This evening, I was watching—again—the classic John Carpenter movie, “Escape from New York.” What struck me about this movie (made in 1981) was how many things seem to somewhat correspond to more recent events.
For instance, the film begins with an airliner hijacked by terrorists and crashed into a building in Manhattan. There is a new, major government bureaucracy with law enforcement capabilities ala DHS (Lee Van Cleef even looks a little like Michael Chertoff). And there is a major prison on an island where people—especially terrorists and political prisoners—are sent and cannot get out. Trials seem to be abbreviated and maybe not even held. There is a long, unresolved war going on. And so on….
There are other parallels, but it depends on how you view the movie. I hadn’t seen it in years, so it really struck me how many items seemed ... eerily familiar. I’m a bit reluctant now to rewatch other Carpenter movies, such as Escape from LA, The Thing, and Ghosts of Mars!
It’s a great movie, so let me recommend that you watch it again if you haven’t seen it recently ... or at all: I know that many of my students haven’t seen it yet, and they should. They might be surprised—Snake Plissken isn’t dead yet.
If you watch it, let me know what you think!