Friday Conversation: Review of Jason Takes Manhattan

part8poster1For many this was the end of an era in the franchise. The last of the Paramount movies that closed out an amazing run in the 1980’s that saw eight movies released in ten years. It had never been done before and, until recently with the Saw franchise, it looked like it may never be duplicated again. The main departure from what had been known in the franchise up until 1989 was the fact that Jason was being taken away from the Crystal Lake setting for the first time. That, coupled with a completely new score from Fred Mollin gave the franchise a completely new look and sound and made many fans nervous.

From the marketing campaign came promise, however, as print media, movie trailers, and tv commercials displayed front and center that this Friday was going to take place in the biggest place of all, New York City. From this promise, fans were willing to let go some of the major changes that were taking place in the franchise and gave Paramount at least a chance to have a hit on their hands. Unfortunately, some ill-conceived plot points and lack of funding ultimately tanked this new Friday. The silly dream sequences and back story of Renny and Jason just made no sense in the story of Friday the 13th. The dream sequences came off as desperate attempts to keep up with the franchise’s biggest rival, A Nightmare on Elm Street.

It was the money, in the end, that was the biggest rival of Jason Takes Manhattan. Rob Hedden’s vision was severely excised as he had a grand vision of Jason in Times Square, Madison Square Garden and so forth that would have had Jason in all of the scenarios that the fans were expecting in a Jason Takes Manhattan movie. If you’re putting Jason in Manhattan, why not see him in the craziest, most out there situations. Paramount’s limiting budget forced Rob’s vision to be taken to Canada and Rob, who had already worked on Friday the 13th: The Series, enlisted that shows composer and previous The New Blood collaborator Fred Mollin to commit a completely new score for the franchise.


Fred’s score is a time capsule of the late 80’s with the use of heavy synthesizer and a hard industrial edge. Many part’s of the score work well within this one movie. The new ki ki ki ma ma ma is replaced with a kill kill kill jas jas jason. None more prevelant than in the opening title sequence with the famous Paramount mountain.

What really put the nail in the coffin with this movie is the none to popular and horrendous ending. The idea of Jason drowning in Toxic waste in the sewers of New York is not a bad idea and a perfect way to end the franchise. You eliminate all remnants of Jason and it is done away from Crytal Lake with no chance of Jason returning easily for another sequel. The execution and some questionable makeup ideas were what made the ending almost unbearable to watch. Jason screaming after having toxic waste being thrown on him (Jason is the walking dead) and then young Jason crawling out of undead Jason after succumbing to a toxic waste bath is just the silliest thing imaginable. Fans dump on the 2024 reboot, but look to the ending of Jason Takes Manhattan and rejoice that the ending was nowhere as bad as this.


At the end of the day, Jason Takes Manhattan is a fun romp of a movie. It is definitely different from the rest of the franchise as it tried something different as the 7th sequel of a franchise in the same decade. The concept idea was sound. It was lack of execution in some scenes, some bad plot points and really lack of funding that caused this movie to be a mediocre entry into the franchise. I enjoy it for the fun characters, Kane Hodder’s portrayal of Jason and some great kills. What do you think about this highly debated entry into the franchise.

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37 Responses to “ Friday Conversation: Review of Jason Takes Manhattan ”

  1. This entry left me very disappointed.

  2. I admire that they tried something different…but in the end it just didn’t work for me.

  3. Would have been a little better if they actually shot it in NY. Epic Fail

  4. JJ is my favorite. When I was a kid this was the first Friday the 13th I had seen. I was young so of course it scared the piss out of me. Jason just pops up. You turn your head there he is. Now I have a hard time getting through the whole movie……its that bad.

  5. JTM is my least favourite F13 movie.
    Why does the movie suck? It´s not because it wasn´t set at Crystal Lake … a movie does not suck because of the change of location (ANB also doesn´t suck because of the lack of Jason but or diffeent reasons).

    The production quality of the movie seemed to be very crappy. It looks just to cheap. The SFX and the kills looked like they where done by 4 year olds. Tamara´s body looks like a mannnequin that got sprayed with strawberry sauce! Julius decapitaion looks like claymation! Jason himself looks like crap. The kills are all lame. The best one is probbably the strangulation of Eva (because none of that crappy fake-blood was used).
    The dialouge and characters in this movie was crapy and stereotopic. “We are more productive if we split up” “Yo, I forgot the money, Holmes”, “We float the sewers with acid every midnight” (yeah, right!), “We just surived a massacre, lost oour freinds o an undead madman. Should we go o thepolice? No, let´ßs gio to the statue of liberty!”. and its also starnge that a dog is able to find his owners in a metropol like New York!

