Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I think we're at the point in my examination of "Friday The Thirteenth Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan" where I begin to sum up what I would have done differently with the film. God knows I would have done plenty differently. Frankly, I would not have even begun with the premise of Jason leaving Crystal Lake. That's where he lives and where he belongs. Taking him away from there, you might as well get rid of gravity or make apples currency or make fish talk. Why moor yourself to anything at that point?

But let's say you're committed to this New York thing. You should really have the film inhabit New York. Much has been made of the fact that it's really "Jason Takes A Cruise Ship And Eventually Reaches Manhattan". That doesn't make it a bad movie, but it does make the movie a bait and switch. I would say the thing to do is to make the movie take place almost entirely in New York if not entirely. Why spend time on the trip there?

Of course, they had financial considerations. It was too expensive to shoot a ton in New York, so most of even what was presented as Manhattan was in fact Vancouver, I think. I'm not badly bothered by that, really. I think it's smart to just get the iconic, irreplaceable stuff like Times Square or Madison Square Garden in New York, and then the rest can be Vancouver. I don't know really why it was a good call to go so hard on the cruise ship.

I think we can even fix my problems with the premise. Something I find fascinating about certain films set in New York, like those made by Larry Cohen, is how they can make the city feel like a desolate, dark place. They have a charming cheapness to them, and not being able to afford lots of actors and extras actually worked for them, I think. I bet there are many times and places and situations where for all the difference it makes, a New Yorker might as well be in the middle of the woods instead of technically in one of the world's biggest, most populous cities. It worked in "The Warriors".

That film is not a terrible template, in a way. Let's suppose that the group of graduating seniors makes it to New York, and a subset of them watched over by one teacher are set upon by Jason. They could be out deep in one of the more remote boroughs where there is relatively more space than the heart of Manhattan- where there are places unlit by neon signs and uncrowded by tourists. That is Jason's place in New York.

Times Square and the other famous spots in the city are where Jason loses the advantage- where the teens can get the best of him. The journey is not from some damn place outside of the city to the city: it's from uptown to downtown. I don't know the city at all, but that's my opinion. Tomorrow, given this broad structure, we can get into more detail on the exact thrust of the story and the arcs of the characters therein.

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