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Old 10-15-2009, 08:31 AM
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Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood (Deluxe Edition)





Reviewer: Rhett
Review Date: October 14, 2009

Released by: Paramount
Release date: 9/25/2009
MSRP: $16.99
Region 1, NTSC
Progressive Scan
Widescreen 1.78:1 | 16x9: Yes
1988


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Double dipping gets a lot of just flak, but when it comes to the Friday the 13th series I can't help but look forward to it. I grew up with these movies, and like the phenomenon of watching shows you already own in better form on edited television just for the experience of watching while others watch, there is something communal about it. Every release of the film gives us a chance to watch, celebrate and deconstruct it anew. It keeps the films fresh. It keeps the legacy alive. Of course, it also keeps money in Paramount's pockets, but sometimes even the man deserves a little love, especially when they nurtured such an iconic horror hero. Paramount has been giving fans what they want all year with packed deluxe editions of all our favorite Fridays and this now represents the last stop. The New Blood and Jason Takes Manhattan are finally on DVD, so set your mind to movement and lets watch the motion picture that introduced us to Kane Hodder and Friday's best female lead.

The Story


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After Tommy Jarvis' heroic battle with Jason at the end of Jason Lives, Jason was chained and constrained to the bottom of the lake, where he was bound to be exiled forever (why the police never apprehended him after that is another story). Although Jason is now out of the picture, there is still tragedy to be had at Camp Crystal Lake, when a husband and father of one drowns in the lake only months after Jason's unofficial burial. His death was brought upon by the telekinetic abilities of his daughter, Tina, after she witnessed his father slapping around the Mrs.. The unexpected act has haunted Tina all her life, rendering her in a mental institution.


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Approximately 15 year later (which would technically be around 2003), Tina (Lar Park-Lincoln), under the guidance of her mother and the devious Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser, of Weekend at Bernie's fame), returns to Crystal Lake to try and rid herself of the guilt and mental anguish surrounding the death of her father. While Tina's trip to Crystal Lake is about therapeutics, Nick (Kevin Blair) and his buddies are up at camp for a little bit of drugs, alcohol and sex. Sex wouldn't be the same without Jason on the prowl, so he is unsheathed from his watery grave accidentally by Tina in her attempts to resurrect her father.


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Now free to engage in his trademark voyeurism and murder, Jason is out to crash Nick's party and do away with all the horny teenagers surrounding it. He first offs Michael (coincidence?), whom Nick's party was originally for, and then proceeds to the party. Tina can see these deaths happening, but no one, not even Dr. Crews or her new beau, Nick, will believe her. Despite Tina's warnings, everyone sticks around long enough for a date with a piece of Jason's weaponry, in the end leaving only Tina in a battle with everyone's favorite hockey mask wearing anti-hero. So if you ever wondered who would win in a fight, Carrie or a relentless zombie, watch the film's climax and all shall be revealed.


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I was originally going to cut and paste my previous review of the film from the 2002 DVD release, but in that time my opinion has certainly changed. In the past I had always dismissed the telekinetic angle as something of a gimmick, and on paper, sure, it is. The way director John Carl Buechler handles the material, though, it holds surprising weight and ends up fitting in well with the Friday the 13th formula. By this point, thanks to the resurrection by lightning introduced in Jason Lives, Jason had become supernatural, so having a Final Girl with similar abilities seems perfectly fitting. The way Buechler treats the material is tantamount, too, since Jason Lives had taken a jokey, if still effective, approach to the franchise. That Buechler was able to turn the series back to being serious, and Jason into an even more formidable foe, says a lot about his skills as a storyteller.


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Of course, people remember Buechler for more of an effects man than anything, and based on his original vision, the effects work conceived for The New Blood certainly rival those brought forth by Savini. Everyone knows how the MPAA had a field day with his artistic vision, and the finished film certainly suffers as a result, but again as testament to his craft, several sequences still really stand out. The sleeping bag smasher is oft cited as the highlight death of the series, with Kane Hodder vocally declaring it his favorite. All of the other deaths, even if they are cut to shit, still have a relentless menace to them. Jason is tough as nails in this movie, and even if I take issue with the bloated look Hodder’s body brings to the Mama’s Boy, there is no doubt he makes Jason one tough adversary. Buechler’s attention to detail with all the effects work on Jason himself, really makes him more than just a man behind the mask and instead a rotting, threatening menace. In terms of performance and fear, it’s The New Blood where Jason Lives.


