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Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is a 1989 American slasher film written and directed by Rob Hedden and starring Jensen Daggett, Scott Reeves, Peter Mark Richman, and Kane Hodder. It is the eighth installment in the Friday the 13th film series and follows Jason Voorhees stalking a group of high school graduates on a ship en route to, and later in, New York City. It was the last film in the series to be distributed by Paramount Pictures in the United States until 2009, with the subsequent installments being distributed by New Line Cinema.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Friday the 13th Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) theatrical poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rob Hedden
Produced by Randy Cheveldave
Written by Rob Hedden
Based on Characters
by Victor Miller
Music by Fred Mollin
Cinematography Bryan England
Edited by Steve Mirkovich
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • July 28, 1989 (1989-07-28)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5 million[1]
Box office $14.3 million (US)

According to New York Has a New Problem: The Making of Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, this was another sequel intended to be the final film in the series. It received substantial attention for its initial marketing campaign, featuring Jason Voorhees slashing through the "I Love New York" logo with a knife, which was later retracted after the New York City Tourism committee filed a complaint against Paramount Pictures. Released on July 28, 1989, the film grossed $14.3 million at the U.S. box office, which was the second-lowest U.S. gross in the series. It was the worst-reviewed installment in the series at the time, and is followed by Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.



Two graduating high school students are aboard a houseboat on Crystal Lake. Jim tells his girlfriend Suzy the legend of Jason Voorhees, before playing a prank on her with a hockey mask and a prop knife. The boat's anchor damages some underwater cables, which shocks Jason's corpse and revives him. He sneaks on board, takes the mask, and kills Jim with a harpoon gun before impaling Suzy, who tries to hide from him, with a barb.

The next morning, the SS Lazarus is ready to set sail for New York City with a graduating senior class from Lakeview High School, chaperoned by biology teacher Dr. Charles McCulloch and English teacher Colleen Van Deusen. Van Deusen brings McCulloch's niece Rennie along for the trip despite her aquaphobia, much to his chagrin. Jason sneaks on board and kills rock star-wannabe J.J. with her guitar before hiding. That night, a young boxer who lost to champion Julius Gaw is killed when Jason slams a hot sauna rock into his abdomen while Rennie, searching for her pet Border Collie Toby, discovers prom queen Tamara and Eva doing drugs. McCulloch nearly catches them moments later and Tamara pushes Rennie overboard, suspecting she told on them. She uses video student Wayne to record McCulloch in a compromising situation with her but rejects Wayne's advances afterward. Jason kills Tamara with a shard of broken mirror as she showers.

Rennie sees visions of a young Jason throughout the ship, but the others ignore the deckhand's warnings. Jason kills Captain Robertson and his first mate. Rennie's boyfriend and Captain Robertson's son, Sean, discovers them and tells the others before calling for an emergency stop. Eva finds Tamara's body and flees, but when she goes into the disco room, Jason follows her and violently strangles her. The students agree to search for Jason while McCulloch decides that the deckhand is responsible; however, the deckhand is found with a fire axe in his back. Jason tosses student Miles to his death, and Julius is knocked overboard. In the hold of the ship, Wayne comes upon J.J.'s body and is thrown into an electrical box by Jason; his corpse catches fire and causes the ship to sink. With the other students dead, McCulloch, Van Deusen, Rennie, and Sean escape aboard a life raft and discover Toby and Julius are alive.

They row to New York where Jason stalks them through the streets. Rennie is kidnapped by a pair of junkies, and the group splits up to find help. Julius fights Jason but becomes exhausted after Jason does not go down; he is then decapitated by a single punch from Jason. Rennie escapes from Jason when he kills the punks that kidnapped her. She runs into Sean, and they reunite with the teachers and the police before Jason kills the officer who is helping them. Rennie crashes a police car after a vision of Jason distracts her. Van Deusen is incinerated in the car when it explodes, and it is revealed that McCulloch is responsible for Rennie's fear of water, having pushed her into the lake as a child. They leave him behind, and Jason drowns him in a barrel of waste.

