Escape From New York

“Call me Snake.”

When the President of the United States is stranded in what is now a prisoned New York City, there is no one better to turn to than Snake Plissken. Snake, being sent to prison for life, has a chance for freedom if he agrees to rescue the President. Air Force One has gone down over Manhattan Island, which is now one big prison. The rest of the film are Snake Plissken’s adventures tracking down and rescuing the President.

Kurt Russell (Tombstone, Death Proof, Miracle) does a wonderful job playing Snake. An anti-hero much in the same realm as the Clint Eastwood’s “man with no name” character in the spaghetti westerns. In fact the director turns to spaghetti western film star, Lee Van Cleef (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, High Noon) as Snake’s nemesis who acts as a “warden” for the prison. The film also stars Earnest Borgnine (Best actor Marty), Harry Dean Stanton (Alien), Donald Pleasence (Halloween), and the Chef from South Park…Isaac Hayes.

I can see where Escape from New York may not be for everyone, as it is fairly low-budget, but for me John Carpenter (Halloween, The Fog, The Thing) makes it all work. It is a very entertaining film and has some comedic moments for relief. I would say give this one a chance if you haven’t, it is not that long and is a lot of fun.

The Fog

1-1From the  John Carpenter, the director of Halloween, and a lot of the same cast and crew, The Fog Is a decent ghost story worth watching. The town of Antonio Bay is celebrating it’s anniversary by honoring its original founders, but it seems that there is some controversy about how the town was founded when Father Malone discovers a diary of his grandfather, one of the founding fathers of the town. Strange things start happening in Antonio Bay as the anniversary nears.

The film has a good cast. Just as Donald Pleasance (Dracula) was the heavyweight anchor in Halloween, Hal Holbrook (Midway, Into the Wild) does a great job of adding instant credibility to the film and acts as a story teller as he reveals the diary that he has found. By  far the best performance in the movie. Also following their Halloween appearances is Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies, A Fish Called Wanda) and Nancy Loomis (Assault on Precinct 13).  Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing) has a similar role as Hal Holbrook, as he is revealing history, she reveals what is happening in the town with the fog from her vantage point of the local radio station that is run out of a converted lighthouse. Look for cameos from John Houseman, Janet Leigh (Psycho) and director John Carpenter himself.

To me, this film borrows a lot from Halloween, not only with some of the same actors, but in direction and music as well. It is maybe a touch more violent than Halloween, but like Halloween, far from a slasher film by any means. This film still works for me, and actually has a good ghost story behind everything. This is one of my favorites to watch during Halloween season, just a simple, good, creepy movie!