Halloween Scene: Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

I really can’t tell you how much I want to LOVE Jason Takes Manhattan. I’ve seen it a few times now, but this was probably the most dissapointing time ever. Why? Well, because I worked in NYC for a few months and there’s nothing I’d like to see more than a slasher taking apart all the assholes I had to deal with on a daily basis from the people who stopped at the top of escalators in the middle of Penn Station to the people who stopped every three feet to take a picture of some huge building that no one cares about, even my 15 minute walk to work from Penn could be a nightmare depending on who else was around. Those are the kinds of people you want to see Jason tear into in a movie called Jason Takes Manhattan. He should be in the middle of Time Square just annihilating everyone from the people trying to get smoking taken out of all movies to the tourists who put their cameras on the table and jump in the air at just the right time for a family photo. Mind you, I used to love walking to Time Square just to swim in the sea of humanity, but that’s exactly what makes it the perfect horror attack spot.

Anyway, as most horror fans know, the F13 8 script was greatly truncated to fit the budget which allowed for more scenes on a cruise boat and less scenes in Madison Square Garden. I will admit that the stuff on the boat is pretty creepy, like the guitar chick down in the guts of the boat getting killed by her own guitar, but the movie really suffers from Jason’s inexplicable tracking and teleportation skills. One minute he’s behind you, then you run down and away from him, then he’s in front of you? Wait how did that–SMASH. You’re dead. All of this gets way worse when the remaining people finally get to NYC and proceed to get annihilatied by a Jason who seems dead set on killing only a handful of people instead of tourist trap fodder and a subway car filled with innocents who deserve his specific brand of supernatural crazy person justice.

See, that’s my other big problem with the movie. Why doesn’t he kill any of those New York people? It’s not like the Crystal Lake kids on the boat did anything specific to him, so he should just be burning off that anit-fun, -drugs, -drinking, -sex thing right? Well you shouldn’t be able to walk a millimeter in NYC without fulfilling that urge to kill, masked man. Instead he zeroes in on the poor kids who have already seen their friends mutilated and murdered.

There is one interesting scene where a kid gets to fight back. We see that he’s a boxer earlier in the flick so he gets  to make it to New York and box Jason on a rooftop. Now, don’t get a Rocky image in your mind as Jason–for some inexplicable reason–allows this kid to pummel him for minutes and just takes it. That is until Jason punches the kid’s head off. It’s a weird little scene that I assume is supposed to seep hope out of the audience, but really just makes you wonder when the brash kid’s gonna get the axe.

Aside from that brief moment of fighting back and some pretty cool kills, the overall movie feels like a complete misstep. If you don’t have the money to really set the movie in NYC (and a brief scene in Times Square and some alley and subway scenes do not cut it), then just keep the movie on the boat and go all out. This is the one movie from the original series that I’d like to see get remade the most because there could be nothing crazier or scarier then a full on supernatural slasher movie in the middle of a major city. I know slasher movies aren’t in vogue right now aside from mostly-shitty remakes, but this is the next thing I want to see. Slasher vs. City. Someone needs to make it happen. If you’re interested, I have a few pitches in mind.

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