13 Oct 2017

SLASHER FILM RULES - Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Every genre has cliches, but how well does a Friday the 13th film follow the Slasher film rules?

In Friday the 13th Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) travels by ship to New York.

The following analysis may contain spoilers for



The Unheeded Warning.

"This voyage is doomed." ~ the Deckhand.

1a.  Warnings will not be believed...
i.  Source - Jim tells  Local Legends, (well, local history by this stage) to Suzi. The Elderly, and possibly the Insane, deckhand tells ?? that the trip is doomed (based it seems on seeing blood on the window of another craft.  When he later actually hears a murder occurring he doesn't tell anyone or look for the body, rather waits a few hours to make another dire prediction.  Rennie, has visions and Toby, the dog, seems tuned into Rennie's them.
ii.  Dismissable - Jim immediately dismisses his own stories as just that.  The deckhand makes his predictions easy to dismiss.  It's almost like he wants to be ignored.  Then again, isn't shown mentioning Jason until later, although Mr McCulloch claimed he'd been talking about Jason the whole time.  And, of course, Rennie ignores her visions.
iii.  Authorities - Mr McMulloch, the teacher in charge of the teens, denies the deckhand's ramblings pointing out that Jason Vorhees has been dead for years.
iv.  Crazy - "Walking corpses are not real."
1b.  Happened before - Obviously has, and everyone but Suzi has heard of him, but most dismiss the stories as legends.

1c.  General eeriness - the opening song and the violence and detachment of the New York scene, followed by the usually quiet lake stuff for Crystal Lake.


Sex & Nudity.

"They probably decided to explore each other rather than New York." ~ Miss Van Deusen.

2a.  Nudity -
i. Female Nudity - Suzi is briefly shown topless and Tamara is shown naked.  Both die.  The final girl is shown in just s bra from behind.
ii. Male Nudity - Some males shirtlessness.
iii. Nudity Equals Death - Yes, see below.
iv. Public vs Private Nudity - No public nudity (although Tamara does try to seduce Mr McCulloch in her underwear.

2b.  Sex -
i.  Death - Yes, Jim and Suzi see below.
ii.  Random Sex - None, although Tamara tries.
iii. Relationship Sex - Jim and Suzi seem to be in a relationship, probably.
iv.  Rape - A gang member kidnaps Rennie and tries to rape her.  He is killed by Jason before he can.


Death will be a punishment for...

"His mother blamed the counselors for her son's death and she tried to kill them all but she got her head chopped off by one of them." ~ Jim.

...Transgression.  Many of the deaths are linked to transgression, however they are mostly random, with Jason killing whoever he comes across... until he arrives in New York where he seems to focus on Crystal Lake residents or people with direct contact with them.

3a.   Sex - Jim  & Suzy are killed immediately after sex. Tamara is killed soon after trying to have sex with Mr McCulloch.

3b.  Nudity  - Suzy's breasts and but crack is shown, prior to sex.  Tamara is shown nude during and after the shower. 

3c.  Drinking - No real drinking issues.

3d.  Drugs - Tamara and Eva use cocaine.  Rennie is injected with heroin. 

3e.  Hitchhiking - No one hitchhikes.

3f.  Other Criminal Behaviour - Apart from drug use (above) really only the two criminals and Tamara and Miles' attempt to blackmail Mr McCulloch.

3g.  Being annoying/being cowardly/being a sleazy guy - Mr McCulloch counts as annoying (and a little cowardly), rejecting Tamara's advances suggests he isn't too sleazy.  He did however almost drown Rennie when she was a child, making his own death by drowning an ironic punishment.  The Deck hand doesn't act like a normal person.  Julius, the boxer and Miles were a little annoyin.

3h.  Being a bystander.  JJ mostly. Carlson, the Admiral and the other crewman.  The policeman and Miss van Deusen.  Actually a large number.  And that's not including the other 17 or more students unaccounted for when the ship sunk (four were shown in the restaurant which was later said to be gone.)

People will die when they go…

"Look, I think it'll be more productive if we split up." ~ Mr McCulloch.

