Director – Amos Poe (Happiness is a Warm Gun, Poker Buddies)
Starring – Vincent Spano (Tales from the Crypt, Prophecy 3: The Ascent), Michael Winslow (Spaceballs, Police Academy), and Kate Vernon (Pretty in Pink, Battlestar Galactica)
Release Date – 1984
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
Tagline – “At 19 they gave him the streets. Tonight, they’re going to take them back”
Vinegar Syndrome works with several companies to release some top notch releases. Their legendary partnership with American Genre Films Archive has brought us some amazing releases that I absolutely adore. They recently started working with the new company Fun City Editions to release their first film Alphabet City. This is the first time I’ve heard of this 1984 crime drama but seeing Michael Winslow listed among the cast really had me interested. I didn’t want to sleep on this release so I quickly ordered it when it was announced and I’m glad I did. I now have high expectations for future Fun City releases.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Johnny who runs drugs and money for the local crime boss. He has a beautiful woman, baby, and ride. His job has treated him well but when his sister starts escorting he has to get them out of the city before she finds herself murdered. As he makes plans to get out his boss figures it out and he gets a target painted on his back.**Spoiler Alert**
I love 80s cinema but Alphabet City is one of the many titles associated with Vin Syn that I had never heard of before prior to the release announcements which is a shame because I would have loved this one growing up. The acting, cinematography, scenery, and story really worked for me. Hell, this is the movie Perfect Strangers wanted to be.
The acting in this one is great. The supporting cast, Winslow included, bring some great characters to life but Vincent Spano is brilliant as Johnny. I absolutely loved his street hardened character and his machismo portrayal. It’s a shame there wasn’t a follow up film starring him. The story for this one is a great city crime film. It’s very grounded, stylish, and realistic while bringing in a few unintentional laughs. I really enjoyed it but I’m a bit disappointed that I had never heard of this one before now.
Finally, the film may have some blood but this is not one I would recommend to the gorehounds and avid horror fans. The film is very story driven and doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of practical effects. Overall, Alphabet City is a new favorite of mine. I can’t recommend this film enough and fans of cult cinema will need to check out this amazing looking blu from Fun City Editions. It needs to be added to your collection.
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive
Newly recorded audio commentary by director Amos Poe and writer Luc Sante
Newly filmed interview with actor Vincent Spano
New video essay by filmmaker Chris O’Neill
English SDH subtitles