Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Director: Rob Hedden
Peter Mark Richman/Charles
Jason (Kane Hodder) embarks on a cruise ship, kills lots of graduating "Crystal Lake" teens and chases the remaining few into the fair city of New York. He also teleports on cue...WTF?
The title of this 8th entry in the Friday the 13th legacy is very misleading. The film should've been called: "Jason Takes The Titanic". The first hour of the movie takes place on a cruise boat and only the last 20 minutes is in Manhattan.
The bulk of the film is Jason by-the-numbers. The undead muscle-head goes from teen to teen and proceeds to end their lives shortly. Being the huge Jason fan that I am, I did get some joy out of seeing the madman at play on a cruise ship. I'll always derive some pleasure out of seeing Jason kill...I just love the big lug! Unfortunately, the murders themselves are beyond bloodless or creative in tacky ways. Sorry, but seeing a guy getting his head slammed into a pole or some broad getting whacked with a guitar are not my ideas of fun slash. Sure, we get a couple of keepers like the stone in the chest but whatever happened to the more simpler yet brutal kills of the old "Jason" days? Instead, we get a drowning in a bucket of slime! How fucking novel (that was sarcasm)! What's up with that garbage?
This sequel also slaps in new "gimmicks" and they don't really work. I’ll start off with the "teleportation" vibe. What was up with that? This entry has Jason being able to materialize anywhere he wants. It’s almost as if "Scotty" kept on beaming him up and down all the time. We all know Jason always gets his man but this teleportation crap was BS. And then there was the "Jason kid" subplot. Rennie keeps having hallucinations or visits from Jason’s spirit when he was a kid. Sure, this subplot made way for many creepy "Elm Street" type scenes and I appreciated them on some level, but in the end, they didn't mean shit! Why slap in a supernatural subplot if you’re not going to do anything with it? It’s never explained or dealt with and that frustrated me. Two last things: the "Jason" kid has hair (wasn’t Jason a bald retard) and the more "symbolic" inclined ending blew chunks. This is Friday the 13th dude...not Nietzsche!
On a positive note, Kane Hodder continues his badass Jason streak and is an aggressive delight. Although the murders are low on gore, Hodder delivers them with such violent gusto, that I couldn't help but enjoy them anyways. The scene where the token slut is taught a "Voorhees" lesson via a broken mirror is a wonderful example of that. The movie also gives us a classic Jason vs. black dude boxing match on a rooftop that had me grinning with delight (incidentally, why does Julius keep hitting Jason in the face…the dude is wearing a goalie mask moron!) I also dug the cruise ship setting; it gave this sequel a more claustrophobic feel and although too brief and not milked to their full potential, the scenes in New York gave way to some funny "fish out of water" bits. The change of location was greatly appreciated by this a-hole...you just can't go wrong with Jason busting into a diner or making an appearance in a Big Apple subway car. But in the end, Friday the 13th: Part 8 was mostly a disappointment. The title promises something different, but we get the same thing watered down and cluttered with new stupid ideas. Jason punches in the clock and goes to work!
Sure, we get a stone in one's belly, a stabbing with a piece of glass and a slick beheading but most of the kills are either dryer than "Cindy Lauper" on a hot summer night or idiotic. They tried to make up for the lack of gore with more "creative" kills but it just didn't work. I still can't get over that drowning in a bucket of slime, that dude deserved way worse...like a knife in the forehead or something.
Jensen Dagget (Rennie) is good at playing the virginal heroine, I found her likeable. Peter Mark Richman (Charles) excels at playing the a-hole uncle, you'll hate him. Scott Reeves (Sean) does what he has to do as the typical good hearted hunk. VC Dupree (Julius) is amusing as the tough guy. Sharlene Martin (Tamara) plays the one-dimensional slut to perfection. The acting is actually credible.
T & A
The opening victim shows a bit of boob/ass, but I’m saddened to say that Sharlene Martin (Tamara) follows in the footsteps of "Melissa" in Part 7 and shows mostly nothing. Yes, she teases but doesn't reveal much (if you don't blink, you see her butt crack). You know a slasher series is in trouble when the mega-slut doesn’t even overtly reveal the goods.
I was a bit surprised that this film actually looked pretty slick. It’s obvious that they took way more time in lighting the scenes because they look way polished. Hedden digs on "overhead" shots a lot, got me with one "boo" scare and the occasional slow motion was a nice touch. This "Friday" is one of the better looking ones. Go figure.
The classic "Ki Ki Ki" always works, too bad the lousy side score or the bad pop/rock songs don’t.
IMAGE: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen image really makes this puppy look good. The image itself is tight with spot on colors and brightness. We do get occasional grain though.
SOUND: Yes, we get a disappointing (for me anyway) 2.0 Dolby surround but I must admit that it still delivered in sound quality.
Paramount stays true to its "Let's ignore the Friday fans and keep giving them squat" attitude and they don't give us one EXTRA. Where's that kool teaser that played in the theaters?? So damn typical.
I’m a big fan of Jason and his adventures, but this entry was mostly a let-down. Yes, Kane Hodder still rules as the undead goalie and that in itself is worth something. The flick is also well directed and the New York scenes, although brief were also very kool! But Hedden should’ve kept his silly ideas (teleportation...come on!) out of the film and he also should've stepped away from the formula a bit: "stock" teens introduced, Jason walks in, paper thin teens die (suspense less) and Jason gets defeated by virgin teen. With the gore gone, the ultimate payoff of Jason killing a teen is absent, so to make it worthwhile they should go back to the characters. How about making us care about the teens, developing them, so that when they die...we’ll feel bad! If we care, we’ll also feel suspense, get scared…I mean, this is a horror movie right?
The film was mostly shot in beautiful British Columbia with a few scenes in New York. It was also heavily cut and here are the scenes that were butchered:
Courtesy of: http://www.imdb.com
Jim's death was much gorier. Originally, Jason shoves the entire spear gun through his stomach, then rips it out, causing Jim's intestines to slide out along with a large amount of blood.
Suzy's death was disturbingly gruesome. Jason shoves the spear through her stomach and twists it non-stop. There were close-up shots of Suzy's mouth gurgling blood and blood rapidly oozing from the spear wound.
Tamara's death in the original print was completely different. Originally, Jason repeatedly stabs her with a mirror shard in a shower while she's completely nude. Blood rapidly oozes from her stab wounds and Jason keeps stabbing non-stop.
The scene where the unaccredited boxer gets the hot sauna rock shoved into his chest cavity was a re-shoot. Originally, Jason jammed two darts through his eye sockets, but it was deemed too graphic in the final cut, and the MPAA forced the crew to re-shot it.