Sunday, August 22, 2010

Friday The 13th: The New Blood (1988) / Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

f13thpart7.jpg picture by sikomike
       Poor Tina Shepard. All she wanted was her father to be alive again and instead got Crystal Lake's most popular hockey masked maniac, Jason Voorhees.  What ol' Jay boy doesn't know is that our heroine has a secret of her own.
   Young Tina Shepard runs outside as her parents fight.  Her father chases after her as she takes off in the boat. She tells him that she hates him for hurting her mother. Her anger causes the pier that her father is standing on to collapse since she has the ability of telekinesis and accidentally kills him.  We jump several years later where a teenage Tina and her mother are returning to their old lake house so Tina's doctor, Dr. Crews, can help her get over her guilt of what happened to her father.  What Tina and her mother don't know is that Dr. Crews doesn't plan to help Tina, but to exploit her abilities for money.  Meanwhile next door, Nick is hosting a surprise party for his cousin Michael with some stereotypical Friday The 13th victims just itching to come face to face with Jason's machete.   Tina begins a friendship with Nick even though the skanky blonde bitch Melissa does everything she can do to give her crabs to Nick.  One night, an upset Tina cries near Crystal Lake for her father to come back to her. Unknowingly, she unchains Jason at the bottom of the lake with her powers. Jason emerges from the lake, causing Tina to faint. Soon, Tina begins to see visions of people being killed by some big dude wearing a hockey mask. Jason makes his way to crash Michael's surprise birthday bash and comes face to face with Tina. Will Tina's powers help her defeat Jason for good or will there be yet ANOTHER Friday The 13th?
   In 1986, Paramount Pictures released the very successful sixth installment in their popular Friday The 13th franchise titled Friday The 13th: Jason Lives.  Jason Lives breathed new life into the saga after the stupid fifth installment Friday The 13th: A New Beginning almost killed and buried the franchise for good.  Since Jason Lives was so successful at the box office, what happened? You got it! They made another sequel. Now, you're catching on to Hollywood's thinking.  In 1988, Paramount Pictures released the seventh installment Friday The 13th: The New Blood.   It basically did the average Friday The 13th thing except this time, it gave the heroine of the film telekinetic powers.   They basically wrapped up the Tommy Jarvis story in the last movie, so they decided to start with a fresh new heroine named Tina Shepard.
     The story is pretty average except for the whole telekinesis deal.  Daryl Haney and Manuel Fidello wrote an okay screenplay, I guess.   Telekinesis is the ONLY new thing added to this film.  The thing that made the last film so appealing was the over the top kills, zombie Jason, interesting characters, and the addition of humor to the victims before they die. Here, the characters are just forgettable for the most part.  They are set up to die, which is how these Friday characters mostly are, but these characters just didn't have much of a personality and were cattle just waiting to be slaughtered.  The only characters that really held my interest was Tina (the heroine) because of all the shit she was going through. She has a doctor that just wants to use her to make cash off her powers and then throw her in the mental hospital. Plus, she feels majorly guilty for accidentally killing her father. Tina treats her gift more of a curse than a gift.  This girl doesn't need therapy, she needs to join Professor Xavier at the Mutant Academy so she can be trained to use her ability safely. 
    Nick is the typical love interest for the heroine, but definitely has a personality and I cared to see him live.  Melissa is a cold hearted bitch that should get fucked with a dick made out of maggots. I hated this girl for all the right reasons. What a fucking bitch!  Dr. Crews was a money hungry douche bag that deserved over a million gruesome ways to die.  I felt bad for Michael. Poor guy. He has to get killed by Jason on his birthday.  Jason could have at least let him enjoy his party.  Oh right, Jason hates parties and friend get togethers.  If he wants to hack up annoying people that much then I will just bring him as a guest to my high school reunion.   All of the other characters are so one dimensional that their names have totally escaped me. We have some sci fi geek, a stoner couple, a sex couple, a black sex couple, some random couple staying in a tent in the woods,  and Michael's girlfriend.  My favorite character of this movie is Jason for sure. He's a fucking pissed off badass in this movie.  I don't blame him though. If I was chained to the bottom of Crystal Lake for over a decade then I would have a taste for horny teenage blood myself. 
