Behind the Scenes: Escape from New York (1981)

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The shots were taken by unit still photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker and appear in her book, On Set with John Carpenter: The Photographs of Kim Gottlieb-Walker (Titan Press, 2014). I found them at Deep Fried Movies, where there’s an interview with Gottlieb-Walker and more photos.

That’s James Cameron in the last photo, obviously. I talk about Cameron’s involvement with Escape from New York here and here. Cameron “idolized” Carpenter, and Carpenter was very impressed with Cameron. The look and grit of Escape from New York is all over The Terminator, and a number of scenes from Aliens mirror scenes from the Carpenter classic: Hudson getting dragged into the floor by the aliens is a riff on the woman (Season Hubley, Russell’s wife at the time) getting dragged into the floor by the “crazies”; Hicks shooting out the window before jumping through it plays on Snake shooting out a door during one of his escapes; and “the thing with the knife” that Hudson makes Bishop do is a direct homage to Carpenter’s first film, Dark Star.

Carpenter had originally approached John Dykstra, straight off of Star Wars, about doing the effects for Escape from New York, but Dykstra allegedly quoted him an outrageous amount, and Carpenter, royally pissed off, hired Roger Corman’s New World Pictures crew instead. That’s a subject for another article, however.

4 Responses to “Behind the Scenes: <em>Escape from New York</em> (1981)”


  1. 1 antoniusrex March 2, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Man, I love your blogs…this is one of my favorite movies from the 80s–not just for the action, but for the fact that it did so many effects simply and practically that would now be all computerized.

    Also, Adrienne Barbeau. Great acting chops and a bombshell.


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