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

Rating: D

Dir: Rob Hedden
Star: Jensen Daggett, Scott Reeves, Barbara Bingham, Peter Mark Richman

Because “Jason Takes a Cruise” wouldn’t sell as many tickets, even if it’s a far more accurate title. I can understand the aim behind trying to get Mr. Vorhees out of Crystal Lake, to try and avoid flogging that dead horse any further, but the execution – and, indeed, executions – here is woeful. That’s clear from the moment Jason turns into the Loch Crystal Monster, apparently using an underground tunnel connecting the lake to the ocean or something. And, hang on, didn’t he originally die because he couldn’t swim? I guess, at some point, we must have missed Jason Gets His Waterwings. The bulk of the film takes place on a liner taking no-one else save a graduating class of, it seems, about a dozen, to New York for a trip: the obvious “final girl” is Rennie (Daggett), who almost drowned in Crystal Lake when she was a child, and is now the ward of stern principal Mr. McCulloch (Richman). Jason climbs on board and business proceeds, more or less, as usual until the survivors bail out, arriving on the Statue of Liberty, only to find the new, dolphin-equipped maniac has followed them.

If this had mostly been about our hockey-masked friend rampaging through the Big Apple, this might have been more fun, summed up in the exchange between the two last survivors and gum-chewing waitress in a New York diner: when told, “There’s a maniac trying to kill us!”, her delicious, blandly-disinterested response is, “Welcome to Noo Yawk.” I enjoyed the delicious irony of Jason passing more or less unnoticed in Times Square, but these moments only throw the tedious suckage which is the rest of the film, into stark relief. That’s apparent right from the opening, when Jason is unable to hit his target with a spear gun from three feet, continues through the complete lack of explanation for the killer wanting to take a cruise, Rennie’s PTSD, and right on to the toxic-waste ending which… No, I had to see it unwarned, and don’t see why you should be any different. Up until now, this had been like the Star Trek films – only the even ones were any good. No longer so: at this point I began to wish I hadn’t started this project, but having written seven reviews previously, I’m going to use them, dammit…

Body count: 18. Best kill: Memo to self. If ever I meet an unstoppable serial killer, I will not attempt to engage him in puglistic fisticuffs. Going by the results here, doing so is a sure recipe to losing one’s head, hohoho…