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Jason lives in a different way in this fine follow-up, too, this being the film where he gets the most screen time sans mask. While he’s always scary, seeing him without that holey veil makes him more identifiable as a living being rather than just some metaphor for death. The work done on his face is gloriously grotesque, and while it doesn’t humanize him, seeing his face and the way he reacts with his eyes gives him an organic quality that had been missing since the end of the second film. It seems fitting that we understand Jason a little more this time around, because Terry Kiser’s Bad News Crews is every bit a villain in the film as well. Played as a contemptible opportunist to perfection by Kiser, Crews ends up providing The New Blood with a mid-film arc that boosts the film at a time when so many other Fridays lag. The audience is given two villains, and Crews is the hideous internal yang to Jason’s morbid exterior.


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Although I never particularly cared for Kimberly Beck’s performance as Trish in The Final Chapter, I always empathized with her status as the outsider. Here was a bunch of teens having fun in the cabin beside her, and despite her wanting to fit in, her world was too different. In a way, her process is similar to the ones we take as audience in these movies, seeing teens having idyllic parties like only nostalgia can conjure. We want to be a part of it – I mean who wouldn’t want to dance to Lion with Crispin and the twins? But we can’t. The kids dying shortly after seems a sort of manifestation of that disconnect we share as an audience. If we can’t have this ideal youth again, then they shouldn’t, either. The New Blood, even more than The Final Chapter, seems to understand the plight of the detached viewer, and what’s always drawn me in most was the way it looked at teendom from the outside.


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We see the movie through Tina’s eyes, and in ways we see it manifest physically from her mind, too. She’s got her own demons, and she’s never fully accepted by the teenagers. Even when we’re watching the teens party when Tina’s away, we still watch the film through her eyes, and of all the Friday the 13th entries, this has always wrung the most tragic. Even before we know her character, we understand the tragedy of not fitting in, of missing out on an eighties long gone. What really makes The New Blood resonate, though, is the attention to character both Lar Park Lincoln, and by direction John Carl Buechler, bring to the lead. She’s not an incidental character suddenly pushed into the lead like so many other Final Girls. Right from the start, Buechler commits to her character, and Lincoln injects her with a sad sympathy. She’s always the underdog with the painful past, and that extra time spent on her character makes her character, and the overall story of the film, strongest of all others in the series.


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Some love The New Blood for Kane Hodder, others love it for Buechler’s voracious vision, but I love it for Tina. She’s the heart of the movie, and her story, from the fantastical opening flashback to the emotionally charged tete-a-tete climax, is certainly the most compelling of the series. It has an arc throughout, where most Fridays as good as they are, turn the story on for the bookends at the start and the end. Even Fred Mollin’s score, which is the first time Harry Manfredini was not brought back in the franchise (he still gets a credit for using much of his canned compositions), has a memorably internalized sound space compared to the bombastic brilliance of Manfredini’s strings. It was a tall order to bring Jason back to course after all the winks in Jason Lives, but Buechler, Lincoln, Hodder and Mollin did it all with grace. It may not have the iconic resonance of Parts 1, 2 and 4, but The New Blood is still quite the achievement. It’s a shame that blood would coagulate so quickly for the soggy sequel.

Image Quality


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After the mixed restoration of the deluxe edition Jason Lives, I was beginning to wonder if Paramount could top the transfer for The New Blood, given it was mastered a year after the already stellar Jason Lives transfer from 2001. Well, they have – in fact, this might be the best upgrade yet. Just look at any screenshot and all the differences speak volumes. The entire film has been re-timed, with the color saturation amply boosted, but more importantly the color temperature matches the lighting conditions prevalent in the scene. For example, during the doc shot below, there are flames afire off-screen. The new transfer boosts the orange in the glow on the actor’s bodies, and in comparison to the muted scheme of the previous transfer, feels much more realistic. Not only are the colors much richer and truer to the source, but the added contrast depth really ups the detail. What was previously lost to blacks in the transfer prior are now very visible. There is at least a stop or two more information into the blacks, adding so much detail to spaces that before looked like they didn’t have any. Looking at the color and contrast alone, it’s night and day for the new transfer.


