“Jason lives, man?” asks the Tommy Chong clone.
“Wow, in New York
Is this Part XI or
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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