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Film / Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

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Afterwards, all Manhattanites agreed that they were better off with the Muppets.

"New York has a new problem."

The eighth Friday the 13th film, released in 1989.

Jason Voorhees has spent years haunting Crystal Lake and the camp that bears its name, stalking and killing anyone who finds themselves unlucky enough to get in his way. For the last year, however, Jason has had to suffer the indignity of hanging out at the bottom of Crystal Lake itself, what with someone pinning him under a collapsed dock and all.

Lady Luck has a sick sense of humor, though. A couple of teenagers on a pleasure boat accidentally revive Jason, who climbs aboard the boat and kills the both of them. The next morning, a much larger boat docks at Crystal Lake, ready to take several teens and their chaperones on a post-graduation trip. Jason manages to sneak aboard the ship as it departs, and he eventually starts killing teens and crew alike. But when this boat arrives at its final destination (one way or another), Jason will have to contend with something for which even he is unprepared: New York City.

Jason took these tropes to Manhattan with him, so watch your step:

  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Where the finale happens. Justified in that it is New York.
  • Accidental Murder:
    • Wayne accidentally shoots a crewman when a pipe bursts, knocking off his glasses and causing him to shoot the crewman.
    • Rennie crashes a police car after running over Jason and hallucinating Child!Jason, causing Colleen to be blown up.
  • Alliterative Name: J.J. Jarrett and her buddy Wayne Webber.
  • Apathetic Citizens: New York City, apparently. Rennie and Shawn are chased down busy streets, into diners, and a packed subway car by Jason, and nobody around them gives it a second thought. More poignantly, when they pull the emergency stop on the subway while they're being obviously stalked by Jason, all of the passengers start loudly complaining about the fact they'll be late. Then there's this gem:
    Rennie: You don't understand! There's a maniac trying to kill us!
    Waitress: Welcome to New York.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite all evidence, McCulloch adamantly refuses to believe Jason Voorhees is behind everything until Jason comes after him.
  • Artistic License Geography:
    • One of the more infamous cases in movie history: Jason manages to get from a lake to the ocean. Lakes don't flow into oceans like that. The only way lakes connect to the ocean is through rivers as a way to purify the salt water as it it enters the lake. And its not big enough to fit a fishing boat through it.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • McCulloch is probably the strongest example since his every second on screen seems to be devoted to making you cheer when Jason finally drowns his ass in a barrel of sewage.
    • The two Thugs who try to rape Rennie end up getting brutally murdered by Jason. One of them even gets stabbed with the very same needle he used to drug Rennie.
    • Tamara, who had pushed poor Rennie into the water just because she saw her doing drugs {And didn't even rat her out either}, and uses and discards Wayne after he risks his academic future helping her blackmail McCulloch, ends up getting stabbed by Jason with several glass shards.
  • Attempted Rape: Rennie is drugged by a couple of thugs and would have been raped had Jason, who chased her there, not cleaned house himself.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: New York in the 1980s was exactly the sort of wretched hive that Jason could call home.
  • Black Blood: Can be seen when the deck hand is found with an axe in his back, and also when the thug is impaled with his own syringe.
  • Camera Fiend: Wayne is always carrying his video camera around, even when he's armed and searching for the killer onboard.
  • Car Fu: Rennie attempts to kill Jason with a police car.
  • Cassandra Truth: Despite all the chaos that ensues on the boat and off it and the deaths of several characters, McCulloch adamantly refuses to believe that Jason is alive and after them, until Jason comes after him and drowns him in a barrel of sewage.
  • Closed Circle: The cruise ship.
  • Continuity Nod: The mask Jason collects from Jimmy has, for no discernable reason, the same axe gouge that Jason's original mask received in Part III.
