Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
On Friday the 13th, Jason is back. But this time, someone's waiting.
Year of Release: 1988
Running Time: 88 minutes (1:28)
Director: John Carl Buechler
Lar Park-Lincoln ... Tina Shepard
Kevin Spirtas ... Nick
Susan Blu ... Mrs. Amanda Shepard
Terry Kiser ... Dr. Crews
Susan Jennifer Sullivan ... Melissa
Heidi Kozak ... Sandra
Larry Cox ... Russell
Elizabeth Kaitan ... Robin
Jon Renfield ... David
Jeff Bennett ... Eddie
Diana Barrows ... Maddy
Diane Almeida ... Kate
Craig Thomas ... Ben
John Carl Buechler ... Fireman who picks up Jason's mask (uncredited)
Walt Gorney ... Opening Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
William Butler ... Michael
Kane Hodder ... Jason Voorhees
Ever since homicidal maniac Jason Voorhees got trapped in chains at the bottom of Crystal Lake, the nearby summer camp has operated without a hitch... without a murder. But one of this season's happy campers has brought along a deadly secret.
Tina Shepard can see the future and levitate objects. Her doctor knows just how dangerous telekinesis can be, but he's out to exploit her, not help her. And now it's too late. Tina has accidentally unchained Jason from his watery grave - and the bloodbath is underway.
Tina's special powers are her only hope for survival. But what chance does a teenage girl have against an ax-wielding maniac?
Friday the 13th Part 7, remindin' us that when you're a supernatural spam-faced psycho killer with a mother complex an you get drowned by a galvanized chain link necktie securin' you to a boulder, you'll never hafta suffer the indignity of havin' your legs float up above your head an end up lookin' like an illustration from the Kamasutra. I guess evil's just real heavy, an he keeps it in his shoes the way you might keep your money if you were plannin' to go sight-seein' in New York City. Guess they musta figured it'd be undignified to have Jason's bloated corpse do The Worm anytime a bass boat drove by... which, yeah, I suppose it would be. An speakin' of people who're retainin' water, I guess everybody's just dyin' to know how my date with Bambi Pankins went, what with you all bein' a buncha sadists an gossip hounds. I swear, if you people were any nosier I'd hafta set up hair dryers an start chargin' $15 a perm. I'll tell you what happened though, even if it is just to set the record straight an keep Abel Pankins offa my front porch. Musta been Tuesday night, I remember I chose Tuesday cause that's the night they have the "Tripe for the Chickens" beef fried poultry special over at Mack's Stacks of Manly Snacks, an I figured everybody I knew'd be over there fightin' over the limited sides of battered gizzards smothered in country gravy. Sure enough (an thank His Godness for that, cause Bambi was wearin' these leather pants that were so tight you could read the dates on the coins in 'er pocket), there wasn't a soul capable of dealin' with their own flat tire as far as the eye could see when we walked into The Rural Mural. Pretty much yuppy city in there, cept for this one truck driver who'd had too much Wild Turkey an was wrestlin' that mama bear that Cleave Furguson, Billy Hilliard an I sold Saul an Blaine Schwartzberg earlier this year when she got knocked cold in the back of Cleave's crummy. Thank cripes for that guy, cause once he'd put that bear in the Camel Clutch an made 'er tap out, he came over an sat down next to us an started up a debate about whether Rush Limbaugh or Michael Moore's heart valves would do the most collateral damage to their surroundin' areas when they finally exploded. I went with Moore, cause I figured Limbaugh's must be three sizes too small like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. But this guy argued that he figured Limbaugh's would do the most damage on the basis that all the pent up pressure from years of Viagra abuse had packed a seriously tight payload into the admittedly smaller area, an besides that, Moore's heart would have been bleedin' out all its pep over the years for the sake of no good welfare leeches.
