposed to take a 'higher profile' direction because the series was lagging in terms of money. The producers thought they wanted to make this Jason movie to win an Academy Award - that was their fantasy anyway. The story goes that they pursued a lot of high-profile directors, one of them including Frederico Fellini, to direct this movie. I don't know how true that story is but that's the legend. Ultimately it did become Jason Vs. Carrie (yeah THAT Carrie) with a very interesting final girl; Tina, played by Lar Park-Lincoln. She is his most formidable final girl because she has telekinesis." No matter how unbelievable this concept may sound to you, this is indeed the crux of the film. I'll tell you the rest of what Eric Walkuski said as well, since he knew a lot more about this film before I did until two days ago.
"This was also the Jason movie that introduced Kane Hodder as the title character" Walkuski tells us to a generous smattering of applause. "He kind of became the ultimate personification of the character, and it's great make-up work by the team involved. Something that you'll notice about the film is that it got shredded by the MPAA. Most of the deaths in the film are incredibly truncated, as most in the series were but in this case it was very noticeable. They were hacked up. The only footage that remains of some of those death sequences are available on DVD and probably YouTube but the footage is not very good. You can use your imagination."
This is so true and something that I found incredibly distracting while watching this at a theater that might be improved upon with a home viewing. The cuts are very disruptive and a lot of the time they don't make much sense at all.
Walkuski continues with "Still it's a very fun movie. It actually has a few good performances in it, one of them from Terry Kiser, Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's, playing a very villainous psychiatrist and the film actually has some interesting supporting characters which you can't always say about this series." While I hope that he isn't forgetting about Crispin Glover, I have to concur that Terry Kiser's role in this film is very interesting. There's a lot of suspension of disbelief that goes along with a mom taking her telekinetic daughter on a road-trip with her psychiatrist right after he stay in the mental hospital to the site of where said daughter accidentally killed her father - with her mind - but it's a Jason movie so you pretty much have to throw that suspension out the window immediately.
I enjoyed Terry Kiser's performance, being an avid fan and defender of both Weekend at Bernie's and Weekend at Bernie's 2; and those of most of the supporting cast, including Susan Blu (Transformers the Movie, Jem and the Holograms) as Tina's mother Amanda and Kevin Spirtas (Days of Our Lives, Daredevil - the movie - yeah) as Nick, the hunky savior dude. There are also a lot of other victims, I mean supporting cast members that are basically just there as Voorhees' bait.
The movie is fun but that's about all I can give it. I wasn't super invested in the film and I think to me, that's what a lot of the Friday the 13th sequels, and sequels in general, suffer from; the film becomes more about the killer as some sort of mascot instead of having much story beyond that. Thankfully, in this film, there was some attempt at an interesting sub-plot with the telekinetic teenager, but I think they could've done better. I know, I guess I shouldn't be so pick about the 7th Jason movie that was made in 1988, but that's my take.
Arrow In The Head will be hosting all the Terror Tuesdays at Alamo Drafthouse NYC this month in programming called "The Summer of '88". The films include, in order: Phantasm II, The Blob, Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, and Waxwork. I'll be your eyes and ears on the scene, but you should come on down to see some of these wonderful films yourself if you live in the area. Come say hi! I'm always always in the 3rd row!