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Monday, August 20, 2012

Movie Penguin Monday: #18. Friday the 13th: Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

There are some film and television series that require viewers to watch each installment in a particular sequence to fully understand the deeper meaning behind the whole.  The Friday the 13th series is not one of those series.  You can pretty much flop down in front of any one of the entries in this illustrious 10-part series (I don't count Freddy vs Jason or that 2009 reboot shit) and figure out what's going on.  And that's simply because every single Friday the 13th movie is essentially the same:  supernatural mass murderer, Jason Voorhees, rises from the dead and slaughters a bunch of half-naked teens engaged in various forms of fornication and drug abuse.  Jason should be viewed as a hero by the Conservative Christian crowd, but, unfortunately, most of them are too turned off by gore to give the poor hulking brute a chance. He is an avenging angel for conservative values, and, yet, he will never be viewed as more than a goalie-masked killing machine who is probably possessed by the Devil or something.

The New Blood is no different from the rest of the series -- except for the fact that it features a girl with telekinetic powers -- yet the filmmakers still feel compelled to give us a pre-credit sequence that let's the audience know what Jason's been up to.  All that you need to know to understand The New Blood however is that Jason has been chained to a rock and left to drown at the bottom of Crystal Lake.

The film proper begins with our hero/final girl, Tina Shepard, as a youngster, witnessing her dad slapping around her mom.  Unable to take the stress of vacationing with an abusive piece of garbage, Tina hops into a rowboat and drifts onto Crystal Lake.  Her father runs out to the dock to reason with her, but Tina ain't hearing it.  "I hate you!" she shouts.  "I wish you were dead!"  And because she possesses eerie telekinetic powers, her father complies.  The dock collapses and Mr. Shepard drowns.  Good riddance.  I'm glad he's dead.  I hope I never have to see that guy again.

In the next scene, a now teenaged Tina and her mother are on their way to the old cabin on Crystal Lake to meet Tina's psychologist, Dr. Crews, played by Terry Kiser, who you might remember as the titular character from the Weekend at Bernie's films (That's right: Mr. Weekend himself!  To be fair, I've haven't seen either of the Weekend at Bernie's movies.  What is Mr. Weekend doing at Bernie's anyway and what does Bernie think about it?  Is Bernie there too?  Are they friends?  Brothers?  Sworn enemies?  I'm finished now.).  Dr. Crews is the kind of character you're introduced to in a horror movie that you instantly want to see hacked to pieces by a machete-wielding supernatural hulk.  There's something about him.  It's probably the mustache.  Dr. Crews thinks spending a weekend at the cabin where she murdered her father with telekinesis will, I don't know, make Tina not crazy anymore.  Who knows what line of horseshit he fed Mrs. Shepard.  All Crews cares about videotaping Tina while she moves matchbooks with her mind.

The cabin next door is full of horny teenagers.  Of course it is!  These are your stock horror movie victims.  I don't remember any of their names, only the archetypes they represent.  You've got the nerd, the whore, the bitch, the cool guy who smokes weed, the guy who never wears a shirt, the other whore, the rich asshole, the ugly girl yearning for someone, ANYONE to at the least finger her maybe, and the black couple.  You know, they may not have had names.  Would've been a waste of time anyway.  No one is gonna miss these people.

To be fair, the oftentimes shirtless guy does have a name.  It's Rick.  Rick develops an insta-crush on Crazy Ol' Tina and invites her next door to a surprise birthday party for his cousin, who is, by this point, completely and utterly dead.

I've gotten ahead of myself.  I forgot to tell you how Jason Voorhees is freed from his watery prison.  Tina does it, accidentally, with her psychic powers.  There.

From this point forward, The New Blood is a quick succession of grisly murders and teenage boobs.  Jason, like the righteous avenger of good Christian values that he is, stumbles across the cabin of iniquities and cleans up the joint.  Again, I don't know who dies in what order, but I do remember the bulk of the kills.  Let's see...

--A girl is drowned while skinny dipping.
--The ugly girl is run through with a sickle after tarting herself up to attract the cool guy.
--The black girl gets a party horn shoved into her eye socket.
--The bitchy socialite who doesn't approve of Rick's crush on Tina gets an axe buried in her face and is tossed across the living room.
--The weird nerdy kid has his skull crushed while opening birthday presents.
--A girl completely unrelated to the main action is crushed to death when Jason zips her up in a sleeping bag and repeatedly slams her into a tree.
--Dr. Crews is sliced to pieces by a tree saw, but only after he pulls this dick move:

In case you can't tell, that's Dr. Crews using Tina's mother as a human shield.  I told you he was a jerk.

Up to this point, The New Blood isn't that different from the Friday the 13ths that came before it.  Teenagers get drunk, some of them have sex with one another, some of them take showers, and Jason slaughters them all with various lawn tools, leaving a final girl and/or boy to finish him off until the next installment.  And that's where The New Blood's difference lies: in its final girl.  She isn't some screeching normie with tears running down her cheeks.  She's a telekinetic bad-ass.  Tina collapses a porch on top of Jason, shoots nails into his face, douses him in gasoline and sets him on fire, all while Rick --who has a gun by the way -- looks on or lies on the floor unconscious.

In the films finale, we find ourselves back where we started: the ill-fated dock where Tina's father met his doom all those years before.  Jason, who has somehow survived an entire cabin exploded all around him, shuffles onto the refurbished dock for the final showdown.  It is at this moment that Rick decides to finally use his gun.  Oh, yeah, shooting Jason accomplishes nothing.  Thanks, Rick.

Tina, once again using her telekinetic powers, concentrates super hard at Jason.  Crystal Lake bubbles and steams and a shadowy figure crashes through the dock and pulls Jason back down into the watery depths.  That shadowy figure?  Yeah.  It's Tina's dad.  Apparently, they never fished his body and buried it.  They just left him there after his dock collapsed, drowning him.  Yes, Tina's father drowned in A LAKE and was left there.  It wasn't like the cops were going to have to drag Crystal Lake or anything.  He basically died ten feet from the shore.  

So, I guess that's it.  Tina's zombie father pops up and drags Jason underwater, ending the threat of Jason Voorhees forever and always.  Only, yeah, there's a Part VIII...

BUT...?  HOW...?  BUT ISN'T JASON...?

Never fear, dear readers.  I have seen Friday the 13th: Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan -- yeah, that Manhattan -- and next Monday, I shall answer all of your Jason Voorhees-related questions, and teach you a few things about New York City you might not be aware of.  Until next time...

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