And now for what is usually the best part of a Friday The 13th film: the kills. The kills in Friday The 13th: The New Blood are REALLY tame and toned down for the most part.  This movie was originally going to be balls to the fucking wall gory. Unfortunately, horror movies can't be released to movie theaters rated X/NC-17, so the good stuff had to be toned down to get an R rating according to the Motion Picture Association of America. Yup, the MPAA gang raped Friday The 13th: The New Blood so hard that it's ass is oozing all the blood. Way to go ratings board, fuck you and your little rules too!   It truly breaks my heart to see what could have been a really awesome horror flick get butchered  like that.  This shit even happens today, probably not as much due to the fact that movies can get away with more shit nowadays.  Anyways, the kills were really hurt thanks to the MPAA. The one kill that everyone loves including myself is Jason grabbing a girl who is wrapped up inside a sleeping bag and slamming it ONCE into a tree.  My second favorite is when Jason stabs a girl in the eye with a birthday party blow horn.  There's one involving a spinning blade, but the scene was obviously cut too soon, so we don't get to see the good stuff. Considering that character was an asshole, we should have been able to see it just for the smile.  I liked Melissa's death where Jason hits her in between the eyes with an axe and then tosses her body across the living room.  All in all, disappointing kills for a Friday The 13th movie.
    The music score by Harry Manfredini was awesome as always and personally my favorite of his Friday The 13th musical scores.
   The direction by special FX artist John Carl Buechler was pretty off and on. I don't blame Buechler for this personally since the MPAA forced him to cut and take out a lot of good stuff. This is a movie that we could use an UNCUT version on DVD. I'm highly surprised that it hasn't been released uncut.  I'm really curious what this movie was supposed to be like.  I personally don't mind Buechler as a director, but he is a far better special FX artist in my opinion.
The acting was okay for the most part. Lar-Park Lincoln was alright as Tina. She was definitely better than Alice and maybe Chris, but she still ain't no Ginny Fields or even Tommy Jarvis. Susan Blu was okay as Tina's mother Amanda. I really liked Kevin Spirtas as Nick. Susan Jennifer Sullivan was great at playing the rich and snobby bitch of the movie as Melissa. I hated this girl's guts for all the right reasons. And she WOULD be the last one to bite it too. Terry Kiser played a great greedy douche bag as Dr. Crews. I wanted this guy to bite it SO badly. William Butler was decent as Michael. It's funny because Butler would play another victim in Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III in 1990 and also got killed off by Freddy Krueger in the tv show Freddy's Nightmares.  He should be a victim in a Halloween film too!  Everyone else was okay. Nobody else really stuck out as the Crystal Lake victims. And last and surely not least, Kane Hodder's first portrayal as Jason Voorhees. Hodder is the most popular actor to play Jason and a fan favorite since he has returned to play Jason in the next three Friday The 13th movies, which established him as being Jason.  While Hodder is not my personal favorite portrayal of Jason, I still loved his performance. Kane gave Jason something that nobody had really seen until this movie, which was a personality. He played him differently from those who came before him and really made the character his own.   Kane Hodder as Jason is definitely the best part of this movie for me as a fan. The Jason make-up looked fucking awesome in the final act when Tina uses her power to break the hockey mask, revealing Jason's gruesome face. He looked like a mean killing machine and a total badass.  Jason kicked a lot of ass in this movie!
I do have a HUGE issue with the film though aside from a lot of the victims being really forgettable and the MPAA raping the kill scenes.  What the fuck is up with the conclusion to this movie? Tina somehow summons her dead father to grab Jason and pull him back into the water. Uh, whah? How? What?  I'm sorry, but that is just fucking confusing as hell. That would make as much sense as to having Michael Myers's mother come back from the dead after blowing her own brains out. Oh wait, THAT DID HAPPEN!  Anyways, yeah, that ending was bogus. I t would have been one thing if it was a dream and they had explained that, but no. They leave it without explaining it at all.  Although, I do admit that I would much rather have this confusing ending than the one we get in the next installment.
Overall, Friday The 13th: The New Blood is a pretty average slasher flick.  It's basically Carrie Vs. Jason.  The best part is Kane Hodder as Jason, the sleeping bag kill, the blow horn in the eye kill, the look of Jason, and that is pretty much it. It's still watchable, but this is the start of where the franchise began to go downhill until 2003 with Freddy Vs. Jason.
Looks like Crystal Lake is starting to lose its flavor of blood. I think it's time for a vacation, don't you? Maybe Los Angelos? No.  Maybe Vegas? No. How about Haddonfield? Nope. Springwood? Nada.   I've got it! How about Manhattan? Yupperooni.
f13thpart8.jpg picture by sikomike
Looks like the Big Apple is in big trouble. Jason Voorhees has arrived all the way from Crystal Lake to give our New York friends a slashing or two.   Too bad that most of our vacation takes place on a cruise ship.  Mae-day! Mae-day! We have a sinking ship on our hands and it is called Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan.
   A young couple consisting of a Jared Leto look alike and his girlfriend are spending some alone time on a boat next to Crystal Lake.  The guy tells his girlfriend the legend of Jason Voorhees.  While lowering the anchor, it accidentally gets tangled in some power lines at the bottom of the lake, causing electrical charges to go through Jason's body and revive him from a deep sleep. Jason comes aboard the boat, retrieves a hockey mask that the guy used to scare his girlfriend, and then kills the couple. The next day, some high school Seniors at Crystal Lake High are taking a cruise ship to New York City. Unknowingly to them, Jason hops aboard too. Among these teens is shy Rennie Wickham, who has a phobia of the water.   She weirdly begins to see a young Jason every time she is alone.  One by one, Jason begins killing off these teens. The survivors catch a life boat and end up in New York. To their surprise, Jason has followed them there, where he confronts Rennie and the Captain's son Sean  in the sewers beneath New York that makes for the worst ending of the entire franchise.