    Which brings me to he next point: The acting! Sure, F13´s won´t win any oscars … but this felt like a TV-movie. I don´t think it´s mainly the fault of the actors. but the fault of the screenwriter who wasn´t able to create good characters. Rennie is the worst heroine in the franchise. I didn´t give a damn about her. #Her connection with Jaon her meeting with him in the past) seemed forced and doesn´t fit in the timeline. Another one of those forced stroy-elements like the “crystal Lake is connected to the ocean” plot. Doe we see a canal to the ocean in Part 1 or TNB??? Howw where the Jarvis´s able to run “once around the lake” if there is a canal which hughe ships are able to pass?

    The Jason portrayal in this one was the worst of the entire franchise (*waits for crystallakehikers09 rsponse*). Not only is Jason a heavy-breathing, slow-walking guy, but he also seems to teleport! The directorprobabkly tried to show that no matter what you do, Jason will get you …. but just was too stupid!
    And what did JAson do in Vancou— err, New York? Nothing! He chased the heroes through some dirty backyards-streets that could have been everywhere. When I think of a movie-maniac in a big city (e.g. Predator 2, King Kong, Godzilla, Maniac Cop etc) I think of Panic and chaos. But Jason was too tame in NY. He stood in times square annd did nothing (except kicking the boom-box of some punks!!!?”). did the hundreds of people even care for the undead psycho in the torn clothers and the mask?

    The idea of JTM was great, but the execution was a disaster!

  6. Whoops, forgot to menion another one of my main problems with JTM: The score! Mollin´s “music” sounds like a four year old just randomly punched a synthesizer. The score is lame and annnoying! He might be good at scoring TV-series … but this was unacceptable for an big-screen-score.

  7. Actually I begged my Mom to take me to see this in theaters when I was 8 years old and I loved it!
    It’s still my favorite of the series.
    I have no clue why this one is bashed by everyone.
    SERIOUSLY – What is not to like about this?

  8. I Like this movie, it was the second friday the 13th movie that I saw (first was part 6) and THIS one make me became a fan of Jason, at that time I was like 8 y/o so I found it to be outstanding and Jason became my Favorite character when he decapitates Julius with one blow.

    Now 15 years later, in my opinion the film is really lame and the ending sucks (when I was a child I hated the ending too) but still I like a lot this movie and I think is really fun in its own way… the only problem is the ending, it sucks

  9. I hate the first girl murdered in the film (after her boyfriend) she looks like going to lough when she is hidden…
    But I don’t know why but i like this movie…Maybe only because is a “Friday the 13th” lol

  10. i really disliked this movie, i think it was almost as bad as jason goes to hell, there just wasnt any friday the 13th spirit in it, no harry manfredini, no woods,cabins,crystal lake, the lousiest kills of the whole series, i put a shame on this movie. even jason x had better friday the 13th atmosphere.

  11. Jason was pretty brutal in this one, so that’s a plus. He really seemed pissed. I really like the boat setting and actually felt the movie tanked when they reached Manhatten.

  12. I showed this movie to a girlfriend years ago and I still remember her comment about the first girl (Suzie?) hiding from Jason. She said, “Who does she think she is, Janet Jackson!?!” Then I remembered a J.Jackson video clip where Janet is half-obscured in darkness with her lip quivering! Rhythm Nation, Maybe? LOL!

  13. It doesnt really matter to me, they could put Jason in the most stupid of situations and make really horrible movies but I would still love them for the simple fact that its Friday the 13th and it Jason Voorhees.

  14. I believe that if they let the director do all of the cool things he thought of (Madison Square Garden, etc.), Jason Takes Manhattan could have been one of the best F13 films in the series. It isn’t my favorite in the series, but I will occasionally watch it every once and a while.

  15. Gabe Nov 20th, 2024 at 4:57 am

    “Would have been a little better if they actually shot it in NY. Epic Fail”

    At least they shot the Times Square scene in Times Square! :)

  16. Carsten,
    Your disdain for Hodder is legendary. :)

  17. Chris B,

    The director had some pretty crappy ideas too. For one, he decided to completely alter the way that Jason looked without his mask on. It was horrible. He also decided that Crystal Lake was connected to the Atlantic Ocean. That was a bad idea. He also decided that Jason should have a voice in this one. That was horrible too. And the ending where Jason turns into a little boy was one of the worst things I had ever seen on film. Just because he had the idea that Jason should go to Madison Square Garden doesn’t forgive every other bad idea that he had for this film.