Course, all the while Bambi's tryin' to get a boob in edgewise to break up our conversation so somebody'd pay attention to her, an she finally succeeded when she scooted around the corner of the booth an ended up catchin' my elbow between 'em while I was tryin' to make an exploding heart gesture. Hadda ask the waitress for a side of Crisco just to dislodge it. It was a decidedly unpleasant experience that resulted in some cheap thrills for Bambi, an made it pretty clear that her intentions weren't honorable. But by this point the trucker'd pulled his stool up next to the booth an started askin' Bambi about 'erself while she batted 'er eyelashes an giggled as violently as possible to maximize the amount of breast jigglage, til the guy excused 'imself an went to the can. Then Bambi got real quiet for the about ten minutes while the guy was presumably workin' through the results of his ground squirrel goulash, until she started to get worried an went to check on 'im. It wasn't long after that that I realized I really do have the best friends in the whole world, cause about five minutes later there was this shriek from the pot that sounded like one of those Cajun guys who work the alligator shows for yankee tourists down south just learned why it's a real stupid idea to put your head inside the gator's mouth. That's when Bambi came spillin' outta the john tryin' to tuck 'er size 36Ds back into a size 6 tee en route to the door, an ended up makin' three yuppy insurance brokers from Olympia toss their Bluegill Bisque. Then the trucker comes back out tuckin' his flannel shirt back into his pants, takes off his hat to reveal about 10" of hair, an asks "The heck's wrong with your girlfriend? She never reach for a sausage an find a clam before?" It was Sadie Bonebreak. She'd apparently showed up straight from work an still had axle grease smeared on 'er face an'd let 'er mustache grow out an... well I guess that's all was different, actually. Fooled the both of us though, an she knew that if she showed Bambi even an ounce of attention that she'd go for the groceries. I was so glad to see Sadie that I lunged across the table an laid a big wet one on 'er right in front of Blaine Schwartzberg an the yuppies, an once I'd gotten my wind back from the punch she delivered into my spleen region, we had a great time an enjoyed the deep fried grouse that I'd ordered for Bambi an myself. That evenin' totally restored my faith in humanity for at least seven, eight hours, cause I never fathomed that anybody'd risk havin' to kiss Bambi Pankins just to save my bacon. I realized at that moment that I truly am the richest man in Chickawalka County to have friends like these, even if sometimes their razor stubble really does a number on your skin.
I didn't mean to get all mushy on you there, I just feel like I've got a new lease on life is all. Course then I looked around, panicked, an tried to get out of my lease, til somebody reminded me I owned the place an that there was no escape, so I stuck Friday the 13th Part VII in the VCR to try to pretend like none of that'd happened. You'd prolly think that after seven movies they wouldn't have any meaningful wisdom left to impart unto us, what with these Friday the 13th plots gettin' harder an harder to come up with, but you'd be wrong. I'm sure there were more tidbits than these, but I picked out a few just to prove to everybody that Jason's still got it. An I think we can all agree that it'll be better for everyone if *I* remind you about the educational opportunities inherent in a Friday the 13th movie, instead of havin' Jason do it himself. He tends to get a little murdery when he's surrounded by ignorant people, in case you hadn't noticed. First, if you're the kinda guy who does nothin' but toke doobs, cough up beer onto Mama's carpet, mooch food offa your friends, an break people's desk lamps with your face, the poon'll start comin' outta the woodwork. An then onto the woodwork. Second, when a Friday the 13th flick begins production nearby, the local hardware store tends to get cleaned out quicker'n the Wal-Mart ammunition aisle after a mass shootin'. An third, the DNA results from the back of a teenager's van are more horrifyin' that anything Jason's ever done.
