Saturday, 24 March 2018

The Carmilla Movie (Canada 2017: Dir Spencer Maybee)

So if you're over 40 the chances are you may never have heard of Carmilla, the insanely popular Canadian web based show which at the time of writing has clocked up 70 million plus views on YouTube, with a massively loyal fanbase. The series, which ran for three seasons from 2014, was created by Jordan Hall, Steph Ouaknine and Jay Bennett, and is another version of the much adapted Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu novella of the same name, featuring a centuries old vampire turning up in in a contemporary high school.

Picking up on the story's lesbian themes (although the author punished his heroine in the novella by having her beheaded for her Sapphic tendencies) Carmilla's strength is in its normalisation of gay characters and its female fronted cast being funny, strong and there for each other - this is a show which doesn't so much observe the Bechdel test rules as screwing them up into a ball and kicking them into the nearest waste paper basket.

Carmilla the web show introduced us to perennially perky Laura Hollis (Elise Bauman), a journalism student whose dorm buddy disappears and is replaced by dark and mysterious Carmilla Karnstein (Natasha Negovanlis), Laura's TA Danny Lawrence (Sharon Belle), and friends LaFontaine (Kaitlyn Alexander) and Perry (Annie M. Briggs). It's the interplay between these characters, and particularly the developing romantic relationship between Laura and vampire with a heart of gold Carmilla that really made the show consistently watchable, overcoming its major visual hurdle of being set pretty much in one room for all the episodes.

The show's themes of friendship, loyalty and courage in supernatural situations will of course bring to mind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which covered the same ground in its seven seasons between 1997 and 2003. But of course most of Carmilla's viewers were either babies or a gleam in their parents' eyes during Buffy's heyday, and it's absolutely right that they would want their own version. But Carmilla is more than Buffy on-a-budget. The female cast, producers and writers have locked into something very much 'now' - at the screening of the movie I attended (and yes, I'll get to the film in a moment) the most important thing for the largely queer audience was simply to show gay characteristations uncoupled from traditional coming out narratives. Laura, Carmilla and the gang have got all that out of the way and are just living their lives. Albeit lives that include rampaging demons, evil faculty members and of course vampires.

So after the decision to end the web shows after the third season, it was a surprise and a delight for fans that Carmilla The Movie was announced. And make no mistake, this is a film for fans. I was quite privileged to see it on the big screen as, while I liked it, its commercial draw for those who are not already fans of the show ('Creampuffs' as they are known) may be limited and it seems likely to find its distribution options via streaming than the cinema.

The film opens five years after the events at the end of season 3. Carmilla has been transformed from vampire to human, and she and Laura are living a life of near normalcy and very much in love. Except that Laura keeps having troubling Hammer horror style dreams in which Carmilla is still a vampire, and a mysterious woman called Elle skulks around in the background. Turns out that Elle is Carmilla's ex and she's a whole heap of trouble, so the new Scooby gang must travel back to Carmilla's home country to face the evil.

Oddly, although the film opens up the rather restrictive single point camera approach of the web series, the talk straight to screen approach of the show has been retained. This keeps the intimate, confessional feel that regular viewers have valued but for a new audience, unaware of the show's history, it makes the film feel rather stilted. Would viewers get much from Carmilla The Movie if they hadn't seen the web shows? Possibly not. However the cast make the transition from small to large screen well, and the script loses none of the smartness of its web origins. It's good to see the team working well together and enjoying themselves in the gothic set pieces (including a Dance of the Vampires style ballroom scene).

Carmilla The Movie probably isn't for the casual uninformed viewer; although there is some backstory, it's not enough to immerse the uninitiated, and the film's pace may seem a little leisurely for the popcorn crowd. But I loved the movie as a thank you to the fans. And if the scores of young women who queued up just to say thank you to Negovanlis (who was present at the screening I attended and seemed to embody the spirit of the whole enterprise as a smart, funny and upbeat human being) is anything to go by, the movie has already done its work.

There were hints at the screening that the show may be optioned for a more mainstream series, and there's some doubt as to which actors, if any, will be ported across from Carmilla 1.0. Hmmm.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Sweet Country (Australia 2017: Dir Warwick Thornton)

Based on a true story, Warwick Thornton's tough, uncompromising film about the relationship between indigenous people and white settlers in the rural Australia of 1929 revolves around a small group of people eking out a living in hostile terrain.

