One of the better exploitation films from my youth was The Exterminator. I still remember his catchphrase of “If you’re lying, I’ll be back”, so when the remastered directors cut surfaced, I had to see it. Fast forward to December 2011 and here it is, in all it’s bloody gory glory. The story is a simple vigilante story: 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.” [IMDb]
The movie starts out with our two main characters escaping a Vietnamese attack. Yep, you guessed it, they’re Vietnam vets. I should stress here that it’s rather well done for a cheap film. There’s some big, and I mean BIG, explosions, plenty of fire and a fair bit of gore, ie: a decapitation, when the Vietnamese are demanding information. I haven’t seen this film in years and wasn’t expecting the decap, so when it happened it totally unexpected and, for the time, very well done, FX-wise I mean.
Our main character (played by Robert Ginty) is down and saved by his sidekick. Once air lifted to safety we see them working at a meat market. Mr. Ginty walks in on a robbery and is, again, saved by his cohort. Unfortunately for his cohort he’s later attacked by the robbers and is left crippled. It’s here that our man has been (as the cover says) ‘pushed too far’.
After hunting down the guys who crippled his war buddy, our man goes after various other scumbags who cross him in various ways. Needless to say, most of them end up worst off.
I remembered it fondly as a fine exploitation film of the vigilante era and was hesitant to watch it in case I spoiled some fond memories, but even now, 30yrs later it’s still a cracking good film.
The beheading is an excellent effect, others are your bog standard blood splats and what-have-you. The acting is good, but there’s absolutely no funny parts to this movie. Not a jot. On the bright side though, there are some nekkid b00bs.
I highly recommend this fine vigilante film if you’re in the mood to see scumbags getting their comeuppance, and it has a good ending. Now… should I watch The Exterminator 2 next, or the original Death Wish? Hmm…