Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan


(1989) **1/2

This would have been whole lot better if they'd bagged the Manhattan part and just made it "Jason at Sea." This one asks you to swallow a lot, like the notion that although you can get Manhattan radio stations in Crystal Lake, you have to go through open ocean to get there. And even those who dislike NYC will know that it is not an endless rabbit warren of garbage-strewn back alleys in which there's ample toxic waste, rarely-seen inhabitants indifferent to your impending murder, and muggers who like to drag you away and give you their hard-earned drugs for free.

Keeping with the boat theme, Jason is revived when an anchor snags a power cable and inadvertantly jumpstarts him again. Then he heads to a larger boat full of teens on their graduation jaunt to New Yawk, baby! The character setups ring a little more false than usual, thanks largely to demento logic (why would anyone be expected to turn in a biology project on a class trip?) and Principal McCulloch, who is the most dysthymic, cranky man you'd never want to be stuck on a boat with. Every single thing out of this man's mouth is "I'm in charge!" or "no thanks to you!" or of course "stop talking about Jason!" I found myself yelling out loud at his ridiculous rage.

We spend an whole hour on the boat before Jason sinks it, then the five survivors manage to lifeboat through the fog until they see the Statue of Liberty. As soon as they dock the principal's at it again. "You sure picked a great place to dock the boat" he says sarcastically to the student who just saved his ass (because you know he's the first one they would've eaten.) Then Jason hauls himself out of the water to finish them off as they run around Vancouver...uh, I mean Manhattan. Eventually the surviving couple ditch Jason in the sewers as he is drowned in the nightly purging of toxic waste.

They look down afterwards to see a boy Jason, just as he was when he drowned the first time. All right -- that is IT, movie! I've had it with you.

2 comments:

Octopunk said...

Here's JPX's review from last year:

(1989) **1/2 Arguably one of the weakest entries of this lackluster series. The law of diminishing returns definitely applies here. I started out this year’s horrorthon with this lame film because I needed something short to watch before going to Shaun of the Dead (see below). Jason Takes Manhattan should’ve been titled, “Jason Takes a Long Boat Ride and Gets to Manhattan During the Final 30 Minutes of the Movie”! Yep, that’s right, for those who don’t remember this movie; the title and ad campaign were very misleading. The TV commercials would have you believe that Jason rampages through Manhattan. No such luck! Perhaps budgetary concerns or lack of city access prevented this idea from being fully realized. The plot is simple (isn’t it always?); a group of high school students are going on a graduate cruise from wherever they reside to New York City. Of course, prior to the events of this film unfolding, the writers needed to figure out a way to bring Jason back, again. As you may recall when we last saw Jason in “The New Blood”, Tommy wrapped some heavy chains around Jason and pushed him into Crystal Lake. It’s amazing that the cops never found Jason. I mean he’s in a fucking lake! That would be like Jason being on the bottom of Brickyard Pond. Do the cops operate under the out-of-sight-out-of-mind principal? I can just see Tommy saying, “Seriously, he’s right over there, all you need to do is stick your head in the water and look down, he’s only in 10 feet of water for crying out loud!” Anyway, I digress. Part VIII opens with to teens having sex, of course. We’re immediately rewarded with T&A within the first 5 minutes of the movie. Oh wait, I almost forgot! Before the boobs we’re treated to the LAMEST opening credits ever for a Friday the 13th. The movie opens with a montage of shots of Manhattan sunk to the worst kind of 80s music. You know what I mean. Okay, back to the teens. After sex the male decides to pull up the anchor. In doing so he accidentally lifts up a large power wire, which of course sends off sparks and rejuvenates the chained, dormant Jason. The teens are quickly dispatched. One final comment about this opening; while the teens are fooling around the male remarks that the lake they’re currently floating on was the site of all the previous Jason killings. He provides a long narration presumably to educate anyone in the audience who is a Friday the 13th virgin. Couldn’t the writers have assumed that anyone watching PART 8! of a series probably has so me familiarity with the previous outings? Damn, I’m sorry I keep digressing. Once again we are subjected to Jason’s past history. The funny thing is that the female has never heard any of this! I mean, if all the events in all of the films really happened, do you think there would be anyone in the United States who hadn’t heard of Jason??? He would be the most notorious serial killer of all time! Also, why wouldn’t Crystal Lake be paved over? Why leave it as a functioning camp? Okay, okay, I’m digressing again. I didn’t mean to write such a long review this film doesn’t deserve it. As noted above, the next hour of the film takes place on a luxury yacht. It seems that one of the rich students has offered his father’s boat for the senior trip to New York. Of course, what would a trip like this be without inviting their irritable principal? Why do the Friday the 13th films recycle old cast members from Three’s Company (e.g., see Part 7)? Okay, I can’t keep writing about this stupid film. As I’ve done previously, I will recount all the deaths, all of which were unoriginal and pretty weak. Let’s see, there was a harpoon to the stomach, harpoon to the back, and one “rocker” was killed with her guitar. One jock was killed by having a hot coal stuffed into his stomach as he relaxed in a sauna (okay, this was a bit original even though the stomach look like it was made out of rubber!). One chick was stabbed with a mirror shard. Another dude was harpooned (again) in the back. There was the usual throat slashing and strangulation. One nerd was electrocuted and one guy was thrown from the top of the ship only to land on some antennae. Once we get to Manhattan we see a rapist get a syringe in the eye (Jason’s justice), a head smashed against a pipe, and in the silliest kill of the film, a boxer getting his head literally knocked off! Oh yeah, a cop gets strangled with his CB wire and the Three’s Company reject gets shoved in a drum of toxic waste. By the way, these drums are apparently everywhere in NYC. Another gets killed with a wrench to the head. All in all there was a lot of death in this film. I could go on complaining about this movie, but it’s already too long and besides, you know what you’re in for when you see a Friday the 13th film.

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