Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan Preview

It’s baaaaaaa-aaaaaaack. That’s right! We’re watching some more of our favorite horror franchise: Friday the 13th. Last cycle we had to endure the fifth in the series, which was so bad that it almost destroyed my taste for all things Jason Vorhees… almost. For the StreetCreditReport.com cycle we have to jump to the eighth film in the franchise, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, which often makes it to the top of the worst of the series lists. This is reflected in the RT score with a solid 2/22 (8%). This of course means that we have non-BMT homework for Part VI: Jason Lives (which is often considered one of the best in the series; 52% RT) and a BMT qualifying bonus film Part VII: The New Blood (30% RT) which we just previewed. We’re going to do it guys. We’re going to watch the entire series in a single year! Let’s go!

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) – BMeTric: 69.0

Fridaythe13thPartVIIIJasonTakesManhattan_BMeT

Fridaythe13thPartVIIIJasonTakesManhattan_RV

(Whoa, also regression to the mean. Popular Low Rated film. That is surprising to me. I would have thought that the film would have a more of a sustained low rating … perhaps (spoiler alert) Leonard Maltin is right … maybe this movie is “better” than I am giving it credit for in my mind. By better I mean intentionally so-bad-it’s-good, which to me is just intentionally-bad-and-not-at-all-funny. Gauntlets thrown.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  The best film in the “Friday” series, imaginatively directed and written by Hedden, is still just a slasher film, though less gruesome than most. Despite the title, most of the film takes place on a cruise ship. Too long and not really for fans of the series.

(Ludicrous statement that this is the best film in the franchise. I can tell you that right now. Maybe for someone who doesn’t appreciate the horror genre at all making a movie where Jason “takes” Manhattan as some kind of joke (some kind of sick, sick tongue-in-cheek joke) could be considered a weird pinnacle, but I say nay. Leonard hints at that at the end though, so I have to give him credit for that. Perhaps he did watch this movie at the time though. Could be tipping the hand a bit that the more over-the-top comedy horror films like Leprechaun were well on their way.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5fc43O3ynE 

(What. The. Fuck. So yeah, I guess they aren’t playing this exactly straight. I’m going to hate this movie aren’t I? Yeah, I think I’m just going to straight hate it. It isn’t going to have any good kills. It won’t be funny even though it thinks it is. Ugh. I already hate it. I’ve already ruined my viewing of this film.)

Directors – Rob Hedden – (BMT: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Notes: Was a big tv movie guy back in the day it seems which is interesting. He was also offered the chance to direct a Nightmare on Elm Street sequel after this production wrapped, but was exhausted from the hectic production on this film.)

Writers – Rob Hedden (written by) – (BMT: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Clockstoppers; You May Not Kiss the Bride; The Condemned; Notes: Wrote 14 episodes of MacGuyver. Also cast his sister as a waitress in this film, her only IMDb credit.)

Victor Miller (characters) – (Again, he always gets credits, we’ve delved as deeply into his backstory as the internet allows.)

Actors – Jensen Daggett – (BMT: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Major League: Back to the Minors; Telling You; The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them; Notes: Had a recurring role on Home Improvement as Tim “The Tool-Man” Taylor’s sister-in-law. I’m kind of obsessed with the fact that she was on Project: Alf, the tv movie that wrapped up ALF in 1996. It was terrible, I was ten at the time, and an all-around weird thing to have happened.)

Kane Hodder – (Known For: Monster; Daredevil; The Devil’s Rejects; Frozen; Prison; Hatchet; Alligator; Lone Wolf McQuade; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon; Hatchet III; BMT: Jason X; Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Room 6; House II: The Second Story; Hatchet II; Wishmaster; Muck; Best of the Best II; Father Hood; Out for Justice; Grind; Notes: It is so strange that this guy was also uncredited in Daredevil just like Kevin Spirtas … anyways, he played Jason and was also a long time stunt man. He appears to have parlayed his can-do and fun-loving attitude (much talked about in notes about this film) into a long slasher film career. On wikipedia it states that he is a noted Juggalo.)

Todd Caldecott – (BMT: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Fear; Notes: Canadien and an herbalist, he released a book called Ayurveda: The Divine Science of Life.)

