Thursday, August 23, 2007

Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood


Price: 75 cents
Year: 1988
Runtime: 90 mins
Director: John Carl Buechler
Cast: Kane Hodder as Jason, Lar-Park Lincoln as Carrie Lite, Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's as a non-dead (initially, at least)

Before Little Steve Franc(h)is(e) ruined the word with his selfish ballhandling, the Friday the 13th horror FRANCHISE shattered the concept of diminishing returns with a to-date 11 film streak of wide north american theatrical releases in the post video age. Whereas the foreigners have no compunction about shitting out endless series entries (England's Carry On is at plus 30, don't even get me started on A-Z-AH), the douchey american population wants to front like we don't shake that way. whatever.

Anyway, this entry came at a critical juncture in the series. After the semi-classic debut, the pretty alright follow-up, the disastrous but requisite 3-D entry, the remarkable and odd 4th chapter (ironically dubbed the THE FINAL CHAPTER and featuring Corey Feldman "killing" Jason and Crispin Glover's otherworldly dance), a universally reviled 5th entry where Jason naps pretty much the whole time while some yokel pretends to be Jason, and a 6th chapter that according to the imdb lacks boob shots thus rendering it impotent and valueless to the young sleepover pursuers of the 80s, the series needed some warm piss on its sleeping lips to bring a little originality to it (that which herr glover could not produce again, see below).




Friday the 13th Part VII was supposed to be the first attempt at a Freddy vs. Jason scenario, but it got stranded in development hell for another 15 years of wheel spinning, and what we got instead was essentially Carrie (not Carrie) vs. Jason, which works a lot better than it should. After opening with the by-now requisite opening narrated montage of previous mayhem, we see some girl kill her dad with her mind by making him drown in CRYSTAL LAKE after he hits her mommy. Then she's all old all of a sudden and Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's is her shrink. Because he is dastardly and evil, he makes her go back to Crystal Lake because he thinks it will be therapeutic for her, but he just wants to make Jason come back or something, I don't know this part didn't make any sense. Either way, once there, she freaks the fuck out and runs across a bunch of kids at some cabin who all keep fucking and smoking weed and drinking, so you know they will all die terrible deaths, which they do. So then the Carrie girl fucks her mind up and straight murks the dude a bunch of times, but he keeps refusing to die even after she blows his mask off, then she thinks real hard and something amazing happens, something so amazing that I am still in awe and think that it validates all the tired bullshit that precedes it.

So basically, 80% of this movie could be swapped with any other entry in the series and no one would notice. The kids carousing and getting killed is nothing special. Most of the kills are pretty blah, although the irritating party noisemaker through the eye was a nice touch. Apparently, the MPAA demanded like a bazillion cuts to the various kills, which sucks and is obvious. But once everyone else dies, it gets interesting. First of all, you get to see the dude without his mask on for the first time in a minute and he looks really silly. Like


fuck, no, like . . .
Yeah, there it is. I mean, looking like Eddie (UP THE IRONS!!) is never a bad thing because it means you're that close to being Keith Richards, which pretty much means you get a guaranteed role in Joe's Apartment 2. Anyway, there was also an uber-nerd character who was the only likable one in the whole gang, but doesn't even get laid before Jason snuffs him. Lame. The final battle between Carrie and Jason is pretty badass because, well, Jason hardly ever gets to actually fight motherfuckers. It's always just sneak, murk, sneak, murk. So it's very nice that we get a nice 15 minute warfare sequence between Carrie and Jason; it's just too bad that all the HACK-neyed kills before than have to be so die-r and lame (although not as bad as they get in "Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Wait, I Mean, Vancouver, Vancouver Can Pass for New York, Right? Oh Well, Fuck It, Let's Try Anyway, We'll Just Stick a Buncha Kidz on an Ocean Liner for the First 80 Minutes Then Have the Last Ten Be in A Nondescript Alley"). Also, this is the first time Kane Hodder plays Jason, nerds think he is the best, so it's important that you know that. Finally, the lead in it, the ridiculously named Lar-Park Lincoln looks like the primordial genetic soup of Rebecca DeMornay, Amy Smart, and Jenna Jameson. So there's that.

It's hard to write about Jason and the Friday the 13th series because, as much as I love it (and I do, really, I do), it was always the runt of the 80's-early 90's horror franchise litter in terms of character, content, and continuity. Unlike the Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Hellraiser filmic progressions, Friday the 13th lacked that super classic first film. Hell, Jason isn't even the fucking killer in the first movie (as Skeet (skeet skeet skeet) Ulrich would like to remind you) and he doesn't don a ski mask until the 3rd. Essentially, the first Friday the 13th movie is a competent, generic slasher-loose-in-the-woods-near-a-camp pic; notable only for the deluge that followed it, an early performance from woodsman / bluesman Kevin Bacon, and the always appreciated effects work of Tom Savini. From there, it dithered into a brutal, repetitive series lacking in vision and ambition. Jason is slow, lumbering, damn near mute, and pretty rote as a killer (stabstabstab yawnyawnyawn). Most of the time, he's simply a homicidal version of Kraftwerk's Man-Machine, a model who is killing fine. The better installments of the franchise place him out of context and give him inventive kills, such as the woefully underrated JASON X, which places him in space where he kills a record 28 beautiful young people in interesting and fantastic waze (the face freeze ice smash is a personal favorite). So while Friday the 13th may lack the humor and surreality of Freddy Krueger, the seething blistering evil of Hellraiser, the goofed profanity of Chucky, or the Warwick Davis of Leprechaun, it's still not without its charms; in fact, the sheer predictability of the franchise was probably its biggest key to success. Since every kill was telegraphed five minutes in advance, nobody had to actually get scared, but horny kids in the 80's could still sneak in and use em as a good excuse to snuggle up with their desired and "terrified" ugly bumpers. So there's that, as well.

Huh, according to the IMDB, the main character's name in this is Tina Shepard and not Carrie after all, I guess that's how you avoid a lawsuit (now where's a copy of The Rage: Carrie 2 when I need one?).


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13 comments:

hvbc said...

I remember watching this on cable with my brother when we were like 5 & 6 and nearly shitting myself the first time I saw Jason without his mask.

Who would have thought how silly that shit would have looked to me 17 years later?

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