But while I was watchin' this one I started thinkin' about just how unusual it is for a series to make it all the way to Part 7, an began to notice how these flicks're startin' to run together a little bit due to some minor plot similarities. So I was considerin' what the filmmakers could do with Jason that they hadn't done yet. I mean, Jason Goes to Hell is basically a remake of The Hidden, then you've got Jason X where he gets shot into space, an finally they locked 'im in the horror villain Thunderdome with Freddy Krueger, so at this point, what's left? Well, I think the wackier ideas haven't really been all that kind to the series, so we definitely needa get back to basics an get Jason's hinder back to Crystal Lake killin' trespassers where he belongs. Maybe reacquaint the audience with the concept of continuity an quit usin' the Friday mythology for buttwipe. But you've gotta have somethin' new an excitin' these days, an what'd be really unheard of would be to bring Jason a little more into the present to deal with modern issues that might realistically happen. For instance, imagine the federal government shows up at Crystal Lake one day, eminent domains the entire area, an hangs an eviction notice on the door to Jason's tar paper lean-to. Hear me out on this; maybe they wanna turn the place into a national park, or save the endangered rocky mountain gaunch turtle or somethin', an so now Jason's havin' to fight off the cast of Ax Men when they show up an try clear cuttin' the privacy trees he's got growin' next to his outhouse where they've chosen to install a parkin' lot. So, one by one these furry guys all wander off alone to find a place where they can get cell phone reception, til Jason shows up an strangles 'em with their own log chokers. Then he moves on to the land surveyor who wants to drain his scum pond an put up a ranger lookout tower, an you get this great scene where he sneaks up on this guy an stakes 'im to the ground with his own surveyin' posts. Course, once about 16 people go missin' an stop showin' up to work for two weeks, the project manager gets wise to what's happenin' an calls in all those rabid conservationists who sit in trees for six months at a time an eat nothin' but granola bars in an attempt to frustrate Jason to death, since I believe that's the only thing nobody's tried up to this point. An the way I see it, the movie culminates with the project director tryin' to literally bury Jason to death with a bulldozer scoop fulla legal forms, an once the guy's finally certain he's smothered Jason to death with litigation, Jason's machete springs outta the heap an guts the guy like a brook trout. But there's a surprise twist, an about that time the camera pans back to reveal that we've been watchin' a trail cam from the Situation Room all along, as Obama screams at Biden; "I want that goalie son-of-a-bitch dead! Get Dick Cheney on the phone!" See, I aughta get more offers to write screenplays for these things, but nobody ever asks me for help. Then they complain about how there're no new ideas left, it's pitiful.
The movie begins with the standard Friday the 13th recap of Jason's greatest slits from the previous flicks, til we finally end up back at Crystal Lake 10 years before the present day where this little girl's watchin' 'er Dad slap 'er Mom around like they're in a Lifetime network original. So the little girl (Tina) runs down to the dock an hops into the SS Childhood Trauma an pretty quick Dad comes along an tries to explain that he was just a little upset with Mom about 'er attempted intervention in his ragin' alcoholism but that he's much better now, only Tina's seen What's Love Got to Do With It on cable a few times an she ain't buyin' it. What's more, she's pretty P.O.'d about the whole deal, an she's got psycho Sissy Spacek brainwave powers that she uses to destroy the dock an drown Dad like a cockroach in a coffee pot. Then she wakes up in the present where she's ridin' with 'er Mom back out to Crystal Lake to try defragmentin' 'er emotional zen state on the advice of psychiatrist Bernie Lomax. Tina wants nothin' to do with this Weekend at Bernie's, but if she refuses to participate the state's gonna lock 'er back up an force 'er to share a cell with Amanda Bynes, so she decides to give it a shot. Then she goes an spills 'er suitcase all over the ground an this guy from the next cabin over (Nick) hasta come help 'er pick up 'er underpants so she'll be properly Crotchgarded against any future unwanted spills. She's real embarrassed about Nick knowin' 'er ass is too fat to fit into size two panties, but for the moment she's gotta have a therapy session with Bernie who sits 'er down at a desk an tells 'er to try makin' a match book do an Irish Jig. Tina tries to explain that 'er psychic dance choreography only works when she's in the right frame of mind or on the rag, but Bernie keeps on 'er ass like an obsessed therapeutic drill sergeant til she freaks out an ignites the book like an H.G. Wells novel at a Nazi barbecue. Then she runs outside to blubber all over the dock til it's good an water-logged, before gettin' the idea to try wishin' 'er Dad back to life even though by all rights he aughta be lookin' about like a prop from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, an ends up missin' the mark an hittin' Jason with 'er deep sea ESP an releasin' 'im from pondage. Ya know, he kinda looked like one of those rubber sink plugs on a chain there for awhile. Makes it seem like if he had actually been able to swim to the surface an move that rock, the whole lake woulda just drained. Anyway, Tina sees Jason rise from his grave beneath the waves an faints like Olive Oyl in a Popeye cartoon while 15 residents drive into town to file lake monster sightin' reports, an when she wakes up Bernie refuses to believe that she mighta raised an undead side of beef from the bottom of the lake an demands that they focus on more plausible things like telekinesis.
