Received my copy of "The Exterminator" on blu yesterday and spent last night taking in everything this release has to offer.
To start with the picture is very good. One or two tiny blips here or there, but overall it looks fantastic. The opening sequence with New York in all it's neon glory looks truly amazing. The rest of the film is far superior to what we had to put up with in it's previous DVD releases.
The extras are fantastic as usual with interviews and film commentary and even includes a short with Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case) telling us about 42nd street and what is left from it glory days (seedy glory days that is). You may want to look away when the nail comes out, I'll let you discover this for yourself!
Comes with a nice window display box, reversible blu ray cover, mini booklet and poster.
With Maniac Cop [Blu-ray] being released last week it's been a great few days for fans of exploitation flicks.
5 stars from me.
on 18 November 2011
Arrow continue (along with shameless) to be my favourite label of releasers of cult movies, they consistemtly churn out quality presentations of great cult movies and the good work is continued here with a nice new deluxe release of cult favourite "The Exterminator"
As most people know "The Exterminator" was one of those movies ( if your of an age to remember) that permeated the front of every video store in the early 80's, the cover of a guy in a motorcycle helmet with a flame thrower was too tempting to ignore! It was subsequently a huge hit on VHS back in the day but washed out VHS transfers and some average DVD releases of this movie have done it an injustice, that is until now!
This new Blu ray won't have anyone giving it a five star transfer but compared to past releases this film has never looked better! there is still some print damage evident, speckles and pops are ever present but not overly distracting, colours arent much improved over DVD releases but overall picture quality is improved though there is inconsistency between scenes, some scenes look fresh as a daisy and others troublesome but overall i've never seen this movie looking this good.
The sound in DTS 2.0 is clear and weighty. A 5.1 mix would have been welcome though.
There's not many extra's this time round from Arrow but what's here is good - You get a nice audio commentary with Mark Butzman the producer of the film moderated by Arrow's Calum Waddell, this is a pretty insightful commentary which is pretty interesting and Wadell does his best to keep the commentary flowing. Recommended.
Also there is a 20 min "making of" but this is really just a 20 min interview with the director James Glickenhouse. Some interesting anicdotes though.
Lastly there is a feature on how much 42nd street in New york has changed over the last 30 yrs since this film was released, hosted by Frank Hennenlotter, the director of "Basket Case" and "Frankenhooker" amongst others, this is a very interesting look at what has changed in this iconic street and in Hennenlotter's opinion..not for the better!
If you enjoy cult movies or vigilante movies like the Death Wish series you should really pick this up and it all comes with the usual quality packaging which is the icing on the cake!
on 23 April 2014
Arrow’s commitment to releasing finely polished versions of cult greats appears to be beyond question. I recently viewed their deluxe Blu Ray release of the 1980 grindhouse favourite The Exterminator. I have some vivid memories of The Exterminator, a film that practically sucked me from the high street and into the lobby of my local cinema some 34 years ago. What a poster, an unidentifiable urban soldier wearing a black biker helmet and using a flame thrower as his weapon of choice! Yep, it was an image that was always going to get me to the box office for my ticket and of course, the latest copy of Film Review magazine. The Exterminator was quite an extraordinary film; lame of course by today’s standards – perhaps, but in 1980 is was really something rather wild.
Director James Glickenhaus wastes little time in his narrative style, a huge hill top explosion sees a soldier flying through the air. We are undoubtedly in the middle of a war zone – the Vietnam War. The next cut reveals we are in an enemy camp, and an interrogation of 3 bound U.S. soldiers. Two of the captive soldiers, John Eastland (Robert Ginty) and Michael Jefferson (Steve James) witness the slow decapitation of their fellow marine. Both Eastland and Jefferson manage to escape before they are killed. They manage to reach a helicopter and escape. We dissolve into a night helicopter shot of New York – and the opening credits roll. It’s an amazing pre-credit sequence that manages to pull you straight into the action and you’re hooked. It is soon established that both men have simply escaped one hell hole to arrive back home to another. Working together in the gritty city of New York, Eastland learns that his buddy Jefferson has been the victim of a gang attack which has left him paralysed. Unhappy with the police and the slow progress in apprehending the attackers, Eastland sets out to avenge his friend and track down the gang in a one-man revenge vendetta.
