Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt pleased with this solid presentation.
Sharpness was positive. A smidgen of softness occasionally interfered with wide shots, but those issues remained minor. Instead, the movie usually appeared distinctive and detailed. The image suffered from no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, and it also lacked edge enhancement. Grain remained appropriate, and the image showed no print flaws.
Colors came across as very good. The film utilized a fairly broad palette, and the Blu-ray replicated those tones with accuracy and vivacity. Blacks seemed similarly tight, and shadows showed reasonable clarity. This was a consistently appealing transfer.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundfield usually stayed with a forward bias. In that realm, elements were accurately placed and meshed together pretty nicely. The music demonstrated fine stereo presence and the effects helped create a good feeling of atmosphere. The surrounds largely just reinforced matters and didn’t add much unique audio, but they managed to bring nice support to the track.
Audio quality continued to seem strong. Dialogue always came across as natural and concise, as the track lacked edginess or other concerns. Effects sounded dynamic and bold, with clean highs and fairly deep low-end. Music also showed good presence and range. Nothing about the mix floored me, but it worked very well for a movie of this one’s vintage.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2004 DVD? Audio was peppier, and the visuals seemed tighter, cleaner and more film-like. Expect a good upgrade here. (A 2009 “Deluxe Edition” of the film also exists, but I never saw a copy of that one.)
The Blu-ray mixes extras from the two prior DVDs, and we open with an audio commentary from director John Carl Buechler and actors Lar Park Lincoln and Kane Hodder. Buechler and Hodder watch the film and chat with the latter available via speakerphone, while Lincoln’s remarks are edited in from her own, separate screen-specific discussion. This leaves us with a commentary that edits together the two – and does so awkwardly. For instance, at one point Buechler states “we wanted to but we couldn’t afford to do one”. Wanted to but couldn’t afford one what? The track leaves out the introduction, so we’re left with no idea to what Buechler refers.
Across the commentary, we learn about cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts and action, and a few other production elements. In truth, we don’t get much information here. Lincoln talks the most and seems engaging, but she spends more time on general thoughts of how the film affected her life than she discusses New Blood itself.
Still, Lincoln gives us decent notes, which is more than I can say for Buechler and Hodder. Though they toss out the occasional nugget, they tend to just idly chat much of the time. Neither segment of the commentary becomes especially stimulating, so this ends up as a slow, mediocre discussion.
Excerpted from a long documentary on a 2004 bonus disc, The Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part VII runs 11 minutes, 39 seconds and includes remarks from Hodder, Buechler, and Lincoln. We hear of casting yet another new Jason, the character’s new physical redesign, locations and production notes, and stunts. Some of the commentary’s material gets repeated here, but we still find a reasonable amount of good information.
Also trimmed from a 2004 piece, Secrets Galore Behind the Gore lasts 11 minutes, 11 seconds and features Buechler and Hodder. The show covers the design and creation of the movie’s version of Jason as well as how Hodder brought him to life. We get a nice take on the effects issues involved as well as Hodder’s challenges.
Next comes Jason’s Destroyer: The Making of Friday the 13th, Part VII – The New Blood. It goes for 15 minutes, seven seconds and includes Buechler, Lincoln, Hodder, editor Barry Zetlin, composer Fred Mollin, and actors Kevin Blair, Diana Barrows, John Otrin and Elizabeth Kaitan. “Destroyer” looks at story/characters, cast and performances, various effects and edits made for ratings reasons, music, and unused concepts. “Destroyer” brings out a lot of good notes and brings us an entertaining look at the film.
Two more featurettes follow. Mind Over Matter: The Truth About Telekinesis runs seven minutes, 25 seconds and provides comments from parapsychologist Dr Barry Taff and psychic Jack Rourke. They discuss aspects of purported psychic abilities and reflect on their use in the film. I don’t know how much of this I buy as “truth”, but it creates an interesting view of movie-related material.
Makeover By Maddy: Needs a Little Touch-Up Work, My Ass fills two minutes, 43 seconds with a reunion of Kaitan and Barrows. The actors orchestrate makeovers for each other at an LA salon. It’s an odd and fairly pointless extra.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get 20 Slashed Scenes with a total running time of 17 minutes, one second; that total includes a 42-second intro from Buechler. Obviously these clips tend to be short, and they usually offer either minor additions to existing scenes or bits of gore toned down for ratings issues. They’re in terrible shape – they seem to come from a 20th generation videotape - but they’re still interesting to see.
Although Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood attempts to do something different with the stodgy franchise, it fails to prosper. Its stabs at creativity become ridiculous and the movie is way too absurd to work. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio as well as an erratic but often informative set of supplements. I like the presentation of the film but the movie itself leaves me cold.
Note that as of May 2015, this Blu-ray version of The New Blood appears only as part of a 12-film set called “Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection”. This includes films 1 through 8 as well as Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X, Freddy Vs. Jason and the 2009 reboot. It also throws in a bonus DVD and some other non-disc-based materials.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII