Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Directed by Rob Hedden
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
Directed by Frank Oz
Though these aren’t an official double-bill—they’re screening mere days apart—it’s fun to dream them together, especially in a mashup. Kermit crooning the irresistible “Together Again” over two dudes shooting dope in a nightfallen alley; Miss Piggy with tattoos marking where her internal organs are, attempting to seduce Dabney Coleman; a rollicking Broadway baby of a number in which Jason takes off his mask… and finds his real voice? And so forth. These two films differ in tone and body count (unless you read Muppets’ early draft), but one can’t discount their potential for silly bits only you and your friends will get.
First, an Ellis Island-bound immigrant story—no, truly! Jason Takes Manhattan finally transplants its hulking hockey buff (this time Kane Hodder) to the big city, where bloody T and A go even more unnoticed. Though Jason takes his sweet old time, the doomed voyage there—complete with a cryptic boatswain and teen hormones—makes for sweet kills. When Manhattan is reached for the final thirty minutes, two of the series’ most iconic brutalities occur. Though not to the extent of The Muppets, this Friday’s got its own musical indulgences, even if Jason’s crassness suggests he despises the very form itself.
If the nocturnal, pre-gentrifier Manhattan didn’t get taken enough by Jason, the Muppets surely satisfy. Kermit reluctantly leads the gang—not quite rich and famous Hollywood stars at the end of their first movie—to New York City with Broadway dreams. No slashers here—unless you count John Landis, who cameos along with Joan Rivers, Liza Minnelli, and Mayor Koch—but no machete-wielding drowning victim compares to the vengeance of Miss Piggy retrieving her snatched purse. It’s more colorful fare in every way, which means there’s plenty of time to get a gritty reboot. But hopefully, that’ll just stay in our imaginations. Max Kyburz (Jason Takes Manhattan November 1, 9:50pm; The Muppets Take Manhattan November 5, 6, 11am at the Alamo Drafthouse’s “New in Town”)