By now the Friday The 13th movies were becoming frequent on cable television and HBO. But I was still too chicken to watch. Between quick channel flips and talking with friends at school, I got the gist of it. Then came along the Nintendo game, and the rest of my questions were answered. Or so I thought? At the time I thought that the Friday The 13th video game was a true adaptation of the film series. As far as I knew, the camp counselors in the game were characters from the movies. And yes that also means I thought Jason kept his mothers decapitated head deep inside a cave.
I remember renting that game and playing it with friends all weekend long. Not because it was a good game, but because it was hard, frustrating, and believe it or not fun. Don't get me wrong, the game is terrible. You can now go on the Internet and find numerous blogs and vlogs explaining how bad and broken the video game is.
But in 1988 we didn't know any better, as far as we knew the game was smarter than us. Luckily one of us was a computer geek and had a knack for “broken” games. In other words, he thought outside the box. I think he works for Google now that I think about it? As smart as he may be, none of us could kill Jason. We would either run out of time or not have enough characters with strong weapons.
In the years that followed whenever the Friday The 13th films were brought up, I mentioned the video game. Fast forward to 1990, the year I watched my first Jason Voorhees movie unedited and in it's entirety. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII – THE NEW BLOOD was my first official foray into the popular horror franchise. It continues to be my favorite “zombie” Jason make-up of the entire series.
At the time I didn't think anything about the MPAA taking a lot of the gore out of the movie. In fact I thought the movie was pretty tame. By now I'd seen more blood and guts in films like PREDATOR and ROBOCOP. But since FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII – THE NEW BLOOD was the first one I watched “unedited”, I couldn't compare the gore to the earlier installments.
It's been 20 plus years since the last time I watched the movie. Re watching Part VII was a trip down memory lane that was well worth the wait, literately. The film doesn't hold up that well until the last 20 or 30 minutes. It's laughable how edited the gore is compared to earlier installments and the horror movies of today. If the kill scenes were ever restored only then would the movie rival FRIDAY THE 13TH – THE FINAL CHAPTER as my favorite of the series.
While this movie is somewhat dated it does have two qualities that continues to make it memorable. One, It's the first appearance of stunt man/actor Kane Hodder in the role of Jason. Kane is the quintessential Jason Voorhees and my favorite to done the hockey mask. Instead of just being “the killer”, Kane for the first time brought personality to the character of Jason Voorhees. And FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII – THE NEW BLOOD is the best Jason has ever looked.
The second quality is that Part VII tried something new, and in my opinion it worked. And that something new was having Jason go toe to toe against a teenager with psychic powers. Yes, it's Jason vs. Carrie, more or less. Again, if the severely edited gore wasn't such a distraction for me then this movie would be my favorite of the franchise.
Years after the events of Part VI, Jason has laid dormant at the bottom of Crystal Lake. Saddened by the death of her father, Tina accidentally releases Jason Voorhees from his watery grave.
Taking a page from FRIDAY THE 13TH – THE FINAL CHAPTER, we see a return to the party setting. But these cast of characters aren't as interesting. They are more generic if anything. And 80's fashion has seemed to have gotten worse. Lazy canon fodder for Jason. This misstep would become the blueprint of the slasher genre from now on. Annoying personalities or lack there of so audiences can root for Jason .
I've never been a fan of rooting for the killer/monster is horror movies. For me it's always been about seeing who survives and who is gonna kill Jason, Micheal, and Freddy. Every fan is different and I know I am in the minority.
My final thoughts are FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII – THE NEW BLOOD is the last good film of the original series (the Paramount years). And it's worth revisiting because of it's awesome make-up effects and significance in horror history in it's casting of Kane Hodder, who is and who forever will be the best Jason Voorhees.