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Looking Back at ‘Friday the 13th: The New Blood’ Nearly 30 Years Later

On the 29th anniversary of its release, we take a look back at Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood to discuss its place in the franchise’s history.

After killing off Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, producers alienated fans with a fifth entry in which that film’s Jason is actually revealed to be Roy Burns… a paramedic. Audience reception was so poor for Friday the 13th: A New Beginning that Paramount knew they had to bring the real Jason back in the sixth entry. And so they made him undead for Friday the 13th: Jason Lives, putting a highly supernatural spin on the series. But could the undead Jason gimmick last for another film? A lot was riding on the seventh installment, to say the least.

There was initially a cloud of confusion over what the seventh entry of the series should be (including a scramble to come up with new storylines after an attempt at a Freddy vs. Jason crossover fell apart for the first of many times), but Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood managed to inject some new life into the franchise with a storyline that essentially mashed together the worlds of Jason Voorhees and another horror icon: Carrie White.

The New Blood opened up the world of Camp Crystal Lake to other supernatural elements beyond “undead Jason” with the introduction of Tina Shepard, a telekinetic whose immense powers made her quite literally the strongest final girl in the history of the series. Tina, played by Lar Park-Lincoln, proved to be a worthy adversary for Jason Voorhees, embodying the core qualities of the traditional final girl and fusing them together with unnatural powers that rivaled the big guy’s. Simply put, she wasn’t just a final girl. She was a superhero.

Known primarily for his special effects work on some of the best horror franchises of the modern age (including Bride of Re-Animator, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master), director John Carl Buechler had only directed Cellar Dweller and Troll before making The New Blood. He proved to be a great fit for the practical effects-heavy series, as his work led to some great, seamless effects sequences in the film – from the punch through the chest to the awesome revelation of Jason’s monstrous face.

But Buechler’s contributions went further than that.

Buechler served as make-up supervisor on the Renny Harlin film Prison, where he met a stuntman/actor he would bring with him to Friday the 13th: The New Blood. His name was Kane Hodder, inarguably the most recognizable person to play Jason and the only one to play him for multiple films. His presence onscreen is imposing, and his walk and movements lent a personality to the silent, faceless slasher. You could say that Jason truly became Jason once Hodder put on the hockey mask. And we have The New Blood to thank for beginning Hodder’s reign of terror in the role.

The New Blood also gave us perhaps the franchise’s most iconic kill, wherein Jason shoves a camper into her sleeping bag, drags her through the forest, then slams her against a tree hard enough to kill her. The single smash is disturbing if not a bit comical, and made a huge impression despite being heavily trimmed by censors before release – as were many of the film’s kill scenes, which continues to anger and annoy fans to this day. Worth noting, the sleeping bag kill was so memorable that it was recreated for darkly comic effect in Jason X, wherein both the victims and the sleeping bags are doubled up!

The film’s ending, well, it’s a bit hard to defend.

In an absurdly confusing and unintentionally funny climax, Tina summons her dead father from the water to chain Jason and toss him back into the lake. Her father, dead for over a decade under the water but somehow none the worse for wear except for some muddy smudges, yanks him down into the water and then apparently disappears back into his watery grave.

Aside from the strange ending, this film is a noteworthy addition to the series that gave us John Buechler’s best directing work, the greatest performer ever to play Jason Voorhees, and one of the most iconic kills in the Friday the 13th franchise. Not too shabby, if you’re asking me.

The New Blood deserves to be remembered as, even if admittedly not one of the best Friday the 13th sequels, at least a surprisingly solid entry.


46 Comments
  • The_Gentleman

    This is memorable to me mainly for the circumstances that surrounded seeing. I was 16 but was tight with the manager at my town’s theater so she let me into R rated movies. She new I was a movie geek. Anyway, something happened that night–I can’t exactly remember– but my mom grounded me. Regardless, I sneaked out to see it. Had a blast. When I got home the door was locked, and me with no key. I slept on the porch swing. It’s funny in retrospect and was kinda funny at the time. But I never sneaked out again lol. The things we do for our horror.

  • shawn lawson

    Not one of the best?!!!!! It’s hands down the greatest Friday. The fuck is you talking about?

    • The Drucifer

      Haha! You meant 4 right?