  18. JTM was ok but definatly not my one of my favourites. For one I didnt like how you could clearly see many times in the movie jason is wearing rubber gloves that ” look” like skin… I mean all the director had to do was make jason sleeves just a bit longer and it would of covered the gloves… I mean what an obvious and stupide mistake. The ending is also terrible not the toxic waste but rather jason as a kid didnt make any sense. Besides that the movie wasnt all that bad.

    I always laugh when that guys climbs up the pole on the boat trying to escape Jason. I dont know what the guy was thinking but he certainly paid the price for escaping jason in the wrong way..

  19. I forgot.. Hopefully the will reboot it into the way it was meant to be

  20. I loved Jason Takes Manhatten when it came out in 1989 and it is still one of my favorites today.

    I do not understand some fans disdain for it because I think it is a much better movie then The New Blood which, with the exception of Jasons look and some cool kills, I thought was a pretty much by the numbers entry that I remember walking out of the theater a bit let down back in 1988. I did not feel that way when I walked out of Jason Takes Manhattan.

    I loved that Rob Hedden had the balls to try something different and take Jason out of his element. I wish Rob could have fully realized his original concept more and shot a larger portion of the film in New York but the limitations should not be blammed on Mr. Hedden because Paramount would not give him the funding necessary to do so.

    There was quite a bit for me to love about this film. The brutal kills, even though they were still a little bloodless, Jason being his badass self and Kane Hodder turning in a great performance, characters that I actually cared about, the boxing match on the roof between Jason and Julius which is one of my favorite scenes and a controversial ending that I thought was one of the best demises of Jason in the series. I liked how Rob bookened this film with the original by showing Renee’s ties to young Jason. It added a vulnerability to the character that had not been seen since Part 2.

    For some to say that this is the weakest film is still puzzling to me after 20 years. To bash this entry and not Jason Goes to Hell, which I hate with the exception of the beginning and the end scenes, makes no sense. I think the film is great and I still love watching it to this day.

  21. we should make a bracket on JGTH conversations… that was offically the worse entry of the franchise.

  22. Schotta001, i have to agree. i rented JGTH on demand twice recently and couldn’t make it through the movie. It is just so boring. The characters might be good if the script wasn’t so awful because there was some talent in front of the camera. Other than the Jason makeup JGTH is a sad enterprise IMO. and a waste of six bucks!!

  23. Next to Jason Goes To Hell, part 8 was the worst entry in the series. For one no Harry Manfredini, which made the music and the ki ki ma ma sound just awful. Plus the fact that about maybe 5-6 minutes of the film was shot in New York, while the rest was shot in vancouver and several cruise ships. And the Jason drowning sequence….Hes no longer a mongoloid and has a full set of hair. Those ridicilous flashbacks with Renee and Jason. The Bad FX etc. The few high points….for one Kane Hodder returned for a second run, Jason finnaly nails someone with a guitar (a flying V of all things) He dispatches 2 heroine junkie style criminals. Kills a New York cop. And My favorite scene…Jason Vs. Julius. That was one of my favorite scenes from the series, pity it had to take place in part 8. But My final word on the matter, if youre ever watching Jason takes Manhattan and You think it sucks, watch Jason Goes To hell.

  24. whats there to say it sucked really bad after part 7 they really went down hill :(

  25. I don’t really *hate* Jason Takes Manhatten, but I do have some issues with it. The characters are drawn in very broad, black-and-white strokes in comparison to the other films (I never liked, for instance, that McCullough was treated BY THE FILM as a cowardly, out-of-touch fool for being reasonably skeptical, or that Tamara’s attempted murder and blackmail were supposed to be recieved by audiences as normal teenage pranks). I also think the plot relies too heavily on coincidence (I love how there just *happens* to be Randomly-Occurring Toxic Waste coming down the sewer pipes as the heroes need it). Finally, I agree with the review that the ending’s treatment of Jason was very wrong for the character.

    On the other hand, I did really like Rennie- I have a weakness for protagonists who aren’t naturally heroic triumphing over an enemy that eats natural heroes for breakfast- and I liked the small, enclosed setting of the ship. When Jason was acting like Jason, he was great. For me, the movie ultimately evens out to “not my favorite, but I can watch it.”

  26. Ouch! Lots of hating on JGTH in a blog about Jason Takes Manhattan. The movie had the most gore in the franchise, Harry’s score, the movie was set in Crystal Lake and had the ultimate stalk and slash scene. Aren’t those all of the criteria the fans clamore for whenever a new Friday comes out?

