Thursday, November 7, 2013

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Jon Carl Buechler, 1988)

Tired of constantly being cast aside like some sort of non-leggy nonentity with some sort of hyper-contagious pussy disease, Maddy–last name unavailable due to either indifference or substandard screenwriting, though, my money is on the former, as the script is surprisingly well-written–has decided that she's had enough. Had enough of what, you ask? Well, if you watch Jon Carl Buechler's Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, like I just did, you too can totally find out what Maddy has had enough of. You can see it brewing on Maddy's face the moment we meet her in one of the houses situated on the picturesque shores of Crystal Lake. As each new scene begins, the amazing Diana Barrows (My Mom's a Werewolf), the actress whose job it is to bring Maddy to life, slowly unveils her character's frustration with the events that are transpiring right before her equally frustrated eyes at the surprise birthday party for a friend named Michael (William Butler). Okay, I've let this charade go on for long enough. Charade?!? What are you talking about? I mentioned the title of the film. Hell, I even name-dropped "Crystal Lake." What more do you want? It's not that, it's just that I couldn't help but notice that Diana Barrows gets tenth billing or something ridiculous like that. Actually, I think it was more like, seventh or eighth. But what's you point? Are you sure she deserves this amount of attention? Am I sure? What the fuck? Listen, buddy. If it wasn't for Diana Barrows, I wouldn't have even watched this film.

Oh, sure, the fact the film also features Heidi Kozak (Society) and five, count 'em, five, songs by FM made the decision to seek out the seventh chapter in the mildly storied horror franchise a whole lot easier. But make no mistake, Diana Barrows was the sole reason I dipped my toe in Crystal Lake in the first place.

It sounds like you have never seen a Friday the 13th movie before. And if that's case, what kind of person starts off their trip to Crystal Lake by watching part seven? Wait, let me guess, you're the kind of person, aren't you? You got that right. What I'd like to know is, what kind of person doesn't start off their foray into the mindless world of Jason Voorhees by watching part seven? In my mind, part seven looked like it had the most promise. At any rate, I've been known to peruse the occasional issue of Fangoria every now and then (i.e. issues with Lina Romay and/or Barbara Crampton on the cover), but wouldn't call myself a gorehound. That being said, the kills in this film, and, believe me, there are plenty of kills (a quick look at the film's expansive cast list backs this claim up), all seem to be mostly bloodless affairs. And you know what means? That's right, no arterial spray. Hold up, I thought you said you weren't a "gorehound"? Yeah, I'm not. But I do loves me some well-engineered arterial spray.

However, like I said, this film has no arterial spray to speak of. In fact, the only thing sprayed in this film is a mouthful of beer spewed all over the back of Melissa (Susan Jennifer Sullivan), the film's resident hosebeast, by David (John Renfield), the guy who fails to notice the shapely gams attached to the adorable torso belonging to–you guessed it–Maddy; her legs will not go unnoticed.

Okay, since the gore has been neutered, no doubt by the dreaded MPAA, what do you plan to write about? Wow, that's a tough question. Just kidding. My Friday the 13th reviews are going to be all about fashion and hosebeasts.

Getting back to Maddy for a second, the reason David fails to notice Maddy's shapely stems is because he never got a chance to see them in all their shapely glory. And, if you think about it, that's the most tragic aspect about Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. I guess you could say the fact that almost everyone is murdered is tragic, but I still think unappreciated gams are more so.

What's really frustrating, gore-wise, is that there's more gore in the pre-opening credits prologue than there is in the entire film itself. Either way, it's a good thing the prologue was there, as it gave a Friday the 13th neophyte like myself a quick refresher course on what took place in the previous movie. And it would seem that Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) is currently languishing at the bottom of Crystal Lake.

Cursed to keep coming back to life to kill all the teenagers and adult hangers-on who dare to disturb his watery grave (he famously drowned in the lake as a child), Jason is resurrected by Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln), a psychic teen with the same genetic structure that of actress Amy Smart (Crank: High Voltage). Haunted by the fact that she accidentally killed her father as a child (she caused the dock he was standing on to collapse with her mind), Tina is brought back to scene of that traumatic event by her mother (Susan Blu) and the shady Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser), a psychiatrist who thinks Tina is ready to confront her demons in the real world.

Oh, and you wanna guess the name of the lake where Tina killed her father? That's right, it's Crystal Lake, the very same lake where Jason Voorhees met his demise.

I'm no math whiz, but that doesn't sound like a lot of people for Jason Voorhees to kill. I mean, you listed, like, three people. Don't worry, the house next to Tina's place is filled to the brim with horny teenagers. They're apparently throwing a surprise birthday party for guy named Michael, the cousin of Nick (Kevin Spirtas), a hunky guy who awkwardly greets Tina when she arrives... at Crystal Lake.