  • Continuity Snarl: Possibly with the intention of making Jason look more tragic, the movie decides to depict child Jason in flashbacks and his "true form" after he dies to look like a perfectly healthy looking child without any of the deformities he was established to have in other installments of the franchise.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The events leading up to Jason's revival. Jimmy and Suzie are on a boat in Crystal Lake. Jimmy lowers the anchor, which lands on an underwater powerline. Jason's body is just coincidentally right next to it and the anchor starts rubbing the powerline, electrifying Jason's body and bringing him back alive. Even more coincidentally, Jimmy also just happens to have a hockey mask in his boat for Jason to put on.
    • The hockey mask even has a crack on the same place Jason received an axe to the head in part 3.
  • Cut Phone Lines: Jason cuts the radio communications from the ship Lazarus. Which is rather knowledgeable from one who has never been near the ocean in his life (or unlife, if you prefer).
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Tamara says she'd date/sleep with Julius for the sole purpose of pissing her father off, and more poignantly (if only for a second) in order to get his attention.
  • Dean Bitterman: Charles McCulloch, who constantly wears the disposition of a stern Puritan.
  • Destination Defenestration: When McCulloch attempts to run away from Jason, he teleports ahead of him and throws him through a window.
  • Determinator: Jason, oddly so as he shrugs off all the easy potential victims just to get the remaining protagonists.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • While not exactly evil, Beta Bitch Eva is clearly uncomfortable with Tamara pushing Rennie off the boat and stops hanging out with her afterwards. Though Eva does try to find Tamara when everyone is told to get together and finds her body. And Jason.
    • The one moment where McCulloch can almost seen as admirable is when he doesn't let himself be seduced by an eighteen year-old student trying to get her grade bumped up. he may be more concerned about his reputation, since he ogles the student quite a bit before rejecting her.
    • Also present behind the scenes. Originally, a scene called for Jason to kick Rennie's dog, but Kane Hodder refused to do it, stating that while Jason may have no qualms against killing humans, he's not bad enough to hurt animals.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: After Rennie crashes the police car, it blows up.
  • Evil Overlooker: Jason in the official movie poster.
  • Expy:
    • The unnamed deckhand for Crazy Ralph from the first two films.
    • Most the cast, actually
      Rennie: Chris from 3 plus Tina from 7
      Sean: Nick from 7
      Charles McCulloch: Dr. Crews from 7
      Mrs. Van Deusen : Amanda from 7
      Tamara: Melissa from 7
      Wayne: Eddie from 7
  • Eye Scream: Jason gets stabbed in the eye with an ink pen (that was allegedly used by Stephen King) by Rennie.
  • Fish out of Water: Invoked a bit, if only for the premise that Jason, a killer who primarily operated in the woods, is now suddenly wandering in the big city (though the action aboard the cruise ship takes up most of this). The film does at least give a nod of this, mainly in the scene where a confused Jason stares at a billboard displaying a goalie wearing a hockey mask for a few seconds.
  • Flare Gun: McCulloch grabs a flare gun when he goes looking for the deckhand, whom he suspects is responsible for the deaths onboard the cruise ship.
    Mrs. van Deusen: Nobody could possibly see a flare gun in this storm.
    McCulloch: There's only one person who needs to see it. I'm gonna find that deckhand.
  • Flat Character: One of the teen boys, Miles, who doesn't get a single shred of characterization (or even a single line of dialogue in the movie) before he's killed by Jason. He didn't even get to speak a single line in the whole movie.
  • Foreshadowing: Julius boxes with a schoolmate on a class trip. Later, he tries to box against Jason. it doesn't go well for Julius.
  • Fountain of Youth: Toxic waste in the New York sewers does this to Jason for...some reason.
  • Gainax Ending: As Jason drowns in toxic waste, it lowers enough to reveal Jason as a little boy in swim trunks — apparently his child-self that drowned in Crystal Lake.
  • Geographic Flexibility: Despite early Friday the 13th movies and supplemental materials largely suggesting that Crystal Lake is landlocked, this sequel suddenly implies there is some kind of water passageway connected to the lake that empties out into the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Julius tries to bring Jason down with his fists, but it doesn't end well.
  • Gratuitous Rape: Fortunately (sort of) Jason is there to break it up.
  • Hallucinations: Rennie is haunted by hallucinations of Jason as a child.
  • Harpoon Gun: However, after being at the bottom of a lake for a year, Jason doesn't have the coordination to properly pull back the rubber band on it. No problem—he stabs a girl with the whole harpoon gun.
