Greatest Movie Series
Franchises of All Time

The "Friday the 13th" Films

Friday the 13th, Part VIII -
Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Friday the 13th Films
Friday the 13th (1980) | Friday the 13th, Part 2 (1981) | Friday the 13th, Part III (1982)
Friday the 13th, The Final Chapter (1984) | Friday the 13th, Part V - A New Beginning (1985)
Friday the 13th, Part VI - Jason Lives (1986) | Friday the 13th, Part VII - The New Blood (1988)
Friday the 13th, Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) | Friday the 13th, Jason Goes to Hell - The Final Friday (1993)
Friday the 13th, Jason X (2001) | Freddy vs. Jason (2003) (aka Friday the 13th, Part 11)
Friday the 13th (2009) (aka Friday the 13th, Part 12)

The "Friday the 13th" Films - Part 8

Friday the 13th, Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
d. Rob Hedden, 100 minutes

Film Plot Summary

The film opened, during the credits and prologue, with voice-over narration from a NY DJ on WGAZ, while the camera panned across views of NYC:

"It's like this... We live in Claustrophobia, a land of steel and concrete, trapped by dark waters. There is no escape, nor do we want it. We've come to thrive on it and each other. You can't get the adrenalin pumpin' without the terror, good people... I love this town."

All the future places of gruesome stalkings in NYC by the hockey-masked killer were foreshadowed:

  • downtown with gangbang members
  • the sewer (a manhole cover with steam emanating)
  • the alley with street-gang thugs
  • the barrel of slimy water
  • the diner
  • the subway and its long escalator
  • and drug-addicts in another alley

A modern houseboat, named Lady Drifter, sailed peacefully by the run-down Crystal Lake campground, with onboard teenaged lovers - two seniors from Lakeview High School:

  • Jimmy Miller (Todd Shaffer)
  • Suzi Donaldson (Tiffany Paulsen)

The two had sailed there to join their graduation cruise to the "seductive city" - graduation day was the 13th of the month. The DJ warned: "The city of lights casts many shadows indeed." After Jimmy threw the anchor overboard, it rested near a thick underwater, high-voltage electrical cable, and he experienced uneasiness. He told Suzi about the camp's murderous history -- "the guy's dead now, somewhere at the bottom of this lake." He explained how a boy named Jason Voorhees drowned in Crystal Lake about 30 years earlier. None of the counselors heard his cries, and his mother blamed them for her son's death. She went on a killing rampage, but had her own head chopped off.

"Legend has it that Jason came back to get even, vowing to kill every teenager in the area. And every now and then, the murders just start up."

Chained Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder), who was taken to the bottom of Crystal Lake in the previous segment, was now reanimated again after being shocked by the broken electrical cable dislodged and sliced by a houseboat's anchor, and dragged over to Jason's body. When the anchor ripped it apart, sparks flew - and the electrical impulses reawakened him - he boarded the houseboat.

When Jim checked out noises to calm Suzi's nerves, a hockey-masked figure approached her, and stabbed her in the stomach - but it was only Jim with a mask and a retractable switchblade: "Got you good, Suzi," he joked. The real Jason 'borrowed' Jim's mask, and then stalked the two of them while they were having sex. Jim was impaled in the chest with the barrel of a spear gun, and his intestines were ripped out (# 1 death). Suzi fled to the deck where she hid under a storage door. Jason found her, and stabbed Suzi between her breasts with the harpoon spear from the gun (# 2 death).

The cruise-ship SS Lazarus was at the Crystal Lake dock (originally Crystal Lake was a very small lake, not a deep-harbor port!), boarding dozens of horny, obnoxious (and doomed) members of the graduating class of Lakeview High School, on a nighttime senior trip to NYC. The only two adult chaperones were introduced in relation to one of the students:

  • Miss Colleen Van Deusen (Barbara Bingham), the favorite teacher of gifted 17 year-old Rennie Wickham (Jensen Daggett) with her dog Toby
  • Rennie's detestable, narrow-minded uncle/legal guardian Charles McCulloch (Peter Mark Richman).

