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Rob Hedden
Todd Shaffer, Tiffany Paulsen, Tim Mirkovich, Kane Hodder, Jensen Daggett, Barbara Bingham, Alex Diakun
Writing Credits:
Victor Miller (characters), Rob Hedden

Tagline: Synopsis:
They comprise the most successful and shocking tales of terror in cinema history. Now, for the first time, the first eight classic Friday The 13th movies are available together in this killer DVD collection.

Beginning with the picture critics have called the original slasher flick, this collection spans nine years and includes seven additional blood-soaked, suspense-filled sagas starring one of the most horrifying characters ever to wear a hockey mask and wield a machete: Jason Voorhees. It's a splatterfest of fan favorites that follow the unstoppable Jason as he cuts and hacks a swath of fear all the way from Crystal Lake to the mean streets of Manhattan. In addition, the collection includes a special disc filled with never-before-seen footage and fabulous extras that will slay even the most jaded horror film aficionado!

Box Office:
$5 million.
Opening Weekend
$6.251 million on 1683 screens.
Domestic Gross
$14.343 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital Stereo
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital Stereo
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $129.95
Release Date: 9/13/2013

Available Only as Part of “Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection”

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Rob Hedden
• Audio Commentary with Actors Kane Hodder, Jensen Daggett and Scott Reeves
• “The Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part VIII” Featurette
• “New York Has a Problem: The Making of Friday the 13th, Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Friday The 13th, Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan [Blu-Ray] (1989)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 21, 2015)

Usually when a TV or movie series “jumps the shark”, very gimmicky events signal that status. The term originates with the Happy Days episode in which Fonzie performed a stunt that made him leap a shark. Some series go to crap without such obvious elements, but not many.

For the Friday the 13th movies, we can identify many gimmicks over the years, but many fans don’t think these reached shark-jumping status until 1989’s Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. Sure, Part III went 3-D, while Part VII added a girl with psychokinetic abilities, but fans seemed to forgive those choices.

Sending Jason to the Big Apple sounded more desperate. The “high concept” of Manhattan becomes evident from its title. After all those years of terrorizing the small community of Crystal Lake, the forces behind the series decided it was time to take Jason’s show on the road. While moving the action to the Big City may sound like shark-jumping, in this case it actually works, as Part VIII presents one of the better Fridays.

The end of Part VII left Jason (Kane Hodder) at the bottom of Crystal Lake. An electrical shock brings him back to life, and he quickly slays two young adults on a houseboat. He soon stows away on the Lazarus, a cruise ship that’ll take local high school grads on a trek to Manhattan.

Before the ship departs, we meet some of the kids. Rennie (Jensen Daggett) lives with her uncle Charles (Peter Mark Richman) and suffers from some mysterious mental malady that we don’t learn about immediately. We do find out the Charles disapproves of her presence on the cruise, even though he supervises it.

Rennie’s not the only one on the boat with parent issues. Sean Robertson’s (Scott Reeves) father (Warren Munson) captains the ship and seems to want his boy to follow in his footsteps. Sean appears disinterested and resents his dad’s interference and pressure.

As Jason stalks the boat and the body count rises, we get to know a little more about Rennie and the others. We see that she suffers from a fear of the water and has visions of a drowning young Jason (Timothy Burr Mirkovich). The film follows the adult Jason’s attacks and the inevitable attempts to stop those assaults along with whatever connection Rennie shares. Eventually this winds up in New York.

Don’t expect a lot from the premise promised in the title. The first 60 percent of the film takes place on the Lazarus, and even when they get to the Big Apple, the action fails to do much to exploit the story’s potential. Jason obsesses over killing the characters from the cruise and passes up scads of opportunities to off the New Yorkers. During the last 15 minutes or so, we get a taste for what the story could have become, but it never starts to fly or give us a broader perspective.

Nonetheless, I must say I’m damned pleased to get a Friday flick set someplace other than the standard lakeside location. It still exists as an excuse to watch Jason slay teenagers in creative ways, but at least it takes them out of the woods. Though the film stretches its concepts to get Jason into a new locale, I don’t care; I’m just excited to see a change of scenery.

At least the teens of Manhattan seem more proactive than their forebears. In the other movies, the kids usually remain in denial until the story’s end. Even Tommy in Part VI gets treated like Chicken Little; he tells everyone of Jason’s revival, but they mostly ignore his warnings. A couple of characters behave in that manner here, but most of them take the threat seriously and work actively to stop the psycho.

I get the impression that fans don’t much like Manhattan, and it does come across more like a traditional action-oriented monster movie than a Friday flick, so maybe that’s one problem they find with it. While I kind of like Manhattan, I do see how it doesn’t fit well with the rest of the series. Its Jason is smarter and shrewder than in prior flicks and is not just the usual brainless killing machine. This doesn’t make much sense, but it makes the movie more entertaining, and given the series’ general lack of logic and continuity, I don’t see a reason to criticize it for this change.

As usual, the characters remain generally ill-defined and one-dimensional. At least this flick’s heroine seems more satisfying than usual. Rennie brings a more thoughtful and engaging personality to the table, especially when compared to the shrill Tina from Part VII.

