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

friday the 13th part viii jason takes manhattan poster 1989 movie
3.0 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 5/10

Jason's boxing match, Jason vs. muggers

Takes an hour to get to New York City

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Friday the 13th Part VIII:  Jason Takes Manhattan

Studio:  Paramount Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  July 28, 1989

MPAA Rating:  R


Don’t let the last thing I see be these ugly floral prints!

Rennie Wickham (Jensen Daggett) is plagued by nightmares of a childhood incident while trying ot learn to swim in Crystal Lake.  Now, it is graduation time and her class is planning a trip from Crystal Like to New York City, and Rennie is going against the wishes of her uncle Charles McCulloch (Peter Mark Richman). Sean Robertson (Scott Reeves) finds himself tied to his father’s desires for him to be a captain and discovers that fate may force him into the role.  When Jason (Kane Hodder) boards the ship, deaths begin and Jason might find an unlimited number of victims when it reaches New York.

Directed by Rob Hedden, Friday the 13th Part VIII:  Jason Takes Manhattan follows up Friday the 13th  Part VII:  The New Blood in 1988.  The movie was initially intended to be the final film is the series and was one of the lower grossing films.  The movie rights were transferred to New Line Cinema after this film.


Jason, the years have not been kind to you…

When Jason Takes Manhattan was coming out, it was the height of my slasher love and the proposition that Jason, the “killingest” killer, could be in one of the world’s biggest cities meant tons of creative deaths and a real change up for the series.  Unfortunately, for the most part, Friday the 13th:  Jason Takes Manhattan doesn’t live up to this promise.

The movie is like all Friday the 13th films.  For arbitrary reason, Jason is saved from the bottom of Crystal Lake and ends up hitching a ride on the cruise ship.  As it turns out Crystal Lake is must bigger than before mentioned since it has ocean access.  The first hour of the film is spent on the boat and Jason really doesn’t “Take Manhattan” until the last thirty minutes…which does show some improvement over the rest of the film (and apparently toxic waste which everyone knows flows through the sewers of New York City at midnight can bring back human aspects to Jason).


Take your best shot!

The movie has a weak cast with few stand-outs.  Kelly Hu who played Eva Wantanabe was one of the few actors or actresses to make a real name for themselves after the movie but the movie also features some characters actors like Peter Mark Richman as Charles “Jason Isn’t Alive So Quit Saying It” McCulloch and Warren Munson as the captain.

The star of course is Jason who is played by long-time Jason actor Kane Hodder who started with the role in Friday the 13th Part VII:  The New Blood.   The imposing size of the actor is what the movie does need and also leads to the best part of the movie when he enters a boxing match with Julius Gaw (V.C. Dupree) on a rooftop…”Take your best shot!”


For some reason Coke did not use this as a marketing campaign

The movie for its limited time, does make good use of New York City.  You get the standard Statue of Liberty shots, but Jason standing in Time Square actually is quite cool.  I realize shooting in New York is expensive (and the production company did use Vancouver for a lot of it), but I wish that they could have done more…maybe Central Park or some other locations.

Friday the 13th Part VIII:  Jason Takes Manhattan is a horror movie that doesn’t really live up to its name.  If it had, the movie probably would have been better received.  The plans to end the series failed and Jason did return…just in time to go to hell in Jason Goes to Hell:  The Final Friday in 1993.

Related Links:

Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)

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)

Jason Goes to Hell:  The Final Friday (1993)

Jason X (2001)

Friday the 13th (2009)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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