Wednesday, October 24, 2012

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

Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is one of the stupidest, most pointless horror films ever made.  In my review of Part VII: The New Blood , I mentioned the problems with the timeline of this series.  With Part VIII, the timeline gets even more ridiculous. And clearly the filmmakers weren't paying any attention to what had come before.  Anyway, the bulk of Part VII takes place in 2013 (for an explanation, just take a look at my review of that film).  At the end of that film, the house at the edge of the lake explodes for no particular reason, and Jason is pulled back into the lake by the re-animated corpse of the father of a telekinetic chick. 

In Part VIII, once we've gone past the awful New York opening credit sequence (which, by the way is unlike the opening credit sequence for all of the other films in the series), we are in the exact spot where Jason was submerged.  The remnants of the house are gone, and there are new buildings there.  So this film takes place at least three or four years after Part VII. So, let's say it's 2016.  (Though, really, it needs to be much later, considering no one seems to remember the series of murders there from 2013.)  Two high school seniors are on a houseboat.  The boy, Jim, says they're right around the summer camp where all the murders took place.  The girl asks, what murders? Of course, the camp hasn't been there for more than two decades. But do they not know about all the murders from Part VII?  Jim tells her that Jason drowned thirty years ago. But obviously his math is way off.  Jason drowned in 1957. So he should have said that Jason drowned sixty years ago. (Though, actually, in Part 2 it is established that he didn't drown at all, and had been living in a makeshift shack in the woods all this time.)  Anyway, Jim tells the story of the first couple of films (for anyone in the audience who hadn't seen them).

Meanwhile the boat's anchor hits come cable on the bottom of the lake, which sends an electrical charge to Jason, reviving him (as lightning did in Part VI: Jason Lives). This time he's able to break the chains holding him down there (so I guess he's stronger than he was in Part VI). No sign of Tina's dead dad from the end of Part VII (see my review of Part VII).  Did they finally give him a proper burial?  Well, Jason comes aboard and kills the two teenagers.  There is the sound of his name being whispered, which is retarded.  And we definitely miss Harry Manfredini's music (this is the only film in the series that doesn't feature his score).

And then - and here is where the film completely gives up on making any sense whatsoever (and only thirteen minutes in) - the boat that the two kids were on - you know, the one on the lake - drifts into the ocean and ends up in a harbor where the graduating class is getting onto a larger boat to travel to New York City.  The fact that Jason stayed on that boat, rather than getting off after killing those two kids, is retarded.  But what's offensively retarded is the idea that somehow the boat could get from the Crystal Lake to the ocean.  How did it do that? Magic, maybe. Lazy screenwriting, more likely.

So then we're introduced to a bunch of teenagers on a boat.  The main girl, Rennie, is cute. But her legal guardian, Uncle Charles, doesn't want her on the boat.  One of the kids, Sean, is the son of the boat's captain.  No one else matters really.  Jason climbs aboard and no one notices.

And though it's 2016 or later, everyone is wearing late 1980s fashions. One girl is trying to make an '80s retro music video. Anyway, inexplicably these kids like to be alone on the boat, which is convenient for Jason, who kills them off one by one. How big is this boat, that each of them can go off alone? Or maybe it's a really small graduating class. Some boat crew member says, "He's come back and you're all gonna die." It would have been more appropriate if he'd said, "He's come back and for some reason has left Crystal Lake to take a cruise with the high school graduating class to New York, and as a result you're all gonna die."

And then, because this series is always striving for originality and the unexpected, there is an electrical storm.  Guess which other film in this series has an electrical storm? If you guessed Part1, you're right.  I also would have accepted Part 2, Part 4, Part V, Part VI and Part VII as correct responses.  What's wrong, Part 3?  Heavy winds don't count.

Anyway, teenagers scream when they're killed, but no one hears them.  Look, filmmakers, this isn't a giant ocean liner.  A boat full of high school seniors, and each kid goes off alone far enough from the others that his or her screams aren't heard?  Come on!  The captain of the boat is the most human and believable character in the movie, so he's killed off fairly early.  Sean then finds his father's corpse and uses the intercom to call everyone to the bridge. He also calls the Coast Guard, but Jason pulls the plug before he can get out his message.  There is then a fire.

Five survivors get in the life boat and row to New York.  They row for a full day. It's night when they start, then day, then night again, which is when they see the Statue of Liberty. So rather than just row to shore, they rowed the rest of the way to their destination.  Once they've docked, Jason climbs out of the water.  I guess he swam for a day.  This is when the movie becomes even more retarded.  The survivors are mugged by two cliches.  The muggers also decide to steal Rennie in addition to their wallets.  So the other four split up to try find the police.

The muggers shoot Rennie up with some drug, and one is about to rape her but Jason kills him (thus inadvertently rescuing a girl he's traveled a long way to kill). By the way, Rennie was already hallucinating long before being drugged.  She keeps seeing some kid with Down Syndrome drowning.  Rennie finds Sean and tells him that Jason is in New York. They regroup with the others (except for the black guy, who is now dead), and find a cop.  The cop is then immediately killed by Jason, who in this film sometimes seems capable of teleportation.

There is a flashback to Rennie as young girl in a rowboat on the lake. Uncle Charles tosses her into the water in order for her to learn how to swim. She is pulled under by a boy. Supposedly it's Jason, which makes no sense unless Rennie is now like sixty-five years old.

I don't know if you've ever been to New York City, but there are a lot of people there.  A lot.  Yet these characters can't manage to find anyone. Rennie sits on a discarded couch and tells Sean that her parents died in a car accident.  This is supposed to make us feel for her, and it gives Jason a chance to catch up with them. The chase continues. Finally they get on the subway, where there are lots of other people.  But apparently Jason is really determined to kill these two people specifically. He chases them from car to car, passing all sorts of potential victims.

The train stops and they get out. Jason touches the third rail, and the electricity hurts him, knocking him out. Make up your mind, movie.  Didn't electricity revive him?  Twice?  Anyway, Rennie and Sean leave the subway and walk the streets of New York, with lots of people around. But Jason follows them. He's really set on getting these two. Jason kicks an old dual-cassette boom box out of the way, but doesn't kill the four punks who threaten him for smashing their radio. Instead, he scares them by briefly lifting his hockey mask.

So rather than get a taxi to put some distance between themselves and Jason, Rennie and Sean go down into the sewers. An odd choice, right?  A sewer worker tells them that every night at midnight toxic waste rushes through the sewer. Is that true? It makes sense to me, because I think of New York City as a big cesspool full of toxic waste. Well, they have ten minutes to get out. Rennie finds a pail of toxic waste and tosses it at Jason.  This harms him, and he stumbles around for a while. Then the rush of toxic waste gets Jason, and turns him back into a young human boy. That makes as much sense as everything else in this piece of shit.

You'd think this movie would be bad enough to kill the series.  But no, the filmmakers decided to make yet another pile of feces, titled Jason Goes To Hell. Then, after he goes to hell, Jason goes into space in Jason X.

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