Saturday, January 18, 2014

Movie Review: Friday the 13th: The New Blood

This has got to be one of my favorite Friday sequels. I just like how they would take a risk like this and still make it work. I mean you have my favorite movies: Friday the 13th and Carrie, merged together. That is like the perfect combination!
It's one of the most innovative and creative of the series. I know that's saying a lot since this got mixed reviews from many of the fans but I think this ranks high on my list. In this, it's pretty much back to basics but still has likeable characters (at least some of them), a now indestructible killer, and a compelling sympathetic female lead in the character of Tina Shepard.
So they did something that was totally different from any other slasher film of the 80's. And it was easy competition because A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: Dream Master was coming it's way at the box office as well. This was also Kane Hodder's first role as Jason, which he will continue playing the character for the next three sequels, making him the most well-know actor In the role.
I remembered first seeing this when I was 11 or 12 years old, and boy, was I entranced. Once this movie played on, I knew I was in for an interesting rollercoaster ride.
Here's the story: Still harboring the guilt over her father's death, young Tina Shepherd is shifted off to Camp Crystal Lake along with her mom to meet Dr. Cruise who is analyzing her psychosis. But there is something special about Tina, something beyond her control. This special gift is telekinesis, a power that tragically killed her father during an angry confrontation. Now, trying to face her past and trying to deal with the demeaning Dr. Cruise, who is exploiting her powers, Tina must battle a new evil once she accidently unleashes the indestructible force that is Jason Voorhees, All the while, a bunch of teens are vacationing next door. Tina must stop this undead killer before he gets some more fresh blood to spill.

Although most of the cast are described as one-note or less developed, but they are still very likeable despite the usual slasher movie stereotyping (the virgin, the mean girl, the nerd, the stoner, etc.).

Tina Shepherd is the most memorable, the most well-developed, and probably the most badass final girls of the Friday the 13th series. She usually contributes the usual tropes of the final girl but in a different way. She is based on the character of Carrie: A bit shy, a bit of a loner, and trying have a basic need of a normal life, despite having an extraordinary and dangerous power.

Our sympathies are with her when she tries to overcome the death of her father, dealing with the ruthless Dr. Cruise and the jealous, vindictive Melissa, and unfortunately the death of her mother. So she takes all this emotion and ends up giving Jason the beating of a lifetime. It's a knock-out drag-out battle and it's glorious. Tina is wonderfully played by the gorgeous and talented Lar Park Lincoln, bringing in a emotional range and vulnerability that was needed for the role. It would've been great if she continued acting, she really did a great performance.

And then we have Nick, played by the very sexy Kevin Spirtas (Blair). There isn't much to say about Nick honestly, But I can say that he is one of the best horror movie heroes. I there were times where Tina had to save him but it's his persistence and fearlessness that makes him note-worthy.

  And overall, he's a pretty swell guy, almost too perfect actually. But he does tell Tina about his past as a troubled youth and how he comes to terms of it, by changing his life and going to school. It actually made him a more well-rounded character and he's probably the most likeable of the other teens. I thought Kevin Spirtas was really great in the role, not to mention having classically handsome looks. I did heard that Kevin and Lar Park didn't get along on the set and that she didn't feel the chemistry between them. Well, in my opinion, I thought they had good chemistry, it's either that or they ARE really good actors.
Again, although the cast are somewhat stereotypical and one-note, there are still are an engaging brand of characters with interesting little subplots.

First, we have the yuppie couple. I call them the yuppie couple because they are almost personification of one. The guy is a sort uptight, waspy type and the girl is a perky, California valley girl type. It's a match made in heaven.

unfortunately, they get killed off rather quickly for us to be invested in.

Then you have the two female best friends with opposite personalities. You have Maddy, the nerdy one and Robin, the more attractive, vivacious one with fiery red hair.

They're competing over the affections of this guy, a stoner named David. Yeah, he's cute and all, but his personality sucks.

The one who wins, eventually, is Robin. Because she has more....character, I guess. Soon all three of them gets the sharp end of the ax.

First, Maddy gets it. It's sad because she is the more innocent of the two. In a deleted scene, it kind of explains why Jason is so pissed at her but it still kind of shows how Jason is no hold barred.

Of course, Robin and David gets the death by sex treatment along with evil old pot smoking. Eh, typical.

