When I think about movies that involve New York, the usual list of cinematic icons comes to mind: Spike Lee, Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, Robert DeNiro, and King Kong. These stereotypical responses, however, aren’t the only ones that fill this area of my movie mind. The film in question actually employs tons of very memorable faces on the New York scene as well.
Abel Ferrara has made some of the most brutal and realistic New York based films ever made. From exploitation films to documentaries, he is widely considered one of the grittiest portrayers of realistic social commentary out there. Many of his films also used a recurring cast, so names lilke Lili Taylor, Annabella Sciorra, Paul Calderon, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Kathryn Erbe, and of course Christopher Walken should come to mind in your second tier (which is arguably badass enough to be considered so underrated that it should challenge the first tier mentioned above) of New York movie stars.
This cast came together to create one of the director’s most important and underrated works of art, The Addiction. I highly recommend the newest release of this film from Arrow Video. It looks and sounds great, blending crystal clear black and white photography with a surprisingly awesome and appropriate rap soundtrack and haunting musical score. So if you weren’t into their release of the neon laced eighties cult classic Vamp, this one may be more your style. As far as vampire films go, The Addiction has a very distinct feel that will keep you thinking about it long after viewing. It blends realistic social commentary of the time in regard to IV drug use, AIDS, and the decline of urban civilization. It even takes a highbrow and artsy approach in a subplot that blends collegiate level philosophical allusions with brutal depictions of real violence that parallel the pretend vampiric violence.
This is a horror film with an arthouse feel that will appeal to fans of The Hunger all the way up to A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Taylor provides an awesomely underrated performance in the lead, and Walken, like usual, is memorable even in a small role. Fans of Ferrara need to add this film to their collection as well. The fans of Driller Killer and Ms. 45 will love the diversity that this adds to his filmography if they don’t know about it already. Fans of his nineties crime classics King of New York and The Funeral will also love this quintessential piece in the career of a supremely underrated filmmaker.