Friday the 13th Part 8- Jason Takes Manhattan may just be one of the most perfect, most underrated films of all time. The film was directed by Rob Hedden, who has written such masterpieces as The Condemned and Knight Rider 2000. And with those kind of credentials, we already know we are in for heaven in the form of cinema.We start off with a New York City montage, because this is the late 80s, and you DON’T have a full movie in the 80s WITHOUT a string of shots showing how filthy and disgusting New York is. We then go back to Crystal Lake, where of course, a couple is about to fuck on a boat. We have a woman with a sexy ass and a man with even sexier eyes who have to stop making out because the boy has to drop anchor from a boat that is already totally motionless. Then, and I in no way saw this coming at ALL, the anchor somehow tears a power line, which just happens to land on Jason who is wrapped in chains at the bottom of the lake. Then, in a STUNNING example of beautiful writing, the electricity from the cut wire is powerful enough to not only reanimate Jason Voorhees, but it is also enough to break the chains, thus freeing our undead hero.
Meanwhile, the boy on the boat tries to get his sexy girlfriend in the mood to fuck by telling her the story of Jason Voorhees, which I can tell you will ALWAYS get ME in the mood. They start fucking, and guess what? Go on, guess! Jason comes on board and murders the fuck out of them! Oh movie, you have yet to let me down!
Now, we are at a dock with a giant boat that looks more like an oil tanker than a cruise ship, but I’ll forgive it. The ship’s name is Lazarus. Hmm. Why is a boat in a movie about a serial murderer who keeps coming back to life called Lazarus? I don’t see a connection. Anyway, we are introduced to our main character Rennie as she pulls up to the dock with a teacher who gives her a pen that, according to her, Stephen King used in high school. This pen is not covered in blood OR possessed, so I do NOT believe her. As this is going on, the obvious crazy deckhand is introduced to us, as he looks over the side of the ship and sees the boat the murdered teens were murdered in float by. We are not told how this boat ends up here, and I appreciate that, because we can all make up our own stories of how Crystal Lake is somehow connected to a major waterway that leads to the ocean.
Then a guy who is either a teacher, or a principal, or whoever shows up, and of course he’s an asshole. It’s not a horror film until we are introduced to a character that we cannot WAIT to see get killed. Through wonderful acting and totally necessary exposition dialogue, we find out he is Rennie’s legal guardian, and he does not like the idea of her being on this ship at all. I can’t help but wonder, how could a responsible parental figure NOT want their child to go on a cruise in a boat that looks 40 years old and doesn’t have rails completely surrounding it? Not to mention it’s filled with high school seniors who are for some reason allowed to shoot clay pigeons with real guns and actually enjoy playing shuffleboard. Oh, and for some reason, Rennie brings her dog on board. The only way this movie could have possibly impressed me more is if when Jason comes aboard the ship, which we all know he will, he stepped in dogshit and got really annoyed and angry about it. And then killed the dog.
Anyway, this is no ordinary cruise ship, because rather than have a simple ship captain at the helm, there is an actual admiral there. The writer of this film REALLY did some wonderful research, because as we all know, admirals have all the time in the world to take breaks from being in the United States Navy to steer a ship filled with sexy teenagers and Jason Voorhees.
So, we have an insanely believable love story brought to our attention, as the admiral’s son, Sean, gives Rennie a three dollar Statue of Liberty necklace (you know, in case we all forgot that they are going to New York). She loves the necklace because she obviously has very low expectations. We are quickly introduced to our main characters through strategic editing, because we need to know the names of all of these teenagers before they get killed. I won’t go into each character, because the movie doesn’t really do that either, and God bless it for that! An overly 80s-looking girl is filming a shitty music video with a nerdy camera guy…we do NOT need a reason to care about these people in order to enjoy watching them all die.
We now are in Rennie’s cabin, where she hears a young boy yell “mommy!” and then sees a young boy outside the porthole grabbing for her. She reacts like ANY normal person would by doing nothing and being more concerned about her dog running away. My heart is pounding, I literally cannot WAIT to see where we go from here!
A slutty blonde and a sexy Asian girl go off to do some cocaine, because this IS an 80s movie, and Rennie walks in on them while looking for her dog. Here is where the movie gets a BIT unrealistic. The Asian girl says she is worried about getting caught because of her science scholarship…we all know her father would have considered it a dishonor to their family had she been about to go to school for ANYTHING other than math! Principal uncle-teacher guy walks in and calmly asks them if they are using drugs. They say no, and he seems just fine with that, even though there is a broken mirror and white powder all over the floor. They assume Rennie told on them, and even though they got in no trouble, the slutty blonde “accidentally” knocks her off the boat, and into the water. “Hey, you almost got me in trouble, I will now attempt to kill you!” Seems reasonable to me.
The crazy deckhand shows up to remind us all that we are in a Jason movie (though Jason seems to be behind every single door that anyone walks by at any time on the ship) by telling everyone that they are all going to die. The writer REALLY knows how to write people, and I can say I love how he makes sure that we know that no one cares. Jason has now found his way to the helm, where he murders an assistant captain. The Admiral comes in ,and because the director REALLY wanted to hit that 100 minute mark with the film, Jason slices his throat in the slowest slow-motion that I have ever seen. My God this movie is making me want to touch myself, but I have to resist for now.