  In 1988, Paramount Pictures released its seventh installment in the popular Friday The 13th franchise titled Friday The 13th: The New Blood. The film pitted Jason against the telekinetic Tina Shepard and was the first time that stunt man Kane Hodder donned the hockey mask and machete.  The New Blood did decent business at the box office, which meant that another Friday The 13th was definitely going to happen. During the mid '80s, horror fans wanted to see both Jason Voorhees from the Friday The 13th franchise go up against the equally iconic Freddy Krueger from the A Nightmare On Elm Street franchise.  The problem was that neither Paramount Pictures or New Line could agree on anything.  Talk came back up for a Freddy Vs. Jason film in the late '80s.  Rob Hedden was hired to write and direct the eighth Friday The 13th film. Hedden told Paramount that he really wanted to make Freddy Vs. Jason happen. Paramount and New Line were again in disagreement for the film. Paramount wanted Jason to win and New Line wanted Freddy to win. Being that Paramount was on a time frame, the idea was postponed again.  Hedden decided that he wanted to do something totally different with his take on the iconic Jason Voorhees by taking Jason out of Crystal Lake. Jason had been killing stereotypical dumbasses at Crystal Lake for seven films already and it was starting to get old for many fans who wanted something fresh to occur in the franchise.  Rob Hedden brought the idea up of taking Jason to New York City. Paramount Pictures agreed to the plan. 
       Taking Jason to New York sounded like a fantastic idea. The posters got everybody excited for the film. Jason was coming to the Big Apple and was going to do some slashing! Unfortunately, the studio ran low on money and could only afford a few days to film in New York. This lead to a lot of rewrites on Hedden's script. So, the first like hour and ten minutes of the film takes place on the cruise ship where Jason does most of the killing and the last twenty minutes takes place in the mean streets of Manhattan.  Now, while I can understand the disappointment in having almost all of the kills on the cruise ship, that isn't what hurts this film for me. What really hurts this film is the execution.   Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan is a bad film, yes, but it also has a few good qualities about it that make it somewhat watchable.
     The screenplay that Rob Hedden wrote is not too bad. Sure, it has many flaws, but it could have been so much worse.   I didn't find the characters all that interesting for the most part. They definitely didn't bore me, but they sure as hell didn't have me rooting for them to survive this trip either.  It's pretty sad when the only interesting characters in this movie is the asshole school principal Charles McCulloch and Jason.  Hell, I didn't even find the final girl Rennie interesting at all. I felt a little bad that her asshole of an uncle would teach her to swim by pushing her into Crystal Lake after telling her that Jason likes to pull down anybody who falls in without knowing how to swim. Nice parenting skills pal.  She just felt so bland as a horror movie heroine. Even Alice was a better heroine in the original Friday The 13th.  Rennie is just my least favorite of the many girls that have fought Jason. McCulloch was an asshole for sure, but he definitely kept my interest probably because I wanted to see Jason play beer pong with his eyeballs.   The token boyfriend character/hero Sean was equally uninteresting to me. The only thing interesting about him was that he kinda looked like an '80s version of Ryan Reynolds minus being  fucking awesome.   The rest of the characters consist of some wannabe rocker chick named J.J, who doesn't last long at all. A film geek named Wayne. Some popular bitch named Tamara and her Asian friend Eva.  The token black guy who is a boxer named Julius. The creepy old deck hand guy who is obviously a rip off of Crazy Ralph by warning everybody about Jason and that they're all going to die. And then there is a teacher named Miss Deusen.  That about sums it up.  The characters are pretty forgettable for the most part except for McCulloch.  Pretty meh characters.
      And now for what is normally the best part of these Friday The 13th films: the kills! The kills in Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan are pretty tame for the most part. The most remembered one is when Jason gives Julius a one hitter quitter on a rooftop in New York, which causes Julius's head to pop off. It's cool because then we get the severed head's POV as it rolls down the roof and into a dumpster, finished by the lid closing shut. My second favorite is when Jason kills the dude in the Sauna by ramming a very hot rock into the guy's stomach.  I also kinda liked where Jason bashed the wannabe rocker chick's head in with her own guitar.  The drug needle kill was a good one too. But, aside from those that I mentioned, the kills were pretty tame. All of the others were impaling, stabbing, electrocution, breaking necks, polluted water, and the usual.  I guess that Paramount took notice to how raped The New Blood got by the MPAA that they decided to do them a favor and tone down the violence so that they wouldn't have to worry about the ratings board being on their asses.  Fuck you MPAA, like seriously. Up and down. Backwards and forewards. And to pop it off with a cherry on top.