Meanwhile, Jason's headed out into the woods to try dryin' his threads before he catches pneumonia, only he runs into this dork (Mike) an his girlfriend who're tryin' to get to the party at Nick's place, an Jason hasta Martin Luther the broad to a tree with a tent stake an then hurl that sucker through Mike's back like a ninja on a nature retreat. While that's goin' on, Nick's stopped by an taken Tina over to his party, only she starts seein' images of Jason spikin' Mike's paunch an ends up runnin' home to tell Bernie what she just saw so he can remind 'er that she's nuts an that anything she sees that wasn't covered in psychology 101 at the Dr. Phil Institute of Simplified Neuroses is prolly just a hallucination. Elsewhere, some couple's out campin' when this chick wearin' UPS delivery man shorts starts whinin' about how cold it is until the guy takes his machete out to find some wood. Some of that real rotten wood that crumbles into dust an puts out your fire in about 15 seconds flat, I guess, cause usin' a machete to cut firewood is like usin' Bud Light to intoxicate Dean Martin. Fortunately, Jason shows up to remind 'im whose house he's in, an reenacts the John Hurt scene from Alien with his fist. Then he finds the couple's tent an drags the chick outta there while she's rolled up in 'er sleepin' bag like a bimbo burrito, an slams 'er against a fir tree like a pair of shoes with dog doo stuck in the tread. The next mornin', Tina an Nick have a nice little touchin' scene down by the lake that purt'near makes you toss up your Beenie Weenie breakfast burrito, after which Tina heads over to Nick's cabin where this stuck up bitch (Melissa) puts an AV club wimp's jacket on 'im backwards so it'll look like a straitjacket, an Tina hasta tighten the tension on the bitch's pearl necklace til it shatters like a glass eye at the opera. This pretty well freaks Melissa out, because she's completely incapable of feelin' loved without the presence of a pearl necklace. So later that night, Tina's gone full Goof Troop after Bernie tells 'er she's full of it for the 42nd time, an she ends up lettin' the force flow through 'er an tosses a TV set at his head while he ducks an covers like George Dubya Bush after comin' under fire from some nut job's Nike Airabs at a press conference. But while that's goin' on, one of the couples from next door (Sandra an Russell) are down by the lake, when Sandra decides to strip down to the buff an illegally introduce gonorrhea into the ecosystem. Cept when Russell tries gently removin' his ivy league wuss scarf an polo shirt so he can slum with his floozy, Jason steps out from behind a tree an uses the guy's face to work on his golf swing an sends his head sailin' through the trees like a roll of toilet paper on Halloween.
Then he straps on his snorkel an does the Jaws point of view shot for awhile, an once he gets bored of playin' Creature from the Hack Lagoon, he grabs 'er ankle an drags 'er to the bottom like a rooster tail in an undertow. Elsewhere, Mom's rootin' around in Bernie's desk, where she finds a tape of 'im talkin' about how he's deliberately tryin' to keep Tina stirred up like a pot fulla beef gravy to make 'er do tricks so he can write a book about it an go on Oprah. Mom's P.O.'d, but Bernie says there's nothin' she can do about it cause he's got a diploma from the ITT Technical Institute that says he decides who's off their rocker, an he's gonna send 'er back to the quack shack an torment 'er til she reenacts the prom scene from Carrie. Unfortunately, Tina's outside listenin' to all this an immediately drives off, wraps the car around a tree, an leaves about 14 woodland creatures homeless after she starts imaginin' Jason stabbin' 'er Mom to death in the middle of the road. While that's goin' on, the geeky midget girl (Maddie) is wanderin' around outside at Nick's place lookin' for the stoner guy (David), cause there's apparently somethin' irresistible about a man who's so unaware of his surroundins that he can run his face into a desk lamp. Cept Jason happens to be clearin' all the old bird nests outta the eaves of the barn that she decides to hide in, an he ends up bustin' through the old plank boards she's cowerin' behind an separates the meat from the chaff with a harvestin' scythe. Only he doesn't even get a chance to scrape the diaphragm off his weapon before he catches the scent of unwed fornication comin' from the nearby van, an