Thank Goodness it’s Thursday Part 8 – Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Sometimes you need to get out of your surroundings and go to a new place, even if it is just for a quick visit. The benefits are plentiful to both your mind and body, even if you’ve been dead and back again countless times before. In 1989, as the decade drew, a mask-wearing killer decided that a trip to the Big Apple was just needed to get the slasher juices flowing. In Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan.

A aquaphobic writer becomes the next target to face the unstoppable Jason.

After getting a jolt from some undersea cables, Jason lives again, setting about to do what he does best. When the graduating class of Lakeview High takes a celebratory cruise to New York, Jason stows away aboard with them on the SS Lazarus. The class itself is preoccupied with their drama, completely undisturbed by the presence of Jason until he starts getting to work, picking off the rest of the class of 89 one by one. The survivors then fled to New York’s most famous borough, but the presence of countless isn’t enough to deter Jason. Will the big city’s streets and sewers be Jason’s final undoing?

The graduating class of Lakeview High are preoccupied with their own dramas, until Jason gatecrashes their party.

The geography-conscious among you may recognise that Manhattan Island is nowhere near the New Jersey based Camp Crystal Lake, so the majority of the first half of the film pits Jason against the S.S. Lazarus (get it?). The ship is a standout location, filled with interesting locals for Jason to both stalk and ply his unholy trade. Including a memorable showdown in a dance hall on board, one that bears the hallmarks of all the competing slashers at the time. Even the ship’s neon lighting almost gives the film an Italian Giallo look, or at least one that is oh-so-eighties. When Jason lands in New York, it has its distinct vibe too. From its iconic alleyways and apartment rooftops, you can be surprised about how the wide open and populated spaces can feel as deadly as the secluded woodlands of Crystal Lake.

The SS Lazarus is a fun location for Jason to stalk. Complete with 80s discos and other fabulous locations!

The new cast is intriguing, as are a lot of their demises, including the most iconic guitar-smashing scene. They include a wannabe witter (complete with a fear of water), a student trying to create a compromising situation, a wannabe videographer, a rocker, and a tribute cast to every 70s school sitcom you have seen is sent to chaperone the voyage. Even on the streets of New York, Jason’s encounter with boom box blasting youths, or the sight of his visage on a billboard, shows a playfulness that only could come after countless variations throughout the year. Almost a decade of consistent film releases shows how far Jason has come since starting in 1980.

The neon glows does give the SS Lazarus an almost Giallo vibe.

Fun, freaky and everything you’d wish for a horror-themed day out would be. The urban jungle and the decks of the Lazarus are fresh enough to almost give Jason a spring in his step, and the new batch of victims is just enough to do the change justice. There’s a charm too, one that feels that has been on the wane since the pioneering spirit of the original. It is fitting that the Empire State takes the franchise to its highest ebb, as Jason shows that New York is a heck of a town.

Despite appearances to the contrary, the urban jungle of New York, is as familiar to Jason as Crystal Lake.

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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