The Exterminator (1980)

It’s always fun to watch a film about a vigilante

The Exterminator (1980)
Directed By: James Glickenhaus

The Prologue
The year was 1980 but the 70’s style Grindhouse feel was still in full effect with, The Exterminator! A bloody film about a man who is pushed too far when something happens to someone who he is close with. Sorta like some of those other more well known vengeance movies that are out there from back in the day. While the film does suffer from a few cliches here and there, overall I think anyone who enjoy the more sleazy feeling films out there will have a grand ol’ time with this one.

The Movie
When John Eastland’s best friend, Michael Jefferson, is mugged and left permanently crippled, he decides to do something about it. Jefferson had saved Eastland’s life in Vietnam and now it’s time for Eastland to get revenge for his friend. Using his old Army gear he sets out on a crusade to clean up the streets of New York using the name “The Exterminator.”  Best way to comprehend all of this if you don’t understand it is simply think of what would happen of Punisher and Death Wish had a bastard child together.

Oh boy! You know what one thing I like about this movie is? It’s the fact that it’s from a time and in the type of vein where your lead isn’t some magazine poster boy with a six pack and a chiseled chin. Our anti-hero here, John, isn’t a good looking man at all if I must say so myself. And that with the backdrop of the early 80’d (or perhaps late 70’s at the time of filming) New York works out wonderfully here in this film. It looks dirty, it feels dirty, and it kinda is dirty, but not in the type of way that makes you feel dirty for watching it. Add in the action and blood and you have a pretty damn cool little movie here.

Now that’s not to say we don’t have a few missteps here with this thing. For one, at different times in this film (mostly during the start) things just go from point to point with a very bad flow. Nothing is really set in place and then it’s just like BOOM!! there it is. One scene something is going down and then in the very next scene something else is going down and you kinda feel as if scenes were left out in between them to make it flow better. It kinda hurts things, but it’s not something that will let you down all together, as things do get settled down between time that saves things a bit for the person watching. I also did not like the ending of the film at all as it’s just another thing that just seems to fly by without any real satisfaction but since there’s a part 2 (I’ve not seen that yet), I’ll let it slide a bit.

Besides that, it’s a bloody good time! We got a small war scene in the start, heads roll, people are tossed in hamburger grinders, and there’s are more things that are cool as well. I don’t know if I’d call our lead “like-able” but for what it’s worth you do end up siding with him, even if his friend in the film comes across as someone who might have been a better lead for this thing overall. If you are a fan of Punisher comics or those bad ass Death Wish movies, I think you’ll find a nice little home right here with, The Exterminator. It’s a little disoriented and anti-climatic, but it’s a whole lot of fun mixed with a whole lot of gore.

The Conclusion
Well, I dug it and I think you can dig it as well! And lucky for us all a new Uncut Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is coming from Synapse on September 13th! I think it’s well worth checking out if you like this sorta stuff. After seeing this one I can safely say I liked it enough I plan on seeking out the sequel. And that my friends means a lot coming from me. 

The Rating (7/10)