  • Heart in the Wrong Place: Tamara's "biology project" would've gotten an F even if it had been legitimately submitted for course credit.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The scene of two thugs kidnapping, drugging, and attempting to rape Rennie is far more disturbing than Jason's undead killing spree throughout the rest of the film.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Somewhat justifiable considering Jason isn't in the best shape by this point in the series, but it's still kind of jarring that he misses two people with a harpoon gun from just a few feet away, especially considering that one of his most famous kills (back in the third film) had him skewering a woman right in the eye with a harpoon from a much greater distance.
    • Could be justified by the fact that, when he was alive, Jason had both his eyes, even if his face was deformed. Since his resurrection, he only has one. Perhaps his depth perception was off.
    • It's also worth noting that his death itself in the fourth movie involved taking a machete to his good eye.
  • Instrument of Murder: Jason bashes J.J.'s head in with her own guitar.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: McCulloch is probably the film's biggest jerkass, but he does make two good points.
    • When Steve says that Jason Voorhees is killing people on the ship, McCulloch doesn't believe him and thinks the creepy deckhand is the killer. Besides, who the hell would think an undead killer would be killing people on a boat when he usually kills people in one specific area?
    • Then, he stops Rennie from putting the ship's anchor down, rightly pointing out that they're in a storm in the middle of the ocean.
  • The Joy of X: X Takes ManhattanJason Takes Manhattan is part of the movie title.
  • Karmic Death: Believe it or not, Jason actually delivers two of them, albeit unknowingly:
    • One of the thugs that tried to rape Rennie is stabbed by the same needle that he used to drug her.
    • McCulloch is revealed to have pushed Rennie into Crystal Lake when she was a kid (In a horrible attempt to teach her how to swim), resulting in her nearly drowning. Just seconds after this is revealed, Jason gets back up, chases McCulloch, and drowns him in a barrel of sewage.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Averted. Jason was supposed to kick a barking dog at some point in the film, but Kane Hodder decided it wasn't in his character.
    • Which is an example of canonical Alternative Character Interpretation, given it is strongly implied in Friday the 13th Part 2 that Jason disemboweled a dog with his bare hands offscreen.note 
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: While the previous films in the series had averted this (usually because characters tended to die before they could alert anyone as to Jason's presence), this one embraces it. After the ship's captain is found dead, Julius organizes a hunt-down for Jason, which leads to the death of two other students. Then, when the boat survivors arrive in NYC and Rennie is kidnapped, McCulloch suggests doing this again to find her, which leads to Julius' death.
  • Mirror Scare: Rennie has a hallucination where she sees Jason as a child inside her cabin's mirror just before the real Jason attacks through a window.
  • Mugging the Monster: Two street toughs confront Jason after he kicks their boom box. He just turns around and lifts his mask at them. The run away at top speed.
  • Murder by Mistake: After losing his glasses, Wayne shoots the other unnamed shipmate in a fit of panic, thinking he is Jason.
  • Never Trust a Title: Jason spends most of the movie en route to New York, rather than in the city. Some critics have joked that a more accurate title would be "Jason Takes a Cruise", and it's not hard to see where they're coming from.
  • No-Sell: Jason has this reaction to Julius boxing with him.
  • Odd Friendship: Two examples. Drug-using, manipulative Alpha Bitch Tamara and the kind, shy, studious Eva, and also hardcore rocker J.J. and geeky camera fiend Wayne.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: To the point where the only thing that gets in the way of some of the characters' survival is Jason's teleporting escapades.
  • Off with His Head!: Julius's fate, as his boxing match with Jason ends with him getting decapitated with an uppercut.
  • Oh, Crap!: Par for the course in this franchise, but a particularly funny moment happens when Jason, while chasing the Lazarus survivors through New York (by way of Granville Street in Vancouver), accidentally knocks over a boom box. The street toughs who were grooving to it get up and start threatening Jason. Rather than kill them and risk letting his real targets escape he simply turns his back to the camera, looks at them, and lifts his mask. The tough guys immediately back off wide-eyed saying "It's cool man!" Doubles as Rule of Funny