Benevolent land owner and preacher Fred Smith (Sam Neill) loans out two of his Aboriginal workers, husband and wife Sam and Lizzie Kelly (Hamilton Morris and Natassia Gorey Furber, both excellent) and their niece to help a neighbouring farmer, alcoholic and war traumatised Harry March (Ewen Leslie) for a few days. During this time March rapes Lizzie, a fact she keeps from her husband when they return home.

Smith leaves Sam and Lizzie at his farm while he goes out of town on business, taking their niece with him. A drunken March arrives at Smith's house looking for Philomac (a light fingered mixed race son of another white landowner), who has escaped being chained up. An enraged March fires on the house, and Sam, defending himself, shoots and kills the drunk man. Sam and Lizzie, the latter who is now pregnant with March's child, escape into the Outback and are hunted by the troubled and borderline psychotic police sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown) and a team of vigilantes.

"I think I'm in the family way" confesses Lizzie to Sam at one point in the movie. The phrase sounds strange, but one of the themes of the film is about the need to keep family together whatever the circumstances. The anger and disappointment of Lizzie's revelation, which comes after March's death, never leaves Sam's face from that point on.

One of Sweet Country's greatest strengths is its sense of place, locating a small but endlessly circulating group of characters within the timeless sweeping landscape of the Outback (the title is uttered genuinely in the film, but the reality is anything but). Thornton and the film's writer David Tranter both grew up in central Australia, members of the Kaytej and Alyawarra tribes respectively, which is reflected in the assured use of the film's setting; Thornton also served as Director of Photography. This is a terrain that has featured in Thornton's work before (specifically his 2009 movie Samson and Delilah) and also recalls Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and Nic Roeg's Walkabout (1970). Thornton also borrows Roeg's temporal shift approach, giving the audience glimpses of scenes yet to happen, imbuing the film with an eerie feeling of prescience. There are hints of mysticism too: in one scene Sam catches a scorpion under glass, while at the same time Fletcher gets stung by a similar creature (or is it the same one?) hiding in his boot, an incident which triggers the policeman's extended bout of poison fulled mania under the desert sun.

The bleakness of landscape and narrative almost threatens to overwhelm but is saved by some very human performances by Morris and Furber, and also twins Tremayne and Trevon Doolan, who intriguingly both play Philomac; it's a triumph of casting that all are acting in a feature film for the first time. If there is one criticism it's that the white characters can be little more than cyphers against the indigenous cast, although the inner demons of Harry March and Sergeant Fletcher are given some nuance by Leslie and Brown. Praise too for deciding to render the movie music free, the sounds of the natural world being the only accompaniment to the events onscreen, and for keeping the pacing slow, which accentuates the moments of sudden violence. It's a trick borrowed from the Spaghetti Western, but effective none the less.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Demonic Doll (UK 2018: Dir Richard Mansfield)

The last of Richard Mansfield's micro budget horror films set in London (the director has now relocated to Nottingham), The Demonic Doll continues his trend for luridly titled movies which are in reality much more subtle than their names suggest. This one is a kind of sequel to his last year's The Demonic Tapes; it's even set in the same house (although a different location but the same borough), turning Haringey into an north London version of Amityville.

Rose is a separated mother of two having a couple of weeks on her own while the kids are at dad's. She's trying to get her life together after the split, and is doing some work for the local church magazine, so one assumes there might be a spiritual side to her - there are crosses on the walls of the house. In the same way as the unnamed sole male occupant of the previous film, Rose also discovers a tape recorder plus a spooky antique doll while rummaging around in the basement. And like the previous incumbent, she starts listening to the tapes obsessively. They record sessions with a little boy called Simon, supposedly possessed by a demon, who talks of a malevolent spirit called 'socks' and also 'Mr Sheets.' Rose also finds that the doll she retrieved mysteriously moves itself around the house, and she also half glimpses a cloth swathed figure which also follows her - could it be the same spirit talked about by Simon? Father Matthew from the local church provides support to Rose but is initially not convinced that she isn't making things up. But we know the London semi and its ghostly occupants mean business.

