Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
AKA: Ashes to Ashes (Fake Working Title)
(Release Date: July 28, 1989)
Springtime for Hitler!
For another oddball thing... the very idea of Jason Voorhees not only leaving Crystal Lake but taking some contrived-ass motivation to head to New York of all places just sounds like a recipe for farcical comedy (and cousin, let me tell you, that's there). Still, even with the degrading Manhattan of the late 1980s and the incredibly 80s motifs (from over-the-top, self-righteous silly synthesized songscapes to poofy stonewashed jeans to hairstyles one could hardly get through a porthole to... did I mention the omnipresent synthesizers?) it might still be a neat twist to see the Jasonator both prowling the streets like a misguided vigilante and trading the rural campsites for an Urban Jungle. That doesn't quite fathom to the surface, however, because one of the oddest things about Jason Takes Manhattan is that virtually NO part of this film actually takes place in Manhattan at all... and not just because "Manhattan" looks a hell of a lot like British Columbia, either.
A pants-load more of this film is something like an early perversion of Die Hard on a Boat with J-Dawg slicing up teenagers on a chartered party boat full of raving high-school seniors, most of them played by incredibly hot twentysomething women... one of whom has been haunted by a weird-ass apparition of Jason Voorhees as a little swimming kid which... is... um... really?
Yep, this is what writer/ director Rob Hedden came up with along with producers Randy Cheveldave and Barbara Sachs (whose experience on the other films implies that she might have known better).
With all this sailing and NYC Tourism, you might be shocked to find out that the film actually opens at Crystal Lake. Though, I'd wager, not as shocked as Jason.
See, two of the High School Seniors who are set to party on that same old boat prepare for this unique experience by... taking a boat ride. This is how we get something of a recap of the previous films, resurrect Jason and get our first nude scene from the super hot Suzi Donaldson (Tiffany Paulsen) who has an incredible body that the camera should have spent more time on. Oh, also pictured is her boyfriend Jim (Todd Shaffer), but who cares? Hello Tiffany!!!
Thing is Captain Hockey happens to still be lying right on the lake's floor, just where Carrie (oops, I mean Tina) left his decaying ass the year before. So, while Jim is distracted by Suzi's body (wouldn't you be? I mean, DAMN!) his little boat's anchor rips open an underwater power line and resurrects Jason's slimy corpse!
This, my friends, is less than five minutes into the film and we already have experienced our first repeat from earlier films in the series... Jason's Frankenstein-like reanimation by electricity. This repeat is NOT the last.
But, hell, I guess when it comes to changing the location from Summer Camp to Time's Square (at least partially) and adding the inexcusable subplot of ghostly preteen Jason in swim trunks, they either figured "Fuck it, we've achieved our originality quota for this film!" or they thought they needed more familiar crap to help people remember what Slasher Flick they're watching, man!
The plot even mirrors itself here. You've got your ostensible leading lady in Rennie Wickham (Jensen Daggett, whose name sounds like the robot dog from Battlestar Galactica) and her attempts to win the approval of her overbearing and stern uncle who raised her (Peter Mark Richman's Charles McCulloch, along the ride because he's also a teacher). This contrasts in no way whatsoever with Rennie's love interest Sean (Scott Reeves) and his attempts to win the approval of his overbearing and stern father who raised him (Warren Munson's Admiral Robertson, along the ride because he's, well, the Admiral).
Virtually every other typical 80s character and trope is in there like PREGO, such as Sharlene Martin's big-haired and sexy Prom Queen who is really a loose, cokehead wild woman, Saffron Henderson's the big-haired, leather-clad rock-and-roll chick with the Flying V (woefully lonely without a synthesizer to keep it company), Martin Cummins's big-haired (and big spectacled) film geek with the crush on the big-haired hot chick who leads his ass on, V.C. Dupree's big-haired, tough Jock everyone on the boat wants to either BE or DO, who walks around thrusting his shoulders and talking about how he's going to kick the killer's ass (three guesses how that works out for him) and even sweet, sweet Kelly Hu's big-haired version of her own ass. Man... she must be ageless... and hot!
I don't know what's worse... the fact that none of these people can act (or aren't given a fighting chance to) or the fact that we're a little over a half-hour from the closing credits before we actually see the film's title city. To be fair, I guess "Jason Takes a Boat Ride" doesn't sound nearly as cool, even if it is thrice as accurate. The main crime here is that the film makes no real sense at all, to the point that each and every character is clearly either more sociopathic than Jason himself or a total retard with very little emotion in their entire being.