      • dangerzone79

        4 & 7 are the best in the series and it’s not even worth debating. These are the facts.

        • Master99

          That’s hard to argue, but throw 6 to make it a top 3 thing.

        • Saturn

          2,4,6 are the best of the series.

    • Master99

      I was thinking the same thing. I have watched part 7 and part 6 more than any others in the series (FvJ & part 4 are not too far behind). Many people hate the zombie version of Jason, but they fail to realize that it was getting really hard to explain how he keeps surviving the abuse he got, and this was the best possible option for saving jason and it made him look f-ing awesome.

  • Bill Rash

    The jarring lack of logic in having Tina’s father return from under the lake intact was not originally planned. Buechler had the actor made up in a suitably-grisly state, but a woman from Paramount stepped in at the last second to inexplicably demand that the father emerge sans makeup. The director discusses this (and has workprint footage of the planned makeup) on the deluxe-edition DVD.

  • Darkknight2149

    One of the best films of the series, alongside “The Final Chapter”, “Jason Lives” and “Freddy vs. Jason”. I like that F13 actually had a number of strong sequels, as opposed to franchises that go downhill after the original. The F13 series didn’t start getting bad until “Part VIII” (1989), but it can still be redeemed.

    • dangerzone79

      I respect your opinion, but I have to say that Jason Takes Manhattan is leaps & bounds better than FVJ. That movie is unwatchable. It could have been so good is Freddy hadn’t been so cheesy for so long & Jason hadn’t been a big, dub, lumbering lug in FVJ.

      • Hockey Machete

        Damn straight!

        • Adam Paquette

          Part 8 and 9 are tied for worst movie.

          • Hockey Machete

            Indeed, they’re not as effective as the earlier films, but I can safely say people can stomach Part 8 over Jason Goes to Hell anyday.

          • Adam Paquette

            That is very true. JGTH is an abomination. It shits all over the franchise. The filmmakers couldn’t even manage to spell Voorhees correctly on the mailbox, they spelt it Vorhees. Just shows how much they cared.

          • Hockey Machete

            Bingo.

          • Darkknight2149

            I used to dislike JGTH, though it has grown on me over the years. I feel like everyone who dislikes the film seems to have a problem with Jason body-jumping. As a horror film, it’s not that bad (to me, anyways).

            To me, the worst F13 films are (from worst to least worst) –

            1. “Jason Takes Manhattan” – A complete disaster
            2. “A New Beginning” – What a silly attempt to relaunch the franchise after Jason’s death.
            3. “Friday the 13th” (2009) – *Sigh*
            4. “Jason X” – Bad, but self aware. At least it got Jason’s characterisation and kill style right, unlike the reboot where he had very little to do with actual Jason besides physical appearance.

      • Darkknight2149

        Respectfully, I also disagree. I find “Part VIII” to be the worst in the series.

  • Buddy Repperton

    Bloody Disgusting should cover the tv series Fargo even though it is not in the horror genre. They have some pretty gruesome deaths like having an air conditioner dropped on someones head from four stories up, the famous Billy Bob Thornton making it rain blood on a guy taking a shower from season 1, and a bloody tampon being left in a guys desk pretty much qualify as bloody disgusting.

    • Randy_Boreton

      Agreed! Fargo is easily the best drama on TV and that WITH constantly changing casts. I gotta say Im a little biased though since I live in Minneapolis. The kills and intricate twists and turn definitely put it into that suspense category.

      Just for info WE DON’T TALK LIKE THAT! Its just mostly an old Swede thing. No one under 70 talks like that.

  • Hockey Machete

    Though I’ll always have wished to see the uncut version of this film and the original ending where the father is twice as decayed and Jason breaks loose, Kane Hodder’s killer performance saves it from being a complete failure as he did with all of his respective Friday films.

  • Brando

    Jason with a weed-wacker just ain’t gonna cut it.

  • Michael Hill

    and this is where the series took a downhill spiral from which it never recovered until the remake.

    • Seed

      The remake was a piece of shit.

      • Michael Hill

        better then the stupid new blood.

        • Leo Venegas

          No.

      • Adam Paquette

        the remake was great

  • Chris Genth

    I liked this one, hodder even admits Tina was definitely a challenge for Jason!