Jason’s invincibility causes some problems, though. In most of the earlier films, the stories at least pretended that the participants might stop Jason. That concept doesn’t play into the later entries, as it seems patently obvious that nothing can keep him down for the count. This makes the films less satisfying, since we know the ending “victory” will be little more than a tease.

I wouldn’t call Jason Takes Manhattan a great movie, but it’s the most satisfying Friday since Part V. It takes a slightly different approach that comes across as reasonably enjoyable. Maybe I liked it just because it came after two terrible entries, but I still think it’s generally entertaining.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image came across well.

Sharpness appeared pretty concise and detailed. A little softness crept into a few wide shots, but the majoroty of the film demonstrated nice clarity and definition. No issues with jaggies or moiré effects materialized, and edge haloes remained absent. The image boasted a natural layer of grain, and it lacked print flaws.

After a couple of pretty bright Friday flicks, Manhattan took on a more subdued palette. That occurred due to the setting, since much of the flick took place both at night and during a rainstorm. The hues we did see looked solid, as they appeared rich and dynamic. Blacks were nicely dense and full, while low-light shots seemed clear and well-defined. I felt pleased with the image, as it looked better than I expected.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundfield produced the necessary impression. It stayed oriented in the front, where it offered positive stereo music along with effects that spread convincingly to the sides. They offered up a pretty good sense of atmosphere, especially on the ship.

That setting allowed the spectrum to kick in with all sorts of useful ambient noises. The surrounds contributed to the feeling of place as well. They usually acted as general support, but they occasionally became more active, such as when the ship dropped anchor.

Quality was satisfactory but not great. Speech remained natural and distinctive and continued to lack edginess or issues with intelligibility. Though lacking in great low-end, the score and songs usually appeared acceptably distinctive and lively.

Effects packed some decent punch at times, but they also showed more distortion than I’d like. Though the roughness wasn’t extreme, it caused some minor distractions. Ultimately, the audio wasn’t terrific, but it came across as pretty positive for a film from 1989.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2004 DVD? Audio seemed a bit more dynamic, while the image looked cleaner and more accurate. This became a good step-up in quality. (A 2009 “Deluxe Edition” of the film also exists, but I never saw a copy of that one.)

The extras mix components from the two prior releases, and we open with two separate audio commentaries. First we hear from director Rob Hedden, who offers a running, screen-specific track. He goes over the cast, locations and challenges connected to the boat, working within genre expectations and trying to confound them, visual effects and stunts.

Hedden tosses out a lot of great notes about his original plans for the movie. He tells us he wanted to spend much more time in Manhattan and alludes to elements that would have taken place there. He also discusses snippets trimmed for ratings and some cut for length; the latter would have provided greater character development. At times Hedden tends to simply narrate the story, and a bit of dead air occurs. However, he usually chats about his film in a lively and engaging manner to make this a worthwhile track.

For the second commentary, we find actors Kane Hodder, Jensen Daggett and Scott Reeves. With Hodder on-board via speakerphone, all three chat together for a running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, sets and locations, action and stunts, effects, and related areas.

Don’t expect many insights here. The actors seem to enjoy their time with the movie but they don’t tell us a ton about it, as they prefer to laugh and comment on the action. Occasional tidbits of information occur and it’s a painless listen, but it lacks many good details about the production.

Excerpted from a long documentary on a 2004 bonus disc, The Friday the 13th Chronicles, Part VII runs 14 minutes, 32 seconds and features Hedden and Hodder. “Chronicles” covers the influence of the Friday TV series and how Hedden got the job, initial talks for a joint effort with the Nightmare on Elm Street gang, taking Jason away from Crystal Lake, story concepts and changes, shooting in New York and also faking it, filming the boat sequences, flashback scenes, humor, and some kill scenes. This becomes a tight, informative piece.

With the 18-minute, two-second New York Has a Problem: The Making of Friday the 13th, Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan. we hear from Hedden, Hodder, Daggett, Reeves, editor Steve Mirkovich, composer Fred Mollin, and actors VC Dupree, Peter Mark Richman, Tim Mirkovich, Tiffany Paulsen, and Sharlene Martin. “Problem” examines challenges related to the theoretical final chapter of the series, cast and performances, stunts and effects, editing and ratings issues, music, and the movie’s ending. A good complement to “Chronicles”, “Problem” covers a variety of topics in a satisfying manner.

Under Slashed Scenes, we locate 16 cut sequences with a total of 12 minutes, 56 seconds. These tend to be short trims from existing segments and they mix minor character elements with gore trimmed for ratings issues. While fans will be happy to see these, they lack much to make them interesting.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a Gag Reel. It lasts four minutes, 54 seconds and delivers a mix of mistakes and silliness. Though nothing special, it includes a few fun glimpses of the production that make it better than most.

Would I call Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan a good movie? No, but it stands as one of the better flicks in the series, especially compared with the two total duds that preceded it. Moderately clever and inventive, it presents one of the more entertaining Friday films. The Blu-ray gives us mostly good picture, audio and bonus materials. This ends up as a good release for a decent movie.

Note that as of July 2015, this Blu-ray version of Jason Takes Manhattan appears only as part of a 12-film set called “Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection”. This includes films 1 through 8 as well as Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X, Freddy Vs. Jason and the 2009 reboot. It also throws in a bonus DVD and some other non-disc-based materials.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII

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