Budget/Gross – $5 million / Domestic: $14,343,976 (N/A)

(Slowly a-tumbling down. Probably still profitable if those numbers are accurate. It is just that now it is a 300% return instead of 1000%. So, I presume we are about to find a true-blue bomb among these micro-budget horror films)

#61 for the Horror – Slasher genre

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(Below Halloween III: Season of the Witch. That is basically all you need to know about that. As the franchise which managed 8 filmed in the 1980s (!) transitioned to the 90s there was something foreboding about the trends the horror genre had been taking. And realizing that the franchise would go from 8 movies in the 80s to 1 in the 90s … well, 80s horror was a special time. It is understandable people would reminisce about the fun-loving attitudes of the era.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (2/24): No consensus yet.

(I’ll make one: Comes across far better in retrospect, but still, the series (and this installment) is still some of the worst the genre had to offer from the era. None of these reviews are from pre-2000 so they are all looking backwards. And they are far more positive than you would expect. A few mirror Leonard’s opinion that it is the best of the bunch, but the rotten tomatoes review score (3.0/10.0) doesn’t really reflect that, so I’m still pretty skeptical.)

Poster – Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Take Sklog-hattan (D)

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(Egad! This color scheme is no bueno. Unlike the previous entries they have fully transitioned from artistic 80’s styling to tacky garbage. Still got the font, but that’s about it.)

Tagline(s) – New York has a new problem (B)

(First of all, could you be more condescending to NYC? Basically saying “check out this garbage town where everything is shit and crime is rampant… even worse now. Fuck NYC, emirite?” But that being said, it’s short, somewhat clever (“new” and “new”), and hints at the plot. Still, there is something that nags me about this one. Don’t love it even though it hits a lot of right notes.)

Keyword(s) – hockey mask; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.8 Jason X (2001); 72.2 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 69.0 Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989); 67.6 Stan Helsing (2009); 66.7 Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985); 52.2 Eight Legged Freaks (2002); 50.7 Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988); 47.6 Friday the 13th (2009); 47.5 The King of Fighters (2010); 46.3 Exit Wounds (2001);

(Friday the 13th is a lot less than I would have imagined. Exit Wounds … well I can’t wait to see the hockey mask there. This is also a pretty nice list. I mean, you wouldn’t watch all of the Friday the 13th, but still, kind of a fun variety. How nice.)

Notes – Kane Hodder says that one of the most fun parts of his tenure as Jason was the scenes in Times Square. He says that spectators were lined up and down the block watching the filming, and he didn’t want to take off the mask to destroy their illusion of Jason. He said that every once in awhile, he’d turn his head and look at them, and watch them all go crazy. (This movie sounds weirdly fun. People had fun making this)

Writer/Director Rob Hedden originally wrote more of the movie to be set in New York. He had written scenes at Madison Square Garden, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Empire State Building. But Paramount told him that budget would not allow him to spend that much time in New York, so he was forced to rewrite the film and spend more time on the cruise ship. Hedden says he agrees with fans who complain that not enough time is spent in New York, given the title Jason Takes Manhattan. (HA!)

(at around 1h 28 mins) In the diner, the man Jason throws into the mirror is Ken Kirzinger, who would go on to play Jason in Freddy vs. Jason (2003). Kirzinger also doubles as Jason in a few brief shots in this film. (That is a fun fact)

In the original script, when Jason makes it to the dock, a dog starts barking at him and he kicked it. Kane Hodder, who was playing Jason, felt that kicking the dog was going too far and so the scene was dropped. (It was going too far. He murders innocent children, but kicking a dog is too far. I would never condone animal abuse and I’m glad they cut it, I just find that funny)

After the disappointing results at the box-office, Paramount decided to sell the Friday the 13th film series to New Line Cinema, making “Jason Takes Manhattan” the last feature produced by Paramount, until the 2009 remake. Only three other sequels were released in between. (Cool. We shall watch them all!)

Many of the actors pointed out to themselves a plot hole earlier in the filming of the movie. They were asking how did the ship get out of Crystal Lake and into the Atlantic Ocean. But most them were just happy to be in a movie so they didn’t bring it up to the Producers or the Director. (Yeah … I was wondering how they would get from Crystal Lake to Manhattan. I guess the answer is “fuck you”)

At 1 hour and 40 minutes, this is the longest of the Friday The 13th films. (WHAT)

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