I love the Friday the 13th films to an almost psychotic degree but even I will admit that most of them are not good films. Fun films to be sure, but not good films. I’m not entirely sure exactly why I like them so much, there’s just something about the silent, plodding killer that I love so much. That and the sheer stupidity of the characters he kills. Perhaps my favourite example of this is in one of the earlier films. I’m not exactly sure which but I think it might be number two.
Whatever film it is doesn’t really matter, the scene is thus. Two characters are sitting downstairs playing a game, a boy and a girl. The boy is in a wheelchair. Take note of this because it’s very important. Any way, the two are flirting and generally having a good time when the girl decides to leave to change in a sexier pair of panties. While she’s away, Jason strikes killing the boy in the wheelchair. The girl returns and looks for the boy BY GOING UP THE FUCKING STAIRS! She leaves a boy in a wheelchair by himself and figures that he must be waiting UP THE FUCKING STAIRS for her. She is quickly despatched and frankly deserved it for her stupidity.
But we’re not here on Halloween to talk about whatever particular film in the series that was. We’re here to look at perhaps one of the worst films in the entire series, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, a film only really outshone in awful by part IX: Jason Goes To Hell. Christ, not even the messiah himself, Billy Dee Williams, could save that piece of shite. On to Jason taking Manhattan.
So part VIII begins, after a montage of the seedier side of New York, with Jason once more being resurrected and immediately sets about doing what he does best, despatching horny teens. Oh Jason, you loveable rogue! Is there a sexually adventurous teenager you won’t massacre? Anyway, it turns out ol’ Camp Crystal Lake is getting a little tired and played out for everyone’s favourite zombie serial killer. He wants to slay in the city that never sleeps! He hitches a ride on the cruise ship Lazarus bound for the Big Apple at… Crystal Lake harbour? I’m not entirely sure when Crystal Lake became connected to the sea but apparently it is. Hooray! Also aboard is Renee, a girl with a pen and a troubled past, and Sean, the ship captain’s son with a sexton and daddy issues. There are of course also your generic machete fodder. There’s 80’s rock chick JJ, film nerd Wayne who looks and sounds a bit like Matt Damon and Julius the boxer and two girls who do coke. There’s also high school teacher Charles who also happens to be Renee’s creepy uncle and Salty McSeadog (Actual character name may differ) who claims the ship is doomed.
So Renee has a few visions about drowning and the young Jason Voorhees, made worse when she falls overboard, Jason goes around ridding the world of a few pointless background characters and stereotypes and one of the cokeheads tries to seduce creepy uncle Charles whilst Wayne films in an effort to get out of handing in a biology paper. She is soon after taken out by Jason.
A storm hit’s the boat and Jason kills the ship’s captain and his first mate, making the journey that much more treacherous. Sean discovers his dad all dead and that and takes command through whining. It is now 40 minutes into the film and I’m guessing Jason killed the crew as he was pretty pissed off that it was taking them so long to get New York. He really wants to stray around the very heart of it. Salty McSeadog goes on about Jason Voorhees, claiming every one will die. He’s clearly a bottle o’ rum half-empty kinda guy. Anyway, Jason kills a few more folks including the other girl who does coke and Wayne. The rest of the gang decide to try and take Jason down, gathering as many weapons as they can. They fail and abandon ship, finally reaching New York and hour into the film with about half an hour left, Wow, Jason really has to tighten up his game if he wants to take Manhattan.
The survivors are captured by a New York street gang but are rescued when Jason shows up and begins killing the gang members. Has Jason finally changed his ways? Is he becoming the superhero we all knew he was deep down inside? No, he just loves killin’ folk. He’s been doing it for a while and sometimes hobbies are just impossible to give up.
Jason now hunts down Julius who decides to fight the big gut on top of a roof top in a scene which may or may not be at the end of this blog post. Ok, it will be. It’s great. Seriously. This one scene almost makes up for the rest of the movie for me. Julius’ determination, Jason standing there and taking it and it’s inevitable yet awesome conclusion make this film worth renting at least… though since I’m going to show you the scene, I wouldn’t bother. Nothing else is really worth seeing.
So from down here it’s all down hill. There’s a flashback in which Charles explains Jason drowned because he never learned to swim and that he’s still down there, ready to drag people down if they can’t swim. He then chucks her in the lake and tries to force her to learn, explaining her uninteresting back story of being afraid of water. Sean and Renee run off, leaving Charles to Jason’s capable hands. Jason drowns Charles, which I guess is supposed to be irony or karma or something.
