John Carl Buechler (director, special makeup effects; Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood)

Interviews May 16th, 2008

JBC

What was it about your previous work that convinced Frank Mancuso, Jr. that you were the right choice to direct FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 7: THE NEW BLOOD? Was there ever any discussion about carrying the story on from the end of PART 6 or making FREDDY VS. JASON instead, as Paramount at that time were eager to make the movie?
“Frank had seen TROLL and liked it very much. He also knew of my effects background and I was told that he wanted to upgrade the franchise as he was competing with the NIGHTMARE films and they were hugely effects driven. FREDDY VS JASON was discussed but at the time; neither Paramount, or New Line could figure out how to go to bed with each other. The only discussion regarding carrying on the story from Part 6 actually came from me. We knew we HAD to recap the end of the precious Jason adventure and show how he ended up at the bottom of the lake, and that became our starting point.”

Were you happy with the script for THE NEW BLOOD and were you dubious about introducing supernatural elements into the FRIDAY THE 13TH formula?
“There were all the usual concerns with the material. The script went through SEVERAL rewrites. I really wanted a more action oriented horror film with more character driven elements. I very much approved of the supernatural aspect and wanted to go even farther with it. To me the whole thing about what makes Jason scary is his ambiguity. Not understanding what makes him tick, why he is the way he is, and how he gets around so fast, with always just the right killing instrument, are things that make you wonder, and will keep you guessing. The supernatural element would be another terrific element to keep the viewers on edge.”

You were the first director of the series with a background in special effects, do you think this helped in their decision to hire you and did you always intend to take the series in a more action-orientated direction?
“Again, as I said, I know Frank liked my background in effects. In many ways the film is one huge special effect, as the budget was so low, we created the illusion of a much bigger picture. I know that after Part 7 set a new “production value benchmark,” the budgets on ALL preceding movies in the series skyrocketed, just to match the quality.”

How instrumental were you in the casting of Kane Hodder and how do you think his performance compared with the previous actors? Do you think FREDDY VS. JASON suffered from his absence? Was C. J. Graham from PART 6 ever considered again for the role?
“I insisted on Kane in the role of Jason. Frank didn’t like him at first. He complained that he wasn’t physically big enough. I explained that I wanted to create a whole new look for Jason, — A torn up living dead ghost that inhabited a decomposing body. The make-up effects would “bulk him up” a bit, and they would also allow for CHUNKS to be missing from his rotting frame. I had worked with Kane a few years previously on Renny Harland’s first move in the USA, called PRISON. And Kane proved to be an exceptional talent. A great stuntman, actor, and mime. In order to get Frank to approve of him, I had to shoot a special screen test of Kane as Jason in a test make-up. We did the test, Franks saw it, and he knew what I was going for, and the rest, I guess is history.”

How did you feel about the telekinetic subplot and were there ever talks about continuing Tina’s story with PART 8?
“I liked the Tina story very much. I feel that the overall series had suffered from a total lack of story and depth of character. I felt it had to be improved upon. Remember, this was PART 7, and we needed to do something to keep it interesting. I believe that they toyed with the idea of bringing both the Tina character, and myself as director back for the next one, or at least this is what I was told. I also was told that the associate producer on the film had it in for me because we had our creative differences, regarding my approach. She thought that my style was too “over the top” and since she was a company exec with major influence, she was NOT going to let this happen.”

Looking back on the movie almost twenty years later, do you think it site well amongst the other entries in the series and how well do you feel it has aged?
?”It is and will always be remembered as a classic horror film series. Not unlike FRANKENSTEIN, WOLFMAN, and DRACULA. They have introduced unique archetypes into the lexicon of cinema history. Sure the series will be have it’s quirky moments for new audiences, but that is to be expected. These pictures are a reflection of the period in which they were made. People will watch them for that reason as well. Any time you make more than three pictures, its not just a series, it’s a franchise.”

Around the same time as Friday the 13th Part 7, you were also involved in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4: The Dream Master and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. How did it feel to be a part of three of the biggest franchises? Were there any similarities between the movies (both Friday and Nightmare saw heroines with special powers)?
“It was great! Let’s just say movies, books, and other media often borrowed heavily from one another.”

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One Response to “John Carl Buechler (director, special makeup effects; Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood)”

  1. Tony Says:

    Awesome interview! Seems like you asked a lot of questions that I had never heard asked before.

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