You have to hand it to Richard Mansfield. He does have the ability to create a chilling hour and a bit of screen time out of shadows, some nifty camerawork and some effective sound design (score again enigmatically produced by the mysterious 'Pig 7', and if the anonymously credited musician also turns out to be Mansfield I'll be very envious). The Demonic Doll, perhaps even more than its predecessor, looks to BBC TV's Ghostwatch for its suburban thrills - the director has even stolen that programme's subversive behind the curtains stunt - and as the camera moves stealthily around the house, the viewer is constantly on the lookout for something supernatural at the edge of the frame, catching little details like upturned crosses and mysterious messages. Mansfield doesn't really go in for big jumps, although the score, with its distinctive Mica Levi style shrillness, suggests this might happen.

Castwise this is basically a two hander, Rose being played by Jennie Fox, doing a good job to convince as a middle class mum slowly realising that her home is a haunted house. Confusingly Mansfield regular Darren Munn, who was the stalked man in the same house in The Demonic Tapes, returns here as Father Matthew. But apart from that it's just glimpses of people and disembodied voices on tape.

Look, this won't be everyone's cup of tea, and a certain amount of 'adjustment' is required to view this as conventional entertainment. But I like what Mansfield does with a camera, I applaud his chutzpah, and he's clearly having fun. But I'm slightly relieved that the Haringey horror franchise has ended with the director's move out of London; however I am keenly looking forward to what comes next - maybe a series of Nottingham Nightmares? And you can have that title for free Richard.

Monday, 19 February 2018

The Ritual (UK 2017: Dir David Bruckner)

Ah the problems of adapting horror fiction for the big screen. Director David Bruckner's previous genre credits (segments in 2015's Southbound and 2012's V/H/S) demonstrate that he's no stranger to creating an eerie mood in his films, and although The Ritual has plenty of atmosphere, it's arguably less than the sum of its parts.

A group of old friends are planning a boys weekend away, one of the suggestions being a hike along a Swedish hill range. Group leader Luke dismisses the idea, but when the hike proposer dies after being caught up in a bungled shop robbery (Luke is also in the shop, but hides and does nothing when his friend is attacked) they feel duty bound to honour the suggestion as a tribute to their departed friend.

Six months after the incident, with Luke still wracked with guilt, the party embark on the hike. As inexperienced outdoor types, they quickly fall prey to the horrendous weather and difficult terrain, eventually getting lost in a dense forest. But after camping out in an abandoned hut and experiencing a night of sheer terror, they realise that something very big is in the woods and may be stalking them.

I've not read Adam Nevill's book on which The Ritual is based, but I've consumed enough genre fiction to recognise from the structure of the film that Bruckner is probably following the novel fairly closely. And therein lies the problem: although the movie is not overly complex, there are a number of different strands to it which, while they may be visually appealing, don't really add up to much, and probably were more intriguing in print form. And just as the book probably canters towards its monstrous conclusion, so too does the film, in the process moving from the atmospheric and un-guessable to a predictable scenario with a group of guys getting picked off in the woods, accompanied by the ever present thundering score letting the audience know just how scared they should be.

Bruckner also allows us, after playing the old game of tease but don't show, plenty of scenes of the creature. Glimpsed in the trees it's quite something; in plain sight it isn't (have film makers learned nothing from the lessons of the 1957 movie Night of the Demon?).

Castwise the friends are convincing enough as a group of guys whose connection - college in this case - is increasingly tenuous, and their subsequent loss of trust in each other understandable. As Luke Rafe Spall is the natural leader and his guilt hangs over his character very believably - but he deserved a better script. Sadly I lost interest in nearly all the characters in the last half of the movie when they become little more than beast fodder. The other star of the film is the forest itself, with Romania standing in for Sweden. Now on a personal note I once travelled to Romania with my school, and spent quite a lot of time feeling homesick and walking through forests just like the one in the film, with the echoes of teachers' warnings about people you might encounter in them ringing in my ears; so the dense woods and mist laden valleys brought back quite a few memories.

Ultimately The Ritual is a rather disappointing film, which promises a lot but then is unable to sustain our interest. It should have been a creepy, unpredictable flick, but it felt like a squandered opportunity. Shame.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

From the archive - reviews of The Blood Harvest (UK 2016), The Pack (Australia 2015), Survivors (UK 2015) and The Slayers (UK 2015)

A selection of reviews that either didn't make it to 'print' or are no longer available.

