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This Day in Horror History: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK Was Released in 1981

On this day in horror history, John Carpenter’s Escape from New York with Kurt Russell Donald Pleasence, and Adrienne Barbeau hit in 1981.

Carpenter wrote the film after the success of Halloween with Nick Castle, who played Michael Myers. They got together and wrote it in reaction to the Watergate scandal and was mainly filmed in St. Louis, Missouri.

Costing an estimated $6M to produce, the film was a box-office success, snagging more than $25M. On top of that, it was nominated for four Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Film and Best Direction.

The film has since become a cult classic and was followed by Escape from L.A. in 1996. Once again it was co-scored, and directed by John Carpenter who co-wrote with producer by Debra Hill and star Kurt Russell.

Co-written, co-scored and directed by John Carpenter, Escape From New York co-stars Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, and Harry Dean Stanton. Debra Hill and Larry J. Franco served as the producers.

It begins in 1997 when a war between the United States and the Soviet Union is concluding, and the island of Manhattan has been converted into a maximum-security prison. When Air Force One is hijacked and crashes into the island, the president, played by Donald Pleasence (Halloween) is taken hostage by a group of inmates. Snake Plissken, played by Kurt Russell (The Thing), a former Special Forces soldier turned criminal, is recruited to retrieve the president in exchange for his own freedom.

The cult classic sports a solid 86% approval rating over on Rotten Tomatoes with a Critics Consensus that reads: Featuring an atmospherically grimy futuristic metropolis, Escape from New York is a strange, entertaining jumble of thrilling action and oddball weirdness.

How much do you love John Carpenter’s Escape From New York? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

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Written by Mike Sprague

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