It’s baaaaaaa-aaaaaaack. That’s right! We’re watching some more of our favorite horror franchise: Friday the 13th. Last cycle we had to endure the fifth in the series, which was so bad that it almost destroyed my taste for all things Jason Vorhees… almost. For the StreetCreditReport.com cycle we have to jump to the eighth film in the franchise, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, which often makes it to the top of the worst of the series lists. This is reflected in the RT score with a solid 2/22 (8%). This of course means that we have non-BMT homework for Part VI: Jason Lives (which is often considered one of the best in the series; 52% RT) and a BMT qualifying bonus film Part VII: The New Blood (30% RT) which we’ll present here first. We’re going to do it guys. We’re going to watch the entire series in a single year! Let’s go!
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) – BMeTric: 50.7
(I find the rating plot in particular quite interesting. The film has transitioned from a purely bad-ratings film to a Popular Below Average film in the later years. This is more than regression to the mean to me, this is legitimately people going back and actually thinking this movie is better than the previous generation considered it (in my opinion). And it looks like it isn’t slowing, it is plausible that this movie will cross into average territory soon. Weird and wild stuff.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Makeup expert Buechler fails to inject much life into this endless series. Pretty, blonde Lincoln foolishly travels to Crystal Lake (with her mom and her shrink) where her talent for telekinesis beings the monstrous Jason back from his watery grave.
(He did not watch this film. This “review” is basically just regurgitates the plot and then bounces. I guess he calls it lifeless, but there is nothing else there. Whatever, as long as this film is better than number five I’ll be pretty okay with it. That isn’t such a tall order is it?)
(This is… not what I want out of my Friday the 13th films. Yeah, I guess it’s cool that Jason kinda meets his match with a telekinetic girl, but I’m in for the kills and the trills. Not Jason being pummeled left and right. Also, it seems like they might show us the final kill right in the trailer.)
Directors – John Carl Buechler – (BMT: Troll; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1988 for Worst Visual Effects for The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. Started out in makeup and made his way to directing. Still does some work in visual effects and makeup to this day.)
Writers – Daryl Haney (written by) – (Known For: Masque of the Red Death; BMT: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Fascination; Notes: Pitched the film as Jason vs. Carrie. Fired after his agent attempted to get him a significant raise. The script was finished by an uncredited rewriter.)
Manuel Fidello (written by) – (BMT: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Notes: Clear pseudonym. Rumor is that this was a notable writer who didn’t want his name attached in any official capacity. Surprisingly all these years later no one has come out and said “Oh yeah, that was me actually.”)
Sean S. Cunningham and Victor Miller (characters) (uncredited) – (Their only credits are essentially all of the Friday the 13th films. We’ve discussed notes concerning them during previews for the previous films in the series)
Actors – Lar Park-Lincoln – (BMT: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; House II: The Second Story; Notes: Has worked in the industry for nearly 40 years, she even has a book Get Started Not Scammed to help young actors getting into the industry. She did quite a bit of television as well, including the tv series based off of Nightmare on Elm Street.)
Kevin Spirtas – (Known For: Daredevil; Apt Pupil; Defying Gravity; BMT: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; The Hills Have Eyes Part II; Notes: Was Hugh Jackman’s understudy for The Boy from Oz he has also been on numerous soap operas throughout his career.)
Susan Blu – (Known For: Cars; The Hunchback of Notre Dame; The Transformers: The Movie; Clifford’s Really Big Movie; BMT: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Notes: Born in St. Paul MN, holla! She is a prolific voice actor, but appears to mainly be doing voice direction at this points. Makes sense as she is nearly 70 years old at this point. She was almost cast to voice Arcee in Transformers (she voiced her in the animated series), but was replaced at the last minute.)
Budget/Gross – $2.8 million / Domestic: $19,170,001
(Still going strong. It blows my mind that they never bothered to up the ante and get real actors and a real director and a real budget, but I guess when your profit is 1000% you don’t really care all that much.)