The houseboat drifted into the dock area - affording Jason access to stow away on the teen-filled ship. The uniformed, bossy commander of the ship, Admiral Robertson (Warren Muson), had aspirations not shared by his teenaged, graduating son Sean Robertson (Scott Reeves), about his captaining of the ship. The doom-saying cruise deckhand (Alex Diakun) told Sean:

"This voyage is doomed."

[Note: His character was based on the "Crazy Ralph" individual from the first two installments.]

As the ship sailed, teens played shuffleboard, shot skeets off the side, and danced in the disco/nightclub. Sean gave Rennie, his girlfriend, a present - a gold Statue of Liberty pendant-necklace. Her presence on the ship was at the displeasure of her uncle Charles, who informed her of a storm brewing.

Rennie was suffering from an unknown, traumatic fear related to water. He told her: "Facing your fear doesn't always conquer it." Black-leathered, teased-hair rocker guitarist J.J. Jarrett (Saffron Henderson) was video-taped on deck with her Gibson "axe" guitar by film documentarian and dweeb Wayne Webber (Martin Cummins) who was looking for shockumentary footage. In the below-deck power room area with steam rising, J.J. was jamming when she was bashed and clubbed in the head with her own electric guitar (# 3 death). The deckhand heard her screams. In her cabin, Rennie was haunted by a view of Jason (through her porthole window), as she experienced a flashback of a boy yelling: "Mommy.... Help me!" - her frightened dog ran off.

Black boxer Julius Gaw (V.C. Dupree) fought an opponent in the ship's fitness area, as two teens watched from above:

  • shallow, manipulative, and sexy blonde prom queen Tamara Mason (Sharlene Martin)
  • her studious Asian friend and scholarship-recipient Eva Watanabe (Kelly Hu)

Slutty Tamara remarked: "Julius is the only senior I'd even consider doing it with." Afterwards, they left for some "recreational activity" cocaine drug use with some of her "top-dollar toot" in a secluded service area. Tamara claimed: "Night time is the right time." While looking for her dog, Rennie came upon them using drugs, and they feared she would narc on them to her uncle. In a hot-rock sauna room, the other boxer (David Jacox) knocked out by Julius was relaxing with a towel over his head. He remarked (thinking he was speaking to Julius): "Nice fight, Julius. Guess I need to work on my left-right-left combo." Jason ground a hot sizzling sauna rock into the boxer's bare chest (# 4 death).

On deck, spiteful Tamara shoved Rennie overboard, falsely claiming it was an accident. While flailing and thrashing about and struggling to stay afloat because she couldn't swim, Rennie had a vision of the young Jason grabbing her leg and pulling her under. She survived the ordeal when Sean jumped in and rescued her. The deckhand cautioned them: "He's come back and you're all gonna die." In her cabin, Rennie had another scary vision of the young Jason grabbing at her from her sink-mirror.

Tamara fooled chaperone Charles McCulloch into being video-taped in a compromising position with her (she handed him a glass of champagne), in order to use it as leverage to get her way and avoid turning in her final biology project. She removed her full body robe, and then 'revealed' her biology project - she was stripped down to black lingerie underwear. Tamara had drawn all her major organs (her heart and stomach) on her bare skin ("Take a closer look, Charles. I wanna make sure I've labeled all my organs correctly"), and then she slipped her arms around McCulloch, planted her lips on his, and forced him onto the bed.

Wayne had wanted to "scam on Tamara" and finally had found his opportunity. McCulloch protested and stormed off, while Tamara assured Wayne: "He's not gonna risk trying a thing." When Wayne told her he had "major hots" for her, she showed him the door. After she took a shower to wash off the body paint, she received just retribution for her sexual behavior. First, she was grabbed by Jason's fist thrust through her bathroom door, and her robe was ripped off her nude body. Tamara was tossed head-first into her vanity mirror, then stabbed with one of the sharp mirror shards from the broken mirror (# 5 death) (off-screen).

In the bridge as wind and rain pummeled the bridge window, Jason removed a rusty harpoon from the wall. He entered the bridge, and killed Chief Engineer Jim Carlson (Fred Henderson) at the helm, by harpooning him in the back (# 6 death) and repeatedly jerking him with the weapon.

