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Blu-ray Review: Escape From New York
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Escape from New York movie still

Escape from New York
Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: John Carpenter
Screenwriter: John Carpenter, Nick Castle
Cast: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Charles Cyphers, Ox Baker
Scream Factory
Rated R | 98 Minutes
Release Date: April 21, 2015

“Call me Snake…”

Co-written and directed by John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing), 1981’s Escape from New York is set in a then near-future 1997, in a crime-ridden United States that has transformed Manhattan into a maximum security prison.

Synopsis: In a world ravaged by crime, the entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a walled prison where brutal prisoners roam. But when the US president (Donald Pleasence) crash-lands inside, only one man can bring him back: notorious outlaw and former Special Forces war hero Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell). But time is short. In 24 hours, an explosive device implanted in his neck will end Snake’s mission – and his life – unless he succeeds!

Carpenter originally wrote the screenplay for Escape from New York in 1976, as a reaction to the Watergate scandal. After the success of Halloween, Carpenter had enough Hollywood clout to get the film made. Interestingly enough, the film is co-written by Nick Castle, who portrayed Michael Myers in Halloween.

Escape from New York was commercial hit, grossing $25 million on a $6 million budget. With an incredible cast, bad-ass action sequences, and one of the coolest characters to ever hit the screen, it’s easy to see how Carpenter’s film was such a huge success. To this day, Escape from New York is recognized as a thrilling landmark in cult cinema and one of Carpenter’s best films.

Did you know that some of the film’s matte paintings were rendered by James Cameron? At the time, Cameron was a special effects artist with Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. Cameron was also one of the directors of photography on the film. Following Escape from New York, Carpenter would make The Thing while Cameron would direct Piranha Part Two: The Spawning before unleashing The Terminator in 1984.

Kurt Russell was 30 when he made Escape from New York. While he had been acting for nearly 20 years before his first collaboration with Carpenter, it was the character of Snake Plissken that put him on the map as an action star. Plissken is a cynical soldier with his own code of honor – a post-apocalyptic take on Clint Eastwood’s wandering gunfighter in A Fistful of Dollars. To this day, Snake remains one of Russell’s most memorable performances – even if 1996’s sequel, Escape from L.A., was a total failure.

Finally, Escape from New York has the Blu-ray release it deserves. Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray is as definitive as it is beautiful. With a brand new 2K high definition scan of the inter-positive, struck from the original negative, this is the best this film has ever looked.

In addition to the jaw-dropping transfer, Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition features an impressive amount of new special features, including interviews, deleted scenes, and making-of featurettes. Like Ridley Scott’s Alien, Escape from New York is a B movie with A+ execution. It’s a premise right out of a Paul Bartel/Roger Corman picture with the bravado of John Ford – and it’s a hell of a good time.

Bonus Features

* NEW 2K high definition scan of the original negative
* NEW audio commentary w/ Adrienne Barbeau and Dean Cundey
* Audio commentary w/ John Carpenter and Actor Kurt Russell
* Audio commentary w/ Debra Hill and Joe Alves
* NEW Big Challenges In Little Manhattan: The Visual Effects
* NEW Scoring the Escape: A Discussion With Composer Alan Howarth
* NEW On Set with John Carpenter: The Images of Escape from New York
* NEW I Am Taylor: An Interview With Joe Unger
* NEW My Night on the Set: An Interview With David DeCoteau
* Deleted Scene: The Original Opening Bank Robbery Sequence
* Return To Escape From New York Featurette
* Theatrical Trailers / Photo Galleries

Trailer

Cover Art

Escape from New York Blu-ray cover art

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