The Exterminator has been released on Blu Ray/DVD combo. I’m not sure you call this one a horror picture though. I think you call this one an action packed, thriller/revenge film. A little bit higher brow than exploitation. I think you might also consider calling it historical fiction. James Glickenhaus probably didn’t set out to paint a portrait of the life and times of your average girl on the fringe or working man just trying to get by, but you might as well call him the Norman Rockwell of the underground.
Those of us born at a certain time only know New York Cityand Times Square as a squeaky cleanMeccaof commerce, media fanfare and designated walking areas. I would say this would make us late. Late for what? Late for the seedy underbelly that gave films of the early 80’s and late 70’s a truly creepy look. We are late for smut and rampant prostitution. We are late for crime waves, black outs, looting, rioting, depravity. We’re late to the shit show. We’re late to a time when films like The Exterminator were not simply action/revenge films. They were tales of the modern day Superman with a shotgun.
The Exterminator, James Glickenhaus’ explosive story of Vietnam vet John Eastland (Ginty), a man who launches a bloody vendetta against the New York underworld when his best friend is brutally beaten by a vicious street gang. Eastland becomes a vigilante hero to the public, but to police The Exterminator is a psychopath capable of dangerously undermining an entire government administration.
My sincerest hope is that after watching this movie you go out and fight some local crime. I would imagine that this is how Batman really happened (you know… in the really real world). We have a vigilante who knows how to make kills fun. There’s nothing like a metal shredder to make a man speak his mind. There’s nothing like lighting people on fire out of anger. Beyond the violence it’s a heartwarming tale of friendship. What would you do for your best friend? A man who saved your life? Would you revise your moral code? Would you kill!?
The Exterminator gave me that Taxi Driver thrill. You can feel little pieces of underdone Scorsese in every seedy morsel. That being said, the Blu Ray and DVD transfers are superb. Crystalclear, hi definition and captivating audio. I literally got chills from some of the audio tweaks. One thing that I despise about transfers like these is that you lose some of that warmth. The same type of warmth a record collector understands but the CD aficionado never can. To someone who had never seen the film, but is familiar with the trailer and quality of the initial footage, this was a let down. There’s not much you can do about that though save going out and finding a film screening.
For all the hype about this coming out on Blu Ray/DVD combo the least that Synapse could have done was to put a few extra special features. A couple trailers and TV spots does not a full on release make. It should not deter you from picking this up but you can consider this my complaint, full lodged. I’m not going to lie though. TV spots and movie trailers with that deep, raunchy, gritty voice over make me pose in the mirror pretending to be the vigilante for hours.
Take time out of your day to revisit this classic glimpse at New York. Hell, buy a soldering gun and dip it in some Vaseline if it makes you feel frisky. Just remember: No spitting on the floors.
Written by Jimmy Terror who can be found at Dr. Terror’s Blog of Horrors