Tag Archives: Nightmare Nostalgia

Cutting Room Gore, Girl Empowerment, and Hodder: 35 Years Of ‘Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood’

In 1988, slasher franchises were doing much of the genre’s heavy lifting. Freddy, Michael, Pinhead, and even Tarman all had their hand in the melting pot of the horror genre that year, and it was a goddamn glorious time to be alive and a horror fan. With the exception of 1983 and 1987, the Friday the 13th series had been a consistent force throughout the decade, releasing one film a year solidifying Jason as a top contender for King Slasher in the 80s; and with Jason Lives grossing $19 million off a $3 million budget in 1986, another sequel was bound to happen even with a neat and tidy closure to Voorhees leaving the franchises’ hero Tommy Jarvis victorious. Although the numbers were impressive enough to put them in the green, Crystal Lake still wasn’t doing Elm Street numbers as in 1987, The Dream Warriors raked in 44.8 million on a budget of over $4 million. So an idea was hatched to pin Freddy against our favorite mama’s boy in the spirit of classic monster-mash ups. Studio rights among other bullshit would prevent us from seeing the two square off until 2003 so instead of waiting around, let’s throw Carrie Jr into the ring with Jason and see what results from it!

Filmed under the mystery title Birthday Bash, around Bay Minette, Alabama, Troll director John Carl Buechler took the seat to helm Friday Part 7 which takes a vastly different approach to the franchise than the films before it.

The New Blood follows Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln) who at a tender young age accidentally kills her drunk and abusive father after a nasty fight with her mother using her then uncontrolled telekinetic powers by drowning him in, you guessed it, Crystal Lake. Years later, Tina’s powers which also include Pyrokinesis remain uncontrolled as the trauma over what happened as a child has only fueled, for lack of a better term, fire of her own abilities. Enter Bernie, I mean Terry Kiser as a dick psychologist, “bad news Crews”, who on the surface claims to want to help her, but really wants to put her trauma into crisis mode, so he can document her supernatural powers. How does he do that? Well, by taking her back to Crystal Lake, of course… where it all started.

And in doing so, Tina, whose guilt is immense at this point, unknowingly resurrects Jason who is still chained at the bottom of the same lake where her father met his demise.

Bad idea, Bernie.

The New Blood is so unique among its sister films for so many reasons. Friday movies usually follow the same simple formula where sex equals death, and beyond Tommy Jarvis, we never really get much of a backstory with our hero. This installment breaks the mold by not only giving us that narrative with Tina but takes us along for one hell of a chaotic journey navigating through her trauma. Part VII has a pretty deep social commentary running throughout touching on abuse and aforementioned PTSD. Tina is not only fighting Jason but everyone else around her; especially Dr. Crews (Kiser) who is just gaslighting the hell out of this poor girl. Bad News Crews, to me personally, is an even bigger monster than Jason himself. This piece of shit drags Tina and her loving mother out to the lake, forcing the traumatized teen to do things beyond her will to ignite her powers, all the while threatening to commit her. At the heart of it, this actually does Tina some good as she herself, towards the end, has a better grasp on her abilities which definitely come in handy with a foe like Jason. The abuse and unethical behavior from her doctor might have pushed her over into a forced confrontation within herself and her gifts.

Tina, even in her mental state of grief, confusion, and anger, can see right through that fucker. Although Tina wrestles with her emotions quite a bit, which results in a few things flying at people’s faces (rightfully deserved mind you), Tina holds her ground as one of the more level-headed people in this film ironically. In so many of these slasher films of the decade, we the viewers watching the heroine or final girl don’t get the option to navigate these complex emotions and trauma along with her. Tommy Jarvis had three movies in the series dedicated to him and his mental state, whereas before it was just a simple premise of slash, dash, and there’s a random final girl they’ve chosen out of the bunch. Jason Lives character of Megan (played by Jennifer Cooke) helped pave the way for Tina, but Tina delivered on all fronts in a way that hadn’t been seen since Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street. We got mad with Tina. We felt happy with Tina. And we goddamn rooted for Tina all the way.

Now that’s some true Final Girl Power.

Then, there’s Kane Hodder who is among a fan-favorite in the Friday films as Jason Voorhees. With The New Blood being Kane’s first take on Jason in the films, he made a grand enough impression for him to come back for Manhattan, Jason Goes To Hell and Jason X. Although he isn’t my personal favorite, (I know, le gasp) credit where it’s due as he certainly gave Voorhees a more personable approach with those deep, discerning breaths that spoke for him alone. I hadn’t seen that prior in any Friday films and this was a whole new Jason, folks. His walk was stern yet graceful like a demented zombie ballerina as you could actually feel the anger and rage with each step. When Jason is actually unmasked, the expressions Kane lent to the Crystal Lake killer are something we really have never seen before, either. In previous entries like III and IV, we had an almost stiff and expressionless face. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking that makeup, but Jason has way more depth here that would continue to the sewers of Manhattan where you could see the pain and fear in this monster’s face. That I applaud both Hodder and John Carl Buechler for, as it’s true movie monster art at its finest.

