For over 30 years, B-Movie master Charles Band has produced, directed, distributed, written or conceived some of the most memorable…
In ENEMY TERRITORY they take no prisoners. You've got to kill your way out.
An insurance salesman inadvertently gets trapped after dark in an apartment building that is terrorized by a street gang called "The Vampires."
Before we begin, it must be stated that Peter Manoogian's 1987 urban survival pic ENEMY TERRITORY most resembles an unsophisticated, scrappy late-1970s AIP rip-off of John Carpenter's ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976); even the closing credits cue from old-school rap crew The Boogie Boys contains none-too-subtle allusions to Carpenter's seminal synth scores for both ASSAULT and HALLOWEEN (1978). Now, to some reviewers higher of brow than myself, this would no doubt be considered harsh criticism, but to this old hack it constitutes a frickin' must-see motion picture! After all, if you are that determined to sketch around someone else's template, one of the best b-movies of the 1970s is a damn fine one to pilfer (and was a trick also…
race is frequently the original motivator for violence against whites in these under-siege-by-street-gangs movies until it becomes clear that the gangs are equal-opportunity killers. it's in this way that a lot of the racial subtext of these films gets scrubbed away in favor of simple fear of violence. this one isn't any different even while it remains consistently engaging and suitably bloody. if you've got a strong stomach and want something a little more political (but not necessarily any more coherent), try Roberta Findlay's TENEMENT.
i'd also like to point out that Jan-Michael Vincent's wheelchair-bound Vietnam vet can't stop fidgeting his legs...this was in his less-sober years and while there's no reason to suspect it wasn't part of the script it's entirely likely Vincent needed the chair because he was too drunk to stand up.
Unfortunately doesn't quite have the craft chops to totally deliver on its crackerjack premise, but it zips along thanks to an abundance of pure personality. Most of that comes courtesy of Tony Todd as The Count, doing that James Cagney thing where every part of his body seems to be operating independently of the whole.
But can we PLEASE do something to stop this relentless co-opting of vampire culture? Enough is enough.
When Newton wrote his Third Law of Physics ("for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction") I'm fairly certain he watched this beforehand. Gary Frank & Ray Parker Jr. try their damnedest, but the colossal black hole of charisma they create gets filled by a buoyant Tony Todd as Vampire gang leader The Count.
There's a killer sense of atmosphere supplied by a visual orgy of graffiti, gaudy gang outfits, and a Carpenter-esque synth score. Socio-economic class issues act more as structural underpinnings for the driving action; its painfully white protagonist (or "ghost") navigates through the building dispensing insurance premium for survival.
[Side note (and I apologize if I've made this joke more than once): The title font looks like a Nicktoons cartoon. Make of that what you will.]
"I don't give a fuck if he's white, black or fudge ripple!"
"Dime store darwin."
No matter what's going on, chances are good that Ray Parker Jr. wants you to stuff it in your belt and keep moving. There's a ton of great material from Jan Michael Vincent and Tony Todd here. Well worth a watch based on the strength of that stuff alone.
Enemy Territory is very much the mirror image Tenement. Tenement wallows in the grim scuzziness the Findlay's are adept at doling out. Enemy Territory is pretty upbeat and fun. In Tenement, they go up the building. In Enemy Territory, they go down the building. See? Makes perfect sense.
Look For: Richard Pryor's daughter from Moving as the female lead.
One For the Road:
"Nobody rubs their ass dirty finger on the walls of our castle!"
It was Dave Jay's fantastic review of Enemy Territory about a year ago that got me interested in watching this film, especially as it had been compared favourably to Trespass and Judgment Night, two films I really, really like.
In fact, I have a real liking for the urban action thriller genre as a whole, it seems, because once again I really liked this one. It's not as good as the aforementioned films or indeed Assault On Precinct 13, to which it is also often compared but actually not that similar to, but it is still an entertaining 80 minutes or so packed with some good shoot-outs and a couple…
The most genius thing about Assault on Precinct 13 is that the bad guys are faceless, becoming essentially zombie stand-ins. Enemy Territory answers the question, "What would it be like if Precinct 13 was attacked by one of the goofy gangs from The Warriors?" A pathetic insurance salesman visits a client in a shitty apartment building run by The Vampires gang, who only come out at night (although they don't seem to have much trouble operating in the daylight as well). The salesman accidentally disrespects one of the gang members, and they come after him. He has to hide from the gang and find a way out of the building with help from Stacey Dash and…
A very good Charles Band production without a robot, alien, or gooey monster anywhere to be seen. Just a crackling urban thriller made with efficiency.
More at Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot:
I swear for most of this movie I thought Ray Parker Jr. was Billy Dee Williams.
Kind of like a more racist Assault on Precinct 13 in reverse, as a timid moron and a too-nice-for-his-own-good phone guy piss off a gang in their apartment block and try to escape before (possible nosferatu?) Tony Todd kills them.
A bit better than I assumed it would be, but that's not saying much. Honestly, the only real reason is to watch Tony Todd in a real heinous motherfucker of a role.
I love this kind of exploitation from the 80's. The plot here is that a young, white insurance salesman is sent into one of the worst parts of Harlem to collect a premium on a new insurance policy. He has practically no choice because he can't make his child support payments, and his ex-wife is threatening legal action.
He gets there and immediately gets hustled by three kids, probably 12 years old. They manage to squeeze a few bucks out of him to "protect" his car while he's inside the apartment building. As he's walking away, you hear them talking about stealing the radio. Once inside he has a run in with the youngest member of the local gang, the…
It's super racist, but that aside, it's really awesome. It's about a desperate white insurance agent who gets stuck in a housing project after dark and has to get saved by Ray Parker Jr., Stacey Dash, and Frances Foster. They are all black, so maybe that sort of at least starts to balance out the racism? It's sort of like a horror movie and the evil gang that's after everyone is even called The Vampires. Tony Todd is the best as The Count, the leader of The Vampires. Deon Richmond (Kenny from "The Cosby Show") is also pretty good as a little kid who knows the secrets of the housing project. I always think it's cool when little kids seem to know what's up even when there's a bunch of horrible crud happening around them.
Honky insurance salesman find himself trapped in a gang owned building in New York. Teams up with Ray Parker Jnr to try escape the gang who are called The Vampires, who are not actually Vampires but a massive collection of dicks. Bit like a camp Assault on Precinct 13 with Tony Todd turning it up to 11
"I don't care if he's white, black or fudge ripple! When a man needs help, I help."
The unintentional "I'm Giving Out 3's Like They're Free" film festival continues!
Before The Raid locked a brave police officer in a gang infested slum highrise, before Dredd had to clean up Peach Trees, Ray Parker Jr. and some boring white dude had to fight their way down 20 floors of hell themselves. Enemy Territory delivers the goods with its atmospheric setting and an absolutely definitive 80s synth score. It does lean towards the repetitive side a bit too much and the building tends to look like the same hallway all too often. Still, for Ray Parker Jr's sake it's a fine flick in its own right.
Pretty decent thriller about an insurance salesman getting trapped inside an apartment building in the ghetto. There is a gang called The Vampires trying to hunt him down and his only real allies are a few residents and a telephone company worker who came to fix the phone lines which are down. It is sort of in the same style as Assault on Precinct 13 or Judgement Night. The Vampires gang are very campy and the movie is very B-grade, but overall it is a very enjoyable watch with some cool stuff in it.