Horror Movie News and Reviews

13 Facts about ‘Jason Takes Manhattan’

While the name is a bit misleading, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, did indeed take the infamous killer Jason Voorhees out of Crystal Lake and into a new killing territory.  Unfortunately we don’t get to see the hockey mask wearing, machete wielding killer stalk around the Big Apple until the last act of the film.

When we do see him in all of his glory in Times Square it is a magical shot.  To see the timeless killer taken out of the woods he hunted in for seven movies and put in 1980’s New York into a sea of neon lights, taxi cabs, and punk music is surreal.  However, the change in scenery doesn’t faze Jason for long as he gets back to killing teenagers.

Whether you loved it or hated it, haven’t seen it since 1989 or just watched it yesterday, here are 13 things you may not have known about the film.

  1. During the first take when actor Kane Hodder initially kicks the street punks boom box in Time Square his foot gets stuck on it.
  2. When Jason comes across Rennie’s dog, Toby he was supposed to kick him in the script. Kane took the director aside and said he didn’t think it was in Jason’s character to do this, to which the director agreed and removed it from the script.
  3. The film’s working script title was “Ashes to Ashes” to hide from prying eyes they were doing another Friday the 13th movie, as well as to avoid fans interfering with filming. The fake script also renamed Jason to “Ethan.”
  4. The film was shot in seven US locations, but mostly in Vancouver, Canada.
  5. The trailer for part 8 made the audience believe the majority of the action took place in the Big Apple, not on a boat. While yes, the crew did go to New York to film the Time Square scene, the budget of $4 million was very limiting and the cost to film in NYC was too high.  When push came to shove most of their other scenes were filmed in Vancouver, Canada.  So in reality Jason took Vancouver.
  6. The original script called for a lot more Jason in Manhattan. Director Rob Hedden explained “The way I envisioned it for the first third of the movie we’d be on the boat, then we’d get to New York at the end of Act I.  Everything about New York was going to be completely exploited and milked.  There was going to be a tremendous scene on the Brooklyn Bridge, a boxing match in Madison Square Garden, Jason would go through department stores, Broadway plays.  He’d even crawl onto the top of the Statue of Liberty and dive off.”
  7. The director of Part 8 initially directed two episodes of Friday the 13th: The Series. Being impressed with his work on the television series the studio brought him on to direct Jason Takes Manhattan.
  8. As they were developing the story, newly appointed director Rob Hedden wanted to take Jason out of Crystal Lake and put him into a city.  At the time he had no specific city in mind. Executive Producer Frank Mancuso Jr. followed up with “Oh, Jason Takes Manhattan.”  Hedden explained he didn’t have a destination in mind, but if the Exec. Producer suggests Manhattan, then Manhattan Jason will go.  They then reversed engineered the movie around this idea.
  9. Elizabeth Berkley, Jessie from Saved by the Bell, initially auditioned for the lead role of Rennie, but the role eventually went to Jensen Daggett.
  10. Originally the script called for Rennie to have a nude scene to debunk the theory only “bad girls” in horror films took off their clothes. To Hedden’s surprise he could not talk Jensen Daggett into it, not even removing her blouse.  In fact the character of Rennie is perhaps the most clothed character in horror movie history, barely ever removing even her coat!
  11. Of course every Friday film does have to include some nudity, but when actress Sharlene Martin’s big moment came to get into the shower naked she was suddenly struck with old feet. To show her it was no big deal director Rob Hedden removed his clothes and stepped into the shower.  Little did he know the cameras were rolling and captured every nude moment.  Boy were the producers surprised the next day when they watched the previous day’s dailies!
  12. Friday the 13th 8: Jason Takes Manhattan had a final body count of 18 by Jason Voorhees.
  13. The initial poster for Part 8 was supposed to be Jason ripping through the heart of an “I Love NY” poster. In fact there were two versions, one with blood on the knife and one without in fear of the bloody knife being too graphic.  However, the New York Tourism Committee complained about the posters and a new concept was created.