  • Blade4693

    This one is actually one of my least favorites, probably the least favorite if we are only talking the Paramount Fridays but I agree, it still isn’t too bad even if its not my favorite. I enjoy watching it when I am marathoning the movies.

  • diapers

    For zombie Jason this episode is one of the better ones, save for the telekinetic stuff. But this is not the definitive Jason for me, no no no, that would be Jason from part 2 through 4. Human Jason, yo. Always and forever!

    • bluepurplechips

      Human Jason was the best! I never liked the slow zombie Jason.

  • James0479

    This one and part 8 are the two least watched F-13/Jason films in my collection. Parts 2, 3 and 6 are my faves.

  • dukeblues

    I respect what Hodder brought to the series, but the guys who played Jason in 3 and 4 were the best.

    • Christopher Siano

      Agreed

    • bluepurplechips

      Agreed 100%

  • Flu-Like Symptoms

    VII is endearing to me only because of the vast attention-to-detail given to the look of Jason. Though it was Hodder’s debut, IMO it wouldn’t be until Part VIII that Kane would ‘flip the switch’ and make the character his own.

  • Werewolf

    I’ll always like this film because it’s the only one in the series where you EVER get to physically see Jason go “What the SHIT!?!?” and it happens multiple times with awesome results.

    • Paella747

      I agree! And he’s SO pissed when he has to pull that nail out of his forehead. He’s looking at it like “how the hell did that happen?!?”

      • Werewolf

        Yep. Great scene. Only film that ever put him in a position where he wasn’t at the top of the chain. The scene where he got thrown through the floor into the basement was also quite memorable…and that look he gave before he went down. 😀

  • David.

    I think certain parts of this entry work and others do not. I really liked Tina but her telekinetic powers kind of spoil it for me a little, I would have preferred her just be smart and resourceful. I also wish they had given Maddy more to do, I liked her and would have enjoyed her working with Tina for a while. Melissa was underused too.

  • Eastman420

    Some really cool parts in this one, think the intro might be best part of the movie.

  • Raul Calvo

    After Part VI, Part VII feels a little boring.

    I never felt that the undead Jason began in F13 Part VI. It makes more sense that he was always undead. His mother revenge in his name because he drowned in the lake; at the end of Part II he has a pretty serious machete wound and at the beginning of Part III Jason just dusts it off a keeps killing. At the end of Part III Jason has an axe embedded in his head and is pronnounce dead at the scene in Part IV, then wakes up for no reason. It only makes sense is he was a supernatural being all along.

  • RKSDooM

    Part VII and Part VIII suffer from the same problem, in my opinion, and that is that everyone except the main characters are either obnoxious or total pieces of shit and you can’t wait for them to die.

    It’s not scary watching people die that aren’t at least somewhat likable. I think that even the New Line films and the remake do a better job at making the characters fun and likable than part VII and VIII.

  • HalesTales

    This one will forever hold a special place in my heart because it was the first Friday I ever saw as a young lad. It was a neat introduction to the series seeing Jason fight someone with telekinesis and I loved the face reveal!

  • Vincent Kane

    One of the best is debatable but its one of my favorites nonetheless. Jason looks completely bad ass as full blown Zombie Jason. Kane’s Jason is iconic. I also enjoyed this because it’s one of the few where Jason actually gets his ass kicked. Everything not involving Jason is forgettable trash though.

  • bluepurplechips

    This is one my favorite Friday the 13th films! This is Kane Hodder’s best performance as Jason in this one, his debut.

  • FunkyMagurk

    As cool of a monster as Jason is (and he really is) he has NEVER been featured in a film that could be considered objectively “good”….perhaps “good” by the standards of low budget 80s slashers, but not a legitimately good film. The closest they ever came with part 4 (which is legitimately well directed and has some truly memorable scenes) and part 6 (which was at least somewhat clever). But even these two films were not “good”, just passable by filmmaking standards. Really the good movies for any of the famous slasher monsters are the original Halloween (masterpiece), the original Nightmare on Elm Street (masterpiece) and Dream Warriors (very clever, well made and fun). As for this movie, it’s garbage…but I agree that Jason looks really cool in it, probably the best he’s ever looked. But the kills in this movie suck…they aren’t even gory, it seems like the movie was neutered. And a movie like this, which has very few (if any) other redeeming qualities, lives or dies based on its gore quality.

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