HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dead
Death at Broadcasting House
Huracan
Ghost Strata
Call to Spy, A
Tailgate
Other Lamb, The
Every Time I Die
Lynn + Lucy
Topsy-Turvy
Honest Thief
Blood and Money
Rose: A Love Story
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Om Dar-B-Dar
Silencing, The
J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of SubGenius
Dick Johnson is Dead
Two/One
Cognition
Legacy of Lies
I Am Woman
Alien Addiction
Dare, The
South Terminal
Little Monsters
Yield to the Night
My Zoe
Young Playthings
End of Summer
Times of Harvey Milk, The
Buddies
Threshold
Perfectly Normal Family, A
Ravage
Honeymoon Phase, The
One Summer
Bird Island
Variety
Devil to Pay, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
   
 
  Fear City Stripped to Kill
Year: 1984
Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Tom Berenger, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Scalia, Melanie Griffith, Rossano Brazzi, Rae Dawn Chong, Joe Santos, Michael V. Gazzo, Jan Murray, Janet Julian, Daniel Faraldo, Maria Conchita Alonso, Ola Ray, John Foster, Emilia Crow
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: In New York City a crazy kung fu killer stalks, maims and murders strippers working in various nightclubs. Matt Rossi (Tom Berenger), a former boxer trying to escape his tragic past, runs the agency that supplies exotic dancers to the mafia-controlled strip clubs across Manhattan. Tortured by flashbacks to the young boxer he accidentally killed in the ring, Matt struggles to win back his stripper ex-girlfriend Loretta (Melanie Griffith), now involved in a lesbian liaison with fellow dancer Leila (Rae Dawn Chong). To further compound his problems, Matt and his business partner Nicky Parzeno (Jack Scalia) are relentlessly dogged by police detective Al Wheeler (Billy Dee Williams) who wrongly suspects they have something to do with the killings. With the stripper-hating martial arts madman ruining their business, local mafia don Carmine (Rossano Brazzi) tasks Matt to finally face his demons and take care of the psycho himself.

Fear City was the first mainstream effort from Abel Ferrara, as marked by its glossy Eighties veneer and a driving synth score by Dick Halligan featuring vocals from former New York Dolls’ front man (and occasional actor) David Johansen. Alongside Martin Scorsese, Ferrara shares a thematic preoccupation with New York as an urban hell that slowly drives his protagonists mad. Whereas his early exploitation movies, Driller Killer (1979) and the excellent Ms. 45 (1980) concerned psychos who became vigilantes, Fear City splits his stock character in two. On the one hand, Tom Berenger as a tortured Catholic vigilante wrestling with the moral quandary of killing, on the opposite end - the kung fu killer who is almost a parody of Eighties fitness fanatics, coming over like a cross between Chuck Norris and Travis Bickle (like Bickle he keeps a diary from which he obsessively narrates).

His martial arts antics (training in the nude, twirling samurai sword and nunchakus before shrieking starlets) edge the film into silliness, but are redeemed by the actor’s intensity (credited as John Foster in some sources, there is some debate as to his real name) and the shockingly visceral, yet non-explicit nature of the killings themselves. Nevertheless, we learn next to nothing about the murderer beyond his demented credo: “With the death of each criminal, man comes one step closer to purity.” Ferrara downplays his usual uncompromising stance on vigilantism in order to cater to a mainstream palette, but still raises some pertinent points. “You can never prevent terrorism”, observes sagely godfather Carmine. “You can only fight it’s root and destroy it.” Ferrara details the impact the killer has on various lives, though perhaps overreaches with too many ambitious subplots including a mob war, the bisexual love triangle, Loretta’s drug problem and Nicky’s relationship with student-turned stripper Ruby (Janet Julian).

Of course Ferrara brings authenticity to the seedy, neon-drenched glamour of 42nd street, complemented by hardboiled dialogue supplied by regular screenwriter Nicholas St. John. He approaches this sleazy milieu with a certain matter-of-fact, non-judgemental depicting Matt and Nicky as no-nonsense businessmen but also stand-up guys who genuinely care about their girls, and detailing the complex wrangling between rival mob factions. Melanie Griffith fans will enjoy her scorching strip-tease routines alongside those of Rae Dawn Chung and indeed most of the female cast, but though the girls are victims one positive aspect is that none are depicted as simpering bimbos. It builds to a bare-knuckle mano-a-mano between the psycho and Matt that is conventional compared to Ferrara’s more personal movies, but is well-staged and still satisfies.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2925 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Abel Ferrara  (1952 - )

Controversial New York director whose films frequently centre around sex, violence and moral redemption, and often feature Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken or Willem Dafoe. Debuted in 1979 with the infamous Driller Killer, in which he also starred, followed by rape-revenge thriller Ms. 45/Angel of Vengeance. Several slick, less distinctive movies followed - Fear City, China Girl and Cat Chaser, as well as work on TV shows Miami Vice and Crime Story.

1990's King of New York was a return to form, while the searing Bad Lieutenant quickly became the most notorious, and perhaps best, film of Ferrara's career. The nineties proved to be the director's busiest decade, as he dabbled in intense psycho-drama (Dangerous Game, The Blackout), gangster movies (The Funeral), sci-fi (Body Snatchers, New Rose Hotel) and horror (The Addiction). He continued to turn in little-seen but interesting work, such as the urban drug drama 'R Xmas and the religious allegory Mary until his higher profile returned with the likes of Welcome to New York and Pasolini.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: