For the best of the Horror/Cult/Exploitation film experience
The Exterminator (1980) – (Blu-ray)
After the Charles Bronson revenge classic “Death Wish” was released successfully to theaters around the world there were an explosion of “in the city” type revenge flicks, most of the time using the sleazy backdrop of 1970’s/80s New York as it’s background. That is apparent in the movie I’m going to take a look at here, which just so happens to be one of my favorite exploitation revenge movies ever made, “The Exterminator”.
“The Exterminator” starts out in the dark jungles of Vietnam with American soldiers being held captive and tortured for what they know. Out of those soldiers we are introduced to John Eastland (Robert Ginty) and Michael Jefferson who are specifically captured by the Vietcong. After witnessing another soldier’s beheading Michael fightshis captives to wipe them out completely and save the day. Fast forward to current day where both Michael and John are working in New York at the docks, they get into a scuffle with a group of gang members trying to steal cases of beer. Once again Michael saves the day and John is basically left there standing in shock over the incident. The next day Michael finds himself confronted and beaten
half to death by the thugs that were at the docks. Once John finds out Michael is in such bad shape, he decides to take the law into his own hands and teach all the scum on the streets a lesson.
First off I’m a huge fan of this movie and I have been for a long time. There’s just something about it that really appeals to me, but as far as revenge flicks go, this one is one of my absolute favorites. It’s a gritty, urban, masterpiece in my opinion showing NYC in all of its sleazy glory at the time. This to me is incredibly important because it’s like a time capsule from that period in NYC history that most people would like to forget (although, not this guy). One of the things that I’ve always found cool about “The Exterminator” is that it has an incredibly breakneck pace that makes the movie quite the thrilling experience. Robert Ginty does a fantastic job as John Eastland and it’s a pretty interesting character. He’s menacing but not a psychopath, as he really feels as if it’s his job to clean up the streets after the gang gets to his best friend (who he feels that he owes his life to). His role in the movie is one of a sympathetic character, because you can literally feel the pain that the character is in. Also John Eastland seems to know that his role as “The Exterminator” is wrong, but since nobody else is seemingly cleaning up the streets he takes it as his responsibility. The new Blu-ray from the folks at Synapse Films however is the nicest I’ve ever seen the movie look on home video. They did a great job with the release and I know that fans that have been rabid for this one since it’s first DVD release (which has been out of print for years) and it was given the proper treatment in my opinion. The disc also features a commentary track with director James Glickenhaus, as well as theatrical trailers and TV spots as well.
Overall “The Exterminator” is a must see/buy kind of movie, especially if you’re a fan of exploitation/revenge movies. This to me belongs in the cream of the crop with the best revenge flicks of this type, as it hits on just about every note that you could possibly want it. Did I
forget to mention that this features the directors cut of the film (complete with more gore and violence)? Well it is and if you’ve seen the movie many times before, you’ll notice a few things here and there that you may not have before. Check this one out, I give it my highest recommendation as a great flick and one of my personal
favorites of all time.
Rating - ****
Blu-ray Rating - ***