Things We Like: “Assault on Precinct 13″ and Haunted Las Vegas
John Carpenter’s first real movie (his previous film, 1974’s “Dark Star,” was an expanded student production) combines elements of “Night of the Living Dead” and Howard Hawks westerns like Rio Bravo with an urban gangster spin. After a police ambush, some multiracial gangsters swear an oath of vengeance on cops, and a soon-to-be-closed police precinct comes under their wrath. Filled with some shocking violence — like a kid (played by Kim Richards of “Escape to Witch Mountain” fame) getting shot at an ice cream truck—and lots of tense situations, it’s a very impressive and carefully constructed low-budget film.
The heroic characters are a bit different and memorable, including a cynical black cop (Austin Stoker) and an incarcerated criminal (Darwin Joston) who really has no reason to get involved in the action. The soundtrack is one of the many excellent synthesizer scores by the director. Stay away from the pointless remake, but do check out the recently released BluRay — it looks great! When French art house filmmaker Clair Denis visited Scarecrow Video, this is the movie she bought. – Spenser Hoyt
Monkey Goggles Klassics: “Haunted Las Vegas: The Motels of East Fremont Street” by Geoff Carter
From October 26, 2009: ” Sin City isn’t without ghosts. I’ve never seen one, but I’ve felt the excitement and dread one associates with a good, solid haunting. I’ve felt it in the projection booth of the now-defunct Huntridge Theatre, a 65-year-old movie house that once hosted premieres for the likes of Abbott & Costello and Marlene Dietrich. I’ve felt in the stripped-down penthouse suites of the old Aladdin Hotel, shortly before it was demolished in in April 1998. But I’ve felt the presence of the supernatural most strongly while walking down East Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. And unlike my previous examples, you can actually still visit this haunted strip of largely dessicated motels.” Read the rest here!