Jason Voorhees stalks a ship full of high school grads heading to New York City.
“The Big Apple’s in BIG trouble!”
“The city that has seen it all ain’t seen nothing yet!.”
I remember Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) hitting the big screen. I was working part time in a restaurant, and one of the other cooks went to see it. He told me it was so bad it was hilarious. I didn’t know if that was a compliment or an insult – but I didn’t really care, because I had more or less stopped watching after Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (1985). I hated that movie when it first came out. And I wasn’t too fond of the idea that Jason had returned in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), either. I loved Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) and thought ti was a perfect ending for the series… I’ve probably already said this in my other Friday the 13th posts, so I’ll cut this short. I grew to love ALL of the Friday the 13th movies – some for different reasons than others. And Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is no exception…
For a movie called Jason Takes Manhattan, Friday the 13th Part VIII spends an awfully long time somewhere else. It’s basically about a high school graduation dance that takes place on a boat which is sailing to New York City. They do finally get there, but not until the last half hour or so. And the funny thing is, this movie was mostly shot in Vancouver, Canada (and some in Los Angeles). So even though they claim to be in New York, they spend most of their time in dark, grungy back alleys that aren’t exactly recognizable tourist destinations.
There is (finally) one sequence that was actually shot in New York City – in Times Square to be exact. And this is the sequence that sort of justifies the whole experience… See, they’re really in New York! I told you so!
It’s actually a pretty funny sequence in which Jason walks through Times Square and sort of fits in with the rest of the locals. This was, of course, the old Times Square – before it was all cleaned up and made respectable. If only Jason had visited some other iconic landmarks like The Empire State Building, this movie might have been a bonafide classic.
As it is, it’s still pretty fun. Incidentally, Kane Hodder (who plays Jason) says that shooting the Times Square sequence was the most fun he’s ever had making a movie.
Sadly, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan didn’t make as much money as the rest of the series, and Paramount Pictures decided to drop it. The rights were later purchased by New Line Cinema, although not the Friday the 13th title, and they made a few more Jason movies. But that’s another story…
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) is arguably the least popular movie in the series, which qualifies it as #NotQuiteClassicCinema. I have, over the years, come to love it in spite of its many shortcomings (or perhaps because of them). And I will continue to watch it, in rotation, on the appropriate – and properly designated – #FridayThe13thAtTheHomeDriveIn.
— Angus Kohm (@AngusKohm) October 14, 2023