Jason chases Rennie and Sean into the subway. Sean incapacitates Jason by knocking him onto the electrical third rail. When Jason revives, he chases them through Times Square, where they try to escape through a diner. They flee into the sewers and encounter a sewer worker. He warns them that the sewers will be flooded with toxic waste at midnight before Jason appears and kills him. Sean is injured, and Rennie draws Jason off, wounding him with a splash of acidic waste. Jason is forced to take off his mask, horrifying Rennie. She and Sean climb the ladder as Jason staggers to get them. Just as he is about to kill them, the sewers flood and engulf him. Rennie sees a final vision of a child-form of Jason as the waste recedes. The two escape to the street, where they are reunited with Toby, who had run away earlier, and walk off into the city.



To conceal the fact that it was a Friday the 13th film, the initial working script circulated under the title "Ashes to Ashes."[2] The film was shot at seven locations in the United States, though the primary filming locations were in British Columbia, Canada, primarily Vancouver.[2] The alleyway scenes were shot in Los Angeles. After filming wrapped in Los Angeles, the rest of the film was shot on locations in New York City, including Times Square. According to director Rob Hedden, the cost of production in New York City was not feasible given the film's budget, which is why large portions of it were shot elsewhere.[2]

The film's musical score was composed by Fred Mollin, who worked with longtime Friday the 13th series composer Harry Manfredini on the previous installment. On September 27, 2005, BSX records released a limited edition CD of Fred Mollin's Friday the 13th Part VII and VIII scores.[3]

The song "The Darkest Side of the Night" performed by Metropolis plays over the opening and ending credits to the film. Rob Hedden specifically wanted them to write a song reminiscent of Robert Plant.[4] The song would not see an official release until the year 2000 on the album "The Power of the Night".

The song "Broken Dream" which J.J. jams along to on her electric guitar was written by Mollin and Stan Meissner and features Terri Crawford on vocals. The instrumental "J.J's Blues" was written by Meissner. The 2 songs remain popular among fans and when a fan inquired to Meissner about whether they can be released he responded that no complete versions of the songs were ever recorded as they were never intended for release outside the film.[5] Despite this a longer instrumental version of the track plays during the club scene in Forever Knight Season 1 Episode 1 (1992).

Promotion controversyEdit

In promotion for the film, Paramount Pictures began an advertising campaign featuring Jason slashing through the "I Love New York" logo, which was featured on the original movie poster. Though the poster was distributed, it was later replaced after the New York City Tourism Committee filed a complaint with Paramount Pictures.[2] The replacement poster featured an image of Jason looming over the New York City skyline.[2]


Box officeEdit

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan was released July 28, 1989 in the United States. The film entered the box office at number 5 for the weekend with earnings of $6.2 million.[6] The film faced strong competition at the time of its release from such high-profile genre fare as A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.[7] Ultimately, it would go on to gross a total of $14.3 million at the U.S. box office, ranking at number 70 on the list of the year's Top 100 earners.[8]

Critical responseEdit

On his commentary track for the film in the box set, director Rob Hedden acknowledges the faults and agrees that more of the film should have been set in Manhattan, citing budgetary and schedule problems.[9]

Entertainment Weekly labeled it the eighth-worst sequel ever made.[10] Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 8% based on 24 reviews; the rating average is 3/10.[11] Film critic Leonard Maltin, however, gave the film a more positive review, awarding the film 2 out of 4 stars and calling it the best in the series. Maltin complimented the film's imaginative direction but criticized the film's running time as being too long.[12]


  1. ^ "Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)". The Numbers. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Farrands, Daniel (2013). Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (Documentary). Image Entertainment. 
  3. ^ "Friday the 13th Part 7 and 8 - Original Score By Fred Mollin". Archived from the original on October 17, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2012. 
  4. ^ Bracke 2006, p. 211.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Friday the 13th Part VIII (1989)". 
  7. ^ "1989 Yearly Box Office Results". 
  8. ^ "1989 Yearly Box Office Results". 
  9. ^ Hedden, Rob. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (DVD audio commentary) (DVD). Paramount Home Video. 
  10. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (December 22, 2007). "The worst movie sequels ever". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 15, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Friday the 13th Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  12. ^ Maltin 2013, p. 499.


External linksEdit