Then you have a minority couple, Ben and Kate. Kate seems to be pissed at Ben, but we don't know about. Though in the end, we really don't care because they get back together anyway.

And soon, Jason interrupts their makeup sex, of course.

Then there is the nerd, Eddie, who is rather cute but very stereotypical of that sort of character. All there is to say about him is that he is obsessed with science fiction and has a huge crush on the beautiful but bicthy Melissa. So once Melissa rejects him, in favor of Nick, he has a little pity party.

Until Jason crashes the party with a quiet force.

Finally, we have Michael, Nick's cousin and his girlfriend.

But by the first five to ten minutes, they are both killed off just as they're introduced. But beyond death, Nick is the driving force of the subplot mostly because the reason the teens are at Crystal lake is that they are preparing his birthday party.

I rarely focus on unlikeable characters in horror films but since these two are memorable in the film, why not?

So here's Melissa, she's basically the stereotypical popular rich bitch who vies for the affection of Nick, who constantly rejects her, in favor of girl next door Tina. It's not anything out of place for High School Drama, really.

So finally, Jason comes in the last minute and embeds an ax on her pretty little face.

But the worst character by far is Dr. Cruise. My god, he's awful! Not only does he exploit Tina and berating her into using her powers, he plays with her emotions and twists the things she says, while she is still coping with the death of her father.  He's an emotional manipulative asshole and he knows it.

But this is by far the worse offense that he's done. He uses Tina's mom as a human shield just when Jason is about to attack them.

And to add this little note, I felt bad when Tina's mom got killed because in the beginning, before her husband's death, she was just a woman trying to save her marriage at the time, despite her husband being an alcoholic and trying to help her fragile teenage daughter. just a shame.

Oh yeah, Lets get back to Dr. Jerk....

So to please all the fans, The Doctor gets it. The special tool is a weed whacker in the intestines.

And this where we to Jason. Boy, is there so much to say about Jason. He is now a rotted corpse with supernatural powers.

He is the full embodiment of the movie monster similar to The Creature From the Black Lagoon. He's faster, stronger, and is very capable of using his hands as a weapon. Kane Hodder really molded the personality of Jason, giving the notion to fans that he is truly a force to be reckoned with.

And one final note, the makeup effect on Jason is awesome, although it's a bit of a mixed reaction from fans. But in my opinion, it's very detailed, structured, and probably the best Jason design.
Boy, the special effects are pretty spectacular. Some of death scenes were cut down because the MPAA were very severe on the blood and gore in horror films back in 1988. But much of what you do see is still effective.

Especially the sleeping bag scene. Kane Hodder reportedly did at least 10 takes before getting the right shot. And it was that one whack against the tree that made the scene classic.

But the biggest effects for me was when they blew up the house and surely it was turning from a small independent slasher to a big budget action flick.
Now, lets get to the trivia, and boy, do I have a lot to tell you.
Director John Carl Buechler also worked on the special effects on A Nightmare On Elm Street: Dream Master, a movie that was again, a stiff competition at the box office. This was slated to be a Freddy Vs. Jason movie but distribution rights got in the way, so instead it was Jason Vs. the telekinetic Tina and Freddy Vs. the dream master Alice. Bill Butler alongside Lar Park Lincoln, Jeff Bennett, and also Tiffany Helm (Violet, A New Beginning) starred in Freddy's Nightmares. Bill Butler also starred in the 1990 move Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 co-starring Jennifer Banko who plays the younger Tina in the prologue opening.
Now, let's get to the real topic at hand. This is what many people called Frigay the 13th(no wonder this is my favorite) and there is a reason why.

Jeff Bennett

Craig Thomas

Bill Butler

And the very hot Kevin Spirtas are all gay. Not to mention they are all quite attractive as well. :)
And here's a little note, Bill Butler and Jeff Bennett did hook up at a party once. Can I say HOT!
This movie was number 1# at the box office.......for a while. A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 4: Dream Master was one of the highest grossing slasher film in the 1980's, knocking off The New Blood out of it's running spot. I guess Freddy wins this round. But this movie is without it's fan base, including myself of course.

I just find this new concept of the Friday The 13th mythology so refreshing. It still has the usual ingredients of a good slasher film but with a new twist. Again, this is the best Friday in the series, which is opening the doors to the supernatural side of Camp Crystal Lake.
My Last Word: An interesting, inventive must-see

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