You'll notice as Nick is awkwardly greeting Tina (he drops her suitcase, causing her delicate unmentionables to spill all over the gravel driveway) that Sandra (Heidi Kozak) and Melissa are watching from the comfort of their beach chairs. Clad in bikinis and drinking the latest soft drinks currently on the market, Melissa, for dramatic effect, pulls down her sunglasses from their normal position, and makes her first catty comment. I think she says something along the lines of: "There goes the neighbourhood." Well, whatever it what was that she said, it's clear that Jason Voorhees isn't the only one gunning for Tina.

Speaking of Jason, later that night, Tina inadvertently resurrects Jason Voorhees while moping near the lake. Wait, lake adjacent moping caused to Jason Voorhees to come back to life? Well, you see, Tina's telekinetic powers are at their strongest when she's emotionally distraught. And, the last time I checked, moping near a large body of fresh water is a legitimate form of adolescent agitation.

Soaking wet and covered with wounds (dig the exposed spine, bro), Jason Voorhees doesn't waste much time finding some horny teens to slaughter. Unfortunately, the first teens he stumbles across are Michael and his denim-attired ladyfriend Jane (Staci Greason) just as they were making their way to the lake. Hold on, isn't Michael the birthday boy? Yep. Aww, man, that's a shame. He also stumbles across some campers, too; bashing the female camper against a tree while she was still in her sleeping bag. Ouch.

When Nick, unaware that his cousin has been brutally murdered by a zombie in an old-timey goalie mask, invites Tina to come over to the party, we're introduced to even more teens. Yay! More teens means more machete fodder for Jason. And, most importantly, we're introduced to Maddy (Diana Barrows), a frumpy girl who, according to her friend Robin (Elizabeth Kaitan), could use "a little touch-up work." I know, some friend, eh? But the reason for the diss was because of David, the guy Maddy and Robin both have their eye on. And what Robin was trying to do was undermine her confidence; it's what teenage girls supposedly do to one another. Anyway, an annoying wannabe horror director named Eddie (Jeff Bennett), and Ben (Craig Thomas) and Kate (Diane Almeida), a nondescript couple, are introduced as well. I'm probably missing someone, but my attention is obviously elsewhere.

Am I crazy, or is Heidi Kozak wearing the exact same outfit (a pair of cut-off jean shorts and a yellow top) that she wore in Slumber Party Massacre II? Both films were made around the same time, so it's technically possible. But still, it's highly unusual. Costume recycling notwithstanding, Heidi Kozak looks amazing in this get-up.

Remember when Robin, who I think was wearing a yellow blazer at the time, tells Maddy that she needs "a little touch-up work"? Well, that comment has the opposite effect on her, as it motivates her to give herself a makeover. Instead of wallowing on the couch in self-pity, Maddy marches upstairs and busts out the lipstick.

That's right, it's Maddy makeover time. Even though I have only one Friday the 13th film under my belt so far, I can safely say that Maddy's makeover scene and the subsequent stalking sequence are probably the greatest the franchise has to offer in terms of fashion and stalking.

After putting the finishing touches on her lipstick, Maddy says to herself, "'Need a little touch-up' my ass." Yeah, baby! Work it, girl!

Wearing a super-short light blue dress, a white belt, and a pair of white pumps, Maddy and her legs are ready to wow David. Only problem being, she can't seem to find him? Now, I don't know what lead her to believe that he might be out in the woods. But nonetheless, that's where she looks.

Call me perverted, but I could have sworn I saw the top of Maddy's stockings when she crawls underneath a tool shed door. Yeah, you know what? I'm officially adding tan stockings to Maddy's ensemble. And in doing so, I just made the Maddy vs. Jason Voorhees sequence even greater. You're welcome, perverts.

It helps that Diana Barrows, on top of being a fine actress, is also a terrific screamer.

Holding her white pumps in her hand, Maddy awaits her fate. Which is something the other characters aren't given. What I mean is, the others are merely killed without much fanfare (each is summarily executed after coitus). Whereas Maddy's death sequence contains all the elements horror fans look for in a good kill.

In case you haven't heard, I'm new to the franchise. But Tina going toe-to-toe with Jason Voorhees can't be a normal sight in the Friday the 13th universe. In fact, I've read that Tina is one of the few characters who actually fights back against Jason Voorhees (she even causes Jason to employ several "what the fuck" head turns). Using her telekinesis to thwart Jason's many attempts to kill her, I thought Tina, not Jason, was the real threat in this movie (she removes his trademark goalie mask by simply raising her left eyebrow).

Adding everything I just mentioned about Diana Barrows and Heidi Kozak, I will be genuinely shocked if any of the other movies (holy crap, it says here they made ten films) can top the erratic awesomeness that Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood puts out there on a semi-regular basis.


