“It’s time to play the music! Doot doot doot doot dooooo something…” Yeah, sorry, I just felt obligated to make the mandatory Muppets Take Manhattan joke. So, anyway, Jason Takes Manhattan: “Worst Friday the 13th movie” or “Best Worst Friday the 13th movie”? Personally, I lean toward the latter, mostly because I’ve seen Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X and those are actually worse than an hour and a half of Jason killing teenagers on the Love Boat.
You’d think the title would make the plot pretty self-explanatory, but you’d be wrong. Jason is freed from his watery tomb yet again and hitches a ride on a cruise ship taking the Crystal Lake High graduating class to Manhattan. Jason then spends over an hour thinning out the special ed. students which would appear to be practically every kid on the boat. Meanwhile, a girl named Rennie is having hallucinations about Jason because she nearly drowned in Crystal Lake as a kid and that apparently has something to do with everything. Oh, and they eventually reach Manhattan for a good 20 minutes, which, save for Times Square, is actually Toronto.
See why people hate this movie so much? Jason doesn’t actually take Manhattan. He walks around Times Square for a couple minutes and then hangs out in some alleys and sewer tunnels that look suspiciously Canadian. Three quarters of the movie takes place on a cruise ship due to budget reasons (filming in New York City is notoriously expensive).
There’s a lot of dodgy camera work and special effects throughout the movie, too. Jason tends to “teleport” all over the place while chasing teens. He ascends a ladder in a mere handful of seconds and somehow materializes inside the second floor of a building before the person he was chasing gets there. The special effects aren’t noticeably bad until the ending and Jason’s unmasking segment. His face looks downright pathetic; a far cry from the excellent make-up effects of Part VII.
Yet, despite this movie being *bad*, there are a number of classic Friday the 13th scenes in there as well as some good kills to keep you from getting bored. The fistfight between Jason and Julius ranks in my Top 5 Friday the 13th moments as it’s just something completely different (*no one* tries to box with Jason). Then there’s the scene with the street punks in Times Square. Yeah, it may have been out of character but c’mon, it was FUNNY. Also, you get to see Jason split open Saffron Henderson’s (Gohan from Dragonball Z and Noin from Gundam Wing) skull with an electric guitar.
Jason Takes Manhattan is one of my favorite Friday the 13th movies for personal reasons stemming from nostalgia. Back in the day, Parts V, VII and VIII were virtually the only Friday the 13th movies networks like USA and the Sci-Fi Channel would play. Those were the movies that introduced me to Jason, and really, horror movies in general, so this flick will always have a special place in my heart.
Yet, it’s still an awful movie. An entertaining movie, perhaps, but still awful. I’d have to give it a C-, I’m afraid.