The Blood Harvest (UK 2016: Dir George Clarke) - director/writer/producer Clarke’s latest movie is a solid two fingers up to people who don’t think that films shot on DV can be any good. The Blood Harvest is a tense cat and mouse thriller with creative and occasionally stomach churning gore scenes, a solid cast and great use of rural locations. It also looks way better than its estimated £10,000 budget would suggest.

A serial killer is stalking the countryside of County Down in Northern Ireland. Not only does he wear a strange mask while murdering his many victims, but he cuts their Achilles tendons and eats their eyeballs too – using a fork, no less. Chaplin, a cop who has been sacked but is still determined to solve the case, specialises in mythology and thinks that the killings may be the work of a vampire (the truth turns out to be odder than that).

His former partner Hatcher suspects a more prosaic motive, but it’s in his interests to put Chaplin off the scent. Separately the two cops close in on the killer’s (or is it killers plural?) country hideout, where Chaplin learns the strange truth both about the murders and his partner.

I confess to not having seen Clarke’s previous films, but on the basis of The Blood Harvest I’ll be rectifying that as soon as possible. This is a really inventive movie which starts at a breakneck pace with the rather disturbing murder of a young girl, and doesn’t let up even at the jaw dropping denouement. It’s a tightly edited film which builds the tension well, and it’s not a movie that is afraid to be out there. I liked it a lot – highly recommended.

The Pack (Australia 2015: Dir Nick Robertson) - films about dogs who’ve had a rethink on the whole ‘man’s best friend’ concept have been around for a while. Back in 1977 a movie also called The Pack had a load of dogs made angry by being abandoned by their owners. 1982’s superior White Dog dealt with a racist German Shepherd, and of course there was rabid Cujo who gave Dee Wallace a hard time in the 1983 adaptation of the Stephen King book. 2006’s The Breed had a bunch of similarly infected pooches chasing after partying teens and 2014’s White God had more dumped beasts getting annoyed.

The difference between those movies and Nick Robertson’s debut feature The Pack is that the dogs in this film aren’t programmed, necessarily abandoned or infected to the best of our knowledge. There are just a lot of them and they’re aware that they can throw their weight around with a bit of canine organisation.

Carla and Adam Wilson are having a tough time of it having recently moved to their farm in the Australian outback, which doubles as the local vets. Carla’s been treating a lot of stressed dogs recently and Adam is getting fed up with finding butchered sheep on his land; their kids are similarly cheesed off with their new rural existence and the mortgage company are threatening foreclosure. It’s all rather tense. As night falls a power cut plunges the farm into darkness and a pack of wild dogs seize their moment to launch an attack, forcing the Wilson family to fight for their lives.

That’s about it plot wise. Robertson doesn’t spend much time developing the characters of the family members, choosing to devote most of the film’s running time to the canine siege and generating quite a bit of tension in the process. The power cut makes things very Assault on Precinct 13, and he is clever not to show too much of the beasts, largely keeping the threat in shadow. Real trained attack dogs were used for the most of the scenes (the cast were apparently genuinely afraid of them) combined with sparing use of model work and almost unnoticeable CGI.

Apparently attacks of this nature are a growing problem down under, so this movie will probably have an additional frisson for Australian audiences. While I appreciate the assurance of the direction (not bad for a feature first timer) I didn’t really feel much of a threat - the family have guns for crying out loud - but their ethical code initially delays them inflicting any harm, and the dogs rather unrealistically spend a lot of time stalking when they probably would just have gone for throats. However I liked Robertson’s nod to the cinema of nature gone wrong (particularly the Aussie movie The Long Weekend) in his combination of animal sounds and well photographed outback scenery, and the refusal to explain why the dogs acted as they did.

Survivors (UK 2015: Dir Adam Spinks) - Spinks’ first full feature, 2014’s Extinction, was a valiant if overlong attempt to do something different with the found footage genre, featuring a group of explorers travelling deep into the Peruvian jungle (actually a well disguised Welsh countryside) and uncovering a nest of dinosaurs. Two years on and Spinks is back with more found footage action in Survivors, although this movie had actually been made before Extinction, but took nearly two years to see the light of day via a Crowdfunding initiative which helped stump up some of £10,000 budget.

