Finally, a FRIDAY THE 13th that I can get behind, FRIDAY THE 13th PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. It’s definitely the corniest one I’ve reviewed so far, but something about this one really stands out to me, perhaps it has something with it being on every other day on the USA Network and HBO when I was growing up, it was the FRIDAY THE 13th that I’ve seen the most. It’s nothing spectacular or amazing, but watching it reminds me of being up late at my grandparents’ house watching USA Up All Night and watching the censored version of the film, ah…happy time.
First, allow me to cover something I forgot to in the review for FRIDAY THE 13th PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD. Up to that film, Jason had been played by different stuntmen. But with FRIDAY THE 13th PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD we usher in the era of Kane Hodder. He plays Jason from VII until X (they went in a ‘different direction’ for Jason in FREDDY VS JASON…dicks). Since he was more than just a stuntman he brought a bit of acting to the role. There is definitely a difference between Kane Hodder’s Jason, and one of the other guy’s Jason. Kane Hodder’s Jason actually has some character to it. No longer is he a lumbering mass, stalking towards the next kill. Hodder uses a mixture of slight mannerisms, gestures, and even controlling his breathing. A simple tilt of the head, partnered with deep inhaling and exhaling paints a picture just as good as 1,000 words. Don’t worry about Hodder, though, he still gets tons of work, some of that work is for Adam Green’s HATCHET series. Hodder plays the villain, Victor Crowley. Hodder really brought a lot to Jason and no Jason since him has been able to capture anything quite like it.
Okay, tangent done, now to FRIDAY THE 13th PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. It should be noted that the time Jason spends in Manhattan is less than half the film. Most of the film is Jason on a boat.
The graduating senior class of Lakeview High is taking a cruise up to New York as their class trip. Unfortunately for them, Jason hitches a ride. So now we’ve completely moved away from camps, Crystal Lake, and camp counselors. Now Jason is just killing everyone he sees, in this case it’s a bunch of teens. Here’s the weird part…there’s no sex. At least none that I remember, and I just watched the movie for the umpteenth time. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time my memory lied to me…kind of a common occurrence. But yeah, no sex, one girl gets killed because she was doing cocaine, but the others are all kind of innocent victims. Unless you consider the ability to play an electric guitar as reason to be murdered (I guess it depends on the volume?), which I don’t. Maybe this is a reason I like this installment in the series. In the past you always knew who was going to get killed, and who the final girl was going to be because those being killed broke the slasher film rules set forth by HALLOWEEN and perfected by the FRIDAY THE 13th series. With this film, it could be anyone at any time. Certainly raises the stakes. The kills are unique to this film, also. Nothing recycled from past FRIDAY THE 13th films.
One of the most alarming things that happen is that the ship catches fire and starts sinking. Three kids are trapped in the dining room, and when the important four characters meet up elsewhere on the boat they head straight for the lifeboat, ditching the other three teens and escaping on their own.
In a lifeboat, lost at sea, they somehow find a way to navigate through a storm and dense fog to find New York. Once they reach land what’s the first thing that happens to them? They take about fifteen steps and are mugged at gunpoint (New York in the 90s as thought of by everyone outside of New York in the 90s) It gets better. The two muggers decide to take the final girl with them, but not just to rape…oh, if only. No, no, no, they shoot her up with heroin. HEROIN!!!!
Anyway death to all but two of the survivors is followed by a not epic final boss fight. Instead they play a game of ‘Tag, you’re it’ for about ten minutes that ends in the sewer where Jason is killed by flooding toxic waste that, according to a sewer worker they run into, “always happens every night at midnight”. That is a disturbing piece of trivia, even if it isn’t true (which I’m sure it’s not), it’s still awful to thank of.
At the beginning, Jason kills two kids in a boat on the water after their anchor knocks an underwater power line (?) to his body (making it twice that he’s been resurrected by a large spike of electricity). Again, we’re not sure of the timeline, because of a flashback that takes place later in the film. If anyone has a chart describing the timeline for the FRIDAY THE 13th films, please post the URL to the timeline in a comment below because I really want to know, but I don’t have the time to think the whole thing through myself.
This isn’t my favorite FRIDAY THE 13th film, it’s second place. Oddly enough, my least favorite, and my favorite are both coming up in the next two films. But which is which? Stick around to find out.