Here we are, months after I started watching the Friday the 13th movies, still making our way through another franchise with Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, more or less universally considered the worst of the bunch, this movie is garbage... but also the greatest movie of all time. On one hand, these things have been getting exponentially worse with each sequel. On the other, they have getting exponentially more watchable. This movie gets off course early and is a total free fall into what the fuck by the end. Holy shit this movie is weird even by this franchise's standards.
Gist of the movie is that a bunch of high school students go on some weird boat trip to New York, Jason tags along, kills most everyone on said boat, reaches Manhattan, and then kills most of the rest of them there (as well as some of your average 1980s New York thugs) before getting drowned in toxic waste and reverting back to child-form. Again, what the fuck? How? Believe the hype surrounding this movie, greatest fucking movie ever. Especially that boxing scene. That was fucking amaze balls.
Pros: The boxing scene is hilarious. Jason looks cool. The change of locale is sort of interesting and we get a really cool shot of Jason in Times Square. They don't kill off the dog.
Cons: The plot is all over the place and makes no sense. There aren't really any good kills. They change the rules of the game (Jason can suddenly teleport). The ending is really bad and really insane.
Now we start getting a bunch of kills on the boat. Most of them are lame city they make it clear that Jason can definitively teleport in this one. This is most apparent when he is the disco room with the Asian girl as Jason totally teleports around the dance floor before killing her. In sum we get kills with the following implements: a guitar, a sauna stone, a harpoon, Jason's mitts, and a navigation system (Jason throws a dude into it who catches fire before he hits the fucking thing), among other things. Eventually chaos ensues and the ship starts to go down. But not before Jason teleports up the mast one last time to throw some loser off down onto the decks below. He also T\tosses the black dude in the ocean before the boat actually sinks.
Some further ridiculous stuff with Jason becomes apparent here. First, Jason crawls out of the ocean behind the lifeboat. Apparently Jason swims to NYC. Funny that a kid that drowned is now able to marathon it from the middle of the sea. Second, on the docks of Manhattan he sees a billboard with his hockey mask on it and is weirded out. We also see a young Jason a couple of times. He looks completely different than he did before but whatever. This is foreshadowing to the end or something.
Back to the survivors. They have now discovered that New York is a 1980s hellhole, per usual. Before they even realize Jason is on the island with them they get robbed and the survivor girl gets kidnapped. These kidnapper guys don't give a fuck. This is how my parents think of New York right now, by the by. These dudes shoot her up to rape her. It's insane. Jason actually intervenes and saves the day here. Out of nowhere he pops up and stabs one of the guys in the chest with a hypodermic needle filled with drugs. The other guy, however, is not impressed with Jason who tries to fight him. Jason smashes his head through a steam pipe. He dead. Also, heroine has no affect on the girl who is up and on the move while Jason gets his killing on.
Around here we get what is easily the best scene in the movie: Jason boxes the black guy on the top of an apartment building. It was fucking insane (see the first gif). The guy connects like 400 straight punches before tiring himself out just when he has Jason with his back to the wall where he could potentially punch him off the side of the building. The rope-a-dope works pays off. Jason was down on points but wins on a knock out. Jason literally punches the dude's head off. It looks terrible and is amazing.
A cop shows up to arrest Jason and immediately dies. The remaining boaters hop in the cop car and hit Jason who appears as a child as they make their getaway causing the car to crash and eventually explode. This conjures up a repressed memory from the survivor girl's childhood where the teacher chaperone dick bag guy scares the piss out of her about Jason being in the lake and throws her in off a row boat. Child Jason is at the bottom of the lake and pulls her down. She is like "you almost made me drown." He is like "uh... oh, when I taught you to swim?" The love interest dude is like "you son of a bitch" and the dude is kicked out of the group just in time for Jason to wake up. The old dude runs away into a building. Jason teleports in and throws them out a window. He then drowns him in toxic waste which is just chilling there like barrels of toxic waste do outside of industrial buildings.
Now we are at the beginning of the end which is quite the journey. Don't remember how they got there exactly but dream boat and survivor girl start making out in a big pile of trash, great time for a first kiss. It's short lived as Jason busts through knocking over a bunch of garbage. They flee and take the subway. Jason is on there. The teleporting thing. This begins this amazing montage of Jason just being an aggressive asshole. First he tools and a bunch of losers. The teeny bopper dude, I think, tackles him at the end of the line and knocks him into an electric grill. Sort of slows him down for a minute. Next thing you know you get Jason in Time Square, my second favorite scene in the flick. Punks see this and rage, for some reason, and decide to fuck with him. All he does is take his mask off which scares the shit out of them. Everyone is still running. They end up in Monk's Diner, maybe. People are barely fazed by Jason. Just another day in New York for them, I guess. Jason, on the other hand, seems to struggle with this many people to kill. Instead of slaughtering indiscriminately, which is what you would sort of hope for, he just focuses on these two.
|Makeup Artist: Nailed it|
Researching what the hell that was about, I found an interview with director Rob Hedden where he explained the ending thus: “In the first film a young boy drowns and we find out it is his mother who is the one that has been killing everybody. It’s not Jason. That was a great twist, but young Jason still propelled the whole thing. So, in our movie, he drowns in the toxic waste and turns back to that young boy. I wanted to have it come full circle. His soul has finally been released.”
So that was Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, a movie that really tested my Greatest Movie of All Time pledge. But it was totally awesome in a bizarre, train wreck kind of way.