As the title might suggest Survivors tells the story of the aftermath of a viral attack, centred around Kate Meadows, a journalist trying to get to the bottom of a story about human drug testing behind closed doors, and the potential after effects of the trials. This is cleverly cut with scenes clearly set following a viral outbreak, showing that the inevitable has happened. Spinks is much less concerned with showing us scenes of the infected on the rampage than the human cost incurred by those left coping in the wake of the event. Similar to the BBC series of the same name which is surely an influence here, it isn’t long before certain people assume dominance and power, when clearly the population should be uniting (an optimistic politician’s voice is heard on the radio talking about how the country will be able to pull together and recover from the infection, but having seen some of the characters in the movie that looks extremely doubtful).

As in Extinction some of the actors are much better than others (with so much acting talent out there I’m not sure why directors end up casting people who are so terrible at conveying character or emotion) but there is a sadness and fatalism in this movie that I wasn’t expecting. Unleavened by any real action it’s quite a depressing experience, enhanced by Buz Kohan’s sweeping melancholic score.

I’m not sure whether I really liked Survivors but maybe that’s the point. It certainly punches above its low budget origins though - and Spinks is an interesting director who clearly invested a lot of thought into this movie and is well worth watching.

The Slayers (UK 2015: Dir John Williams) - £15,000 in the hands of some movie directors will buy you lunch and maybe half an hour in the editing suite. Given to film maker John Williams it can net you a whole comedy feature film, as this is what The Slayers cost to make – all 1 hour and 40 minutes of it.

Nigel and Job are both members of a cult embracing the soon come arrival of a comet that will wipe out the world. When their Jim Jonesesque leader advocates drinking poison and the congregation duly oblige, Nigel and Job choose life. Faced with two weeks to go until the end of the planet, they make up a bucket list and proceed to tick it off. This list isn’t particularly startling though, including things like ‘going fishing’. However their life of relative hedonism is ruined when they run into a gang of vampires and a crusty vampire hunter.

The Slayers is half The Inbetweeners and half Dumb and Dumber. Nigel and Job are an Abbott and Costello for a new generation, and it took me a long time to appreciate Abbott and Costello. Williams’s film is inventive, fast paced, but…wait for it…not very funny. Sorry John, maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for the pratfalls, goofiness and occasional The Mighty Boosh touches. Sure, I bet it was a lot of fun to make, and the enthusiasm of the cast (who include the director in five different parts, the 2014 winner of Britain’s Strongest Man and ‘troubled’ 2006 Big Brother victor Pete Bennett) shows through. It’s nicely filmed, showing off the Stoke-on-Trent locations well, and the special effects are amazing considering the budget. But at over an hour and a half it very much outstays its welcome, although it does become much more interesting once the vampires show up. Apparently fifteen minutes of the film were trimmed after the first screening, so I’m not sure if I’ve seen the longer version, or it originally ran for nearly two hours (!).

Ultimately whether you go for The Slayers (and I’m sure there’s an audience out there for this) depends on how many people you’re watching it with and in what state you are when you do. I’m sure Williams would be the first to say “Look, we’re not making Kurosawa here!” but I didn’t find Nigel and Job a particularly appealing pair of layabouts, and The Slayers spends an awful lot of time in their company.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Nemesis (USA 1992: Dir Albert Pyun)

The first of the four Nemesis films directed by the Kurosawa trained (really!) Albert Pyun, a director who gives both Fred Olen Ray and Charles Band a run for their money in shoot ‘em quick, don’t-outstay-their-welcome exploitation movies. It was Pyun who gave us the Jean Claude Van Damme vehicle Cyborg back in 1989, and never a director to let a good idea go to waste, he rehashes lots of bits from that movie, plus The Terminator, Robocop, Blade Runner and the Spaghetti Western.

In fact Nemesis was originally designed to be a prequel to Cyborg but along the way this got dropped and the film developed into its own franchise. It was also intended to have a female cop in the lead but this idea also fell by the wayside. 

Nemesis introduces us to Alex (played with an Arnie-esque command of vocal cadence by French kickboxer Olivier Gruner), an already part cyborg cop, who at the beginning of the movie comes off worse after a run in with some human ‘information terrorists’ – they have information, they’re pretty terrible. Rescued by the LAPD he’s re-assembled with considerably less human in him than before and a bomb next to his heart due to detonate in three days. Suitably armed he's set off on his next and possibly final mission in Java, to do something with information and terrorists and stolen security plans and an ex-girlfriend Jared who is also a cyborg, while Farnsworth, the guy who sent him there, has been replaced by a cyborg and now wants to kill Alex  – sorry I couldn’t quite work out the finer details, but I don’t think it really matters.