Kane also had the pleasure of dishing out some of the franchises’ most fucked up and brutal death scenes. Unfortunately, most of those scenes need up on the cutting room floor because at the time, the MMPA were absolute pricks about blood in films. And with Buechler, oh boy, there was a lot. Remember the amazing sleeping bag scene where Jason repeatedly beats the horny girl against a tree until bursts of blood visibly stains the bag itself? Or, how about when Dr. Crews is disemboweled? No? Well, those moments sadly only remain to be seen as grainy footage that never made it into the theatrical cut thanks to the Karens’ of the movie business who really hate slasher films, apparently. It wasn’t even the first time the censorial body bitches took aim at the Friday films as the first sequel, Part II was cut to shreds as well. Although, duly note that Part VII was more impressively gory. Sadly, while the grainy cut of death scenes exist in some form, as you can see below provided by The Friday the 13th Network, it’s not likely enough for a restoration of an uncut version to ever be released.

The New Blood was released 35 years ago on but of course, Friday the 13th, and falls in the middle of the pack of either loved or hated by franchise fans. Personally, I’m a huge fan of this one. I mean, clearly, I just wrote a goddamn essay about it. But perhaps also for nostalgia purposes. This was the first Friday film I had ever seen all the way through. Being born in 1982, I had snippets of the other films via family members, but when I was deemed old enough to make my own video rental choices and this being the newer one, well, there you have it. So let’s let’s pop in the old VHS, listen to Crazy Ralph narrate the opening, and relive that thrill of Carrie Jr beating the crap out of Jason.

Oh, and grab some Slice Cola while you’re at it. Can we just agree this is the greatest food spread in all the films? Just looks at that retro KFC box!

Nostalgic Trauma 101: The Garbage Pails Kids Movie!

I was lucky enough to be a kid throughout the 80s and have a first-hand experience with what is now, the glory days of nostalgia. One thing from my childhood that I was completely obsessed with was The Garbage Pail Kids, even at a ridiculously young age. I was three years old when GPK first hit the scene and was a bit of an oddball at that age loving both the insanely popular Cabbage Patch Kids while being immensely intrigued by all things horror, I remember being absolutely enthralled with the cards to the point where anytime we were at the store, I would beg the parents for a pack or two.

Actual pic of my room in 1986 so you know I ain’t bullshitting you.

The Garbage Pail Kids were TOPPS middle finger to Xavier Roberts and his CPK line as the infamous trading card company had initially wanted the license to put out some wax packs like pretty much every other pop culture entity had in the 80s and 90s. However, Roberts scoffed at the idea and turned the company down, in turn launching a series of cards in 1985 from artists at TOPPS poking fun of the toy line by making them even uglier than they already were with a gross-out factor. And thus was born the Garbage Pail Kids and a phenomenon of the 80s that is carried on to this very day with collectors catching new packs faster than your parents attempting to nab a CPK doll in 1983.

The line was so popular in fact that in 1987, a movie came along that (I think) was meant for kids… but hey it’s the 80s, and all kids’ movies were pretty damn dark anyway. It was almost like a rite of passage to help put some hair on our balls and The Garbage Pail Kids Movie was in no way short of providing plenty of trauma to kids who watched it. Add in a tiny person with an alligator face who loves to eat fingers and we got ourselves a tried and true, 80s kids’ movie folks!

In all honesty, this movie is one of the worst films ever made, and as much as I love GPK and I actually did get a kick out of this movie as a kid, watching it as an adult even with those nostalgia goggles, it’s just one of the most fuck-awful films I’ve ever seen.  It’s a trash spectacle of Z-grade 80s cinema. But you know what? In all the mess that it is, I believe that also might be its saving grace. A movie, so terrible, so awful that most that have seen it, have wiped it from their memory or shrugged it off as some sort of fever dream could be the very reason that when people talk about it today, they just laugh their hardy asses off. No one actually gets MAD at how bad it is; just at that, it’s just so damn weird and wild that no one would ever take this shit seriously.

If you’re someone that hasn’t witnessed this chaotic shitshow, the plot is basically the “kids” are mutant alien children that live in a trash can and befriend a bullied kid named Dodger along with his only friend, an antique shop owner who somehow knows everything about these gross ass kids from outer space. And by kids, I mean piss-poor animatronics and puppetry that would scare the shit out of the likes of Freddy Krueger. These “kids” are fucking goddamn terrifying to look at and I don’t know if that was the intention or not, but I had nightmares for weeks about Ali Gator and even more so, Messy Tessie- the booger snot-faced kid with a face that just scared the ever-loving shit out of me by her just standing still- staring. Like the monster she rightfully is.