starts doin' bench presses with it til the guy (Ben) notices his girlfriend (Kate) actually beginnin' to enjoy 'erself an realizes somethin' is terribly wrong. So he jumps outta there an starts skulkin' around like Amy Fisher outside the Buttafuoco house til Jason emerges from behind the driver's side mirror an unscrews the guy's head like a twist off beer cap. Then he waits for Kate to stick 'er head out the window an start gripin' about how Ben never finishes anything he starts, an pretty quick Jason jams a party horn into 'er eye socket an inducts 'er into the New Radicals on account of 'er havin' the music in 'er. Elsewhere, Tina an Nick run into each other out in the woods an find that Nick's cousin (Mike from the openin' scene) either froze to death doin' his impression of a tree stand or became the victim of treehicular manslaughter, an Nick gets this look on his face like he just walked in on his Mom romancin' the shower head. But back at the house, Jason's pretty well frustrated at havin' finally resigned 'imself to the idea that no matter how many kids he mutilates there's always a fresh batch showin' up to prevent his retirement, so he heads inside Nick's place an knifes David in the gut bucket when he comes down to the fridge to replace the calories he just burned bumpin' rumps with Robin.
That makes 'im feel a little better, cept when he checks out the fridge an sees that he's gonna hafta use Dijon mustard on his ham sammich, the rage swells up in 'im like an Alka Seltzer tablet inside a seagull an he takes his frustration out on Eddie's face. Which ain't really a bad thing, cause the guy looked like Ashton Kutcher anyhow. So now we're down to the freshly fornicated Robin wanderin' around upstairs tryin' to find somebody to brag to about how she just rocked David's world, cept the place is quieter'n the audience at a Full House TV tapin' before the first assistant director kicks the "applause" sign on, an when she finally does find somebody he's not at all happy to see 'er an she ends up gettin' choke slammed from the second story window. Meanwhile, Nick an Tina've headed back to her place (while Mom an Bernie're out lookin' for 'em in the woods) an found some newspaper clippins in Bernie's desk about Jason Voorhees. Which pretty much fills the audience with simultaneous sadness an oldness, since they apparently don't know anything about 'im already. It's like when you try tellin' the kids these days about AC/DC an they look atcha like you're speakin' Hindi. But anyway, while Nick an Tina're lookin' at each other like an 8-year-old who just found a rotary phone in the attic, Mom an Bernie get attacked by Jason out in the sticks an Bernie heroically uses Mom to absorb the first wave of branch cutter fu, while Mom gurgles like a baby that just spit up a glob of ProSobee. Course, Bernie's treachery only buys 'im as much time as it takes Jason to head home an grab the world's most overtuned weed-whacker, an once he's got his equipment, he proceeds to carve a out a dying for 'imself in Bernie's chest cavity. Fortunately, as long as Paramount can sign Jonathan Silverman an Andrew McCarthy, he'll be fine for the next sequel. Then Tina goes out to look for Mom an finds 'er gutted like the mental health care system after Ronald Reagan got through with it, while Nick's back over at his place discoverin' that if he's gonna round up his friends, it's gonna require a Hefty bag an a pair of salad tongs. But about that time things start gettin' interestin', cause Tina spots Jason walkin' through the woods an follows 'im out to the road where they stare at each other like it's high noon an they know Crystal Lake ain't big enough for the both of 'em. Tina's just a little bit hacked off about how both 'er parents ended up goin' to the big parent/teacher conference in the sky on account of 'er crossed wirin', so when she sees Jason she uses 'er psycho brainwaves to bring the tree roots up outta the ground like in Evil Dead an tangle Jason up til he takes a header into this big mud puddle, where she then drops a power line an fries 'im like a cicada in a bug zapper. Course, that ain't even the worst thing that's happened to Jason this week, so he shakes it off an follows Tina back to her place to remind 'er who people came to this movie to see. Gonna cut it off here, cause we got about six or seven more varieties of fu comin' up in the big finale that I don't wanna spoil.
Alright, well, when I was younger, Part VII used to be my favorite Friday the 13th flick, and while I still think it's one of the best in the series, I find myself preferring Part IV ever so slightly these days. Part VII was originally slated to be Jason vs. Freddy, but of course, that fell through and was ultimately delayed for nearly a decade. In this instance, it was Paramount trying to secure the rights to Freddy from New Line, rather than what ultimately happened with New Line acquiring the rights to the Jason character (but not the name Friday the 13th) from Paramount. It's just as well though, because Freddy vs. Jason should have been called Freddy and Jason vs. Bad Subplot, and Friday the 13th Part VII is far and away superior to it. This was the first time they really tried to deviate even slightly from the original formula, and fortunately, John Buechler did an excellent job with the Jason vs. Carrie concept. And really when you look at it compared to the previous movies in the series, I feel that Part VII is probably the most well rounded entry up to this point, with the best character depth since Part IV. Everything just seems a little more polished than it had been in the past, although that does tend to result in losing some of the grittiness that the earliest entries had. That said, this one is also the first to utilize two of the earmarks of the series that people tend to consider silly, the first of which is just how fast Jason manages to get around from place to place. It's not that there hasn't always been a little of this, but Part VII really takes it a bit too far and stretches the boundaries of believability. The other thing that these movies tend to get mocked for that comes into play for the first time here, is the remarkably slow walking speed the killer moves at. Up through Part IV, Jason would actually run at times, but even if he wasn't outright running, he never moved slowly. By Part VI he'd become zombified, and thus, slowed a bit, but he did still walk at a brisk pace most of the time. In Part VII, however, you've got multiple shots of him stalking people in the woods where he's walking extremely slowly, with the camera facing him head on. Naturally, there's a logical disconnect between how he catches up to people who're running from him while he's moving so slowly, and the scenario tends to get a little goofy. Still, they managed to try something new that didn't completely ruin the series, so that counts for something; and honestly, the last 20 minutes of this one are as good as anything you'll ever see in a Friday the 13th movie. It's also the first entry in the series to feature Kane Hodder as Jason. Kane is head and shoulders above all the other actors to play the character, and probably always will be regardless of how many times they reboot the series.
Anyhow, let's bash this thing against a tree until it spills its guts. The plot is a first for the series, in that there actually is one. That said, they keep Jason at center stage until the climax, at which point we get the first serious battle of the series between Jason and the last girl. Historically, the last girl has generally been on the defensive, until the moment where she calls on some inner strength and plants some variety of sharpened metal into Jason's skull. But here, the protagonist is actively facing him most of the time and generally roughing him up to a much greater extent than he's ever faced in previous flicks. That's aided by the fact that they'd cast Hollywood stuntman Kane Hodder in the Jason role, allowing them to inflict a serious beating on the character. So really, up until the ending, it easily had the best plot of the entire series. That ending, though, pretty well sucks the filling out of a dog-doo ding-dong. The acting is pretty decent as well, with the addition of Kane Hodder bringing a great deal to the Jason role. Lar Park-Lincoln, I thought, gave a pretty decent performance as the sequel's last girl, and was actually written in such a way as to have a bit more depth than most of the previous heroines, but the supporting cast was a little dull, in my opinion. With the exception of the Eddie character, they're a bit drab and uninteresting, which is part of why I like Part IV so much. That one easily had the wildest, weirdest cast of body count fodder in the series, and the casting directors were never really able to duplicate a supporting cast like that one again. Although Part V had some pretty good ones too, despite its other problems.
