Wednesday, December 14, 2022

New York. New Rules.

For slasher fans of a certain age, the marketing for the upcoming Scream VI carries an undeniable aura of nostalgia. Once again a slasher sequel is bringing its brand of mayhem to the streets of New York City just as back in 1989, fans were all geared up for the arrival of Jason Voorhees in NYC in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. Instead of stalking the woods of Crystal Lake and slashing his way into the tents of unsuspecting campers, Jason was going to be hunting his victims in the concrete canyons of New York.  

The promotion for Jason Takes Manhattan began with its clever teaser trailer, set to the tune of "New York, New York," as the camera panned down from the NY skyline to a lone figure taking in the sight of New York at night only to have this figure turn around and be revealed as Jason, his trusty machete in hand, as the trailer cut to close up shots of various New Yorkers reacting in terror. 

Whether it be the disturbed Frank Zito in Maniac or the vengeful Officer Matt Cordell in the Maniac Cop films or any number of other sickos, New York has never suffered from any lack of home grown slasher action, but I think there's just something exciting for slasher fans about an out of towner coming in and leaving their mark on the Big Apple. 

And no one's more out of town than Jason. 

With its tongue in cheek trailer and a teaser poster that utilized the iconic "I Love NY" slogan (much to the unhappiness of NY state officials who insisted it be pulled), it appeared Friday VIII was made by people who knew exactly what they were doing. 

Then the actual movie came out and audiences found out the hard way that no one involved in Jason Takes Manhattan had, in fact, known what they were doing. Or at least what they were doing didn't line up with what Paramount's marketing team claimed they were doing and what had they convinced audiences to buy tickets for. Now, full confession, I do enjoy Jason Takes Manhattan but it took awhile for me to warm up to it. Years, really. And as much as I've softened towards it, I will always remember the palatable sense of deflation that swept across the audience at the midnight show I attended on opening night in '89 when well past half way through the movie it became very clear we still weren't getting to NY any time soon and that this movie was, well, a bit of a rip off.

That said, at least we did get some of Jason in NY and that one glorious 360 shot of Jason in the Times Square of the late '80s is one of the true non-splatter highlights of the series. There's some good fun to be had with Manhattan but no matter how much slack fans might chose to cut this entry (and over time I've chosen to cut it a lot), the fact remains that it simply didn't live up to its promise. 

Now, however, we've got Ghostface going to NY and it looks like slasher fans are going to have satisfaction at long last. The teaser trailer and poster for Scream VI perfectly sell its premise just as well as Manhattan did but this time we can be confident that this one won't spend most of its running time on a boat. No, we're finally going to get a full on NYC-set slasher sequel here. 

At this point it's too early to say how much of NYC's famous iconography Ghostface will visit. We don't know whether we'll get scenes set at Madison Square Garden or Radio City Music Hall or the Empire State Building or none of the above but I have to believe that no matter what Ghostface gets up to in Scream VI, the likes of M3GAN or Art the Clown won't need to come in years later to make up for a missed opportunity. 

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