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There’s more, though. This new transfer opens up the cropping significantly, increasing the picture on all sides by over 11%. This isn’t just excess information, either. Even in just looking at the screenshots included in this review, it’s clear how much more the added elements on the corners of the frame add in to better expand on the settings or to just make each framing more balanced. The added space really makes the cinematography more flattering, and considering there was around 11% cut out from the new Friday the 13th disc, it’s fitting that The New Blood seems to gain that lost space back. The transfer is perfectly clean, totally consistent and just a wonder to look at. The film has never looked better, and accolades all around for Paramount’s best Friday transfer yet!

Sound


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There’s not nearly as much to talk about with the Dolby Digital 5.1 remix as there was the video. The soundtracks included here are merely ported over from the previous release, and while they sound clean and crisp, they still don’t make much use of the added channels. There are only a few instances of separation, most notably when Tina takes the twigs to Jason near the end. Some crackles are effectively stuck in the front left and right speakers, while others are in the center. Even there, though, like the rest of the track, there is never any movement between channels. If a body is flung from one side of the screen to the other, rest assured it will stay stuck in the same front speakers throughout. Some music cues are expanded upon a bit in the rears, but that’s the most you’ll get from those. It was a fairly lackluster 5.1 remix in 2001, and it remains so today.

Supplemental Material

inline ImageThe New Blood was no doubt the most compromised film of the series, really taking it from the tame restrictions of both the MPAA and the producers over at Paramount. There have been countless stories of uncut versions and deleted scenes, and we even saw a few of them over in the From Crystal Lake to Manhattan box set. This new disc unearths even more though, with a total of 16-minutes of deleted scenes, compared to the 6-minutes found on the bonus disc of the box set. A few things to note – in the box set, Kane Hodder and John Carl Buechler provided a commentary track throughout, so there was no way to watch the scenes with production audio. Also, the scenes included on the deluxe edition are much more complete, with added bits at the start and the end for context. There are copyright notices after each deleted scene, but even with both the copyright and the context, there is still a much larger assortment of footage this time around. There’s a short video intro from Buechler, and then we’re into deleted scenes.

inline ImageFor starters, scenes that were already included in the box set now have much more deleted footage. The alternate ending, for example, has much more of the fisherman reeling in his line to setup the scare that otherwise happened immediately in the other cut. There is more with Tina and Nick in there, too. Similarly, Robin’s death is a shot or two longer. New scenes not shown on the box set include a longer sex scene with Robin, a scene with Maddy toking up before meeting up with Jason, an added line with Mrs. Shepard and Crews, an added line after Melissa says “There goes the neighborhood”, more with Michael when his car breaks down, a longer scene with the nerd talking about Melissa and rejection, a POV shot that turns out to be Nick’s, which segues into a dialogue scene between Nick and Tina, that scene continues for a longer exchange between Nick and Tina, where he declares she has a “nice butt”! So while there isn’t really any added gore footage than what has already been seen, the fact that the gore scenes are longer help put them in better context. Having the original audio, almost always rough and without proper mixing, helps reveal the editing process, too. Just seeing the new footage, however tame or superfluous, helps offer the closure that we are finally seeing everything that was from the most maligned of all Friday films. The next step? Better masters than a VHS dub of the workprint.

inline ImageAnother Deluxe Edition, another featurette. This one runs 14-minutes and features new interviews with director John Carl Buechler, actors Kane Hodder, Kevin Blair (“Nick”), Diana Barrows (“Maddy”) Elizabeth Kaitan (“Robin”), John Otrin (“Tina’s Father”), editor Barry Zetlin, and composer Fred Mollin. Lar-Park Lincoln’s interview for the 2003 DVD set is also pieced in as well, although she’s sadly not invited back anew. For filing in the “Where the fuck is he?!” column, Terry Kiser is definitely the big exclusion again this time around. Here’s the only guy to make a villain worse than Jason in the franchise, and he’s still not getting the supplemental love he should. No matter, what’s included in this piece is revealing entertainment, with a significant portion allotted to the sad history the film had with the ratings board. Buechler remembers everything, and both the actors and the editor weigh in on how the deaths were originally shot and their disappointment with the sanitized final product. Deleted scenes are also spliced in for comparison. That face crushing scene is amazing! It’s always nice to catch up with the actors again after all these years, although like with the other featurettes, there are so many campers here that they are bound to still miss a bunch. Overall, though, a fine summation of a fine follow-up.

