Escape from New York

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“Master of Horror” John Carpenter turned the Big Apple into the ultimate nightmare funhouse in the gritty dystopian sci-fi action flick, Escape from New York. In the bleak, dog-eat-dog future of 1997, a hijacked Air Force One crashes on the freaky island prison of Manhattan, stranding US President Donald Pleasance among murderers, terrorists, thieves and drug-dealing maniac Isaac Hayes. Eye-patched tough guy mercenary Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell, who continued his Carpenter-fueled winning streak in many of the director’s other ‘80s hits, including The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China) gets tapped for the rescue mission, with one catch: he’s got a 24-hour deadline to track down the President on the mean street of NYC and return him to safety before the government sets off the explosives implanted in his neck. Cue the outrageous “nailed baseball bat and trash can lid” street brawls, bloody shootouts on the Brooklyn Bridge and the snarky Snake one-liners! Tough, violent and a whole lot of fun in that “early ‘80s future dystopia” kind of way, Carpenter’s visionary thriller is a true genre classic. Also starring Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton and Carpenter’s then-wife, Adrienne Barbeau. (Dir. by John Carpenter, 1981, USA, 99 mins., Rated R) Digital