When Admiral Robertson returned to the bridge, he kneeled over Carlson's body, when his throat was slit from behind with a machete (# 7 death).

Meanwhile, Rennie and Sean walked toward the bridge to radio the Coast Guard in order to cut short their voyage and ask to be picked up. After finding the bloody corpse of his father draped over the wheel, Sean made a public announcement to all the students, calling them to assemble at the bridge. During a distress mayday call on the radio, Jason pulled out the cable to the radio's antenna, cutting off the transmission. To make matters worse, the deranged deckhand reminded everyone:

"You're all gonna die. You're the last ones. He's come back for you...Jason Voorhees...He came down the river and he's gotten on board. He walks this ship here and now."

McCulloch suspected that the deckhand was the crazy killer. Julius recommended that the survivors regroup and try to find the real killer, although McCulloch ineffectually asserted that he was the adult in charge. To prevent the ship from drifting, Rennie lowered its main anchors.

In her friend's stateroom cabin, Eva found Tamara's bloody body on the bathroom floor, and found herself pursued by Jason down one of the ship's corridors into the nightclub with a pulsating-lighted dance floor. There, Jason grabbed Eva by the neck, lifted her off the ground, and strangled her until she suffocated (# 8 death) - signaled by her legs going limp. He then tossed her away, as the music ended.

With a small group of teens, Julius had collected various weapons for their use - skeet rifles, fire axes, flare guns, etc., and the vigilante group split up. Below deck in the power room, Wayne precariously crept along a maze of pipes on a catwalk. A blast of steam blew the glasses off his face and were irretrievable. As he continued unsteadily forward, from his POV, he saw a blurry figure in front of him, and fired his gun. Wayne had accidentally shot a ship's crew member (# 9 death) (accidental). He realized his error when he directed his videocamera on the victim, bringing it into clear focus - and seeing that the victim was holding a harmless screwdriver.

When he raised his camera, he saw the hockey-masked Jason in front of him. Jason's fist reached out, and threw his camera from his hands. When Wayne fled, he stumbled over J.J.'s guitar and sprawled-out corpse, and then lost his own life - he was thrown into the ship's circuit panel and electrocuted (# 10 death) with a shower of sparks, causing a fire that fried his body and soon brought about an explosion from fuel tanks. Jason punched a fire alarm button, as the blaze soon spread throughout the ship. McCulloch didn't believe that the fire alarm was authentic, arguing that the deckhand had set it off only to cause panic- he pursued him with a flare gun.

Meanwhile, Sean struggled to get the ship back under his control and on course. On the deck, axe-wielding teen Miles Wolfe (Gordon Currie) fled from Jason and climbed up a radar mast ladder, where Jason reached him, tore him off the ladder, and threw him down onto the deck - where Miles was impaled on a deck post and other antennas (# 11 death) (off-screen). After Julius found his friend horribly impaled there, he was heaved overboard by Jason, and was soon splashing in the torrential seas (although he survived).

In her stateroom, Rennie experienced another vision of young Jason, and then the real Jason crashed her porthole window with his skull, and reached for her throat through the broken glass. She retaliated by groping for a suitable weapon. She ultimately grabbed her 'Stephen King' ink-dip pen (given to her as a gift by Colleen for her writing talent), and stabbed Jason in the eye through the eye-hole in his mask. She was released as he reeled backwards, just as Sean burst through her door. He comforted her (she cried: "I don't understand what's happening to me") as the fuel tanks in the power room of the ship exploded, and water began to rush into the ship and flood the engine room. Many of the unidentified teens -- probably 20-30 students presumably perished in the resulting damage - unable to abandon the ship safely, or left to die in the restaurant. The deranged deck-hand wielding a large knife, fleeing from McCulloch with a flare gun, was axed in the back (# 12 death) (off-screen).

Only a small group of survivors -- Rennie, Sean, McCulloch, Miss Van Deusen, and Rennie's dog Toby were able to escape the ship in a lowered life-boat - also joined by Julius who climbed into the boat from the water. They began rowing through the foggy seas, eventually ending up in New York City where they spotted the Statue of Liberty and the skyline of the city. Julius began singing "New York, New York" in relief.

