Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

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Happened to catch this on SyFy today and felt compelled to wrangle a few words. Now, there have been some wretched, wretched entries in the Friday the 13th series—but this is the worst. Not only does Jason NOT take Manhattan, his reputation as a first-tier remorseless killing machine takes a serious knee to the groin.

Yet another crop of one-dimensional teens takes a slow boat from Crystal Lake to the Big Apple, and recently revived Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) decides to hitch a ride. (Probably wants to audition for Phantom.) See, it’s a senior class trip for good ol’ Crystal Lake High (?), and Sean (Scott Reeves), the son of the ship’s captain, is in love with Rennie (Jensen Daggett), who as a kid was nearly drowned by the child version of Jason (?) because her asshole Uncle Charles (Peter Mark Richman) dumped her in the middle of Crystal Lake to force her to learn to swim shortly after her parents were killed in a car crash— *has aneurism* Cue funeral march.

Just a few notes for writer-director Rob Hedden: Dude, I’ve read Shakespearian comedies with fewer subplots. All we really want is for Jason to strap on his hockey face and amass a respectable body count, preferably utilizing a battery of imaginative and colorful devices. Fail.

And how come when Jason (finally!) gets to Manhattan, he ignores the teeming masses of street gravy in order to pursue a handful of pipsqueaks from his hometown? Hell, they get mugged within 5 minutes of arriving! Couldn’t Jason go after the Mets or something? Why doesn’t he just merrily filet the entire city? The regulations that govern Jason’s behavior are awfully vague. What’s his deal anyway? I mean, I like the guy, but he needs a reboot. What’s Quentin working on at the moment?

And aside from a shot of Times Square and a few Statue of Liberty cameos, the New York location doesn’t figure into the story at all. Hell, they could have been going to Halifax. Consider this the nadir of Jason Voorhees.

Author: oldsharky

Sensible writer/editor with sparkling credentials who would happily work for you at a reasonable rate. I moonlight as a bass player, beer enthusiast, Trail Blazers fan, dog fancier, and horror movie fanatic. Sometimes I think about daily events too much and require a little help to clarify and process the deluge of information.

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