Monday, July 05, 2010

New York, New Yuck (NYC Movies from the Exploitation Era)

Oh New York, New York. The city so nice they named it twice (well you know they did that because they knew somebody was gonna steal the first name). My hometown is the greatest city in the world. But it wasn't always the Disney-fied, tourist filled haven we have today. I remember walking the fucked up Times Square and being offered drugs for sale at 2pm in the afternoon. Oh those were the days.

Mind you this is not me reminiscing about the 70s grindhouse Times Square, this was even in the late 80s and early 90s. I saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation in one of the last grindhouse theaters near the Crossroads of the World. About a dozen people packed a theater that should have been shut down. But I digress.

I love my city but the movies during the Exploitation Era made it seemed we were fuckin Detroit. And at times, they were deadly accurate. So here are 10 movies (not necessarily in fucked up order) that showed the seedier, dirtier and grimier side of NYC back in the day.

When are ya gonna come and visit?

10.) Maniac Cop

Fictional NYC is...filled with a maniac cop who kills innocent people.

Reality NYC is...filled with a maniac cops who kill innocent people. OK maybe not all the time but if your color is off white or brown you may get maimed. See ya later if you're black. The NYPD have hiccups every now and then which is why we got Rev. Al Sharpton holding a press conference and march every 10 minutes.

9.) C.H.U.D.

ictional NYC is...filled with cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers who kill and eat people. Need I really say more?

eality NYC is...inhabited by rats the size of footballs and insects that rival SyFy cheesiness. I'm serious about the rats as during the summer months they will show up on the train platform and wait for the 7 train while checking their Facebook on their iPhone 4. These are some of the smartest, mutant rats you will ever see.

8.) Q The Winged Serpent

Fictional NYC is...a giant serpent monster that lay its egg in the Chrysler tower and start terrorizing New Yorkers. It also likes grabbing sunbathers and window washers.

Reality NYC is... the NYPD is ill equip to handle a giant monster serpent who is under the control of a deranged madman. Sure they can stop a bomb threat or two in the middle of Times Square but let loose a ravenous monster and we're all fucked.

7.) Escape from New York

Fictional NYC is...a maximum security federal penal colony where gangs, criminals and the unwanted live in chaos.

Reality NYC is...we call this place the Bronx.

6.) The Warriors

Fictional NYC is...over run with gangs who pretty much own every piece of real estate in all 5 boroughs in NYC.

Reality NYC is...oh NYC still has gangs but they are all in the bad bad places we direct tourists to when they're lost. "You're looking for Rockefeller Center?" asks a tourist. "Oh thats in Bed Stuy, you should go at night" directs a disgruntled New Yorker. "...and be sure to wear red"

5.) Combat Shock

Fictional NYC is...deteriorating and completely falling apart. We ignore our returning vets who have shell shock, we can't get them jobs because of the economy and the streets have been taken over by drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes. Oh and all the babies are deformed freaks.

Reality NYC is...ditto. except for the deformed babies. Hmm then again, I'm sure there are deformed babies somewhere that we don't know about.

4.) Street Trash

Fictional NYC is...the homeless and the despair will drink anything to forget their troubles. NYC is where life is cheaper than a bottle of Viper

Reality NYC is...the new place where the homeless and the despair congregate is called "Williamsburg". The new drink of choice is "Pabst Blue Ribbon aka PBR" and we call these people "hipsters". You can identify these hipsters with scruffy beards, sports jackets with t-shirts and smoking Clove cigarettes and playing kickball. They are highly toxic.

3.) Ms. 45

Fictional NYC is...
filled with drug dealers, pimps and gangs that prey on mute women and rape them....repeatedly. Oh yeah, vigilantism is totally legal so get your vengeance on!

Reality NYC just filled with women who all look like the Sex and the City meets Hannah Montana. The women who have been scorned or fucked up get revenge by getting into flame wars on Facebook or deleting their boyfriend's WOW account. Also, somehow the ex boyfriend's comic book collection ends up on Craigslist. Wow, that's just fucked up brutal.

2.) Driller Killer

ictional NYC is...a psychotic dude goes around killing people with a drill.

Reality NYC is...this is what most New Yorkers want to do to tourists who block pedestrian traffic.

1.) Maniac

Fictional NYC is...a mad man is on the loose and killing people all around the city.

eality NYC is...seriously, you don't want to come here. I think I wanna move now.

When's the last time you were in NYC? Do you like our tourist friendly, Nickelodeon city now? Did you visit the city when it was a haven for debauchery and filth? Are you totally fuckin scared of NYC???

If you know of any other NYC grindhouse/exploitation movies, share em by leaving a comment below.



  1. I remember 80s NYC and yeah... it wasn't such a great tourist-y place like it is now. But at least it gave us great films like the one you mentioned. As for another film, wasn't DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE! based in NYC? I could be wrong.

  2. I love this post! As a current Bronxian, I also love and agree with your comparison of Escape From NY. I grew up on Long Island, where all residents either worship NYC as a utopia or fear it for being a haven of all that's evil in the world. Both assessments are hysterical once you actually live there.

    What to add, what to add: Basket Case, Jason Takes Manhattan (gotta love how awful a place it's portrayed in that film) and GOd Told Me To.

  3. 1990: I guerrieri del Bronx...technically it's italian yes but you DO have tap dancing gangs there right? being english i can't really say i ever experienced the grindhouse thing but i did go to a grindhousey cinema in san francisco in 93 (one of the films showing was a friday the 13th sequel...god knows which one) could smoke cigarettes and catch a guy masturbating out of the corner of your eye so i think that could be classified as grindhouse in some way

  4. Some suitably obscure flicks chosen here. Funny stuff. As someone who has never visited New York I can only hope that when I do I'll find the Disney-fied incarnation rather than the penal colony that Kurt Russell encounters in 'Escape'!

  5. All great movies to add to the list. If I was a movie producer, I'd try to make a film glorifying the New York of old.

    Dan - You gotta visit NYC at least once.

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