In an unsafe section of the city, they disembarked from the rowboat onto a ladder leading up to a wharf deck. Unsurprisingly, Jason broke the surface of the water near them - he would continue to follow the group in Manhattan. He quizzically looked at an Eastern Hockey League billboard with a masked-player/goalie staring at him. In an alley, two gangbangers accosted them with guns and demanded money. One of the two thieves took a liking to Rennie (Toby ran off when shot at), but ripped off her Statue of Liberty pendant-necklace (Sean picked it up), and kidnapped her when they fled. McCulloch suggested that they split up, and try to locate police or other help.

The two thugs took Rennie to their lair in a dirty passageway, and partially injected her arm with a filthy syringe, and one of them threatened to rape her ("Come on, baby. Lay back and enjoy it -- I think I'm in love") - although Jason interrupted him. Gang-banger # 1 was stabbed through the back with his own discarded syringe (# 13 death). The syringe was shoved completely through him with the needle sticking out his front side. When Gang-banger # 2 returned, he fired his gun six times at Jason, but to no avail. His head was bashed and scalded on a steam pipe (# 14 death), as Rennie ran away and escaped.

In a payphone booth, Julius was calling 911 emergency, but was grabbed by Jason. Julius tore free and ran for a fire escape, where he climbed to a rooftop. Cornered there, he decided to valiantly fight against his opponent - and in the fight of his life delivered punch after punch at Jason's masked face and at his body. After total exhaustion and expending all of his energy, Julius stood before his indomitable opponent, urging: "Take your best shot, you mother-f--ker." Jason decapitated Julius with a single punch to the head, knocking his head off his shoulders and sending the head flying off the rooftop (# 15 death). It rolled down toward street level and fell into a garbage-filled dumpster.

Rennie became disoriented as the injected drug took effect. When Sean found her, she told him about the drugs and the presence of Jason. They ran off to find the others - and warned them:

"Jason is here in New York."

An Irish cop (Roger Barnes) who was assisting them thought their story was a "tall tale" but planned to order backup. After discovering Julius' severed head propped up on his police car's dashboard, the cop was assaulted from behind and dragged away by Jason into an alley and killed (# 16 death) (off-screen) as he radioed dispatch. Rennie took the driver's seat of the police car and drove the car straight at Jason, striking him and propelling him into the windshield and onto the ground. She also sped into an hallucinatory figure - a recurring vision of the young, dripping wet Jason with a sinister smile. The squad car rammed into a wall and burst into flames as the hood shot open. Sean helped to drag Rennie from the front seat and McCulloch from the back seat, but Miss Van Deusen was left in the car and was accidentally immolated when the entire car exploded (# 17 death) (accidental) - she was burned to death as a result of the blast.

The trauma of the explosion brought another vision to Rennie, in a pool of burning gasoline and oil. In flashback, she saw a rowboat on Crystal Lake with her own self - young Rennie (Amber Pawlick) and her Uncle Charles goading her into swimming. He told her the time had come for her first swimming lesson - so that she wouldn't drown like the Voorhees boy, now at the bottom of the lake. He warned her: "He's ready to pull down anybody who falls in and can't swim." He cruelly pushed her into the water to test his belief, and meanly told her: "Better swim, Rennie, before Jason pulls you down." When she floundered and then ducked under the water, she had another traumatic hallucination that she was being dragged under by a young Jason.

After the vision, she turned accusingly toward her uncle - remembering how she almost drowned because of him, and then asserted: "He was down there." Sean ran off with Rennie, after pushing McCulloch to the ground and warning: "Just keep away from her." Jason resurrected himself, stood over McCulloch, and drowned him head-first in a rusting oil barrel of scum-filled dirty sewage (# 18 death), holding him under while holding onto his thrashing legs.