    The direction by Rob Hedden is pretty meh and forgettable too.  Enough said about the direction.
       There are quite a few things that really make this movie bad.  Most people hate Jason Takes Manhattan because Jason is killing these high school ditwits on a cruise ship for over half of the movie instead of in the streets of New York City like the posters have been promising. I totally understand where they are coming from, but truth be told, I don't hate Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan surprisingly enough. I'm just highly disappointed that a film with so much promise and interesting ideas became, well, this kinda movie.  It's like when you are a little kid and waiting forever to get a toy just to find out that it doesn't work or doesn't even do half the shit that it promises.   I can kinda understand why Rennie keeps seeing a young Jason because of her uncle scaring her as a child, but why the fuck does he look like a normal kid huh? Jason has been DEFORMED his whole life. Even in the original 1980 Friday The 13th, we see flashbacks of young Jason as he is drowning in the lake and can obviously see that he is partially deformed.  That is the whole reason why he wears a mask isn't it? To cover up his deformed looking face.  I just don't get why they would make him look normal in some visions and then a little deformed in others. 
       There's also a scene where Rennie drives a Police car into a building because she "sees" young Jason standing in the middle of an alley. The camera does this slow motion zoom in thing that just made me bust out in laughter. Oh yeah, when Rennie, Sean, and McCulloch get out of the car before it blows up, they up and leave that poor teacher Miss Deusen to burn to death.  Assholes!   Also, since when can Jason teleport? Seriously, one minute he is behind some guy and the next he beats him to the top of the stairs. They don't even explain how he can do that. At least the 2009 remake as bland as that movie was provided some kinda explaination for how Jason gets around so fast.   Jason Takes Manhattan huh? More like, Jason Takes A Cruise Ship In Canada That Is Headed To Gotham City.  This is New York? Really? Aside from the Statue of Liberty, it looks more like Gotham to me. Overrun with crime, smokey alley ways,  polluted water and rats. Yup, it's Gotham alright.   I'm sure the New Yorkers really appreciated the dirty portrayal of their city.  And the BIGGEST problem with this movie goes to the finale. Holy fucking Hell. The finale to this film was an abomination of the character Jason and felt like a blow to the head. What in the world was that? Jason gets hit with toxic waste that for some fucking reason floods the sewers of New York every night at midnight and it turns big badass Jason into a character on The Muppets. Seriously, his face became puppet like. I wouldn't be surprised if you shoved your hand up his ass, that you could get his mouth to move the echo "KI KI KI MA MA MA". The best part though is when he turns back into a little boy again. That is NOT Jason! That is fucking Pinocchio.  No more comments on the conclusion.
The acting is pretty meh for the most part. It's probably because the way that these characters are written. Jensen Daggett did nothing for me as the heroine Rennie. Scott Reeves did equally nothing for me as the heroine's boyfriend Sean.  Peter Mark Richman was probably the best actor in the film as the asshole Charles McCulloch.  I hated that guy for the right reasons and he didn't even get a good death. Vincent Craig Dupree was actually decent as the token black boxer Julius.  I liked the scene where he was boxing Jason. At least it wasn't Busta Rhymes karate chopping Michael Myers like in that horrid called Halloween: Resurrection. Barbara Bingham was alright as Miss Deusen.  And Kane Hodder was again really awesome as Jason aside from that Muppet ending.  I really loved the sequence when Jason first arrives in New York and he looks up at a hockey billboard with some goalie wearing the same mask and Jason tilts his head. My favorite and most hilarious part of this movie was when Jason walks passed some hoodlums, kicks and breaks their boom box playing rap music, they start pulling out switch blades. One of them says, "You're dead meat slime bag."  Then, Jason turns around and pulls up his hockey mask, revealing to them his face and then the thug says, "It's cool man. It's cool." and all of the guys run away scared. That shit was fucking brilliant! The rest of the cast are pretty eh though.
Overall, Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan is a majorly disappointing film.  It didn't go over well at the box office back in 1989, which caused Paramount Pictures to sell the rights back to the original's director Sean S. Cunningham and lead to New Line putting out the rest of the franchise. Paramount Pictures would not come back into the franchise as well as any more Jason movies  using "Friday The 13th" in the title until Platinum Dunes rebooted the franchise in 2009. 
    Looks like our vacation is over already. It's time for a new home for Jason at New Line, under the same house as Mr. krueger and Mr. Leatherface.  Stay tuned for the next episode where I will see Jason off to Hell. Until the next slashing, have a nice fright! HEHEHEHEHEHAHAHAHA!