  1. I'm new to the series too, I've watched up until "Jason Goes To Hell", I haven't had the stones to tackle "Jason X" yet. I don't know if "Freddy Vs. Jason" is considered to be part of the whole first wave or if it's lumped in more with the re-boot... since I'm new to it all too, I just don't know. What I do know is that I only half enjoyed half of the movies. "Manhattan" is probably the worst one, to me anyways.

    A lot of people hate on "Jason Goes to Hell", but I think it's awesome.

    Good luck with the rest of the films.

  2. Thanks. I'm watching them in reverse.

    I gave Jason Goes to Hell a whirl, but there wasn't anything in it that caught my fancy (the clothes were drab city), so, I didn't bother reviewing it.

    Jason Takes Manhattan would have been better had the film taken place in Manhattan from start to finish.

  3. I've only seen "Freddy vs. Jason" all the way through. It was on and I thought "oh what the hell." It was goofy. I did enjoy the part when Freddy and Jason actually fought each other. When Freddy started throwing Muy Thai knees to Jason's ribs, I was pleasantly surprised.

    Never been into these slasher movies. The original "Halloween" is great film. But almost everything that came afterwards was a caricature of the original. And a cheap cash in.

    You probably picked out the absolute best bits this one had to offer, which wasn't much.

  4. Katharine Isabelle of Ginger Snaps fame is in Freddy vs. Jason.

    Maybe Robert Englund's stuntman was Thai.

  5. @yum-yum: maybe. Or he could have been Cambodian or Burmese, or any other knee-centric South East Asian boxer. I hope so.

    I have to admit that I've never seen "Ginger Snaps." I was probably watching some obscure kung fu film about people casting out demons and kicking each other in the face instead. I'm extremely in to that kind of thing. I also have never even seen the original Wes Craven nightmare on Elm Street. I was too busy watch Bergman films as a teen when most people went through that phase. Again, I'm extremely into that kind of thing.

    I'll at least see "Ginger Snaps."

  6. Laura Boddington, who played the "un-george" on Dead Like Me is Freddy vs. Jason as well.

    According to the credits, Douglas Chapman was Robert England's stunt double on FvsJ. And, judging by the amount work he's done, he's probably well-versed in many different forms of martial arts.

    Okay, I'm going to stop looking at the FvsJ credits...

    Oh my god! Evangeline Lilly of Lost fame was in FvsJ too.

    ...starting now.

  7. Maybe you should check out "Freddy vs. Jason." It was directed by Ronny Yu. He did "Bride of Chucky" (the only "Chucky" movie I've seen, too) and of course the "Bride with the White Hair" films. Plus they did this clever little promo thing for it:

    I see you are watching "Shojo no harawata." (Entails of a Virgin) Ew. No thank you. I've only see the cover and knew it wasn't for me.

    "Boxer's Omen" on the other hand is fucking amazing! The Thai black majick is all made up gross-out nuttiness. But the esoteric Buddhism shown in the film is actually all legit interpretations of Buddhist folk magic. Because the film is made in Hong Kong it is of course much closer to legendary Mahayana (in this case Chinese) esoteric Buddhist folk magic than the Theravada type found in Thailand. However, they did film in Thailand and the initiation ceremony in Thailand is accurate. The climatic battle in Nepal makes sense because Buddhism originated near there- therefore the main character would HAVE to return to the origin of the Buddhist Law to gain the relics that would allow him to break the curse (mild spoiler, but it won't ruin your viewing experience). Everything is coated with any extra layer of crazy, but most of ceremonies presented have a definite root in actual Buddhist practice. I'd need to watch the film in more detail to call the sects present. Oh, and depending on you subtitle quality, "adultery" just means "boinking."

    I was lucky to see this film on a big screen in LA a little bit ago. Unlucky to see it in a room full of LA hipsters, introduced by a hipster screaming into a microphone "Are you ready to get your mind FUCKED!!!!" I drove home with my mind very unfucked.

  8. I actually saw Freddy vs. Jason back in 2003. I don't remember a thing about it.

    I've seen Bride of Chucky and the Bride with White Hair as well. But again, it was such a long time ago.

    Entrails of a Virgin: It's like Evil Dead, but with fashion shoots, cum vomit, severed arm dildo action, black stockings, and blurred humping.

    Don't worry about spoiling the Boxer's Omen, I've already watched it twice and finished my review about a week ago.

    Damn hipsters. :D

  9. Sorry. I research lots of esoteric Buddhist ritual and it gets me excited. And that's a fun movie!

  10. "Jason Takes Manhattan" taking place in Manhattan? Now that's just a crazy idea.