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Fangoria #85Terror in Times Square
Fangoria #85
By Anthony Timpone

“Jason lives, man?” asks the Tommy Chong clone.

“Wow, in New York City?

Is this Part XI or what?

“Sorry,” I reply. “I don’t work here.” I’m standing in the middle of New York City’s Times Square, the traditional site of the New Year’s Eve ball-dropping ceremony.  Only this night, bodies will be dropping, thanks to that tattered-looking giant in a hockey mask.  Tonight, Jason Takes Manhattan and your fearless Fango editor braves a set visit to Friday The 13th, Part VIII to get the story.  Well, actually Vancouver-based journalist Steve Newton already gave us the scoop on the latest Friday sequel.  I just wanna hang out and watch the final night of principal photography.

Friday The 13th, Part VIII marks several firsts for the long-running series: It’s the first time an actor has played Jason twice (all-around nice guy Kane odder); Friday The 13th: The Series helmer Rob Hedden makes his directorial debut; and most of all, this entry is the first time Paramount has allowed FANGORIA on-set during production (both British Columbia and now New York)!

I make my way past the production assistants and meet up with Friday producer Randy Cheveldave.  He’s the total antithesis of what you would expect of a filmmaker trying to bring in a low-budget film on schedule for an August 4 opening.  Cheveldave is refreshingly laid back and open with plot details.  The producer reveals that, despite the sequel’s subtitle, Friday VIII will only have shot two nights in the Big Apple.  Various British Columbia locations will substitute for Manhattan.  But a few shots of Times Square’s seedy center should be enough to capture the New York City ambience onscreen.  Cheveldave briefly introduces me to director Hedden, who’s too busy setting up shots to talk.

In this evening’s acting, the films attractive survivors (Scott Reeves and Jensen Daggett) emerge from a mock subway entrance and gawk at the typical Times Square chaos.  Of course, they’re not alone.  Jason has tailed the out-of-towners and follows silently in their footsteps.  Various extras in street urchin garb pass the trio, and not one bats an eye at the hulking masked maniac.  That’s in the movie.  Location bystanders, however, recognize Jason immediately, even though the movie is being shot under the somke screen title Ashes to Ashes.  Women coo, kids chant and cops ask Kane Hodder for his autograph.

The production has picked one of the busiest intersections in the would to make a movie.  Ambulances, poilice cars and fire engines screech by as the cameras roll.  The unit is set up on a concrete island in the middle of the frenzied thoroughfare. Surprisingly, everything goes smoothly.  A few of the city’s real-life vagrants wander onto the set, but no one seems to mind.  By the end of the night (the crew eventually wrapped at about 4:00 a.m.), 13 setups will have been completed. Yes, 13.

Filming halts at about 11:00 for a lunch break.  I catch up with hodder.  Just two weeks earlier, the actor had been entertaining guests at the Fango Weekend of Horrors. As we gab, a filthy, scabcovered hobo rudely shoves a dirty coffee cup in our faces, brazenly demanding spare change from both the still-in-costume Hodder and myself.

Jason, his machete tucked to his side, ignores the intruder, who fails to realize who he’s messin’ with.  The nasty bun moves on, and we walk away.  He somehow managed to catch Jason on a good day.

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