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The Lie of Jason Takes Manhattan’s Marketing Still Hurts Friday the 13th Fans

Hedden held to those ambitions, even as budget realities set in. After learning that the studio wouldn’t pay for an entire film set in New York, Hedden changed to script to follow Jason wreaking havoc on a cruise ship heading to the city. With each successive rejection, however, the ship became more and more of the film, and the city receded further into the distance.

What was planned as a boxing match in the Garden becomes a rooftop fight between Jason and a young Golden Gloves champ (V.C. Dupree) that lasts just a few minutes. The many encounters between the killer and New York citizens gets diminished to a gag in which Jason scares a bunch of punks in Times Square by lifting off his mask… with his back to the camera.

That isn’t to say that Jason Takes Manhattan doesn’t have compelling ideas. Hedden focuses on Rennie (Jensen Daggett), a final girl who fears the water after her cruel uncle (Peter Mark Richman) tried to teach her to swim by tossing her straight into the water. Throughout the film, Rennie sees visions of the drowned Jason, setting up a concept in which she can put an end to the now-zombified killer by bringing peace to his younger self. Finally, Part VIII brings back Kane Hodder as Jason, a fan-favorite thanks to his giant frame and ability to breathe heavily.

Whatever the value of these concepts, they don’t make this a movie about Jason in New York. It’s a Jason movie where he happens to burst onto the Big Apple for the final few minutes. In other words, it invites inevitable disappointment.

Jason Takes a Break

When Jason finally arrives in the city, he gets confused by the sight of a billboard for a local hockey team. Staring up at the goalie mask for the off-brand New York Rangers, Jason—who grabbed a Detroit Red Wings mask in Part III—pauses and prepares for carnage.

This generic team logo captured in a dull, uninspired shot captures the full disappointment of the series. Sure, other franchises since have put the slasher movie in New York, most recently the solid Scream VI. But Jason is a true icon, one greater even than Ghostface. The chance to see the real Jason strut his stuff in the real New York can never be replaced by any pretender.

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