Worst Movie Ever is a new feature here at Horror in Retrospect, where I take a movie that I consider to be horrible, and put it to shame. Some of these movies are widely considered some of the worst horror movies ever and some of them are considered the best. My tastes differ from a lot of people's, so for the first installment of this series I have decided to play it safe and take on a movie that many people: Friday the 13th Part VIII; Jason Takes Mahattan.
Jason Takes Mahattan starts out well enough with the resurrection. In the films beginning with Jason Lives, Jason was resurrected from whatever grave he was put into in the previous movie. In Jason Lives he was reurrected from the grave that he was put into between the fourth and sixth film. Here is resurrected from his watery grave that Tina, in part seven, put him into. Not only is he resurrected, but it is always done accidentally. For instance, in Jason X Jason is resurrected because he was being thawed out for research. No one on the ship could have predicted that, by letting Jason's seemly lifeless, and therefore, dead body, would allow Jason to rise to kill again.
Here Jason is resurrected by a ship that is passing by. To me, this is the first of many mistakes that the filmmakers have made. It shows how lazy they were when it came to finding a way to bring Jason back into the fold. So now that Jason is back to business the rest of the movie is going to be good, right? Not by a long shot.
The movie moves the main action to a cruise ship, where it will spend the majority of the movie. This is the second mistake the filmmakers make. They put Jason into an extremely limited enviorment, where he doesn't have any room to breath. This takes all the suspense away from the movie and just makes it a series of meaningless kills.
I know what you are thing: Jason is a killer and most of his kills are meaningless. My answer to this is: the best Friday movies have characters that you can relate to. In the first four movies in the series, there are characters that are just like you and me. They are regular people trapped in a situation that they have never been in before and they do things, while some of them dumb, that we might do to get out of said situation. Here the characters are cliches, going through the motions. None of these character think for themselves and therefore we cheer when Jason gets them.
That is one of the problems with the latter slasher movies. The filmmakers don't take the time to give us real characters and the movies suffer because of that. If they would just give us characters with a shred of a brain that would build suspense and therefore giving us a reason to cheer for them instead of the killer. In the original Friday, we cheer for the characters and when Mrs. Voorhees is decapitated at the end, we cheer because evil has been vainquished. We want the good good, or girl, to live and the bad guy to die.
As the series progressed it became thew opposite. We went to a Friday movie or a Nightmare movie and rooted for the bad guy. We wanted Jason or Freddy to win and to do it in the most inventive way possible. And that leads me to the most important part of the this movie: the kills.
The Friday movies have always been known for their inventive kills. Whether it be two lovers killed together with a spear or a camper being stuffed into their sleeping bag and continually beat against a tree, the Friday movies had some of the most inventive kills of all the slasher movies. The problem with Jason Takes Manhattan is that the kills are not memorable. Other that Jason punching a guy's head clean off, the kills are pretty standard. We go into this movie expecting to see some really cool kills and we are let down.
The ending of the movie is probably the most boggling aspect of the movie. The final confrontation takes place in the sewers and when all is said and done, Jason is turned back into a kid. I can take the bullshit that is part five, but this is just stupid. Did the filmmakers really think that this idea would fly? Was there another ending that they could have used? I have no idea what they were thinking, but this ending is one of the worst endings I have ever seen.
Jason Takes Manhattan is not the worst movie is the series (that honor goes to part five), but it comes close. It seems that the filmmakers weren't even trying to make a good Friday movie. It goes to show that this movie was not that big of a hit and, Paramount decided to sell the rights to the series after this movie didn't make a lot of money. It has been twenty-one years since Jason Takes Manhattan and we still have yet to see a good Friday movie, not counting Freddy vs Jason. This is a real shame. Here's hoping that we see a good one come soon.