inline ImageAs is so common these days with any film dealing with the supernatural, we get a piece looking at the real-life phenomena, this one called “Mind Over Matter: The Truth About Telekinesis”. Running seven minutes, it features interviews with Dr. Barry Taff, who ran the parapsychology division of UCLA for several years (who knew they even had one?), and psychic Jack Rourke. This is a little better than comparable pieces on The Amityville Horror or Poltergeist because the men relate their knowledge and experience back to the actual film itself to put it all in greater context. It’s thankfully all secular, too, so even if it’s all still farfetched, it at least seems as it could be grounded within a believable reality. They give us a few anecdotes and theories, and short and sweet it’s a decent watch.

inline ImageThis next extra is good for a laugh, more a high concept thing than anything. Definitely winning the award for best title of a supplement yet this year, “Makeover by Maddy: Need a Little Touch-Up Work My Ass!” takes us on a three minute journey to beauty with stars Diana Barrow and Elizabeth Kaitan. The two get their hair cut and styled and also go clothes shopping. Jason masks and bloody machetes make their way into their makeover and there are a lot of laughs. The best bit is at the end, when Maddy finally reconciles with Robin for the whole “touch-up work” comment. Cute, and like the Crispin Glover dancing extra from The Final Chapter, an inspired addition.

inline ImageJohn Carl Buechler and Kane Hodder previously recorded a commentary together for the From Crystal Lake to Manhattan box set, and they are back again for this new commentary along with Lar Park Lincoln. Lincoln was unfortunately recorded separately from Hodder and Buechler (and like the commentary from Jason Takes Manhattan, Hodder does it over the phone, to which Buechler remarks “I’m used to you phoning it in.”). Hodder and Buechler are edited together with Lincoln, and while the cuts can be choppy the content is always interesting. It’s great to hear so much from Lincoln, since she confesses to being a huge horror fan, so this film was a real passion project for her. She’s always got something interesting to talk about, from the “alligator wranglers” on set to the Jason buttons she gave away as crew gifts. She even talks about being approached to do Part VII, which would have certainly been interesting. Since this is the second kick at the can from Hodder and Buechler, they seem to have less to say this time around, but perhaps it’s more because Lincoln just has so much information to share. The Hodder-Buechler track from the box set is really good, so that’s just another reason to hang on to that old set. I didn’t know what to expect from this new commentary, but thankfully it has more than delivered.

inline ImageThat does it for the extras, but seriously, someone email me about this: why is the trailer excluded? I loved that trailer, and even on the barebones release it didn’t make it in despite all the previous Fridays having them. It’s readily available on YouTube and was always an IMDb staple, and it’s even on the box set, so what gives? There isn’t any copyrighted music or anything, so not including such a complementary marketing piece really is a glaring omission. Other than that though, this is another excellent collection for the fans. Hopes still live on that one day a rough cut more attuned to Buechler’s vision will surface, but for now this will more than fill the void.


Final Thoughts


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I have a lot of love for The New Blood. Tina’s character really is best final girl in the series, not only because both Lincoln and Buechler invest enough time to really flesh her out as a tragic heroine, but also because despite being a vulnerable teenager, she’s also able to match Jason blow for blow with her mind. While the telekinesis initially screams gimmick, Buechler treats the material with compassion and never starts winking at the audience the way the sequels before and after this film did. There is something rose tinted about the film being the last to both take the material seriously, and the last to be set explicitly at the old Crystal Lake campsite. Had Buechler’s virtuoso vision of violence made it on screen uncut, this really could have held up as one of the best in the series, but even in its truncated form, The New Blood is still bloody wonderful.


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This DVD should also be met with similar accolades considering all the new material assembled. We get deleted scenes (and eight more of them, at that!) finally presented with clean audio, two nice new featurettes and even a cute little makeover piece for Maddy. The highlight is the new commentary, which finally gives Lincoln the chance to talk about both the film and the character she loves so much. The audio is the same as the previous disc, but man, what an improvement video wise. Paramount really outdid themselves with the richer colors, improved contrast and much wider compositions. These were always supposed to be the films Paramount was ashamed of, but with all these lavish, wonderful special editions, not only do they show they care, but they make the films seem all the better as a result. This is a must upgrade for Friday fans. If you’re waiting for the Blu-ray, forgo piece of mind over matter and use Amazon, DVD Empire or telekinesis, whatever you can, to get this. These discs deserve the support!