His son Sean walks in to see them all dead and stuff, and gets on the loudspeaker and calls for everyone to come to where he is, but for some reason only the main characters show up. A black guy says “fuck” and teacher principal uncledad guy gets pissed. Because, as we all know, senseless violence and gore will NEVER destroy society like the tasteless use of profanity can. Down in the dancehall, which by the way, there is a dance hall with a disco ball on the ship, Jason has found the hot Asian girl. Here once again we are taken COMPLETELY out of reality when he chokes her to death and she does not use any form of karate on him.
Back up on the deck, weapons are divided as the teenagers decide its time that more of them get killed. The nerdy guy with the camera, still carrying the camera AND filming, trips and falls and loses his glasses. When a nerd loses glasses in a film, we all know that it means they are now legally blind. He sees someone coming towards him, and he fires the pistol he has. The camera now turns into a pair of glasses that exactly match his prescription, because looking into it makes him see perfectly that he just murdered an innocent man. Great, now on top of being a blind nerd, he has murder on his conscience. Jason takes it very personally that someone was killed in one of his films and he wasn’t the one to do it, and throws the nerd onto a control panel. Nerds must be extremely flammable, because before he even lands totally on the panel, his pants catch fire and he burns to death.
The survivors now run to a lifeboat, and Jason must be somewhat racist, because he just throws the black guy into the water, just assuming he can’t swim. I am just fine with gruesome murder and underage people having sex, but racial stereotyping is where I draw the line! As the lifeboat goes to float away, the black dude climbs on board, and now they are rowing. They must all have an excellent feeling for direction, because one hour into a movie with the word “Manhattan” in the title, we finally arrive there. And, just when I started to truly believe Jason was gone from the movie, he climbs out of the water to take Manhattan! And it’s about time, the Muppets had taken it far too long ago, and we needed someone else in control!
Being that this is New York in the 80s, they are help up at gunpoint 5 minutes after climbing ashore, and the gunman take Rennie so they can rape the shit out of her. They take her to a really nice couch they have set up in an alley where they shoot her up with heroin. Wait…what’s that? Jason shows up to save the day! Even he knows that while murder is okay, rape is a disgusting and unforgivable crime! He murders them. The black dude ends up on a rooftop with Jason where he actually tries to box with him. After tiring himself out while Jason shows no signs of fatigue, the guy actually just stands there and says “take your best shot”. Jason does, and decapitates him. It is getting harder and harder NOT to jerk off at this point.
A cop shows up, and being that this is New York, of COURSE the cop is Irish. And his accent is quite possibly the most believable Irish accent I have EVER heard. Jason shows up to make the cop dead, so they all jump in the car and run over Jason. She then has another moment where she thinks she sees Jason as a young boy standing there, and tries to run over something that isn’t even there and crashes the car. Her, Sean, and teacher uncle principal dad guy all get out, but just as they are about to run back and get the teacher, because this movie is an 80s movie, the car explodes. She just killed her favorite teacher and almost no one seems to care. For some odd reason, this triggers her memory to bring up a moment when, as a kid, the teacher uncle principal guy is trying to teach her how to swim. He just throws her into the water, which is how I plan on teaching my kids how to do ANYTHING, and Jason as a young boy tries to pull her under. She looks at him and reminds him of it, and for some reason everyone forgets about the raving maniac murdering people to focus on something that happened over ten years ago.
Sean and Rennie run off together, which of course leads to Jason showing up, and of course he murders the goddamned fuck out of teacher principal daduncle guy. They run through the filthy hellhole that is New York in 1989 and end up in a subway. They end up all falling out of a sub car onto the train tracks, which electrocute the hell out of Jason. Now, there must have been a small error on the editor’s part here, because as Sean goes to stand back up, he uses that same rail that electrocuted Jason to help himself up. There is no way the fantastic gift from Jesus that directed this film would have overlooked something like that.
They get back up to the streets, and you will NEVER believe this, Jason shows back up! They think that going down into the sewer sounds like a REALLY good idea, and while down there, run into quite possibly the best actor I have ever seen in film as a sewer repair worker. He tells them they have to get out of there soon, because at midnight, the sewer floods with toxic waste…WHY?!
They try to run off, but of course Jason kills the wonderfully played sewer worker, and Sean and Rennie start climbing a ladder to get out. Jason must be really tired at this point, because earlier he had no problem uppercutting a man’s head off, but right now he is struggling to pull two teenagers off of a ladder. Turns out the sewer worker was right, a giant wave of toxic waste rushes in as Jason’s voice changes back into the voice of a child, and he begins to yell for his mommy while vomiting up several gallons of dirty water. The toxic waste hits, and while it is strong enough to melt Jason Voorhees, the fact that it is splashing everywhere seems to be ineffective to the two on the ladder. The vicious toxic waste has turned Jason back into a child wearing underwear, which I of course found TOTALLY necessary, and the two teens climb out. They find her doggie, and sadly, this cinematic masterpiece has now come to an end.
Never has direction been done with such majesty as Jason Takes Manhattan. For not only has he taken Manhattan, but he has also taken a part of my soul as well. This movie, for all the Atheists in the world, is definitive proof that God DOES indeed exist.