FRIDAY THE 13th:
PART VIII -

JASON TAKES MANHATTAN

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Friday the 13th Part VIII
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FRIDAY THE 13th
SEQUELS
FRIDAY THE 13th: Part VIII - JASON TAKES MANHATTAN - 1989
USA Release: July 28, 1989
Sean S. Cunningham Films, Horror Inc., Paramount Pictures
Rating: USA: R

"Facing your fear doesn't always conquer it."
- Charles McCulloch

The above comment, uttered by the lead asshole in this movie, is by far the only thing I agree with in the whole film. Period.

This… this… flick.

Just let us get into it and get it over with. I faced my fear by watching this once more and came out on top, more or less. At least I think so. The jury is still out.

Jason Voorhees (portrayed a second time around by Kane Hodder, who would become synonymous with the role. Kane's accomplishments are the stuff of legend in the Horror genre. Let's rattle off some of them here: HATCHET [all], PROJECT: METAL BEAST, DEATH HOUSE, DIGGING UP THE MARROW, FROZEN, DEAD NOON, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, WISHMASTER, ALLIGATOR, SCANNER COP II, WATCHERS 4) who would go once more is resurrected from the bottom of Crystal Lake by an accident caused by unsuspecting types aka "victims." As if that wasn't bad enough, Pamela Voorhees's boy, makes his way to a friggin' aging ocean liner out on the lake (Yeah, I know. Don't ask me how it got there and furthermore what waterway it will take to pull into New York harbor. It doesn't make sense to me either.) and climbs aboard IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, people all around and everything. No one notices a hulking psycho stowaway gaining access to the ship via anchor chain.

Shiver me timbers, mateys!

It's hard to piece together what happens next. You know what goes on in these things. No need to go into any real details. Characters are introduced and dispatched just as quickly. Remember way back in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II when this happened with a shit ton of camp counselors and they dumped them off in town as to do away with characters that were of no consequence? What the hell are you going to do with several teens that practically fall under the same category? It's not like you can dump them overboard, or have the ship start taking on water and drowning the whole lot of them…

The survivors escape the massacre that has engulfed the ship in a few short hours and take a lifeboat to finally reach their destination. The logic doesn't improve once they reach the Big Apple. If anything, it gets much worse. A city full of walking targets and the most prolific onscreen serial killer of all time and he's only worried about a handful of people from a boat? I know you're supposed to suspend disbelief with these films, but sweet Jesus, there are limits.

TRIVIA

Blink and you'll miss her.

This was the first feature film of actor Kelly Hu (STRANGE DAYS, THE SCORPION KING, X2: X-MAN UNITED, THREAT MATRIX [TV], DARK SHADOWS [2005], DEVIL'S DEN, SUCCUBUS: HELL BENT, DEADSPACE: DOWNFALL, FARM HOUSE, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES [TV], WAREHOUSE 13, AGE OF TOMORROW), who plays Eva Watanabe.

Look for a cameo appearance by Ken Kirzinger in this movie as a New York cook who would go on to do his own portrayal of Jason Voorhees some fourteen years later in FREDDY VS. JASON.

If I go any further with this review, we'll be stepping in heavy spoiler territory and we just don't do that here. This movie is wrought with continuity errors out the ying-yang, the character of Rennie (Jensen Daggett: ASTEROID [1997]), no matter the situation, her hair is held perfectly in place with copious amounts of Aquanet, whether it gets wet from rain, sweat, water from various sources, etc. and her clothes are always clean too!

Voorhees has more meat on his bones than he did in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD. Speaking of our boy, did you know toxic waste will… uhm… just forget it. Spoilers. You will see if you throw all caution to the wind and give this puppy a whirl. Don't say you weren't warned.

The budget for FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN was estimated to be 5 mil. I swear to the Horror gods I have no idea where that money could have possibly gone. It surely wasn't for any real effects. The kills that could have come off as a real sight to see, fall flat and though not really done off screen, were shot in such a way that they might as well have been.

Locations, then?

The vast majority of this was shot between New York and Vancouver, British Columbia, with a few places in Los Angeles. That's a distinct possibility. I wonder how much Kane Hodder was paid to play Jason in this movie. It couldn't have been much. There were just too many moving parts and they all had to cost something.

Another thing I had a problem with is the music from the score to what bands they chose to go with to play songs for the movie. It all sounded generic and music you would expect to hear on a production with a less than 1 mil. and trying to emulate bands like Michael Bolton, Billy Joel, and Culture Club. That might have worked for lower budget Horror flicks and softcore porn like was shown on Cinemax at the time, but it comes off cheap and crappy when associated with a film franchise like FRIDAY THE 13TH and does not work at all.

Yes, there are some absolute piles in the series, but there are some good reasons why it has stood the test of time. Sadly, this movie isn't one of them.

Kane Hodder and his performance as Jason Voorhees is the ONLY reason to watch this one. I hate when directors/writers make up a whole bunch of characters just to do nothing with them, or make them painfully uninteresting to the point when it comes time to close out, you just don't really care about any of them at all.

Jason and the billboard

FINAL THOUGHTS
The opening of this flick reminds me a lot of what you would expect to see in films directed/produced/written by Walter Hill. Movies such as THE WARRIORS, 48 HOURS, RED HEAT, and JOHNNY HANDSOME, and produced by Andrew Vajna (ANGEL HEART, DEEPSTAR SIX, TOTAL RECALL, JACOB'S LADDER - he also did production duties on RED HEAT and JOHNNY HANDSOME), and oh, so many others.

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN while nothing like the movies I mentioned, had that particular feel to it. Maybe it's because made in the 80's movies all came off this way to some greater or lesser extent. They were definitely a product of their time.*

One Shriek Girl

Shriek Girls
This review copyright 2021 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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

*

But why were so many movies, that were shot in New York City, and all regardless of producer, writer, director, even studio, have that certain 1980s style and look? That "particular feel"?

It wasn't by chance...

When the Movies Took Manhattan: NYC Through the Eyes of Hollywood in the 1980s
In the 1980s, movies set in New York City didn't try to gloss over its dangerous reputation.
By Christopher Campbell

Continued at Film School Rejects.

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