Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Directed by Rob Hedden, this is definitely the longest title of the series, giving me a workout when typing it up.  But with this sequel, Jason finally gets to travel outside the little community of Crystal Lake (during the last fifteen minutes of the movie anyway) and is finally able to do a bit of sightseeing in the Big Apple.  Nevertheless, Kane Hodder is back for his second go of playing Jason Voorhees and he's true-to-form as he does a hell of a job doing so—I think this is my favorite Hodder portrayal of Jason.

Although there were a couple of more parts after this movie, 1989's Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan was unceremoniously the last of the series to be released by Paramount as they sold the rights to New Line Cinema soon after this chapter.  I guess they were tired of their ties to a poorly received (by haughty movie critics, not the fans of the franchise) horror movie chain of films, which I don't understand why since this sequel gave it a chance of resurgence; this sequel wasn't that bad, all things considered.  I mean, if they had less cruise ship and more Manhattan, this film would've been pretty bad-ass.

But let's get into the summary of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan...

After Jason ends up in his final resting place again in part seven, once again he's revived when a yacht's anchor drags the underwater power cable over to him and shocks him back to life.  After dispatching of the young lovers that were minding the boat, he lets the vessel drift off through the Crystal Lake outlet to the waiting cruise ship anchored at the ocean harbor.  He hitches a ride onto the ship (destination: Manhattan, New York) to continue his bloodshed of the passengers.  Will any of them make to Manhattan alive?

First off, after watching all the previous films preceding this one, I never knew Crystal Lake had an outlet to the sea!  But if you can suspend that hunk of disbelief, the rest of the film is pretty good.  Although, after seeing how it turns out, you may think that they should've subtitled this film with something else—"Jason Goes Cruising" or "Jason Takes to the Sea" or something other than what it was named.  Like I'd mentioned before, most of the film takes place on the ship with only a fraction of it in Manhattan (which I believe had another city or some sound stages stand in for it).  For the most part, however, the film is a solid Friday the 13th outing, with some good, thrilling fun.

The subplot given to us about the main character, Rennie (Jensen Daggett), was interesting and tied her to Jason as she came in contact with him as she was forced into a swimming lesson—using the sink or swim technique—by her dick-of-a-guardian, Charles (Peter Mark Richman).  The catch-22 about all of this, especially if you've been following the timeline up until now, is that it would've been impossible for her, as a child, to have seen the child version of Jason.  Even though this movie was released in 1989, if you've followed the timeline so far, the year is probably around 1994 or later.  Even it was 1989, Jason supposedly drowned in 1958, so that would mean Rennie is around 30 to 31 years of age during this movie instead of the high school graduate she's supped to be.

Another glaring problem I see with this film is that it's not consistent with the other films in the look of Jason.  For one, when they show glimpses of Jason as a child, they show him with a full-normal-sized-head of hair, not the bald deformed head we saw in part one; though they still highlight his deformity.  As for the head shape of the adult Jason, it seems the filmmakers went away from it after part four and just went with a normal shape-but I can live with that.

Lastly, what is it with Rennie's visions of Jason?  Does she have some sort of psychic connection with him?  Did she really see a young boy swimming underwater at Crystal Lake as a child?  Why is she seeing visions of him?  All this is very confusing.

Now, for the good things about this film.

It's definitely has some inventive kills.  Even though the special effects seemed to have been neutered during the last few years, the kills by Jason are still fun to watch.  Of course, the highlight—although pretty illogical—of all the kills is after Julius (V.C. Dupree) stands up to Jason and starts fighting him, until Jason gets the last punch.  Another one features the wannabe rock star as she's constantly playing her electric guitar in some of the ship's mechanical rooms (for the acoustics) until Jason finds her and uses her guitar for a killing tool.  The one kill that always has me holding my gut as I watch, is the sauna scene...you'll know it when you see it.

Yes, this movie could've been more, but they just went too long on the ship.  I really wanted some more time within New York, having Jason terrorize the city and get a police manhunt involved or something.  One thing for sure, when he does climb up onto the harbor and sees the billboard for the local hockey team, seeing his mask on a giant sign...it was pretty epic and THAT'S where the film should've started.

Anyway...there's not much more I can say about Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, so my final "bit" is this: see it.  Although it's the movie that "could've been," you won't be disappointed on where they chose to go with this one.  So, if you've come this far, don't stop—there are a couple of sillier chapters to come, all thanks to New Line, so you might as well go for the whole ride.

Well, okay...another Friday the 13th movie down, with two more to go...so, thanks for reading...and I welcome any comments!

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