Sean found Rennie, where she told him: "I was at school when they told me. 'Rennie, your parents died in a car accident.'" She believed that she had lost everyone in her life that she cared about. He assured her: "That's not gonna happen this time." They were the last remaining two survivors:

  • the 'good' Last Girl, Rennie
  • and her male counterpart, Sean Robertson

After they tenderly kissed, Jason plowed through a pile of garbage nearby and began his mad pursuit of them -- down an alleyway, and descending a long-escalator subway entrance, and into a moving subway car. They pulled the emergency brake, and exited the train onto the tracks, where Sean was able to push Jason onto the electrified third rail. Although Jason's body sizzled and convulsed as he received jolts of thousands of volts in a shower of sparks, he survived, and followed them into Times Square.

Jason pushed through a group of street urchins listening to a ghetto blaster, causing them to threaten with switchblades drawn: "You're dead meat, slime bag" - but one look at Jason (when he unmasked himself) changed their minds. Rennie and Sean ducked into a Times Diner, where they screamed to the waitress (Peggy Hedden, the director's wife): "There is a maniac trying to kill us." She responded: "Welcome to New York." Jason crashed through the front door, tossed an aproned cook (Ken Kirzinger, a future Jason in Freddy vs. Jason (2003)) into the mirror behind the counter, and followed them into a dead-end alley and then down into an underground sewer filled with stagnant water, via a manhole cover. The two watched as Jason bashed in the head of a sanitation engineer (David Longworth) with a heavy monkey wrench (# 19 death) (off-screen), seen in silhouette on the wall.

Rennie shined the engineer's blinding flashlight on Jason's mask, defiantly telling him: "You didn't get me in the lake, and you're not gonna get me now." She opened a barrel of toxic chemicals, and splashed its contents on Jason, causing him to roar in pain, careen backwards, and remove his disintegrating mask from his face, revealing his hideous rotting flesh and blinded eyes.

Standing on a service ladder just above the torrent of liquid, the two of them witnessed Jason's demise, when he melted in the approaching, rushing flood of deadly toxic waste -- a regularly-scheduled flooding within the sewage pipes every night at midnight. In the voice of a young boy, he cried out: "Mommy, don't let me drown. Mommy!"

The killer's demise caused him to revert back to his normal childhood self, a miraculous transformation, when the toxic waste subsided. Had Jason Voorhees finally been put to rest? (# 20 death?)

The couple wandered back onto the street level, where Sean remarked: "I heard there's a statue here that's 22 stories tall." He returned her Statue of Liberty necklace to her, and she kissed and hugged him. They were reunited with her dog Toby, as the film ended.

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

The eighth film in the long-running series. Also the last film in the series to be distributed by Paramount.

With a production budget of approximately $5 million, and box-office gross revenues of $14.3 million (domestic). One of the worst (critically and financially) in the series' franchise.

This was the first film in which Jason spoke dialogue.

The film's tagline: "New York has a new problem" - although Jason actually failed to 'take Manhattan', and the NYC portions of the film were only the last 30-40 minutes of the film. Most of the action occurred on the cruise ship.

Body Count: 20 (17 committed by Jason, 2 accidental deaths: Wayne shooting a crew-member, and an exploding car with Miss Van Deusen inside, and Jason's own death?), plus about two dozen drowned students. The extreme gore of many of the death/murder scenes was drastically cut, to satisfy the MPAA for an R-rating.

Jimmy Miller
(Todd Shaffer)

Suzi Donaldson
(Tiffany Paulsen)

Young Jason
(Timothy Burr Mirkovich)

Jason Voorhees
(Kane Hodder)

Rennie Wickham
(Jensen Daggett)

Colleen Van Deusen
(Barbara Bingham)

Charles McCulloch
(Peter Mark Richman)

Admiral Robertson
(Warren Munson)

Chief Engineer Jim Carlson
(Fred Henderson)

Sean Robertson
(Scott Reeves)

(Alex Diakun)

J.J. Jarrett
(Saffron Henderson)

Wayne Webber
(Martin Cummins)

Julius Gaw
(V.C. Dupree)

Tamara Mason
(Sharlene Martin)

Eva Watanabe
(Kelly Hu)

Miles Wolfe
(Gordon Currie)

Gangbanger # 1
(Sam Sarkar)

Gangbanger # 2
(Michael Benyaer)

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