As I've mentioned on my blog before, I am a huge John Carpenter fan. I was a fan of his movies before I even began to notice he was the director. If I remember correctly it wasn't until I was a teenager that I put two and two together that the filmmaker directed a bunch of movies I loved! Watching HALLOWEEN for the first time with one of my childhood friends (also a movie buff and Carpenter fan) was the movie that started this revelation. I quickly wanted to revisit every John Carpenter film!
My friend and I started our John Carpenter renaissance on the eve of DVD. At the time VHS was so cheep and my buddy snagged a copy of Carpenter's first film ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13. That day Carpenter became my favorite filmmaker.
My earliest memory of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was seeing it on cable. It's been so long that I cannot remember, but my educated guess is that the U.S.A. Network was the channel it played on the most? I also remember the poster at a young age, probably from the video store?
While channel surfing, occasionally I'd see bits and pieces of the movie. I always thought that ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was a scary movie (probably because how dark the film looked and that I was 5 years old) so it never stayed very long before changing the channel. It must have been something about how The Duke's henchmen looked. And there is that scene early in the film where a woman gets pulled underground by a bunch of hands. No Thanks!
It was years later when I watched the film in its entirety, renting it from my local video store.
My impressions were mixed. The story was awesome, but the film itself looked really dated (the VHS copy was in pretty poor shape), and I laughed at a lot of the acting. That being said, Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken was awesome! I loved that there is this running joke in the film that everybody thinks he was dead. If I had to guess, this sounds like a BIG JAKE influence. Now that I think about it,there are a quite a lot of John Wayne and Howard Hawks tributes/influences in the Carpenter and Russell films!
For those that don't know, in the year 1997 crime in the United States has reached an all time high. Manhattan Island in New York City is now a penal colony. There is no law enforcement presence inside the island. Once you enter you can never leave.
One the way to global peace conference, Air Force One crashes lands in the prison while ejecting the leader of the free worlds escape pod. The president is immediately held for ransom. Enter Snake Plissken.
Pliskin has 24 hours to save the president so that he can present his speech on time.
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK maybe dated here and there, but the film (and character) is still a classic! The films musical score is still fantastic as well!
The night was almost perfect but Alamo's pre-show before the movie was highly disappointing. A perfect opportunity to showcase some amazingly cheesy knock-off trailers, it didn't happen. They didn't even show trailers for other John Carpenter films? What we got instead was some lame short of a guy spitting water out of his mouth?
Redemption is coming thankfully with the announcement of the BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Dinner Party next month. I cannot wait!