Strippers in Manhattan are being stalked and murdered by a psycho. A hard-nosed police detective and a conflicted ex-boxer-turned-private-eye, hired by the strip club owners, set out to find him before he strikes again.
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In New York City, a psycho killer is stalking and randomly slashing and killing strippers working in various nightclubs. Matt Rossi is a former boxer trying to escape his past whom is currently employed at a talent agency which caters exotic dancers to the mafia-controlled strip clubs all over Manhattan. Matt and his business partner, Nicky, are relentlessly dogged by Al Wheeler, a persistent police detective on the case of the murdered strippers, and hoping to find something to nail both Matt and Nicky on. Matt is trying to reconcile with his former flame, Loretta, whom also works as a dancer and has a off-again, on-again drug problem. With the police constantly hounding them, and under pressure from his mob boss and other bosses to do something, Matt must somehow face his inner demons to find the killer before he strikes again. Written by
The film was drastically reedited before it's release because of the MPAA's ratings board strict guidelines on graphic violence, language and nudity at that point in time. Which are noticeable due to the film's many jump cuts in handful of scenes specifically most of the attacks on the strippers by the unnamed killer for example. Ultimately it caused Twentieth Century-Fox to sell of the film to an independent distributor for a theatrical release. See more »
[as Rossi drives off]
There's nothing I hate more than guineas in Cadillacs.
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When it comes to movies that are pure crime thriller in that genre, every component has to be the best. Top notch. And somewhat relative to another crime thriller called Nighthawks (1981), also starring Billy Dee Williams, Fear City (1984) just doesn't seem to add anything new. It is almost equal in entertainment; that is mediocre.
Fear City (1984) is about a couple of individuals that get caught up in the middle of a killer's rampage. The individuals consist of Matt Rossi (Berenger), a retired boxer and his partner Nicky Parzeno (Scalia) who are affiliated with the Italian mob and own their own club where topless dancers are the main attraction. But soon things start to go haywire when a killer starts assaulting Rossi's and Parzeno's girls and then they stop showing up to work.
It's hard to imagine Berenger with an Italian New York accent but he pulls it off okay. Rossi also has a girlfriend who works at his club, Loretta, played by Melanie Griffith. Griffith's character does play a significant role in the story (besides dancing topless) but the fact that there was a subplot that involved her regretting having sex with Rossi was irrelevant. Writer Nicholas St. John probably should have reviewed his script first before filming started. I also didn't understand how the background of Rossi connected to the current plot. It's great that it was included but there was never a clear connection to why he went from boxing to management of clubs.
And for the killer, I don't understand why he was uncredited and if that was the case, why he didn't come out and say anything. His performance, although not spectacular, was the main reason why this whole movie was created! His style of killing was different to see than the usual psychopaths, even though half the time nothing was scene. I also don't understand the logic behind that. The film had some many cuts in it because it was too gory. How gory could it have been? I could sure think of some films that were much more graphic. The Evil Dead (1981) sound familiar?
Also no background was given to the killer and every time he attacked someone, the blade he carried got bigger. First it was a scissors, a few kills later he used a katana sword. Strange. Finally, in the end though, it leads up to a rather entertaining fistfight between Rossi and the killer. Too bad I can't say that for the rest of film.
This crime thriller is directed by Abel Ferrara, who would later go on to direct other more significant thrillers like King of New York (1990) and Body Snatchers (1993). Ferrara's direction of filming in some of the dirtiest looking alleys in the city was a nice touch atmosphere wise. There are also a few comical scenes in this film but that's only because of the time this movie was filmed. Dick Halligan's soundtrack to this film was a little more involving than some others I've heard but it wasn't memorable. It's just a dry thriller.
The script was written with good subplots but it seems to forget how to connect them to the story at hand. See it more for nostalgia of a young Tom Berenger.
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