Renee and Sean run to the subway, Jason chasing them and apparently not being that big of a shock to New Yorkers. Guess they have seen a lot what with giant gorilla attacks, alien invasions and all manner of things that’d make someone from a smaller town at least raise an eyebrow. Jason gets shocked on the subway track and our two, sigh, heroes are safe to explore New York. Except this is a Friday the 13th film and there are still 15 minutes left! Jason is still alive! I for one am surprised.
He chases them across what I think is Times Square where he freaks out some punk kids by lifting his mask. I for one am annoyed with Jason. Where’s the bloodshed, bro? Where’s the wanton slaughter? Has the franchise grown so tiresome that even you are bored of it all? No matter, Jason still has two more victims in his sights before he retires, moves to Florida and spends his last days playing Bingo.
They escape into the New York sewers, which makes perfect sense. If I had an unstoppable killing machine after me, I’d head into a dimly lit, underground maze. As they flee, they run into a sewage worker who explains that in ten minutes the sewers will be flooded with toxic waste, just like they are at every night at midnight… New Yorkers, is this true? If so, why? Is it to kill of all those alligators that live down there? Perhaps a mutant turtle eradication programme? If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, maybe you wouldn’t have such a high ratio of mutated animals living in your sewers if you didn’t flush them with radioactive goop every night.
Anyway, Jason shows up and kills the sewage worker and is about to kill Sean when Renee attracts his attention with a flashlight. Apparently, Jason has the same mental capacity as the T-Rex from Jurassic Park, even though earlier he was seen to be working out elaborate ways to kill his victims bringing his intelligence level at least up to that of the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park 3. Renee runs away with Jason following, leaving Sean unconscious in a tunnel that is about to be flooded with toxic waste in a matter of minutes. Plan. She stumbles across a toxic waste barrel and throws it in Jason’s face. Seriously New York, is toxic waste really that big of an issue in your fair city that, not only must you flood your sewers with it on a nightly basis but you must also leave barrels of it lying around in aforementioned sewers? What The Fuck?
The toxic waste causes Jason to remove his mask, revealing his visage. It’s kinda hard to describe, something kind of like a cross between one of those old Madball things and a Garbage Pail Kid. If you’re too young to understand those references I’m sure the fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia will answer your questions. In my day we had to use real encyclopaedias and I can guarantee you that they didn’t have entries about old 80s toy lines. Anyway, here is a picture of Jason sans mask for your viewing pleasure:
As you can see it's pretty fucking terrible. Seriously fucking awful. Just plain shit. But it doesn’t stop there.
Renee comes back for Sean, they climb a ladder and leave Jason below as the, sigh, toxic waste begins to flood the sewers. As it does, Jason speaks. Yes, Jason speaks but only that, he sounds like someone trying to do a child’s voice but poorly. And what does Jason, who has been so silent for so long have to say to the world? “Mommy, don’t let me drown… mommy.” Well… that’s just great. I know it makes sense in the context of the series but still… It just… It’s just wrong. Jason then get’s hit by the toxic waste and is reverted back to his childhood form. Which makes no fucking sense but by this time you’ve been pretty much battered into submission by the films unrelenting stupidity and you just kind of accept it. And so Sean and Renee are free at last to go and be boring together. Whoop-de-fucking-doo. You know what, fuck it. Let’s just show you the last scene, courtesy of CampVoorhes.com. Consider it a Halloween bonus.
See! See what I mean! It fucking sucks! And what’s worse is it looks like Jason the child has a normal head. What the fuck is that about? Fucking hell!
Ugh. There you have it. So what have we learnt? Well, I personally have learnt that New York has a severe toxic waste problem that they can surely find better ways of solving than simply flushing it down the sewers. I’ve learnt that throwing your niece into a lake after telling her it’s haunted by a dead child is not the best way to teach her to swim. I’ve also learnt that, since most of this movie takes place on a fucking boat, it was severely wrongly titled. It should have been called something like Friday the 13th VIII: Avast Jason! Or Friday the 13th VIII: All Hands On Death! Or some such thing.
Let’s at least end things with a high note. I present to you, my favourite Friday the 13th death of all time, Jason Vs. Julius. Enjoy.