Written by Fantasma el Rey
I haven’t seen Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan in years and there is a reason. As a kid I used to fear these movies and their monster maniac killers but seen as a full-grown adult these things bring mostly laughs. Today the true horror they bring is in the fact that I spend so much time still watching them.
The plot goes thusly: a high-school senior class of late 1980s, cool kids hop on a ship christened, of all things, Lazarus and head for the glory that is New York City. Trouble starts soon as the unsuspecting ship picks up the recently resurrected from the grave Jason Voorhees, who resumes his eradication of stupid/naughty/horny teenagers and those who accompany them as they chance to pass the site of his childhood death. While on board he wastes no time in getting down to business and the hacking and slashing take on many new/fun forms.
Our two latest “good” kids are Rennie and her boyfriend Sean, a neat and clean couple who are pure of heart, which is always the key to success; I mean really, how else can they defeat an insane, superhuman killer, right? Oops, gave away the ending there. The hell with it, let’s continue. After picking off the majority of young hipsters aboard ship, the remainders decide to fight back and take the killing to the killer. Well, the kiddies get an “A” for effort but they fail for the fact that on board they can only manage to flee the now-burning ship with an angered Jason left behind and their numbers further dwindled down. Bad move, never piss off the dead ugly kid. As the last Lazarus survivors row their dingy on open water little do they know that big J has jumped in the water behind them.
After a good all-night row the beautiful Statue of Liberty is spotted and safety is presumably reached but it wouldn’t be Jason Takes Manhattan if they all lived happily ever after. Now the funny starts as we get to watch Jason run amuck on the vicious streets of the big city, killing some folks along the way who try to interfere with his sea-born hunt. Jason stalks the port docks, subway cars and tunnels, city streets, back alleys, and finally the toxic waste-soaked sewer of the city tracking down the remaining ship-goers.
But alas, poor Jason, it is not to be. As the city that houses so many sinful beings apparently feels bad for our heroes and as the sewer fills with toxic waste (as it does every night at midnight, who knew?) Jason is overwhelmed and meets his doom in a crashing, swirling rush of lethal, hazardous waste. Not only is his face melted away but his “body” is also stripped away leaving exposed the helpless child that drowned all those years ago at the bottom of Crystal Lake.
So there it is. Most of the movie and killing happen aboard ship and we get disappointingly little of New York and its native inhabitants. We do get some junkie thieves and a snap look at some “punker” kids that Jason scares off by lifting his mask and showing his face. Funny scene, perhaps the high point of this entire movie. The flick even tries to give us a bit of the beat culture N.Y. was known for; as the movie opens, we hear a DJ wax poetic in his best Allen Ginsberg about the mean streets he loves over some not-so-good ‘80s-movie pop/rock.
Taking Jason out of his element was a good idea that wasn’t fully capitalized upon but we do get some creative and laughable kills along the way. Highlights aboard ship include: fishing spear gun, hot sauna rock setting its victim on fire, harpoon, death by electric panel that also causes fire not only to victim but entire ship, and the second best kill in the movie is some stupid wannabe rocker chick getting whacked by her own guitar! Get it? Guitar = Axe. Huh, huh, clever, no? While in the city we have death by hypodermic needle, steam pipe, pipe wrench, and the best-ever Jason kill is a right hook that knocks a guy’s head clean off. Yeah, that last one is preceded by said dumb ass trying to box out Jason who has already been shot numerous times and will go on to be run over by a police car, electrified by the third rail on the subway, and gets a can of toxic waste in the face before being consumed by it.
Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is a true comedy of horror. Seen twice in a lifetime is really too much unless you’re plastered and need a good laugh.