Posts Tagged ‘Nick Castle’

Been there, done that: John Carpenter’s ‘Escape from L.A.’ is a lackluster sequel

December 15, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 15, 2015

John Carpenter is one of the all-time great directors of horror movies. His 1978 feature, Halloween, practically invented the slasher flick out of whole cloth. A number of the director’s pictures involve the only type of horror that I like watching — the kind that comes with a science-fiction twist. John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) is one of the best examples of the subgenre, rivaled perhaps only by Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), which explores the same sort of body horror as Carpenter’s picture.

(Not coincidentally, Carpenter co-wrote his first feature, the 1974 student film Dark Star, with Dan O’Bannon, who was one of Alien’s co-writers.)

Other than Halloween and The Thing, Carpenter is probably best known for Escape from New York, his 1981 science fiction/action movie in which Manhattan has been converted to a prison island to which convicts are permanently banished. The movie boasts a terrific premise and was a perfect reflection of a time when many Americans viewed cities — and New York City in particular — as dangerous dens of decay and iniquity.

The feature also benefited tremendously from a glowering Kurt Russell, who starred as Snake Plissken, the taciturn ex-Special Forces war hero-turned-prisoner who’s ordered to retrieve the president, and the vital information that he carries, before the explosive charges that have been implanted in his body detonate. (The government trusts Plissken only as far as it can bully him.)

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Taut-muscled Russell helps John Carpenter break the mold in ‘Escape from New York’

December 10, 2012

In the not-so-distant future (1988), crime in the United States quadruples. The nation builds a 50-foot-high wall around Manhattan Island, mines the bridges and tunnels, and declares the borough the country’s only maximum security prison. There are no guards, and only one rule: Once you go in, you don’t come out.

In the distant future (1997), one day before a crucial wartime summit in Hartford, Conn., a hijacker crashes Air Force One into the prison. The president’s protective pod is located, but when U.S. Police Force troops land nearby, they find it empty.

A bizarre man with a hyena’s laugh walks up to Bob Hauk, the U.S. police commissioner. “You touch me, he dies,” the oddball says. “If you’re not in the air in 30 seconds, he dies. You come back in, he dies.” He reveals a severed finger bearing the president’s signet ring.

Hauk asks what the captors want. The oddball just counts down the seconds. Hauk orders his men back to the helicopters and pulls out.

The secretary of state urges Hauk to storm the island. Hauk refuses, certain that the president will be killed.

Fortunately, he has a plan. As fate would have it, one Snake Plissken, an ex-Special Forces war hero turned bank robber, is about to be imprisoned on Manhattan Island. Read the rest of this entry »

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