Quite often at Terror Tuesday we sit down to watch a film that may not fit within the confines of traditional horror. This is one of those weeks as we sat down for cult favorite vigilante film The Exterminator. A favorite of Terror Tuesday host Zack Carlson, we were treated to a mini trivia contest in which he had a few copies of the new blu-ray release of this film to give away as prizes. That seemed to get the crowd properly fired up for the movie, which had a little bit of a later start than we’re accustomed to for Terror Tuesday. And if Zack’s intro didn’t get us in the proper mood, the soft rock stylings of Roger Bowling crooning a song called “Heal It” certainly did the trick.
Filmed in the grimiest of grimy sections of New York City, The Exterminator, written and directed by James Glickenhaus, tells the story of Jon Eastland (Robert Ginty), a lowly warehouse worker who by day is as mild mannered as they come. But one day he and his best friend Michael Jefferson come across a burglary in their warehouse and the war veterans take matters into their own hands disposing of the thieves. When the burglars find out who stopped them, they beat Michael to within an inch of his life forever paralyzing him. This pushes Jon too far and he becomes a vigilante force to be reckoned with against the criminals of New York City. Hot on his trail is Terror Tuesday veteran and HND staff favorite Christopher George (Grizzly, Day of the Animals) playing Detective James Dalton.
Zack Carlson had an interesting critique on Christopher George’s performance here. Calling it “uninterested” was actually putting it kinda mildly. There are times when as Detective James Dalton he is very clearly interested in something other than the case at hand. The film however is full of great action and great kills. There’s a scene here that will give you something new to think about whenever you hear The Trammps’ “Disco Inferno”. The violence in the film is grisly without a doubt, did not meet the approval of famed film critic Roger Ebert he in fact said it was “a sick example of the almost unbelievable descent into gruesome savagery in American movies.” Not a glowingly favorable quote, but one that Synapse Films felt proud enough of to display on the back of the newly release Unrated Director’s Cut Blu-ray.
This one started a little later than it usually does, and that may have had an effect on the enthusiasm of the crowd. It wasn’t a full theater, and even the usual HND staff wasn’t all there. It was just me and Brian Kelley who braved the almost hour longer start time. Zack gave a great intro as usual, and the giving away of Blu-rays got the crowd as pumped up as it could, but for this film for some reason there didn’t seem to be much of a reaction.