new beginning vs jason takes manhattan

FRIDAY THE 13TH VS: Part V: A New Beginning vs. Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

We continue our FRIDAY THE 13TH VS week with one film that has divided fans ever since its release – Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning – and one that has been wholly celebrated as one of the most ridiculous aspects of Jason’s hunt – Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. Even though both of these films have some serious flaws, this isn’t going to be an easy pairing – I love both of them for different reasons, and even during the writing of this post, I wasn’t exactly sure the outcome. Let’s take a look at the requisite parts of both films to figure out which one wins this battle.

Nudity

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning is notorious for its pornographic shooting, and that makes sense because director Danny Steinmann got his start on the X-rated High Rise. However, looking back on this film, it’s a lot tamer than I remember; it’s still got nudity aplenty, with three women showing off the goods throughout the film, but it’s definitely not as explicit as Steinmann often suggests (although a lot of the footage was reportedly scrapped). Debisue Voorhees, though, is really the main attraction – we get to see everything about her bountiful bosoms. Also, Pam (Melanie Kinnaman) shows off with a see-through shirt throughout most of the finale (and apparently she didn’t even realize it while shooting).

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Jason Takes Manhattan has an early scene on a houseboat with the beautifully permed Tiffany Paulsen, but other than that, it’s a pretty tame affair for being such a latecomer in the series. Mean girl Tamara (Sharlene Martin) also gets a few moments to show off, first in a seduction scene with her teacher and then later when Jason brutally throws her into a mirror. Still, since Jason Takes Manhattan doesn’t deliver as much of the goods, the winner clearly goes to

Winner: Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

Kill Creativity

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

Honestly, I think A New Beginning is one of the series’ high moments when it comes to kill creativity. This iteration of Jason (or not-Jason) has truly become inspired; he gets obsessed with eyes, using shears on Debisue Voorhees and then twisting a belt around a tree to crush a skull; he uses a steel rod to pierce through a poorly-constructed outhouse; and he bursts through a window with a butcher’s knife to kill a woman making some fuckin’ stew. Clearly Roy has done some research into posing bodies, too; there’s a great moment when Robin crawls into bed kicking herself for being so mean to Jake, only to find his dead body snuggling up next to her.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Jason Takes Manhattan is creative in a different sense; it uses its environment as its uniqueness rather than the kills themselves. So Tamara’s mirror murder doesn’t seem that impressive, except that it’s on a boat. Or many of the other bludgeonings and slicings that occur. However, there are a couple of impressive moments: one when Jason puts a hot stone through a guy’s abdomen, or when he shoves McCulloch into a vat of Manhattan goop. Much of the creativity actually comes from the way Jason is halted – he falls on the third rail and gets electrocuted, and he’s washed away by burning toxic waste in the sewers. These are probably more impressive than Jason’s kills alone. Still, I think the winner is

friday the 13th a new beginning eyes

Winner: Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

Killer Coolness Factor

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

This is an interesting category for A New Beginning because not only does the film not feature Jason, its killer is almost always off-screen until the end of the film. In this regard, we can’t glean very much from the guy except that he’s pretty stealthy and he has a mask with blue arrows rather than red ones. I do think that the mask distinguishes this killer quite well, but I don’t think A New Beginning‘s killer has enough presence throughout the film.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Part VIII‘s Jason, on the other hand, has a lot of character in this iteration. This is Kane Hodder’s second film playing the masked maniac and he seems to be having a lot more fun with nuance; he can look confused, he can look annoyed, and he most of all he can look menacing, all with the same expressionless mask. And Jason’s not fucking around this time, either – that moment when he’s pestered by some punks on the street makes it clear that, while he’s got a particular victim in mind, he won’t be bullied by city kids either. Shoving that woman on the subway is especially brutal – I feel for that stunt actor!

friday the 13th viii jason

Winner: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Story

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

While a lot of fans do not appreciate A New Beginning‘s lack of Jason, I have to admit that the story is actually pretty interesting, especially looking back at the context. This film was essentially restarting, and following in the footsteps of The Final Chapter, there was an attempt to go in a different direction rather than simply reincarnating Jason once again. It makes sense to try to head back to the roots of the series, and I appreciate that Part V tries out another different killer. It doesn’t always work – I think that the ending explanation about Roy is pretty nonsensical, especially the part about him being Joey’s father – but I definitely have to applaud Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen, and Danny Steinmann for trying something outlandish.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Similarly, Jason Takes Manhattan is an entirely new beast – it takes Jason out of his comfort zone (the woods, quiet countryside, and Crystal Lake) and puts him in a new environment. This time we get both a boat and Manhattan’s grimy districts. While I think the film could use a little less boat and more Manhattan hijinks, the result is a fun journey away from the usual stuff of Friday films; it even, sort of, situates the geography of Crystal Lake. Since we have to crown a winner, and one of my favorite scenes is Jason punching Julius’ head off a NYC rooftop, I have to give this one to

jason takes manhattan julius

Winner: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Final Girl

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

I must admit that I have the hots for Pam, who, even in the film’s reality, is an older Final Girl than most in this series and other slashers. Still, it’s hard not to find her both emotionally and physically attractive; she’s good at comforting Tommy, she’s great with Reggie, and eventually she shares a victory with Reggie when it takes both of them plus Tommy to defeat Jason-Roy. Plus, I never get tired of that see-through shirt tease.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Likewise, Rennie is a pretty awesome Final Girl too despite her inability to swim and deciding to take a cruise anyway. She’s got a great personality, she is sufficiently virginal and refuses cocaine (what a trooper!), and we also get to experience her first drug hit when she’s forcefully injected with heroin. How can you get any closer to a character than that? But she also inherently understands Jason in a way most do not since she did have a similarly terrible experience nearly drowning in Crystal Lake. I really do like Rennie, but due to a narrow margin I have to give this one to

pam friday the 13th a new beginning

Winner: Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

That makes the score Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning 3 to Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan 2, and by a small lead I hereby crown the victor

friday the 13th part v poster

Overall Winner: Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

Did I get it right? Are you pissed that a non-Jason film won this battle? Let us know in the comments.

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