4a.  Down to the Basement - The power-room of the ship most likely counts.  JJ is killed there (the first on the ship), and Wayne when he goes looking for her much later.  A crewman is accidentally shot and killed by Wayne there too.

4b.  Upstairs - Miles may have done the ultimate when he climbs the ship's mast.  He dies immediately afterward when thrown off it.

4c.  For a Shower - Tamara is killed immediately after a shower.

4d.  Into old sheds or out buildings - N/A.

4e.  Running off to the “safety” of the forest - No forest.  Out at sea could count but isn't used that way.

4f.  Anywhere alone - They split up on the ship allowing Jason to pick a few of them off, and again a couple of times in New York.

4g.  Anywhere Remote, Isolated or Confined - The boat by definition.  The film also shows the 80s view of NY were everyone is alone in a crowd.

4h.  Any Old, Abandoned or Presumably Haunted Buildings - Mr McCulloch is chased into an abandoned building by Jason and killed there.


The Order of Death

"You're all gonna die.  You're the last ones.  He's come back for you." ~ the Deckhand.

5a.  The First Person on Screen - The punks are the first to appear, much later they are threatened by Jason and run away (thus surviving).  The couple the first people scene after the NY montage are Jim & Suzy first two killed

5b.  The Black Man dies First -  One black man: Julius.  He survives quite a long time, being the 15th death (and even his fake-out death was #12).   Even Asian Eva doesn't die until #8.

5c.  The Stoner - Tamara and Eva do coke, Rennie refuses.  Rennie is later injected with drugs during a rape attempt.

5d.  The Bimbo - Tamara, is a beautful blond prom queen, introduced picking out the only senior boy she'd have sex with.  She does just before she dies have a moment of curiosity, investigating a noise.  Eva is emulating Tamara.

5e.  The Nerdy/Funny Guy – Eva is clearly an attractive nerdy girl (has a science scholarship) ,emulating Tamara. Wayne is played as a friendzoned AV geek, but still fairly attractive.  Jim doesn't really count, but he did play a prank on Suzy.

5f.  Macho jerks - Jim probably, he's not developed enough as a character to be sure.  Julius, his fellow boxer and Miles certainly.  Mr McCulloch in an older white-male authority figure way.

5g.  The Strong Female Character - Once she breaks away from Tamara's influence, Eva shows a little of this, but doesn't appear much.  As noted, Tamara does show some non-bimbo traits towards the end.  

5h.  The Protector - Julius almost becomes a younger version of this, as the only one wanting to save Rennie from her rapists, but he becomes full MJ when the tries to defeat Jason using his boxing skills.  Miss van Deusen is almost set up so she could play this role but she never does and just dies in a car crash.

5i.  The Sensitive Guy - Clarson, seems to be this.  A young father who seems to really care about the Admiral and his relationship with his son.  But a minor character killed after minimal screen time.  The Admiral himself fills this role, as an older character.  The sewer worker also seems to count.  The actual final-guy sensitive character is Sean he is a little 

5j.  Children and animals – Toby the dog survives.  However, he does have a tendency to run off at the first sign of danger.

5k. The Final Girl - Rennie Whickhan, around Jason more than Sean at the end survives.

  1. (67)  Jim Miller [F?]
  2. (68)  Suzy Donaldson [D?]
  3. (69)  JJ [G?] 
  4. (67)  Boxer [F]
  5. (70)  Tamara [D]
  6. (71)  Carlson [H]
  7. (72)  The Admiral [H]
  8. (73)  Eva [E]/[D]/[G]
  9.          Crewman [F] - accidentally shot by Wayne.
  10. (74)  Wayne [E]
  11. (75)  Miles [F]
  12.          [At least 4 people killed when the restaurant, 17 or more unaccounted for]
  13. (76)  Deckhand [E]
  14. (77)  Gang member [F]
  15. (78)  Gang member [F]
  16. (79)  Julius [F]
  17. (80)  Policeman [F] or [H]?
  18.          Miss van Deusen [I] - killed in explosion of car driven by Rennie.
  19. (81)  Mr McCulloch [F]
  20. (82)  Sewer worker [F]


Especially When They Are Most Needed, The Following Things Cannot Be Relied On…

"Where's the radio?" ~ Mr McCulloch.
"It's dead." ~ Sean.

