films see be­low ex­tras

Total Film - - Contents -

In­clud­ing The Fog, They Live and Es­cape From NY.

1980-88 oUt Now DVD, BD, 4K, Dig­i­tal HD (The Fog, They Live), Steel­book (Prince Of Dark­ness) 26 NoveM­ber DVD, BD, 4K, Dig­i­tal HD (Es­cape From New York), BD (Prince Of Dark­ness) ex­tras Commentaries, Fea­turettes, In­tros,

Deleted scenes/out­takes, Gal­leries

All my films in one way or an­other are about peo­ple who are trapped in sit­u­a­tions they are no longer able to con­trol… peo­ple who must rise to the oc­ca­sion,” says di­rec­tor John Car­pen­ter in the ex­tras for They Live, be­fore catch­ing him­self. “But ba­si­cally it’s an ac­tion movie.” That, in a nut­shell, is the key to these four 1980s re­leases, out on 4K Blu-ray with bucket-loads of ex­tras. Each con­cerns or­di­nary-ish peo­ple forced to adopt a siege men­tal­ity in the face of en­croach­ing evil. Each takes a nonon­sense ap­proach to genre. And each kicks a right­eous amount of ass.

The Fog (1980, is a low-key fol­low-up to Hal­loween: it could be called The Night They Came Home. Set in small-town-with-a-se­cret San An­to­nio Bay on the eve of its 100th birth­day, it sees a great cast (in­clud­ing real-life mum and daugh­ter Janet Leigh and Jamie Lee Cur­tis) be­set by venge­ful Love­craftian ghosts. De­li­ciously creepy, if a lit­tle old­fash­ioned, it’s a movie that went through the wringer, re-shot from

scratch be­cause, as Car­pen­ter ad­mits on the ex­tras, “It was re­ally bad.”

Pit­ting one-eyed badass Snake Plissken (Kurt Rus­sell) against a rogue’s gallery of B-movie stars (Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borg­nine, Isaac Hayes) on the prison is­land of Man­hat­tan, 1981’s Es­cape From New York (★★★★★) has swag­ger to spare. If time hasn’t been kind to the com­puter SFX, Car­pen­ter and Rus­sell’s anti-au­thor­i­tar­ian in­sou­ciance more than com­pen­sates.

The sec­ond part of the Apoca­lypse Trilogy (after 1982’s The Thing), su­per­nat­u­ral hor­ror Prince Of Dark­ness (1987, is the weak­est film here. Writ­ten by ‘Martin Qu­ater­mass’ (ac­tu­ally Car­pen­ter), it fol­lows priest Don­ald Pleasence and a bunch of quan­tum physics stu­dents try­ing to pre­vent the end of days in a derelict LA church. Un­ap­peal­ing char­ac­ters and a lame MacGuf­fin (es­sen­tially a big vat of evil green piss) let the side down.

The nicest sur­prise, mean­while, is 1988’s They Live (★★★★), a ridicu­lously pumped sci-fi slugfest about a blue-col­lar dude (wrestler Roddy Piper) wak­ing up to the aliens who walk among us. Of its many high­lights, the six-minute fist fight has to be seen to be (dis)be­lieved. “I just wrote, ‘The fight con­tin­ues,’” ad­mits Car­pen­ter. And boy does it.

It’s not hard to imag­ine the fa­mously un­pre­ten­tious Car­pen­ter rolling his eyes at all the gen­eral fan­fare adorn­ing these re­leases.

But he needn’t worry. They’re still ba­si­cally ac­tion/hor­ror/sci-fi movies – but as in They Live, there’s a lot go­ing on un­der the sur­face. Matt Glasby

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