Fred [The Wolf] said...

Great reviews. I think I like THE NEW BLOOD more than you. I just think it's a pretty fun flick that's paced really well. Is it a good film? Not really, but it's a decent sequel to a tired franchise at this point. I do agree about the kills [fuck the MPAA] and that WTF ending. This was my first FRIDAY THE 13TH theater experience, by the way.

And we all know how I feel about JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. Being from NY, I was so excited to see this. I even went to the theater for this one. But WTF is this film on? The cruise ship stuff doesn't really bug me, but it takes too much time at that setting. The characters are really boring and bland. And that ending...even at 8 years old, I knew I just witnessed shit on celluloid. A NEW BEGINNING is worse, but this film was just a huge disappointment and an insult to FRIDAY THE 13TH fans.

iZombie said...

Greetings HBA Member,
With the recent attention to the Horror Blogger Alliance and updates, I thought would be good to build a database for [over 350] the group.

For More Info:

Please Update Soon... and if you have updated your information, please disregard.

Jeremy [iZombie]
HBA Staff

Trick or Treat Pete said...

@Wolfie, my first F13 in theater experience was F13 part 3

Sigh, I'm not a fan of either of these films...
Jason Takes Manhanttan aka Jason Takes a Cruise to me was Jason Takes a Snooze...
Great Reviews
Crappy movies
Dreaded Dreams
Petunia Scareum