Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

After the diminishing returns of the previous few Friday the 13th movies, the producers sought to reinvigorate the series by pitching Freddy vs. Jason in order to capitalise on the rival franchise whose box office takings were twice that of Jason’s, which was exactly why New Line told them no (or at least to come back in 2003).

Instead producer Barbara Sachs had the idea for a Jaws-inspired instalment about a property developer building condos on Crystal Lake, wanted Federico Fellini to direct and was seriously pursuing an Academy Award (inspired by Fatal Attraction‘s awards attention), an outcome about as likely as Trump being added to Mount Rushmore. They didn’t get Fellini but did manage to lock down Troll‘s (unrelated to Troll 2) John Carl Buechler, and swapped the Jaws ripoff for a Carrie one (having already nicked Brian de Palma’s final shock in the original Friday the 13th).

Generally referred to as Jason vs. Carrie, the resulting film follows a teenage girl (Lar Park Lincoln) with telekinetic powers that she mostly uses to droop the eyelids of audience members. As in Jason Lives, the lake-dwelling killer is accidentally resurrected (Sachs is still waiting on that Academy Award) and does his usual amphibian teenage slumber party slaughter routine, albeit in disappointingly bloodless fashion following 7 resubmissions to the MPAA.

This is a rare case in the series where the subtitle feels appropriate, since the telekinesis element does introduce some new blood to proceedings. The problem is the humourless execution, including a number of oddly serious arguments between mother and daughter about her being subjected to treatment for her abilities. We get that Sachs wants her gold man but the world’s most notoriously cheap slasher property seems like the wrong place for prioritising psychology-based domestic squabbles over gore (although there’s a kill involving a sleeping bag that ranks among the best of the franchise).

The film is also notable for introducing Kane Hodder as Jason, who’d play the character all the way through to Jason X. Otherwise this is a frustrating instalment with an interesting setup but a payoff as dumb as thinking a Friday the 13th movie can win an Oscar, particularly one that contains dialogue like: “I can take rejection. I’ve been rejected by some of the finest science fiction magazines in the United States.” It sounds stupid but it’s the only line in the script that rings true.

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