The Exterminator turned up the heat considerably and set the bar for an altogether new standard of ‘death wish’ type vigilante thriller. James Glickenhaus presented us with a genuine urban ugliness – the likes of which we had never witnessed before. While it was not considered a ‘big budget’ movie – in the general sense of the words, you can certainly see where the money shots are. The incredibly real throat cutting and decapitation sequence still stands out, even by today’s standards – it remains a brilliantly created special effect by the legendary Stan Winston. Yet there is nothing overly stylised here – the action, the atmosphere and above all, the revenge killings – arguably border on bad taste. However, Ginty’s portrayal of a troubled survivor – an anti-hero of circumstance rather than choice, never fails to keep the audience firmly on his side. Whilst the moralistic side of your conscience will no doubt be screaming out legitimate concerns, Ginty’s ‘everyman’ appeal will most certainly still have you rooting for him by the time of the final reel.
The Exterminator is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and whilst clean, it thankfully retains its grindhouse veneer, and somewhat pivotal to its look. The Audio too is good and clear, there has been no fancy attempt to create anything beyond a DTS 2.0 mix (the original film was shot in Dolby Stereo). The film is presented as ‘totally uncut’, and to be honest, I couldn’t remember if the version I originally saw was ever shaved by a few frames here or there – it’s been a while since I viewed my DVD, and certainly a lot longer since I saw it at my beloved ABC cinema! Extras include an audio commentary with producer Mark Buntzman and moderated by Calum Waddell. Whilst the commentary has some informative moments, it can feel a little uncomfortable at times, Waddell seems a little too star struck (and is obviously a fan) - and rather awkwardly, neither one of them seems to know how to wrap the commentary up... There is an introduction to the film by director James Glickenhaus – but be warned, it must be all of 20 seconds long. Glickenhaus offers a great deal more during Fire and Slice: Making The Exterminator – which is based largely on Glickenhaus interviews, and very interesting it is too. There is also a loosely related short – 42nd Street Then and Now: A tour of New York’s former sleaze circuit from director Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Frankenhooker). The packaging is very impressive, with a reversible sleeve containing both the original and newly commissioned artwork by Tom Hodge. There is also a nice collector’s booklet containing generous notes and new writing by film critic David Hayles. It is such a shame that no original trailers appear on the disc. At least two versions exist on YouTube, one with a music and effects track, the other with a more conventional voiceover... But it always disappoints me when a trailer fails to appear – for me they were an essential element of the whole cinema going experience and completely reflective of the time. But hey, a few gripes aside – this Blu Ray from Arrow films is the best that The Exterminator has ever looked. Existing fans of the film shouldn't have to think too hard about acquiring it on Blu Ray – it’s really a no brainer. For fans who are perhaps new to the genre, it is also required viewing – as it is simply one of the best examples of its kind. Not only does it capture the genuine depravity of New York’s past (arguably seen here at its worse), but offers the viewer a unique bitter-sweet taste and a somewhat nauseating social realism. Darren Allison
on 6 November 2006
The exterminator is a low budget independent production which became quite a big hit in 1980 no doubt fuelled by the controversy surronding its violent scenes, many of which received serious pruning by the censors on both sides of the atlantic.
Most notably the opening vietnam sequence and the the torture of a prostitute fell foul of the censors scissors, scenes whch are now restored in this directors cut dvd. Although fairly tame by todays standards of violent mayhem, this was tough stuff in 1980, and the opening scene still packs a punch after all these years. That it does is down to the excellent sfx of stan winston and more importantly the direction of James Glickenhaus, a vastly underrated director of condirable talent.
