We’ve made it to part eight, congratulations! As downhill as many people thought the series went in prior sequels, parts 6, 7, and 8 are probably my three favorites. 1989 brought us Jason Takes Manhattan, although he didn’t really take Manhattan the way the title made it seem, he did make life hell for some graduating seniors on a cruise ship and some Big Apple scumbags. Besides some great scenery, New York accents, and drug-addled street thugs, we were also presented with some future stars.
On to the movie! We begin by seeing two high schoolers “exploring each other” on a boat on Crystal Lake, where a rogue electric current makes its way from the boat to Jason’s still-underwater body. Well, he’s up and at ’em now! He kills the two lovers, and the next morning we meet young Rennie, who is in the car with her teacher, Ms. Von Deusen. She gives Rennie a pen supposedly used by Stephen King as a gift, because she feels Rennie is a terrific writer. We also meet her adorable dog, Toby. The graduating class of the local high school are taking a cruise ship to go visit New York City, and just before take off, Jason hitches a ride. Not too concerned with the two missing students, they head off. This is a pretty rad boat, I must say. Dance halls, game rooms, private rooms for everyone, a dining hall. Lucky kids. Too bad Jason has other plans. We have learned that teacher and supervisor, Mr. McCullough, is Rennie’s uncle who has been her guardian ever since her parents died in a car accident. He’s a real jerk, and she hates living with him. She also has a fear of water and a crush on the captain’s son, Sean Robertson.
The deckhand on the ship takes the place of the Crazy Ralph character by telling everyone that the voyage is doomed and that Jason is alive. Jason begins killing all the teens onboard – do I really even need to mention that? Rennie’s dog Toby runs out of her room, so she must chase him down. She runs into Tamara, the class bitch, and her friend Eva, doing cocaine. Afraid she’ll tell on them, Tamara “accidentally” bumps into Rennie on the deck, sending her to the cold water below. Rennie keeps having hallucinations of a young boy (Jason) pulling her under the water, although she doesn’t know where they’re coming from. She is rescued and returned to the deck, and her uncle blames Sean and Ms. Van Deusen, for some reason. More people fall prey to Jason as a storm approaches. Jason kills Sean’s dad, the captain, and his first mate, and Sean and Rennie discover the bodies and freak out. They try to get ahold of another ship, but Jason rips the antenna off the boat. He also throws a teen into the boat’s electrical system, causing a massive fire. Now, all the shit has hit the fan. Apparently, the only ones left are Rennie, Sean, Mr. McCullough, Ms. Van Deusen, and Julius, the class hunk who somehow survived his first encounter with Jason. Oh, and the dog, Toby, too! They get in the lifeboat and try to make their way towards New York.
After arriving in the city, the group is mugged by a pair of armed drug addicts who kidnap Rennie and try to shoot her dog. The group split up to try to find help, never a good thing in a horror movie. Julius gets into a fist match with Jason on the roof of a building, with Julius giving it his all, as Jason hits him once and decapitates him. Rennie is drugged and nearly raped by these fucking creeps when Jason saves the day by killing them. Rennie, high and confused, is running around the back alleys, and bumps into Sean. They catch back up with the teachers and find a cop. Upon getting into the police cruiser, they see Julius’ severed head and scream. Jason attacks the officer, and Rennie gets in the front seat and takes off. She “sees” a hallucination of a young Jason in the road, and runs into what she thinks is him, which is actually a wall. Ms. Van Deusen dies in the explosion, and Rennie uncovers the reason she hates her uncle and fears the water. He had tried to teach her to swim in Crystal Lake when she was little by tossing her in and telling her to do it or Jason will get her. Jason did pull her down, and now she knows who he is.
Rennie and Sean run off to talk, and Jason kills Mr. McCullough in an acidy stew of yuck and nasty shit. Jason’s hot on the couple’s trail though, and chases them through the subway, a diner, and the streets. Jason also doesn’t like rap music because in one iconic scene, he kicks these street kids’ radio, and shows them his face, causing them to run away in terror. Too funny. They all end up down in a sewer that flushes toxic waste out at midnight. It’s hard to believe it is only midnight at this point, but whatever. Jason attacks Sean, leaving him unconscious, as Rennie leads Jason on a wild goose chase, circling back around to Sean. They are nearly up the sewer ladder when Jason grabs their legs. The toxic waste flushes into their location, and the acid basically eats away Jason’s already-grotesque face. It’s a really weird ending, because no one really knows what’s going on. After the liquid dissipates, Jason has become a little boy again. Okay….Either way, they’re safe and return to the street. Toby, the dog, has survived the Big Apple and finds his loving family, as the three walk off together, talking about the Statue of Liberty.
As I said before, I think this is a really cool movie. Not excellent, but it’s got some great scenes and kills, and hey, at least they tried. It could’ve been better, as about 80% of the film is set on a boat instead of the promised location of Manhattan, but that’s okay. We never usually get everything we hoped for from movies, and at the very least, Jason was once again portrayed brilliantly by Kane Hodder.