What a time to be alive. Growing up alongside slasher horror movies in the 80s’ was certainly a peak moment for many adolescent horror fans in the decade. As the villains’ became pop-culture phenomenons appearing on lunch boxes and bootleg toys, our special boy Jason Voorhees was no exception to the horror synthwave of the 80s’. With the exception of 1983 and 1987, Friday the 13th was the ONLY series of films to release one movie every single year from 1980-1989 with everyone bearing some charm, gore, and new angle to bring Jason back onto the scene for more murderous rampages on teenagers. After 1989, they tried to resurrect him again, but people like me just weren’t buying it. Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan was the true and final ending to a decade-long franchise of the Crystal Lake Killer.
Let’s rewind a bit: In The Final Chapter, Corey Feldman’s Tommy Jarvis successfully accomplished what everyone was trying to do for 4 years- kill Jason. While technically, this right here would have been a dignifying sendoff for our special, special boy, fans clamored for more and the studios pulled a 180 by bringing him back in A New Beginning… Well sort of. We all THOUGHT we were watching Voorhees torment a now teenage Tommy laying low in a camp for troubled teens- mass murder from a guy in a hockey mask in a Friday the 13th film, who else would it have been? The twist is that it was actually paramedic Roy Burns who, like Pamela before him, went into a homicidal rage after the death of his kid. Jason was still dead and the murders were done by a copycat. This kind of pissed off audiences and they felt cheated. While I always thought that was a clever route to go down by refreshing the storyline, much like with Halloween III, fans wanted the REAL Jason.
Bending to the fans who can make or break the studios, Paramount begged for forgiveness with Jason Lives. A more focused, and determined Jarvis returns to Jason’s grave to ensure he truly is dead. And he is until Jarvis and a friend open the casket for a Frankenstein resurrection moment to happen with Voorhees. And we’re off to the races again with a more powerful zombie Jason in predator mode- until he gets trapped at the bottom of the lake not once, but TWICE. The first time is when Jarvis sends him back to his watery grave from which he was formed in Part 6, and again with Tina’s telekinetic powers in Part 7. I mean, if it didn’t work the first time what made anyone think it would a second? Now, let’s get to where Jason takes a boat, I mean Manhattan, and the true and final ending to Voorhees.
I honestly don’t give a shit what anyone says. Jason Takes Manhattan is probably the most fun Friday movie given to us in the 80s’. It almost becomes such a parody of itself in the process of the film that you just can’t help but overlook the cop-out of him only spending about the last 20 minutes of the movie in New York; which at the time, had quite the reputation of being a dangerous place indeed full of crime and sketchy individuals. Jason fits right into the mold.
Jason’s final confrontation with main characters Rennie and Sean has them ending up in the city subway system, where it’s coincidentally revealed that a river of toxic waste is released every single night. In pursuit, Jason gets trapped inside the toxic waste, and reverts to a child-like state- and HE SPEAKS! This is blasphemy! Jason never uttered one word throughout the whole franchise, yet while his face is melting away and sees a river of more sewer waste pounding towards him, he cries for “mommy”. It’s actually sort of gut-wrenching and a stern reminder that Jason really just has the mind of a child. This is only validated further when Reenie sees Jason’s childhood self, at peace in death among the waters.
Ok, who’s cutting onions in here!
I truly feel as if this was the proper send-off to an otherwise tragic character. Not this Jason Goes To Hell garbage that made him a demon-body-hopper. I don’t know, maybe I’m too sentimental, but I believe an icon as important to the genre such as this deserves a fitting ending if we’re gonna give him one.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.
Friday the 13th Collection [Blu-ray]