Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
|Year Of Production||1989|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (52:54)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Programme|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Rob Hedden|
Paramount Home Entertainment
Peter Mark Richman
Vincent Craig Dupree
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Smoking||Yes, some drug use|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is another in the long line of almost endless sequels to Friday The 13th. Whilst we await the arrival of Jason Vs Freddy, fans can use this instalment to while away the hours.
This chapter in the Jason Voorhees saga promised to deliver a plethora of new machete-fodder - imagine our old chum at large on the streets of New York City - the possibilities for gruesome fun seemed almost endless. Disappointingly, Jason doesn't even make it to Manhattan until pretty well the final reel of the movie. Those Super-Saver boat tickets sure aren't as good value as they seem! Anyway, on to the plot...
The film opens by showing the seedy underbelly of Manhattan, with pimps, punks and drug abusers galore. We then switch back to more familiar territory - Camp Crystal Lake. Two young lovers decide to moor their motor launch on Crystal Lake, dropping anchor and getting into the mood for some horizontal folk dancing. Strangely enough, the anchor snags an underwater power line and causes a massive electrical discharge to resurrect the inert body of Jason, lying at the bottom of the lake since his latest demise in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. Needless to say, the ill-mannered psychopath doesn't think to thank the lovers, choosing instead to despatch them with the aid of a handy spear-gun. To add insult to injury, he steals the boat and heads downstream to the town of Lakeview...
The kids from Lakeview High are just about to graduate, and to celebrate they have booked a cruise to New York City. The inevitable snotty homecoming queen, geeky dude, black jock and rockin' chick are joined by the main protagonists. Rennie (the improbably named Jensen Daggett) is an intelligent and immaculately permed sensitive girl, with a disturbed past. The fact that her favourite teacher, Miss Van Duesen (Barbara Bingham), gives her a pen supposedly owned by Stephen King suggests she is also into horror writing. Her guardian happens to be another teacher along for the ride - the incredibly, awfully hammy Mr McCulloch (Peter Mark Richman). Finally (if you discount Rennie's cute but ultimately pointless dog) there's Mr Obvious Love Interest, Sean (Scott Reeves), the son of the overbearing Admiral of the good ship Lazarus. A witty choice of name for a ship that is about to become home to the most resurrected killer of all time, eh?
Not that I need to tell you the rest, but just for the record... Jason hitches a ride on the Lazarus, and it's not too long before the party is over for almost all of the half-naked, cocaine abusing spoiled brats on board. Some of the cast do, however, make it off the boat, and make their way to Manhattan, only to be followed by Mr Voorhees in an epic swim that would make the Thorpedo green with envy. Time for Jason to meet the denizens of good ole' NYC...
Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is no better and no worse than the previous instalment. It is still not very scary and is easily outclassed by any number of more recent slasher flicks (Scream and Wrong Turn would be two of my personal favourites). The acting is uniformly awful, the plot is an opportunity squandered and the ending totally mystifying. On the plus side, the all-important death scenes are certainly better than those in the previous chapter, with a more imaginative and gory feel to almost all of them. This is quite a fast moving film, with the new killings starting within the first ten minutes, and the first gratuitous breast shot making an even more rapid appearance by the fourth minute. The biggest single flaw with this film is that it spends far too long on board the Lazarus, and not enough time in Manhattan.
It might easily have been called Jason Takes A Boat Trip or possibly Jason Takes Your Pocket Money - Again. The film did poor business at the box office (taking only $14 million in the USA) and was in fact the last time Paramount could be bothered to spend any money on Mr Voorhees - New Line later took up the reins with Jason Goes To Hell in 1993. As to the transfer and extras...read on. This is an obvious purchase for completists, and may be worth a rental for fans of Jason Voorhees (played here again by the towering Kane Hodder). Once again, I would suggest even fans try a rental before purchase.
The video quality of this transfer is good, and is easily the best of the series (at least the ones I have seen), although it does have some minor issues with pixelization in backgrounds.
The video is presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.78:1 which is marginally altered from the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is generally very sharp in the foreground with a little loss of detail due to pixelization of backgrounds.
The dark scenes show solid, inky blacks with no low level noise. Shadow detail is very good at almost all times, with plenty of detail evident in what is frequently a very dark set. As mentioned above, there is some pixelization evident on occasion, especially in backgrounds such as the counter at 2:01, the boat at 12:19 or the sky at 17:40. These instances do not become annoying however, and most people will not let them be a distraction from an otherwise nice video transfer. Colours are often bright, nicely rendered and remain solid throughout with no signs of colour bleeding. Skins tones are natural at all times.
The transfer to DVD has resulted in no major MPEG artefacts. There was some fairly minor edge enhancement present, evident as the inevitable halo around characters, for example at 13:56 but aliasing was completely unnoticed on my (progressive scan) system. Telecine wobble is not evident, even in the title sequences.
Film artefacts are present occasionally as fleeting white specks, but this is overall a clean transfer.
The English for the Hard of Hearing subtitles are well timed and easy to read, providing some fairly detailed audio cues including song lyrics and radio announcements. They follow the dialogue pretty closely, dropping a few words for the sake of brevity.
This disc is dual layered, with the brief layer change cropping up at 52:54. It is reasonably well placed at a scene change, and is most noticeable by the dropout in audio it causes.
The overall audio transfer is surprisingly good.
The English audio track is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 kbps. Whilst it misses out on the 5.1 transfer afforded Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, it actually sounds better. There are no major issues with audio defects such as hiss, clicks or pops. Dialogue is almost always clear and audio sync fine throughout. My main gripe would be that the dialogue is sometimes a little soft, and occasionally veers toward being overshadowed by the musical score and sound effects.
The main score is, like the previous chapter, credited to Fred Mollin. Just like the last film, this track is a functional, predictable horror movie score, with stereotypical stabbing strings and fairly heavy use of the classic Jason-esque sound effects created by Harry Manfredini.
The front speakers do a good job of delivering the dialogue, with some reasonable spread across the front soundstage - for example the steam escape at 48:07.
With Pro Logic II enabled, the surround channels are used throughout to provide a surprising level of support for the musical score and provide quite a lively and enveloping soundstage. Whilst there is little in the way of directional or localised effects, the audio is really rather good and adds to the shock elements of the film rather well. A good example of Pro Logic surround can be heard when the anchors are dropped at 43:30.
The subwoofer was frequently used to carry redirected bass, thanks once again to Pro Logic II. Whilst it is in use almost constantly, there are no true LFE rumblings present, but it does round out the audio transfer nicely - depending on your amplifier set-up of course.
|Surround Channel Use|
Frustratingly for fans, there are absolutely no extras present on this DVD.
The main menu is a static and silent picture of Jason's famous hockey mask. It allows the options of playing the movie, choosing one of a minimal seventeen chapter stops or selecting the language and subtitles.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 version of this movie appears to be identical to our own, with the exception that it is presented on a DVD5 (single layered, single-sided) disc. I would suspect that the dual layered Region 4 version would allow for a less compressed transfer. Buy whichever you can find most cheaply.
Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is a bit of a misleading title, given that he doesn't arrive in Manhattan until there is a scant 35 minutes of film left. It feels less "censored" than the previous instalment, with the all-important death scenes being a bit more gory - and possibly a little more inventive on occasion. Still, this is predictable fare, of most interest to fans of the Friday The 13th series. Unless you are a serious collector, I would suggest you rent before you buy.
The video quality is good.
The audio transfer is surprisingly good with Pro Logic II enabled.
There are absolutely no extras on offer.
|DVD||Harmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|