Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WARRIORS Gets Graphically Remastered

When I look back on the cable flicks of the 1980s that forever altered my cinematic landscape I can pinpoint several landmarks, even almost 30 years later. It didn't matter if I saw them once or I saw them a hundred times, they were flicks that broadened my horizon and let me see past the safe, largely parentally-approved choices that I was familiar with to that point.

The warped DEATH GAME (1977) – in which hitchhikers Sondra Locke and Colleen Camp invade the home of Seymour Cassel with disastrous results – brought sex, nudity, crazy violence and a "what the f**k?!" attitude right into my suburban living room in the middle of the afternoon. Clearly, this new "cable" invention was going to offer more than I was seeing on the handful of over-the-air channels I was accustomed to.

Joe Sarno's LAURA'S TOYS (1975) was a memorably sleazy Eurotrash softcore sex romp of epic, earth-shattering proportions. Years later I still consider it the reason I have no particular affinity for hardcore porn. The flick's girl-next-door stars packed more erotic punch than any adult film goddess. Okay, except maybe for Seka.

The first two installments of the FRIDAY THE 13TH series were my introduction to the slasher/splatter genre that I love so much to this day, Werner Herzog's NOSFERATU: PHANTOM DER NACHT exposed me to the great Klaus Kinski (and we all know how that obsession turned out), and Albert Pyun's brilliant sword-and-sandal barbarian actioner THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER may have been my first guilty pleasure.

But I still can recall sitting and watching Walter Hill's THE WARRIORS with rapt attention. Over and over. The flick took my growing love of action films and mashed it up with the comic theatrics of bands like KISS (it's hard to look at The Baseball Furies and not see that band's influence) to produce a highly entertaining and action-packed pop culture epic.

Today, lines like "Can you dig it?!" and the mockingly brilliant "Waaaarrrrrriiiorsss, come out to pla-ay!" (uttered by David Patrick Kelly as he clinks his beer bottle-clad fingers together) have become etched in our collective pop culture psyche.

I've always thought the concept of THE WARRIORS could have been stretched beyond its cinematic outing and I know there was a video game a couple years back that gave Swan and Co. further adventures. Like THEY LIVE, I thought it was a film that could have easily translated to the small screen, giving us weekly fixes as the gang got into further dust-ups and adventures.

While it's not a weekly TV show, I am kinda tickled that THE WARRIORS is getting a "comic book remastering" as the flick celebrates its 30th anniversary. The book will debut at New York Comic-Con next week and while the initial storyline will be an adaptation of the original film, writer David Atchison says that plans are in place to publish further adventures of the gang. The comic arrives in stores on February 18 and you can check out a preview here.

Can I openly petition for a WARRIORS/EXTERMINATOR crossover in which Swan and his crew have to team up with flame-thrower-wielding vigilante John Eastland to take down a mob sleaze running a white slave trade that preys on teens?

"If youre lyin', I'll be back."

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