The only character with even a smidgen more than a little bit of depth (other than Renny's dog Toby) is probably Jason himself... and only because he's played by smilin' Kane Hodder again. But, if you just happen to be a big Hodder Hater, you might giggle when you look closely at the "New York Cook" that Jason throws across the room. Yes, folks, he just happens to be played by this film's talented Stunt Coordinator known as Ken Kirzinger... also known as... the guy who eventually replaced Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees.
I'm sure the producers, director and plenty of fat, greasy fan-fiction writers out there can make sense of this film's major McGuffin of ghostly-ass "Young Jason" (played in various forms of decay and deformity by Timothy Burr Mirkovich), but what made it to the screen is hardly clear (or even sensible) in any way, shape or form. Is this some ill-advised and ridiculous notion that young Rennie (played in flashback by Amber Pawlick) actually met up with Jason's recently deceased corpse (which would make her a thirty-nine year-old High School Senior) or did she see the ghost ten years ago, meaning Jason's youthful ghost (in various stages of deformity and decay) has been separated from his walking corpse from the very beginning? And if it's the latter... why did we never see his ass before? Is Baby Ghost Jason trying to save people from his slimy, gooey alter ego or is he trying to kill Rennie because he, too, is a dick?
The whole thing makes no sense and the really silly ending (which, rather appropriately, takes place in a toxic waste filled sewer) does nothing to help anything or anyone whatsoever!!!
Perhaps we should all ask Alex Diakun's Deck Hand character... the ONLY character in this entire film who seems to have any idea whatsoever what the hell is going on (other than Renny's dog Toby)!
So, let's see... Jason Fucking Voorhees got trapped under the very water he drowned in at a time when his body was so fucked up he actually had bones poking out of his fucked up clothes. A couple of fucked up teenagers go for some fucked up and inexplicable practice boat ride in some fucked up boat whose fucked up anchor fucks up an already fucked up power cable which resurrects Fucked Up Jason in a fucked up plot point stolen from the sixth fucked up entry in this fucked up series. Somehow this fucked up fact manages to fix his fucked up clothes because his fucked up bones are no longer sticking out every which fucked up way. As a reward, Jason fucks up the teens and steals an imitation fucked up hockey mask which miraculously happens to be fucked up in the exact same fucked up way his previous precious fucked up mask was. For incomprehensible fucked up reasons he just happens to hitch a fucked up ride on the fucked up boat the two fucked up teenagers were about to take their fucked up senior cruise on (with a ton of currently and soon to be fucked up other teenagers). After fucking up some fucked up teenagers (who ignored the fucked up rip off of "Crazy Ralph" from the first fucked up movie (the second fucked up movie had a fucked up reappearance of the same fucked up character) and most of this 8th fucked up movie has already been sloughed off, Jason finds himself in the most fucked up parts of fucked up 1988 New York where he is met by a series of fucked up sight gags. The fucked up thing of it is that the fucked up ghost of his fucked up younger self is already in Fucking New York (for some fucked up reason) and so he's got that fucked up fact to deal with. And just when things get irreversibly fucked up the fucked up credits roll because the fucked up film is over.
Isn't that fucked up?
Yes. Fucked Up it is! Shit. It's REAL Fucked Up! (Renny's dog Toby is pretty cool, though!)
In fact, so fucked up was this movie that it made the least amount of money at the fucked up box office of any fucked up entry in the history of the series of fucked up films... before or since. Yeah, it made its money back but if the fact that on-location shooting in Manhattan equaled about 5% of the actual film that bears its name tells you anything, making back that budget wasn't too hard. In a unique moment of non-fucked-up-ness, Paramount Pictures wised up and got the hell out of the Jason Voorhees business, instead letting New Line distribute the rest, starting with the only movie in the series more fucked up than this one... Jason Goes to Hell, which is fucked up beyond belief. And I haven't forgotten Jason X... this film and its follow-up are both MORE fucked up... than Jason Fucking X, the film in which Jason went to Outer Fucking Space!!!
But that doesn't change the point of this review... the point being that THIS film, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is one incredibly FUCKED UP MOVIE. TWO FUCKED UP STARS out of Five! See you in the next fucked up reel. Fuck!
Film for me to review until they make more.
That's right! I've reviewed them ALL!
Isn't that fucked up?
Well... If you get caught between
the Moon and New York City...
Kiss your ASS goodbye...
But click here for more reviews first!
Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
reviewed by J.C. Maçek III
Who is solely responsible for the few views on this site
But not for the fact that New York Tourism took a Dive after this film.
Nobody was that scared, but nobody wanted to hang around with stinky guys like The Voor Whore either!
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