...Anything.  But especially:

6a.  Communications devices - Jason rips off the radio antenna cables mid-mayday call. Julius later finds a working phone but is attacked by Jason during the call.

6b.  Lighting - Not many or significant lighting problems.

6c.  Vehicular Transport - The lifeboat has to be rowed, but it doesn't have the usual escape vehicle issues.  The police car works fine, Rennie just crashes it.

6d.  Your Own Legs - Not really.

6e.  The Authorities – Mr McCulloch tells everyone he's in charge and is immediately ignored. The policeman is killed right after he first appears.

6f.  Weapons – JJ drops her guitar to run leaving it for Jason to use against her.  Other weapons are lost quickly but for OK reasons.

6g.  Escape Routes - It's a ship at sea, there are no escape routes (apart from the life raft.)


The Final Girl

"You didn't get me in the lake and you're not gonna get me now!" ~ Rennie Wickman.

Rennie Wickham

7a.  Final - Yes, survives the film.  Sean does as well, but she has the final encounters.

7b.  Girl - Yes.

7c.  Boyish.
i.   Uni-sex name - Yes, Rennie can be either.
ii.  Masculine dressing - Yes, though possibly equal with JJ. 
iii. Flat-chested - Maybe, dressed to appear that way.
iv.  Short-haired - No, big fluffy hair.

7d.  Well Drawn - 
i.  Intelligent - creative.
ii.  Curious & vigilant - mostly.
iii.  Talented - one of her teachers thinks so.
iv.  Has a dark past - Well, almost drowned by her uncle and Jason.
v.  Have/gain inner strength - A damaged individual.

7e.  Virginal & innocent - Eventually kisses her boyfriend, nothing else happens.

7f.  Will be reborn - Seems to happen.  Just.


The Killer has a Connection to…

"There was this boy named Jason Voorhees.  He drowned in Crystal Lake about 30 years ago." ~ Jim.

Jason Voorhees

8a.  The Location - Crystal Lake, where the movie starts, sure.  Later not so much.

8b.  The Final Girl -  She (and her dog) see visions of him as a child.

8c.  The Protector - No real protector.

8d.  The Other Victims - No.

8e.  Femininity - No.

8f.  A Specific Look - His overalls, still, and a hokey mask resembling his that had been used as a prank.

8g.  A Specific Weapon - Whatever comes to hand: spear gun, the spear, guitar, sauna rock, mirror shards, a harpoon, a machete (finally), strangulation, electrocution, a syringe, a pipe, a barrel of water, a wrench.

8h.  The Camera - Multiple stalking camera angles.  At least once revealed to be Mr McCulloch and once Toby the dog.


Evil Never Dies

"Legend has it that Jason came back to get even, vowing to kill every teenager in the area.  And every now and then, the murders just start up....  Forget about it, they're just stories." ~ Jim.

9a.   You Always Have to Kill the Bad Guy Twice - Jason didn't even seem to notice bullets in this one.  Jason lies on the ground for a long time after he is hit by a car but then he gets up.  Ditto when he touches the third rail of the NY subway and is electrocuted.

9b.  Even then the Bad Guy lives on - He deages and seems to be dead.

9c.  Evil is Immortal – Clear from the beginning of the film where he comes back to life.  Seems dead at the end.

RULE #10

The Sequel Will Be Bigger/More Formulaic

"The guy's dead now, somewhere at the bottom of this lake, if you believe the stories." ~ Jim.

10a.  They will follow the rules more - especially than earlier films, before the rules were established.

10b.  They will be more formulaic - Attempts to break the formula by moving from Crystal Lake to New York, but what happens on the boat mostly follows the formula.

10c.  There will be more T&A - About equal with the previously film.

10d.  There will be more and bigger deaths of the victims.  More deaths.

10e.  The killer’s death will be bigger - Much smaller.

10f.  The killer will be less real - As strong and immortal as previously.  Doesn't even get slowed down by guns.


  • The following rules are followed:  1; 2; 4; 5; 7; 8; 9; 10.
  • The following rules are partially followed:  3; 6.

~ DUG.

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