  • One Free Hit: Exhausted and with his hands injured after fighting Jason, Julius doesn't make any attempt at defense and tells Jason to just hit him. An unusual version, since this happens at the end of the fight, and it's clear that Julius expects to die, but he's too tired and injured to resist any longer anyway and wants to go out with something like dignity.
  • One-Steve Limit: There are two characters with the same first name.
  • The Pen Is Mightier: Jason gets stabbed in the eye with an ink pen.
  • Police Are Useless: The four remaining survivors find a cop shortly after arriving in NYC, but he ends up dying at Jason's hands almost immediately. After that, Rennie and Sean never once think to try and get help from any other cops for the remainder of the movie.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Boxing with Jason is just a bad idea.
  • The Quincy Punk: Jason briefly encounters a group of them during his visit to Manhattan.
  • Quizzical Tilt: Jason does it when he sees a hockey billboard that has a mask similar to his.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: The sanitation worker's death.
  • Sink or Swim Mentor: McCulloch is a quite literal one in Rennie's flashback.
  • Slashed Throat: Jason slashes Capt. Robertson's throat when he is checking out Jim's corpse.
  • Staggered Zoom: Used when Rennie decides to ram Jason with a police car and we're shown that she's once again seeing a hallucination of younger Jason.
  • Stealth Pun: Jason's first victim on the Lazarus was killed with an "axe".
  • Teleport Spam: Jason spams his teleportation skills to torment Eva before strangling her.
  • This Cannot Be!: McCulloch's reaction when he sees that Jason survived the police car crash.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After Miles realizes he simply can't take on Jason by himself, he decides to flee...up a mast, where he clearly can't go anywhere else but back down, as Jason proves by following him up and flinging him down to his death.
  • Too Happy Too Live: Chief engineer Jim mentions his infant son just a few minutes before Jason kills him.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailer promised mayhem in New York, the ship Lazarus isn't mentioned at all. This has more to do with the film's budget: as said budget shrank, filming in New York became prohibitively expensive, which necessitated both the need to film "New York" scenes in Vancouver and spend more time on the Lazarus. The film doesn't even get to New York until the last act.
  • Use Your Head: Jason breaks the window to Rennie's cabin with his head and attacks her.
  • Vader Breath: Jason has a mild case of it in this film.
  • Victory by Endurance: Jason vs. Julius the boxer.
  • Villainous Rescue: Jason stops an Attempted Rape on Rennie from two thugs. Likely unintentional, as he probably just wanted to kill her himself, and the only reason she got away is because one of the thugs puts up a fight before Jason takes him out, allowing her to slip away.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When Jason sees the toxic waste flood headed his way, he starts vomiting.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: A deleted scene would have shown Jason doing this.
  • Water Is Dry: When Rennie goes to the bathroom immediately after her near-drowning, her hair is still wet, but her clothes have dried out entirely, even though hair dries out a lot more quickly than clothes do.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Established between Captain Robertson and his son Sean in their initial scene. He shows regret over it later on and tells Jim to avoid putting too much pressure on his own son. Not that either of them lives long enough to act on that advice.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • There were several other students who were told to wait in the ship's dining hall during Jason's rampage. When they get brought up later, Sean says the restaurant is gone, which implies that when the engines blew up the dining hall was either destroyed in the blast or got submerged first. Either way, those kids are most likely dead since the ship sank.
    • In the scene where we see the few students left being taken to the dining hall, Jason is shown peeking in at them through a window. It's likely that the small group was killed by Jason offscreen, but nothing is ever mentioned about all the other students left on the ship.
  • Wrench Whack: Jason kills the sanitation worker with his own wrench.
  • Zombie Gait: Technically Jason has been undead for a long time by now, but he really gets the walk after getting hit in the face with some toxic waste.