Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Paramount 1988)
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood was released on May 13th, 1988.
The movie was originally hoped to be Freddy vs Jason, a monster bash crossover between Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, but those plans fell apart when respective franchise holders Paramount and New Line failed to reach agreement on the finer details. That battle of the new Monster Giants was only made possible when New Line bought the rights to the Friday the 13th series, but did not see the light of day until 2003.
You axed for it: Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) takes a swing at a victim in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Paramount 1988)
Part VII’s original title was “Birthday Bash”, and its entire production was scheduled, completed, and released within six months, shooting from October to November of 1987 in rural southern Alabama, near Bay Minette. The action centres around Jason’s accidental release from his watery prison at the bottom of Camp Crystal Lake, where he had been chained up by Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) in the previous film. Psychic teenager Tina Shepard (Lar Park-Lincoln) is unwittingly responsible for his resurrection, which leads to a whole new spate of killings.
Chained male: Jason Voorhees awaits freedom from his watery prison in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Paramount 1988)
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is of particular importance to aficionados of the series, as it marks the first of four appearances by Kane Hodder as Jason; Hodder was the only actor ever to reprise the role. C J Graham, Part VI’s Jason, was initially considered, but Hodder was ultimately chosen based on his work in the film Prison (1987), on which The New Blood’s director, Carl Buechler, had worked as special effects and makeup artist. Hodder’s character in that movie was a prisoner who, executed in the electric chair, rises from the grave.
The actor suggested to Buechler that he have maggots coming out of his mouth during the scene to heighten the effect of decomposition, and went on to film the sequence with live maggots actually spilling out of his mouth. Remembering this commitment to method acting, Buechler ultimately cast Hodder over Graham. It seems the latter had Karloffesque pretensions, hoping to reprise the role of Jason and make himself synonymous with it, but upon seeing Hodder’s performance afforded him a professional gentlemanly nod, and tempered his bitterness.
Telekinetic teen: Tina Shepherd (Lar Park-Lincoln) unwittingly frees Jason (Kane Hodder) in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Paramount 1988)
Hodder, revelling in the role, went on to make cinematic history for the longest uninterrupted on-screen controlled burn in Hollywood history. Spurning trick photography (the 1980s technical term for CGI), Hodder opted to be set on fire by an apparatus rigged so that the ignition could be captured on film, thus being on fire for a full forty seconds, a record at the time.
Costing $2.8 million USD to make, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood took over $19 million in America upon its initial release, partly due to the fact that censors insisted on cutting enough of the horror to secure it an ‘R’ rating. It thus stands as the most heavily censored entry in the whole Friday the 13th series, much to the chagrin of director Buechler.