#45 for the Horror – Slasher genre
(I’ve been ignoring the plot for the most part since we’ve seen this all before. Right around Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (considered one of the only good late-additions to the three horror mega franchises) and Halloween 4 (which I can personally say is a travesty). All of these films came at a time when slasher was getting a lot of play in theaters, but just as the box office per theater was a tumbling as well, which was probably a precursor to the brief collapse around 1995 of the genre as a whole)
Rotten Tomatoes – 30% (6/20): No consensus yet.
(Oooo I get to make one up: Overtly pointless, and intentionally antagonistic to hardcore fans. The New Blood might have tried to cross Carrie with a slasher film, but ends up looking like it needs a whole new injection of new blood to salvage the waning franchise. Woof, that was fun to write.)
Poster – Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Sklog (B+)
(One thing to be said about the series is that they generally delivered when it came to the poster. Great (and artistic) spacing/symmetry in this one. Bold black-white-red coloring and classic font. Seems like they are misleading the audience a bit though. The title and art would suggest that the girl is “Jason” in this one… which we know is not true. Pretty good though.)
Tagline(s) – On Friday the 13th, Jason is back. But this time, someone’s waiting (B-)
(And where they have failed to deliver is the taglines. This one isn’t bad from a cadence point of view. Mildly clever and hints at the plot (notably different from what the poster itself suggests). But just way too long.)
Keyword(s) – serial murderer; Top Ten by BMeTric: 72.2 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 69.0 Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989); 66.7 Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985); 50.7 Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988); 47.6 Friday the 13th (2009); 41.2 Freddy vs. Jason (2003); 41.1 Friday the 13th Part III (1982); 40.8 Prom Night (1980); 33.8 Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986); 33.0 Borderland (2007);
(Friday the 13th not surprisingly is quite prevalent. I do like it when the movie we are doing is features. I’ll just have to watch Prom Night on my own I guess, it actually doesn’t qualify for BMT with 42% … maybe a few more DVD reviews will trickle in someday.)
Notes – This film was originally intended to bring Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger together onscreen for the first time. But when Paramount Pictures (at that time was holding the rights to the “Friday the 13th” film series) and New Line Cinema (who holds the rights to the “Nightmare On Elm Street” series) couldn’t agree behind the scenes, the script was rewritten to pit Jason up against the telekinetic Tina Shepard instead. (Ooooooooof. They eventually use that storyline in Freddy v Jason naturally, but still a pretty rough plan B)
Kane Hodder did all his own Jason stunts in this film, including falling through the stairway, and having the porch roof fall on his head.
Kerry Noonan, who played Paula in Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986), read for the role of Tina, when she thought the title was “Birthday Bash.” She quickly realized that it was a Friday the 13th film and confessed that she’d starred in the last movie, so John Carl Buechler decided not to cast her. (Ha! Yet again just basically tiptoeing around having continuity between films)
Director John Carl Buechler has publicly fumed many times over the years about the number of edits required by the MPAA to avoid an “X” rating. The film had to be submitted nine times to the Motion Picture Association of America before being granted an “R” rating, and it stands as arguably the most heavily censored entry in the ‘Friday the 13th’ series. (Huh, methinks we’ll get some nudity in the film)
Director John Carl Buechler stated that he clashed with associate producer Barbara Sachs continuously over many ideas that he had for the film. This included showing Jason unmasked for quite a bit of the movie. She vetoed the idea, but he ended up going behind her back and filming it anyway. He also stated that the final sequence of Tina’s father coming out of the water was to be more elaborate and feature full prosthetics and a life size dummy. That sequence was completely over ruled and he ended up filming what he considers an inferior version of the sequence. (Huh, that end sequence sounds a bit like a travesty to me …)
John Carl Buechler was so impressed with Kane Hodder when he ate live worms on the set of Prison (1987), that he pushed for Paramount Pictures to let him cast Hodder in the role of Jason. If it had not been for Buechler’s persistence, the role of Jason Voorhees would have been reprised by C.J. Graham. (I kind of want to watch Prison now …)
In the documentary Friday the 13th Chronicles (2004) included with the Crystal Lake to Manhattan box set, the director John Carl Buechler stated that Jason spent 10 years chained and inert before the main action of this movie. (Very interesting. That, I think, make this movie set in the future! I would have to check when the first in intended to take place, but if it is around 1980 then this movie would take place in 1990 at least)