ScreeningNotes’s review published on Letterboxd:
Junesploitation: Day 6 – Scream Factory!
Movies that are objectively perfect in every way:
2001: A Space Odyssey
Escape from New York
Looks about right to me.
Like They Live, John Carpenter's b-movie sensibilities would make this a lot harder to take seriously if I had any kind of a sense of humor—that is, right up until a hijacked plane crashes into a New York City skyscraper. From a modern perspective this becomes an eerily prescient post-9/11 narrative that takes us on a journey of reclaimed masculinity.
Snake (sometimes a snake is just a snake) is a prisoner backed into a corner by the oppressive totalitarian government, and his mission is to reclaim his lost independence in the face of a national disaster. He has an almost mythical presence in the film: everybody seems to know who he is, and he spends the movie finding his way back to this legendary status. He in masculinity incarnate recovering from a fatal blow. And yet, he is not the hero the government needs: he is also the antagonist, the opposition to his nation's fascist tendencies.
This is such a pleasure to watch every single time also because of Carpenter's soundtrack and cinematography. The synth score is iconically 80's and almost as unforgettable as his work in Halloween, and the camerawork takes his previous breakthrough with cinematographer Dean Cundey's POV steadicam shots to the next level.