42nd Street Cinema

Tenement (1985)

Roberta Findlay's underrated 'urban warfare' exploitation flick Tenement a.k.a. Game of Survival a.k.a. Slaughter in the South Bronx.

Tenement uses a simple plot which allows itself to be exploited to yield such a factor of violence. Exploring familiar themes such as home invasion, pillaging & rape. Early one morning a South Bronx gang is removed from an apartment block, arrested and vow to get their revenge. An hour later they are released and begin acting out their revenge upon the buildings tenants. The tables turn and remaining survivors join together to fight back against the gang, dispatching them in varyingly gruesome ways.

Unfortunately Findlay's inability to be able to frame a shot better than David Blunkett means there are a fair few scenes where an actor's head is completely out of shot. Not to let that be a complete downside to the film, as it's easily overlooked with help from the awesome 80s soundtrack and over the top violence.



Borrowing themes and techniques from John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) and Walter Hill's The Warriors (1979), it pays off extremely and is definitely Roberta's most technically proficient piece of work. Set in a grungy looking apartment block the survivors retreat to the top floor and are forced to defend themselves with whatever they can find, in true 'under siege' style.
On more than one occasion I found myself cheering out whenever one of the tenants would score a kill or a hit against a thug. One scene in particular was met with outright laughter, in which an old lady whacks a gang member in the bollocks with a baseball bat.
It's highly entertaining to any fan of unnecessarily brutal deaths and no doubt highly offensive to the more sensitive viewer making this better than average Z-grade trash.

3 comments:

Dr Sleaze M.D. said...

What a film this is, I dont get why all the people in the building just didnt gang up on the punks and kick some ass,

Simon said...

Oh, how I must see this...

Anonymous said...

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