Rating

.
Movie - B+

Image Quality - A

Sound - B

Supplements - B+




Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Running time - 1 hour and 28 minutes
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • English Surround 2.0
  • Spanish mono
  • French mono
  • English subtitles
  • Spanish subtitles
  • French subtitles
  • Portuguese subtitles

Supplements
  • Commentary with director John Carl Buechler and actors Kane Hodder and Lar Park-Lincoln
  • Slashed scenes with Buechler intro
  • "Jason's Destroyer" retrospective featurette
  • "Mind over Matter: The Truth About Telekinesis" featurette
  • Makeover by Maddy: Need A Little Touch-Up Work My Ass

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Old 10-15-2009, 11:28 AM
Whoa, can't believe I'm the first comment ever here. Guess it pays to have your days & nights currently mixed up, and to be up here at a little after 5am Central Time Zone time here in North America. *lol*

In all honestly, everyone that knows me knows what a huge Mr. Voorhees fanatic that I am, but many of the first five Exploitation style films. After that, I and even still, I just like Part V as a pure insane & beyond eccentric guilty pleasure, while the first four for purely well made and much better old school Slasher film goodness.

I was surprised at the fine print of Parts VII & VIII, although to be fully honest, I just never liked the Kane Hodder-era. He seem's nice enough, but I worry that playing the Slasher Icon four time (albiet in some of the worst installments of the series, though) has gone to his head, and as a result, I think he must feel he somewhat "owns" the character, not knowing many came before him, including sometimes others that had to be replaced and now two after him, as well. With all due respect I say these things, though.

Having said that, as the series went on from Parts VI-onward that I never truely cared about, since it is my favorite series, I do find there were some inspiring moments here & there, but the fright as he became an anti-hero and the lack of any really good strong willed female heroines (too bad for my favorite series that Amy Steel's Ginny was the best right off the bat at only the second film in the long running series, so that of how in my eyes other entries lacked & suffered). Like a recent poster, I'm afraid I just didn't get into Megan & Tina on down, nor was I particularly attracted to them. Mrs. Lar Park Lincoln, inparticular, I always thought had a weird name and as I've honestly never heard the name Lar before her.

As always, great review from a big time series fanatic, Rhett my good man! Can't wait to read the Part VIII on, so Canadian (British Columbian) that it obviously is. 5 star style review!
 
 
Old 10-15-2009, 11:56 AM
Sam & Dean Winchester
Thanks for the review for Friday The 13th VII: A New Blood. I have double dipped on all of the Friday the 13th's, up to VI: Jason Lives, and I was wondering if I should double dip for 7 and 8. Now, I will be BUYING Part 7 after seeing the screen shots and that there are more deleted scenes in the Deluxe Edition. I do own the Crystal Lake Box Set, but sometimes, double dipping is not such a bad idea after all.
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:42 PM
Soul Stealer
Whoa - just think how good the Blu will be
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Old 10-15-2009, 05:34 PM
Victim
Wow great review! It's really hard to wait for the Blu Ray on some of these.
 
 
Old 10-15-2009, 07:24 PM
Robinson Crusoe on Mars
Great review! I do know that it's possible Lar Park Lincoln wasn't on the newest set because she has been recovering from cancer surgery. Poor lady - much prayers for a complete recovery!
 
 
Old 10-16-2009, 12:45 AM
Stalker
Excellent review as usual,Rhett....this disc (to me) truly is one of the better genre release efforts this year(Paramount done gooood).The alternate scene with David's decapitated head being tossed at the screaming Robin was gold.I declare this installment my 2nd favorite Friday (3 still stands supreme,for Richard Brooker's Jason,and Dana Kimmell's...Kimmells.)
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:05 PM
Maniac
Excellent review, as always
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:52 AM
HackMaster
Finally got this after not having seen the film for a good six years or more. I basically didn't remember it. The same thing goes for most of the other Paramount entries which I've finally been catching up on. The New Blood would have to be one of my favourite Jason films though. it's so much fun and the makeup and look of Jason is easily the best he has ever looked (though I would have loved to see more of burnt Jason in the film as I felt that look was insanely cool and creepy). Wish there were good elements of the missing footage so we could see a directors cut. The main deaths I think that suffer are the sleeping bag scene and the motor saw death. Plus the ending is a little anti climatic. Still, I love this film. Give me my bluray!
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