Film Review: Friday The 13th Part 8 - Rise Of The Pumpkin Face

I remember the excitement that I felt when I saw the first TV spot for Jason Takes Manhattan. Pure joy and giddiness was brought about when seeing Jason standing to the forefront of the New York City skyline. I couldn't believe my eyes and my then my next thought was how in the hell are they going to get Jason to Manhattan and why would he go there at all? All of my questions would be answered, sort of, in the next few weeks after seeing the commercial.

An exciting opening sequence which had Jason get a brand new hockey mask and dispatch of the teen couple on the house boat was on par for what I had come to expect from a Friday the 13th film. I may be in the minority, but I really enjoyed the new score than Fred Mollin created for this movie. It really did fit the tone and look that Director Rob Hedden wanted to bring to the screen! That being said, what transpired after the opening scene was some of the most disappointing moments in the entire franchise!

I understand that Hedden's script was supposed to spend tons of time in New York and that Paramount basically told him no way, but couldn't Hedden have found some inventive ways to utilize the Canadian locale to feature more New York scenes? What about a scene in a club, where Jason chases the remaining survivors? How about an awesome stalk and chase in Central Park, which could have been easily created in Canada? No, instead we get Jason on a cruise liner and not much of a cruise at that. This was the most disappointing of anything in the Jason Takes Manhattan, except the ending. More on that later.

There are a number of uninspired death scenes on the ship, such as Wayne's death by electrocution or the deck hand's death by fire axe. I know the MPAA hacked (pardon pun) these films to death, but is this the best the film makers could come up with? And lets not forget the utterly lame dream/hallucination sequences that Renny experiences of a young Jason. More uninspired drivel to compete with the Nightmare On Elm Street films in my estimation.

Once in New York, there are some great ideas used, thankfully, such as the chase scene in the Subway. Seeing Jason in a subway car with passengers is a real highlight for me. Too bad he kills nobody at all! C'mon guys, he is pissed and people are getting in his way, let Jason take them out! Anyways, you do get the money shot of Jason in Times Square and that was well worth sitting through the first hour and fifteen minutes or so. The subsequent Diner scene is another treat with future Jason actor Ken Kirzinger towering over Kane Hodder's Jason, yet being obliterated into a mirror. But everything positive is completely wiped, literally, by the utter craptacular toxic waste ending of the film.

Seeing Jason stalking the sewers is a great visual, but when you throw the aforementioned toxic waste on Jason and he cries out like a little girl, then every single thing you have done to make your film a legitimate entry in the Friday the 13th series is completely eviscerated. And then after that debacle, Jason looks like a Pumpkin Face and stumbles about the sewer corridors like a drunken sailor. Did the film makers forget that Jason is the walking dead and that surely a little toxic waste would not rob him of his animalistic mojo to seek and destroy? Jason is reduced to a joke, one thing series Producer Frank Mancuso Jr. emphasized to many Directors and writers he never wanted to have happen.

And yes, we cannot forget about the the fact Jason changes back into a child????? I'm not even going to explore the reasoning for this ill-fated decision.

Is Jason Takes Manhattan an awful movie void of and sense of entertainment? Of course not. The movie does deliver the goods in sections, albeit small sections. Jason's look is awesome and Kane plays him probably at his best in this film. Although the classic Manfredini score is gone, Fred Mollin's industrial score is perfect for this movie and I often find myself enjoying certain cues for his score over others from Manfredini.

In the end, taking Jason out of Crystal Lake was a solid idea, but executed very poorly. The film is a good one to pop in late at night once in a great while to enjoy, but an absolutely terrible ending makes you wish you never sat through almost an hour and half to get there!

Rating: 2 out of 5 Machetes

Review By: Stephen Delvechio

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