Of all of the American classic-modern horror filmmakers revered today – the Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, George Romero – John Carpenter is probably my personal favorite. His output during the 1970s and '80s was the most consistent, and most consistently interesting, although Halloween is good enough by itself to earn him permanent canonization. There's a certain amount of classicism in his films – the Howard Hawks influence, no doubt - that gives them a timelessness that transcends their budgetary limitations, conceptual shortcomings, or period details. And even if the events in Escape From New Yorkseems especially hokey given that they were supposed to have taken place in 1997, the film suffers none thanks to a great performance by Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, and of course the brilliant rendering of a futuristic post-apocalyptic world by Carpenter.
Fox Home Entertainment recently released Escape From New York on Blu-ray, which is the reason for this otherwise unprovoked rumination on the merits of Mr. Carpenter. And while I won't devote more attention to deconstructing the quality of the film itself, it seemed like a prime candidate for the latest installment on "Making the (Up) Grade," especially since it's the sort of film that benefits from improved presentation and expanded bonus materials.