Friday, July 13, 2012

Jason's Love Boat: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1988)

Friday the 13th part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1988)
starring: Jensen Daggett, Kane Hodder and Todd Caldecott

So we had Jason going 3D, killed off by a twelve year old, impersonated, revived by lightning, and take on a psychic girl. What's next Paramount? Oh, what's that? Take him to New York? Had Jason kill in the big city where all the underbellies is more then usual packing with guys deserving to be picked off? Wow! let me see it!

Oh shit, it take place on a boat heading to New York city. That's uh...a very misleading title, sirs...

So once again, Jason is brought back to life after his last grapple, now by a randomly placed powerline underwater. That's probably safe, right? Any who, he got back to his slimy, and I mean slimy, feet and kills off two lovebirds responsible for this accidental revival in their boat and after doing so, somehow ended up in a nearby harbor with the S.S. Lazarus, a boat big enough to be Titanic Jr. on route to New York City; a fact that taught me that lakes can connect to the Atlantic!

On the boat is one hydrophobic (and due to childhood trauma, Jason Voorhees-phobic) Rennie and her uncle Charles, who happens to be the on-board kids' professors. Unfortunately, being a stubborn McSmarty-Pants "Corpses don't walk" blurting prick that he is, he's not well known for comfort so Rennie finds it on her other professor, Colleen, who's looking after her as if she's the girl's mother. Adding to her plethora of caring people is one Sean, the captain's son with father issues and this film's final boy (Come on. you can tell by now that no lead girl's love interest dies in the later Friday movies!), and Toby, her dog who had the uncanny ability to survive any kind of deadly situation by running away.

As the cruise went on, Rennie for some reason starts to experiences weird visions (or versions) of Jason as a boy since the moment she stepped into the boat, all of them not even close to the original young Jason portrayed in the first movie. With all these special attentions and wiggy things going on about her, she's not exactly Prom Queen material as local snobitch Tamara would agree on; heck, she's even whinier than Tina Shepherd from the previous Friday film but it appears we're stuck with this one.

Okay, going back, boat sets course to NYC, Jason grabbed an anchor, climbs, slaughters teens, slaughters adults, destroys boat engine in the process, sets boat on fire, survivors rows boat and luckily ended up in NYC, Jason was following them all this time (!), Jason picks survivors off one by one, evil uncle gets it (HAH!), NYC chase montage (with Ken Kirzinger cameo!), ends up in sewage, Jason gets melted with toxic waste, turns into a small boy, lovers kissed, The End.

...wait, there's toxic waste in New York?

With so much cheese, uneven acting, major plot holes and inconsistencies, Jason takes Manhattan is always regarded as the lowest Jason ever sank in and the one that disappointed giddy fans the most.

All the reason would likely point out to the title, which cheated a lot Friday freaks into thinking their main man's gonna be stomping New York, picking off hobos, street thugs, druggies, corrupt cops, saggy-breasted hookers and so forth. Of course, that was a load of bull since budget cuts had the producers and directors improvise and find a new ways to put Jason in New York. I'm thinking they put priorities on "putting" Jason "in New York", so they rewrote and take most of the action on a boat going to "New York" which was reduced to backway alleys, a diner, a train station and a (toxic) sewage.

Seriously, there's toxic waste in new York City?

Generally, putting a backwoods hulk like Jason in a big city was a desperate shot from the sound of it. Just as desperate as the idea of bringing a corn cult to the concrete world. (Yes, Children pf the Corn 3: Urban Harvest, I meant you) Jason is the Crystal Lake monster, the opening had already proved how much Jason had became a legend of his own turf, some sort of backwoods boogeyman whosestories of mutilated campers now varying from ear to ear (that might explain the countless portrayals of young Jason here. A little too much in one take if you ask me, though). To bring him out of his territory, without the proper imagination, left Jason Takes Manhattan an uninspired mess of an odd duck entry to a semi-strong franchise. 
seriously, this much versions in one show?
Okay, maybe I'm using the wrong words here cuz it's clearly "imaginative" in a technical way; Jason suddenly having the ability to teleport in ninja-like stealth and to change his voice back to a little kid sure shows that these guys meant business. Sortah. Director Rob Hedden once pointed out that Jason's new found ninja skills was to push the franchise to a more supernatural angle, probably in an attempt to rival nightmare man Freddy Kruger in supernatural slashing, but that's not Jason, not one bit. He kills and cannot be killed but that doesn't make him a ghost (Though, that could explain Rennie's countless barrage of young Jason visions) and the lack of direct indication towards this in any scenes of the film still had Jason Takes Manhattan end up a grating deal of inconsistencies and weird moments that's too much even for a film with a imbalanced timeline as the Friday the 13ths! 

As for the cast? Well, what's the point? Minimal budgets means uninspired talent that's more likely be stereotyped or be linear in character. And the point that most of the work goes around a boat filled with these kids, and apparently just five adults, including a doomsayer who I nicknamed "Crazy Saltwater Ralph", would likely mean us watching three or five random cast getting into Jason's way and be picked off in a gruesome manner, with neither a line or a purpose other than lamb for slaughter. Lead casts did no better, especially for our disappointing excuse of a lead female as she barely done anything to prove her worth to survive and yet we are supposed to root for this sad sap. Same goes to her lover; sure he kissed her and makes out with her even if Jason is hot on their tail, but other than that, nothing.

But, as much as the bombardment of plot holes can be distracting, the cast so one-dimensional, and the kills would have been better (MPAA, I'm starting to hate you more and more), Jason Takes Manhattan still got me in its cheesy charms. People can hate it as much as they want but I can still enjoy this one if I switch my brain off, the only way one can enjoy a movie this silly and rushed. In the end, all that will matter is that Jason's back, walking, stalking and taking names, no matter how off the wall the idea is. And with Kane Hodder back behind the mask and a new set of kills that's pure eye candy for any fan (guitar braining? blocks being knocked off? hot sauna rocks shoved to chests? damn, and they said MPAA cut the good stuffs!) he's just as menacing of a zombie hulk as he is in his last portrayal of the J-man. Though, his refusal to do a scene where Jason kicks a dog did come as a shock for me! Who knew? Jason has a soft spot for domestic animals!
I survived a Friday the 13th movie! yay! *wag wag wag*
Jason in New York? Heck, if I can stand and enjoy Jason X with a kiddy-like glee on my face I'm sure I can watch and survive it. Just as Jason somehow survive being melted by toxic waste!

Speaking of which, Toxic waste? In New York? ...How?

1 male gutted with speargun
1 female stabbed on the chest with a spear
1 female had her head bashed open with electric guitar
1 male gets a hot sauna rock to the chest
1 female stabbed to death with glass shards
1 male gets a harpoon impaled to his back
1 male had his neck cut with machete
1 female strangled to death
1 male shot by accident
1 male thrown to control panel, electrocuted
1 male thrown and impaled to deck posts
1 male found with an axe on this back
30+ students left for dead in a burning and sinking boat
1 male ran through the beck with a syringe
1 male had his head bashed and scalded against steam pipe
1 male had his head punched off
1 female immolated in car explosion
1 male drowned in a barrel of toxic waste(!)
1 male brained with wrench
total: 49+


  1. That's funny - my body count running the the Ft13s and Nightmares didn't count for anyone else on the boat - but I think you're right!

    This movie still isn't much though. But it does have some amazing moments.

  2. well, you know me, I count anyone breathing! (hence the animals)