From the opening shoot out, Nemesis is rather bonkers. I was transported back to the days of watching dodgy martial arts and Chuck Norris movies on VHS, such is the amount of gunfire, spent ammo, explosions and close ups of chiselled faces on display – and that’s just the women. You want to see three cyborgs blast away with heavy duty guns while facing each other over a distance of about fifteen feet – for a long time? Step this way. You want endless chop socky and over the top stunt work while rolling down mountains? Get in line. You want sparkling dialogue? Sorry, different movie.

Effects wise, breathe a sigh of relief – no CGI here. We get cyborgs with breakaway faces that reveal guns, a fantastic eyeball popping scene, and the cheesiest endoskeleton reveal that must have cost around 1/19th of the budget of a similar scene in The Terminator.

Olivier Gruner went on to a career starring in movies with one word titles. As Alex, Gruner wasn’t required to act much, but as a kick boxer he was probably annoyed that the director wanted him to use the gun more than his feet – maybe the insurance didn’t cover it. Other cast members worth noting are Tim Thomerson as mastermind Farnsworth - a veteran of TV whose career had started to slide with roles in films with one word titles and numbers after them – and spunky little Merle Kennedy as Max Impact (yes, I know) who crops up about half way through as a pint size renegade and assists Alex to evade cyborg death by doing lots of running, jumping and swimming.

You'll have to look elsewhere for coverage of Nemesis II - IV. Once is clearly enough for this keyboard slinger.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Warriors (USA 1979: Dir Walter Hill)

Another set of film notes from one of the last FEAST Film Nights screenings back in 2017.

Walter Hill’s The Warriors, based on a 1965 dystopian novel by Sol Yurik, beams in from a pre gentrified, now vanished New York City. The movie fairly accurately reflected the decaying state of the Big Apple in the late 1970s - NYC was at the time fending off bankruptcy, suffering from high unemployment and extended power black outs (prompting widespread looting and crime) as well as playing host to pitched battles between warring ethnic factions, making the clashes between the Sharks and the Jets in West Side Story look like a walk in Central Park. The reflection of reality as a future urban nightmare is a key to the movie’s genius.

Hill’s Director’s cut of the movie (the version screened tonight) adds, among other comic book inserts, an awkward short prologue not seen in the original film, which explicitly cites the inspiration for the story as a page from Greek history: the Battle of Cunaxa in 401 B.C. in which an army of soldiers, stranded in enemy territory, attempted to evade the Persian Army and make it back to their coastal home. The Warriors’ modern day updating of the story has the eponymous gang attempting to flee the City and return to their Coney Island base, after being set up to take the rap for the assassination of a gang leader.

With an all New York cast and crew, combining professional actors with kids recruited from the City’s districts and supported by real gang advisors, Hill’s tense, action packed movie uses the interconnecting lines of the New York subway map to track The Warriors as they attempt to ‘escape from New York’. And yes the movie does anticipate John Carpenter’s film of the same name from a couple of years later, but it also borrows from 1970s conspiracy thrillers, Blaxploitation movies and, in the stylised battle scenes, Kurosawa’s samurai films.

The use of a largely black and Hispanic cast caused the movie’s funders to question the film’s commerciality, leading to the production team re-editing the film, adding extra soundtrack elements to create a less realistic, more upbeat feel to the final movie. But there’s no doubting the realism of the environments in which shooting took place, even accepting some of the more over the top elements of the look of the factions, such as the Kiss style make up of the ‘Baseball Furies.’ One story goes that while filming on location in Coney Island the actors playing The Warriors had to remove any trace of their gang identities (achieved through some great embroidery by Brit Rose Clements, who also designed stage outfits for Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton) while at lunch so as not to draw undue attention from the real gangs in the area.

The film’s cinema release proved popular, but a series of tragic gang related shooting and stabbing incidents at screenings in the US nearly saw an end to The Warriors’ distribution life. As a result, Paramount allowed cinema chains the option to cancel future screenings: many took up the offer, and the film lay dormant until its second wind saw the movie released to the (then new) home viewing market, subsequently spawning a comic strip and video game spinoffs.