  27. Jasonsfury,

    You just make an excellent point about the shallowness of the series. Yes, one would think that is all you need to be satisfied with an F13 film…but I think there is more depth to it than that. F13 films are not necessarily work of art in the traditional sense of how we apply the term to cinema….but even fans of the series know how to spot a bad apple when they see one (for the most part).

  28. Disliked this entry a whole lot (other than JGTH this is my least favourite).

    I don’t think funding was a big issue…a good director does not need huge funding to scare people.

    The score sucked and most of the kills were long and boring. How many frakin times did he hit/boxed Jason’s mask on the rooftop? Ridiculaous and boring. The girl killed on the dancefloor…gee, that was dragged out. And the whole time they were in the tunnels the movie just feel flat. Boring.

    Kane, I thought, did a great job – to bad the movie, in my opinion, pretty much sucked.

  29. …and where are rest of the damn blu-rays…I need parts 4 thru 7!! Damn.

  30. I just saw that Germaniac!

    hahaha it made me laugh pretty hard. I do love Jason in this one–hulking, heavy-breathing and teleporting! Haha its a horror movie,and I can accept if this guys is back from the dead he may have some strange powers that help him get places faster. Maybe even he can’t explain it!

    It was an ok movie. I didn’t like the end when Jason’s mask came off and he shook his fist. And the makeup effects were awful.

  31. Very, very well put jasonsfury. I hate JTM as much as the next guy but you put a lot of things in perspective here. Good stuff.

  32. I try to cut this entry some slack, but it’s tough. JV is brought back to life AGAIN by electricity, (way to go out on a limb), and now he can captain a yacht…of course he’d be able to, since he’s never even driven a car. Kane is the man, and he made even the little cut scenes, like the Navy Seal-esque boarding of the cruise ship, pretty cool. The kills are great, and Julius’ square off with Jason is a classic. Renny was a decent character added to the entry, but we all know that back story is just chronologically impossible and, well, kind of dumb. Neat idea, to drop Jason in the big apple, but A LOT of ‘what could have beens’ come to mind when thinking of the potential for this one.

  33. I thought this movie was alright, my only problem is that the movie is called jason takes manhattan, but barely any of the film takes place there, i wish they would have spent less time on the cruse ship, and had all the characters make it to new york, most of the scenes that took place in the rooms of the ship could have taken place either in a hotel or some other place like that in NY, i did enjoy the times square scene tho. :)

  34. Ive Growned to love this one over the years I remember renting it on my 10th birthdat and my brothers best friend (who is now my best friend) rented it at the same time I also remember I didnt have HBO at the time and I asked my Aunt if i could rec it over her house I was 9 yes it has tons of probs but I prefer it over Jason Goes to hell and i think its a beautifully shot movie esp with the Deluxe edition out now (keep those Blu rays coming paramount that goes for you too New line or warner whatever it is now ) but my fave will always be 2,3,4,6,

  35. When i was a kid i always liked to stay at my grandparents house on Friday nights.It was there that i cut my horror teeth watching old Hammer horror movies late night on the bbc (Christopher Lee’s Dracula portrayals were my fave in particular).One night when my gran had gone to bed,my grandad came home from the local bowling club with a bag full of video cassettes that his buddy had gave him.Westerns were always his favorite so i was surprised to see this in among them.Needless to say i watched it immediately and was hooked from Jason’s first appearance.Up until then i’d only seen him on the video covers in our local video store and thinking how cool these movies must be.My mother would never let me rent them out though.My grandparents never seemed to mind though.My friends were all into Freddy but i always thought he was very camp.No matter though i had just discoverd Jason for the first time and quickly watched all other Friday The 13th movies by any means necessary.So in closing Jason Takes Manhattan may not be my favourite Jason movie but it was my first and holds many nostalgic fond memories for me.I especially love the claustrophobia of being stalked through the NYC sewer system by Jason.I think this may be on the guilty pleasures list for some F13 purists and remains a bit of a slow burner for others.It is by no means the worst in the series………….KI,KI,KI,MA,MA,MA.

  36. This is where Jason gained is teleporting powers


    It should of been called Jason takes a Cruise ship, because 3/4 of the fuckin movie took place on the boat.

  37. I never cared for this one. The first 7 friday flicks had realistic charactors, while part 8 had unrealistic ones… For me, realism in the way people act is what holds the movie together and pulls you in. Parts 1-7 had that, while 8 and every friday there after didn’t… Which kinda ruined those movies for me.

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