The undead and decomposing Jason Voorhees remains chained to the bottom of Crystal Lake. While he remains chained, young Tina Shepard, who witnesses her alcoholic father physically abusing her mother, unlocks previously latent telekinetic powers, resulting in her father's death when she collapses the dock her father was standing on, where he drowns at the bottom of Crystal Lake.
Ten years later, Tina, now a teenager, is still struggling with the guilt surrounding the death of her father. Tina's mother, Amanda, takes her to the same lakeside residence so that her powers can be studied by her psychiatrist. Dr. Crews begins a series of experiments (verbal assaults) designed to agitate Tina's mental state, forcing her powers to become more pronounced. However, it is revealed that Dr. Crews is really trying to exploit Tina's psychic powers.
After a particularly upsetting session with Dr. Crews, Tina runs from the cabin and to the dock thinking about her father's death. While thinking about him, she wishes he would come back. Instead, Tina's psychic powers break the chain around the neck of Jason Voorhees. Tina's torment from her powers is increased as Jason emerges from the lake and his reign of terror descends on the area once again.
Next door to the Shepard residence is a group of teens who are throwing a birthday party for their friend Michael - preppy Russell and his girlfriend Sandra, Ben and his girlfriend Kate, science fiction writer Eddie, stoner David, perky Robin, shy Maddy, and snobby socialite Melissa. Michael's cousin Nick, who has arrived just for the party, takes a liking to Tina, much to Melissa's chagrin. Tina tells Nick about Jason and has a vision of Jason murdering Michael. Meanwhile, Jason kills Michael in real life, along with Michael's girlfriend Jane, and later kills another couple camping in the woods.
While Tina goes off to find her mother and Nick goes with her, Jason proceeds to kill the other teens. Russell and Sandra go to the lake. While Sandra goes skinny-dipping, Russell is killed with an axe to his face. Sandra discovers his body before she is pulled under the water. Maddy looks for David but finds Russell's body. She runs for help, but her throat is slit with a sickle. Jason then kills Ben by crushing his skull and then Kate by driving a party horn into her eye. Eddie is downstairs, and Jason slices his neck. He then stabs David in the stomach. Robin then finds David's severed head and is thrown out a window to her death. When Jason attacks Dr. Crews, he saves himself by selfishly using Amanda as a shield, but Jason kills them both with a tree saw. Tina finds her mother's body shortly afterward and uses her powers to electrocute Jason and to crash the house down on him. She tells Nick and Melissa what happened, but Melissa thinks she is crazy and goes to leave the house, only for Jason to return and kill her with an axe slammed into her face.
Nick tries to fight off Jason but is subdued. Tina unleashes her powers in various ways such as forcing Jason's mask to tighten until it breaks in two, revealing his decaying and deformed face. As the battle rages on, the Shepard lakeside cabin is destroyed by an explosive fire and trio are thrown back into the dock. Although she is unable to kill Jason, she unknowingly summons the spirit of her father, who emerges from the lake and drags Jason back down into the depths with him, chaining the killer once more.
The next morning, while someone finds Jason's broken mask in the wreckage, Tina and Nick are taken away in the ambulance and the screen fades to black while Jason's whispers can be heard from far away.Lar Park Lincoln as Tina Shepard
Jennifer Banko as Young Tina
Kevin Blair as Nick
Susan Jennifer Sullivan as Melissa
Susan Blu as Amanda Shepard
Terry Kiser as Dr. Crews
Elizabeth Kaitan as Robin
Jon Renfield as David
Diana Barrows as Maddy
Heidi Kozak as Sandra
Jeff Bennett as Eddie
Larry Cox as Russell
Diane Almeida as Kate
Craig Thomas as Ben
William Butler as Michael
Staci Greason as Jane
John Otrin as Mr. Shepard
Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees
After the previous installment, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, which reintroduced the Jason Voorhees character, Part VII was originally hoped to be Freddy vs. Jason, a clash crossover between Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger. Plans fell apart when Paramount Pictures (who held the rights to the Friday the 13th series at the time) and New Line Cinema (who held the rights to the Nightmare on Elm Street films), failed to come to an agreement. That film was eventually made possible when New Line bought the rights to the Friday the 13th series, but did not see release until 2003.
The film's original working title was Birthday Bash, chosen to conceal its identity as a Friday the 13th film. The entire production of this film was scheduled, completed, and released within six months; shooting took place from October to November 1987 in rural southern Alabama near Bay Minette.
This film marks the first of four appearances by Kane Hodder as Jason, the only actor to ever reprise the role. Although C. J. Graham, who had portrayed Jason in Part VI, was initially considered, Hodder was ultimately chosen based on his work in the film Prison, for which The New Blood's director, Carl Buechler, had worked on as the special effects make-up artist. In that movie, Hodder filmed a scene in which his character, a prisoner executed in the electric chair, rises from the grave; Hodder himself had 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 spilling out of his mouth. Buechler remembered Hodder's commitment to the part when casting The New Blood, and chose Hodder over Graham. Graham expressed disappointment, as he had hoped to reprise the role of Jason and make himself synonymous with the character, as Boris Karloff had with Frankenstein's monster, but ultimately expressed satisfaction with Hodder's portrayal and said that he bore no ill will about not being asked to return. Hodder would go on to make cinematic history for the longest uninterrupted onscreen controlled burn in Hollywood history. For the scene in which Tina causes the furnace to shoot flames at Jason, Hodder was actually set on fire by an apparatus rigged so that the ignition could be captured on film (as opposed to being edited in later with trick photography). Hodder was on fire for a full forty seconds, a record at the time.
Several explicit scenes of gore were cut in order to avoid an X rating, including Maddy's death, who originally had a sickle jammed through her neck; Ben's death, which showed Jason crushing his head into a bloody pulp; Kate's death revealed the gory aftermath of a party horn to her eyeball; we see Eddie's head hit the floor; a shot of Russell's face splitting open with a large blood spurt; Dan's original death had Jason ripping out his guts; Amanda Shepard's death originally showed Jason stabbing her from behind, with the resulting blade going through her chest and subsequent blood hitting Dr. Crews; Dr. Crews's death showed Jason's tree-trimming saw violently cutting into his stomach, sending a fountain of blood and guts in the air; Melissa's original death had Jason cleaving her head in half with an axe with a close-up of her eyes still wriggling in their sockets. The boxed set DVD release of all of the films and the single deluxe edition have all these scenes available as deleted scenes in rough workprint footage; however, the deluxe edition features more additional footage than the boxed set.
The narration in the prologue of the film (spoken by Walt Gorney) is as follows:There's a legend 'round here. A killer buried, but not dead. A curse on Crystal Lake. A death curse. Jason Voorhees's curse. They say he died as a boy, but he keeps coming back. Few have seen him and lived. Some have even tried to stop him. No one can. People forget he's down there... waiting.
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood opened on Friday, May 13, 1988 in 1,796 theaters, debuting at number 1 and earning $8.2 million its opening weekend. Ultimately, the film would go on to gross a total of $19.2 million at the U.S. box office, placing it at number 53 on the list of the year's top earners.
The film received negative reviews from critics. John Carl Buechler, the director, who also created the special make-up effects for the film, is credited with creating "the definitive Jason" in the audio commentary of the film from the series' DVD box set. The film is later mentioned in the novels American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It currently holds a 30% approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 20 reviews. But despite some negative reaction, the film gained a cult following for fans. Fans deeply praised Kane Hodder's performance as Jason.
On September 27, 2005 (2005-09-27), BSX records released a limited edition CD of Fred Mollin's Friday the 13th Part VII and VIII scores.