Make no mistake, this is a low budget independant film and it is to Glickenhaus' credit that he gives this film a scope and depth that its belies its budget, the aforementioned vietnam sequence is extremely well photographed and directed and effectively captures the horror of war in the first reel. No other film before or since has shown the butchery that went on in that war, directors such as Stone and Coppolla chose to gloss over the gory details to a certain extent, Glickenhaus does not compromise, which is to his great credit.
An excellent credit sequence consisting of helicopter shots of the NY skyline at night again belies the budget of this film before we are brought down to earth to the grit and grime of the NY streets and the story begins. On watching the film again its nice to see a film that captures the struggle of working class people in their harsh everyday environment with no hollywood gloss, this film keeps it real and is so much better for it.
Robert Ginty gives a subtle understated performance as an average Joe haunted by his war experience who is compelled to act after the brutal assault on his war buddy by a nasty street gang. There are no Charles Bronson type heroics here, revenge is served swift and cold. Christopher George is also good in his role as the cop on Ginty's tail. The supporting cast is good too with an impressive array of sleazy scumbags effectively portrayed by NY character actors Ned Eisenberg, Tony DiBenedetto and Tom Everett.
Obviously inspired by death wish and taxi driver, the exterminator is a rip off of neither, it stands up as a film in its own right and is an excellent mix of realistic gritty drama and violent action. The violence in this film is not gratuitous but well staged and necessary to the story.
Director James Glickenhaus should be comended for using the low budget to its maximum and making something far bigger and better than he wouldve been expected to acheive. The Extermninator is an extremely good thriller that all lovers of gritty 70's dramas should see. Tough, realistic and uncompromising, the film has a great ending aswell that is most satisfying. Top Notch.
The Exterminator is one of the best 80's revenge films of its day.
And this release from Arrow is a must for all fans, and the Blu-ray transfer is not perfect but if you compare it to some dodgy DVD releases(had a few), its well worth buying. And you do get some very good bonus features. But what I like is the iconic revisable sleeve which shows the original release.
The booklet isn't the biggest arrow have done, you get seven pages, but still an interesting read about the film.
The Aspect Ratio is 1.78:1 and the Audio is in 2.0 DTS which does sound good. Subtitles English SDH.
All in all a brilliant release from Arrow.
In this 1980 vigilante story, two Vietnam veterans return home to find civilian life harder than expected after stopping a theft at work. When one is crippled in a revenge attack the other goes all out to get his own revenge on the gang that did it. Soon he takes up a vigilante course as he sets out to right the wrongs done to others, But is he biting off more than he can chew?
This gives a good view of the seedy side of New York in the late 70’-early 80’s as well as showing some good aerial shots of famous city landscapes ‘way back when....’. The movie itself feels very 70’s in style seeming like an extended version of “Starsky and Hutch” only from the exterminators point of view. It also gives a gloss free look at life for ‘ordinary folk’ at the bottom of the social ladder, omitting the usual Hollywood gloss and sentimentality as he tries to do the right thing in the wrong way.
The single disc opens to a main screen offering play, scene index, trailer and synergy showcase [basically 6 trailers]. Despite being filmed on a $2,000,000 it comes across as much less, [the Huey/opening Vietnam sequences costing $400,000, the beheading scene $25,000, where the rest went I can only guess.] Containing plenty of old fashioned oily explosions and some gory scenes, it’s the sick perverted scenes that are mostly suggested that makes this highly disturbing, easily making it an 18 view and will appeal to Grindhouse fans. Samantha Egger actually has a small bit part.
on 7 September 2015
With shades of Death Wish, what you have here is an unbelievably violent revenge thriller that is more like a horror film at times.
A mentally scarred Vietnam veteran takes on the street gangs of New York when his best friend is paralysed in a brutal mugging.
It doesn't stop there.
