While the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise is synonymous with Robert Englund’s performance as Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees had, thus far, never been portrayed by the same actor twice. An assortment of stuntmen, a trapeze artist and even a nightclub manager would each have their take on the character for the first six movies in the series. It wasn’t until The New Blood that Jason would finally be on the receiving end of a definitive interpretation. Kane Hodder’s Jason is a wholly different beast than previous incarnations. Bigger, taller (6’3″), built like a bodybuilder that swallowed another, smaller bodybuilder, Hodder’s Jason is a veritably tank on legs.
Slaughtering co-eds is great upper body exercise.
To top things off, Hodder gives Jason an actual, albeit completely silent, personality. His body language is merciless and Hodder’s eyes, seen through the hockey mask, are completely devoid of anything but dark intent.
Hodder helped develop Jason’s persona, insisting, among other things, that Voorhees should never have to run after his victims. Kane Hodder’s Jason doesn’t need to run, he knows his chosen victim’s fate is inevitable.
The New Blood takes the supernatural twist of the previous chapter and runs with it… or runs it into the ground, depending on your mileage. Suffice it to say, any pretense of realism found in other entries is totally abandoned here. Essentially, Jason is awakened from his watery grave by, no kidding, a psychic girl. Jason’s machete swinging skills have atrophied from lack of use, so he heads for the nearest gathering of horny teens to get some practice in. The usual Friday The 13th hijinks ensue.
Whatever cobwebs were starting to gather on the franchise’s mantelpiece are swept away with The New Blood. The kills are in fine form and so are the ladies. We get premarital sex and, yes, the midnight skinny dipping scene comes back with a vengeance. It all ends with an awesome showdown between Jason and Jean Grey-lite that is surprisingly effective and climaxes with our favorite goalie once again sleeping with the fishes.
BEST KILL: Parodied. Imitated. Even remade in Jason X. This funny yet gruesome sleeping bag kill is legendary in horror circles.
BEST BABE: Since the producers were kind enough to bring back the doomed Crystal Lake skinny dipping cheesecake, who am I not to share it with you? Here’s Heidi Kozak in all her 15-minutes of fame glory.