Makeup f/x artist John Carl Buechler (director of TROLL and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD) who was initially slated to direct wanted the GPK movie, originally pitched it to be a horror film, with people being turned into hideous Cabbage Patch-like monstrosities that terrorized a small town. Although I think that probably would have worked better for older audiences and would maybe stand the test of time for 80s kids of today, it obviously wouldn’t have worked at all for kids in 1987. And yet without even trying they made a horror movie anyway with those giant prosthetic heads. I want to believe Buechler did that on purpose to scare the shit out of the kiddies. Bravo, it worked.

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie goes balls to the wall on every single level, but I can’t help but find some sick and twisted charm in it. This is a movie nobody should ever willingly watch, but one that everyone needs to see at least once. It’s horrifying, stupid, gross, offensive and so mesmerizing that you’ll feel comatose from horrifically bad 80s cheese that would never get green-lit today.

Or hey if you really hate someone, make sure to recommend this movie to them to ensure they’re out of your life forever.

At least the opening credits were a banger, eh?

Trypanophobia in Horror Movies: The Anatomy of the Needle Kill

Horror movies love to play on our real-life fears, because hey what’s the point then, am I right? Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns is a great example. Then there’s Gerontophobia, where you know as well as I do that the elderly can make Pennywise look like preschool nursery rhymes. But today, we’re gonna talk about good old-fashioned Trypanophobia, ya’ know the fear of needles, which seems to be more rampant among society now than in years prior and no one seems to know why. It’s estimated that a quarter of adults today have some sort of needle fear ranging from mild to extreme and the horror genre takes no prisoners in capitalizing on that phobia with viewers whether it’s intentional or not. As the saying goes, or at least I always throw it out there, “Horror is what you make of it,” and personally speaking here, I am goddamn terrified of medical needles so whenever I see a syringe being used as a weapon of death, much like how I view them now even though I realize it’s totally irrational, I cringe like a mother fucker.

The irony in all of this is that I’m a trained Phlebotomist and never had an issue with needles up until a few years ago- right around pandemic happenings. As someone with a bonified anxiety/panic disorder and also a person who loves to analyze everything to death, I concluded that all the fear, uncertainty, and various images of needles shown across the media board may have certainly contributed to it. Tattoo needles? No problem, and seeing as how my husband is a tattoo artist and we own our own shop, that would be a disastrous situation. However, you come at me with a medical syringe, I better be dying or you might just end up being crucified with those needles like this crooked-ass cop from Tales From The Hood who rightfully had this shit coming.

Anyway, the use of needles as an instrument of woe and murder in the horror genre is quite ironic as for the most part, this tool is used to save lives while in the horror world, they love to utilize it as a symbol of death. For people with needle phobias, these scenes can be both traumatizing and even more horrific than intended. Or for some, it can be a path of healing if they’re trying to conquer their fear. In any case, deaths by a syringe in horror films are some of the most terrifying and brutal unique kinds of deaths in horror history and I’m not just saying that because I myself, have a needle phobia, but because before I developed this fucked up fear, I would still agree with this statement. The art of the horror scare loves to exploit real-life fears and no one gets a pass.

One of the most obvious traumatizing examples of needles in horror is, of course, the needle pit in Saw II where ex-drug addict Amanda is thrashing about in a sea of hypodermic needles. No death here BUT this scene is just about as uncomfortable and painful to watch as it gets, with, or without a needle phobia. Even worse, is if you’re someone in recovery.


Speaking of hypodermic needles, arguably a more recognizable prick of death is that of Taryn’s in Dream Warriors where Freddy plunges not one, but eight syringes of lawd knows what into the recovering teen junkie. I don’t care who you are, if you didn’t cringe in the slightest upon seeing this, you might be a sociopath.

Then of course there’s Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan where Homes not only rapes Rennie of her virgin sobriety but also attempts the physical act. But not before Jason takes the druggie thug’s own needle and stabs his right through the chest before consummating the despicable act. Imagine being such a piece of shit you make Jason look like the good guy? That’s one needle death I gleefully enjoyed.

As cringy as those are, the ones seen in actual medical settings are the ones that make me squirm the most. Perhaps the biggest one for me that makes me want to literally get into a fetal position is Regan’s Arteriogram procedure in The Exorcist. This movie, with some that would consider containing some of the most fucked up scenes in horror history, doesn’t phase me a bit. As a matter of fact, I laugh every time Pazuzu Regan says vile and filthy things to the priests, much like Beetlejuice would.

But this, no thank you a million times.

As messed up as they all are, the very first needle death I ever saw was at the hand of Michael Myers taking down Candy Striper Alice and Dr. Mixter in Halloween II. Set in again, a hospital, this one is just all kinds of fucked up. Everytime I think of the use of needles in horror, Alice stumbling upon a dead Dr. Mixter in his chair with a syringe stuck in his eyeball while meeting the same fate as Myers plunges a squirt full of air into her skull is an image that stays tried and true inside my newly formed needle phobia brain.

The things I blog about because of my love for you nostalgic nuggets. Now that I’m stressed, you’ll have to excuse me as I go pop an Ativan for my anxiety.