He then goes after the local mafia boss to get money for his friends wife and kids and then encounters a place that deals in serving up children to perverts.
All of them die horribly, the news papers name him "The Exterminator" and he seems to be becoming a bit of a hero to the people.
This catches the attention of the local government who don't like the idea of this one man army cleaning up the crime in the city when they have failed to do so themselves and so enlist the help of a very sinister CIA man to eliminate our anti hero.
This film is one of the last great exploitation movies, it uses real locations and takes us to the parts of New York best left alone by tourists.
on 17 August 2014
Robert Ginty rocks this movie hard by playing a calm chap doing good on the streets of New York after turning vigalante! Cleaning up the scum from the neighbourhood and rightly so! No one is safe the mafia, locals hoods and dirty porn house owners! Just great! Loved it from the first time I watched it in the early 80's! Great movie! Robert Rocks!! J Counsell.
on 13 June 2000
Shot mostly on location in New York City this 80's cult classic tells the story of John Eastland (Ginty), ex-Vietnam veteran turned avenging vigilante. The opening scenes of the film in Vietnam, which were shot in Indian Dunes desert, just outside Palm Springs California, show Eastland and his friend Michael Jefferson (James) being captured by the Viet-Kong. The subsequent beheading of a fellow member of their unit, as their captors interrogate for information is one of the most brutally realistic scenes in cinema. In the aftermath of the decapitation Jefferson takes his chance with the distracted guards and saves Eastland's life, by first garroting one guard then mowing down the rest with an M60. The troops then escape in helicopters soaring against a backdrop of huge explosions. We next see the friends working in a packing factory in New York. Eastland pops down to drop off a delivery in one of the store rooms as a favour for Jefferson, but walks in on a gang of hoodlums who stealing it's contents, they quickly put a knife to his throat. Jefferson comes to see where his errand friend has gone, upon assessing the situation he quickly disarms and takes out the would be thieves and rescues Eastland... again. Jefferson is later cornered though by the hoodlums and sickeningly beaten and left paralysed by the attack. Swearing revenge Eastland grabs his trusty M16 and hunts them down and avenges his friend. This taste of justice now leaves Eastland with a moral agenda as he begins to clean up New York's underworld, by taking out a 'gloriously overblown' beef magnate and Mafia don (Boccelli), a seedy pimp (Benedetto), his perverted client and some gutless muggers. Adopting the Exterminator handle as his calling card, Eastland informs the press of his actions. Pursued by Christopher George's NYPD detective and the CIA he is tracked down to a final confrontation in a deserted shipping yard. The story of The Exterminator derives from the exaggeration of everyday urban crime scenarios where the protagonist takes the law into their own hands and hits back with intense retribution, these type of films (see also Taxi Driver, Death Wish, Assault On Precinct 13, The Road Warrior & First Blood) were very popular in the mid 70's and early 80's. Robert Ginty is excellent as the 'everyday man' pushed to vigilantism by a cruel and violent world... the bad guys are enjoyable risible and Christopher George puts in a smooth performance as he pursues both The Exterminator and with more success, the sexy assured Doctor played by Samantha Eggar. The Exterminator lacks the pace of contemporary action films, instead greater emphasis is given to the drama of the characters, this gives the film realism which is so often lacking in films of this genre. Another early 80's classic!
on 22 April 2012
Wow what a movie!
If you are like me a fan of exploitation flicks then The Exterminator should be a priority for you.
The multitude of scenes in New York and seedy 42nd Street are a joy to behold.
What is so great about this movie is that it keeps building and building onto more and more violent scenes and you just know that something is going to give.
The violence is justified within the movies context, and is a perfect example of how good American movies used to be. The Bourne whatever this ain't.
My one drag with the film is that the editing is a bit choppy and yes some of the acting is hammy. Also I didn't quite understand how EX could get the gang so quick near the beginning of the movie.
But hey that aside, The Exterminator in a nutshell is quite beautiful, in a trashy way of course.