Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jensen Daggett, Scott Reeves, Barbara Bingham, Peter Mark Richman, Martin Cummins, Gordon Currie, V. C. Dupree, Kelly Hu, Saffron Henderson, Sharlene Martin, Alex Diakun, Warren Munson, Kane Hodder, Tiffany Paulsen, Amber Pawlick, Todd Shaffer, Timothy Burr Mirkovich, Fred Henderson
Written by: Rob Hedden
Directed by: Rob Hedden
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 100
Date: 07/28/1989

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

2 Stars (out of 4)

Slew York

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This was the most trying of all the Friday the 13th movies, even for die-hard fans. First up is a case of false advertising. Jason doesn't "take" Manhattan, or even get there, until the final 20 minutes of the movie. (Although, it must be said, that those final 20 minutes can be pretty cool.) Apparently, writer/director Rob Hedden actually did plan a movie that was mainly set in Manhattan, but Paramount balked and attempted to cut corners. Their efforts resulted in the second lowest-grossing film of the twelve-film series (as of 2013).

The movie opens on a young couple making out in a boat. The boy drops anchor, which drags across an underwater electrical cable and touches the dormant Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder), bringing him to life. He then boards a graduation party boat headed for Manhattan, and proceeds to hack up everyone on board. The ship catches fire and the survivors abandon ship in the life raft. Eventually they wind up in a sleazy waterfront, and -- finally -- Times Square.

Overall, the movie is just really stupid. Characters behave like zombies and idiots. One character, a teacher played by Peter Mark Richman, is only interested in being a total jerk, all the time, even when lives are at stake. (The only benefit is that you can't wait to see Jason hack him up.) The "handsome" leading man forever looks like he's about to cry or freeze in his tracks. Somehow Jason is able to be everywhere at all times, and his slayings are rather clumsy. They seem rather slowed down and totally stripped of all suspense. But perhaps worst of all, the movie runs an interminable 100 minutes -- the longest of the entire series (except the "unrated" version of the 2009 remake).

A young Kelly Hu, with a lot of hairspray, plays one of Jason's victims.

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