Here's who matters and why, except for Kane Hodder, cause if I hafta explain who he is you've obviously gone to the wrong website: Jennifer Banko (Cheerleader Camp: To the Death, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III), John Otrin (Dutch Hollow, The Red House, Waterworld, The Swarm), Susan Blu (Deadly Weapon), Lar Park-Lincoln (House IV, Gravestoned, From the Dark), Terry Kiser (Mask Maker, Tammy and the T-Rex, The Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, From a Whisper to a Scream, Starflight: The Plane that Couldn't Land), Kevin Spirtas (Daredevil, Embrace the Darkness, Subspecies II & III, The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 1984), Heidi Kozak (Society, Slumber Party Massacre II), William Butler (Gingerdead Man 3, Dead Country, Watchers III, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Buried Alive 1990, Arena, Spellcaster, Ghoulies II, Night of the Living Dead 1990, Terror Night), Staci Greason (Terror Night), Diana Barrows (My Mom's a Werewolf, Space Case), Elizabeth Kaitan (Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity, Veronica 2030, The Exotic House of Wax, Petticoat Planet, Virtual Encounters, Hellroller, Aftershock, Roller Blade Warriors, Nightwish, Dr. Alien, Necromancer, Silent Night Deadly Night 2, Silent Madness), Craig Thomas (Source Code, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 2008), Delano J. Palughi (Future Zone), John Carl Buechler (Monsterpiece Theatre Volume 1, Hatchet 1 & 2, Hellbilly 58, Gingerdead Man 2, Evil Bong, Not of this Earth 1995, The Sleeping Car, Troll, Fright Show, The Dungeonmaster), Walt Gorney (Friday the 13th 1 & 2, Day of the Animals, King Kong 1976). There are a few defectors to note on this one, including Susan Blu who's primarily made a career of voice acting in children's cartoon shows, including: Jem, BraveStarr, The Transformers, My Little Pony 'n Friends, Ghostbusters, Duck Tales, and Toxic Crusaders. Lar Park-Lincoln would probably be best known to most audiences as Linda Fairgate on Knots Landing, Kevin Spirtas went daytime on us when he took on the role of Dr. Craig Wesley on Days of Our Lives, and of course, Terry Kiser played Bernie Lomax in the immortal; Weekend at Bernie's.
The special effects that actually made it onto the screen are pretty good, but this flick is probably the most heavily scrutinized entry in the entire series, having endured nine separate trips back to the editing room to avoid an X rating. The mid to late '80s were simply not a good time to be a special effects artist, because your best work never made it out of the editing room. John Buechler has been ranting about the censorship on this flick for decades, and you can't hardly blame him, because if he'd gotten to keep most of his gorier effects, this might well have turned out to be the best Friday the 13th movie ever made. Unfortunately, most of his footage has been lost, but little bits and pieces did survive and make it onto the more recent DVD releases as bonus features. Interestingly enough, the best effect in the movie is actually the new design of Jason, in which you can see bits of his skeleton through the tattered clothing, as well as his putrefied face near the conclusion. They did a heck of a job with the Jason design this time around, and it's unfortunate that they didn't stick with it in the subsequent sequels. Additionally, we've got... well, mostly what we've got are facial reaction shots of whatever's bein' done to the victims, it's pitiful. Doesn't hardly make any sense that the first four entries in the series are the goriest, but that's the absolute truth. The best kill is probably the sleeping bag kill, although it would have been a whole lot better if the MPAA had allowed Buechler to use the footage where Kane actually slams the bag into the tree about six times before finally stopping. Fortunately, they are able to make up for this in part with some excellent stunt work, with Kane jumping through a window, falling through a staircase, being set on fire, and having a roof collapse on him. Those scenes do help to mitigate the damage the MPAA did, but it's still just not quite the same.
The shooting locations are pretty good, despite obviously having their own distinctive look. I don't think they ever shot in the same place twice, so that's not unusual, but this particular setup is kind of a combination Part III (with a house and not an actual camp, near the lake) and Part IV (with two houses in close proximity to each other). The surrounding forest is okay as well, although you can certainly deduce from the leaves covering the ground that the movie is not taking place during the summer time. Not that there's any rule against that. So pretty good shooting locations, I think Part 2 is still my favorite in terms of setting, though. The soundtrack is one place where this entry really differentiates itself from the others. Half of it is stock music from the earlier sequels composed by Harry Manfredini, with the other half being composed by Fred Mollin. Mollin's tracks are different from anything composed for the series up to this point, and while I like his music quite a bit, it just seems wrong not to be hearing Manfredini's manic string compositions. Mollin's tracks are a bit heavier in terms of tone, and while they're perfectly suspenseful and effective, it's just difficult to move beyond Manfredini's music. Overall, Part VII introduced a new concept without destroying the elements that make a Friday the 13th movie work, and is, in my opinion, one of the best of the series. So check it out if you haven't gotten around to it yet.