The cruel ‘Friday the 13th’ scene scrapped by production

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Before being caught up in legal and contractual red tape that’s seen the franchise become so bogged down in the small print that it’s been absent from screens entirely since 2009, Friday the 13th was every bit as prolific as the rest of the industry’s major horror properties.

Although Jason Voorhees didn’t don his iconic hockey mask until the second instalment, it swiftly became the most recognisable part of the character, beyond his habit of bludgeoning anyone who gets his way into various forms of mangled mush, anyway.

The first eight Friday the 13th movies were released within the space of nine years between 1980 and 1989, with such rampant churning of follow-ups inevitably leading to the law of diminishing returns. It’s nowhere near the best of the bunch, but Jason Takes Manhattan does retain its supporters.

The title is completely self-explanatory, with Jason once again resurrected from his watery doom at the bottom of Crystal Lake. Stowing away on a cruise ship full of high school graduates that double was perfect murder victims, the brutish killer touches down in the Big Apple to begin wreaking his bespoke brand of havoc.

Although it was shot largely in Vancouver, certain shots couldn’t really be filmed anywhere other than New York City, not that the local political landscape was too keen on Friday the 13th co-opting some of its most famous branding in the name of promoting a blood-soaked slasher movie.

The city’s economic development committee filed a legal complaint against Paramount after the original poster for Jason Takes Manhattan featured a variation on the iconic ‘I Love New York’ logo, while the actor responsible for bringing the fearsome supernatural death merchant to life flat-out refused to sanction the idea of a character with a sky-high body count being mean to a dog.

Kane Hodder had become a regular under the hockey mask, but after discovering in the draft of the screenplay written by director Rob Hedden that he was to announce his arrival in NYC by booting a yappy dog to shut it up, the actor drew the line.

His argument was that Jason had absolutely no quarrels whatsoever with the animal kingdom, so there was no logical reason for the reanimated monstrous corpse of a dead guy to take his frustrations out on an innocent canine. It’s nonsensical, sure, but it also does kind of make sense in a ‘because movies’ kind of way.

Suffice to say, the dog escaped scot-free when Jason disembarked from the cruise ship with murder on his mind, even if the same can’t be said for the myriad of bodies he drops throughout the 100-minute running time. It’s perfectly acceptable – encouraged, even – for Friday the 13th‘s frontman to leave a trail of devastation in his wake, but the thought of raising a foot in anger to a dog is simply unconscionable.

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