Escape from New York (1981)



Escape from New York belongs in the oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-I’ve-lived-this-long-without-seeing category. Sheesh, even the credits had me gasping for air: starring Kurt Russell (one of my favorite dreamboats), Harry Dean Stanton, Isaac fucking Hayes (!), Donald Pleasence, Adrienne Barbeau(‘s tits), Tom Atkins(‘s mustache) and directed by John Carpenter. Seriously, seriously, seriously, how did I not make it a priority to watch this?

The setting is a destitute, near-future where all of Manhattan has been

Hayes, Stanton and Barbeau, all on the same island.

Hayes, Stanton and Barbeau, all on the same island.

walled off and is now serving as the sole prison for all of America’s criminals. They’re thrown to the dogs, so to speak, but at least given the option to die instead of trying to eke out some sort of living in the island hellhole. Snake Plissken (Russell) is about to be incarcerated, but he’s so good at being bad he’s offered an out: if he can save the president (Pleasence – whose escape pod from Air Force One crashed into the island after a suicide mission from a terrorist involved

And poor, old Donald Pleasence

And poor, old Donald Pleasence

with an organization interested in liberating the people on the island crashed the plane) he can earn his freedom back. Snake only has 22 hours before the injections the cops gave him explode in his veins, killing him. Oh, please let Snake return in time!

Perhaps the best thing about Escape from New York is that it lives up to its promises. The cast delivers, the music is great (I never realized how much Carpenter’s music sounded like Goblin), it’s well-paced and oh, so much fun to watch. I have a feeling this is going to become a new favorite of mine.


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