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Tenement: Game of Survival (1985) - Blu-ray Review

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Tenement: Game of Survival (1985) - Blu-ray Review

4 beersSlaughter in the South Bronx has returned! 

Let’s go knock over Styrofoam refrigerators onto people!  Big trashy fun and guns!  Any way you stab at or slice it, Tenement is a wicked little gem of exploitation madness.  And, thanks to modern technology, we get to immediately rewatch certain scenes to make sure that, yes, they really did just eat that damn rat.

“Hurry!  They’re in there now.  They have guns and they have drugs.  Hurry!” 

That’s the cry of the hopeful citizens in this shitty run down area of the Bronx.  And it’s with that same street urgency that the fuckin’ pigs come busting in on this unfriendly neighborhood leather-wearing gang, hauling their asses off to jail.  Sound those Aerodynamic sirens.  Pop the cork on the bottle.  It’s time to celebrate.  The streets are clean!  I mean, with drugs and guns involved, surely the tenants living in this run-down complex won’t be seeing these scuzzy Warriors Wannabes anytime soon, right?

Wrong.  Justice does not emerge victorious in this battle.  Welcome back to the era of Reaganomics.  Tenement: Game of Survival is making its Blu-ray debut this week thanks to the efforts of Shriek Show and, as it is directed by a badass female, it definitely makes a statement about urban decay and violence through a unique lens.  The film, sporting a new 2K HD film transfer from the original 35mm elements, has never looked this colorful and crisp either.  Grab a copy as soon as you can. 

With lines like “my head is full of blood” and moments which find the slicing and dicing of civilians to be as mean-spirited as they sound, Tenement is the perfect example of how effective low budget flicks and their spin on uber-violence can be.  A limitation in a budget does not make for a limitation of vision as this wicked film proves.  The gang, after munching on roasted rodents, brutally tears through the law-abiding residents’ apartments in revenge for calling the cops on them.  They torture, rape, and kill all those poor souls in their way.

It is all too obvious (and I don't blame them) that Shriek Show wants to cash in on any and all ties to the upcoming release of Wonder Woman on Blu-ray.  And maybe there is the inherent right to do so.  After all writer/director Roberta Findlay – who famously co-produced the controversial Snuff in 1976 – pushes the streetwise and utterly sprawling violence in a manner that few others dare.  She was always working against stereotypes and expectations and shattered glass ceilings in horror and exploitation films along the way.  She’s damn effective and right up there with Blood Diner’s Jackie Kong in her dedication to all the gooey and guttural stuff.

In one scene, a gang member actually shoves a broom handle up and into a woman’s vajayjay.  OUCH.  Floor by floor and two by two, the gang members bring about some apocalyptic doom into the remaining few seconds these people have here on earth.  Dead. Dead. Beyond dead.  It isn’t a pretty picture spread across this canvas of celluloid.  It is effective, though, and pretty funny at times, too.  Not the violence, mind you.  The lines spewing from actors Jorge Baqueiro, Maxina Bern, Thomas Biscione, and Walter Bryant are often wickedly amusing.

The exploitation and sizzling action of Tenement: Game of Survival want to be on the Walter Hill level.  It’s cheapo-depo bottom barrel stuff, mind you.  And it rocks as well as it rolls through the skeleton streets and leather-clad nights.  Tenement remains damned memorable thanks to its dedication to grindhouse gore and sensationalism swagger.  It might even make you throw up a little. 

Brutal to the very end, Chaco gonna fly tonight.

Tenement: Game of Survival (1985) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
94 mins
Director
: Roberta Findlay
Writer:
Joel Bender
Cast:
Jorge Baqueiro, Maxina Bern, Thomas Biscione, Walter Bryant
Genre
: Horror | Action | Crime
Tagline:
A chilling blend of American Graffiti and Psycho.
Memorable Movie Quote: "The game is played with guns, knives, drugs, and sex. There can only be one winner."
Theatrical Distributor:
Reeltime Distributing Corporation
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 20, 1985
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 8, 2017
Synopsis: A South Bronx gang rape and kill the residents of an isolated tenement. The tables turn and the surviving residents viciously despatch the gang. There is a gruesome scene depicting the repeated stabbing of the leader with a TV aerial followed by a lightning strike for good measure.

Tenement: Game of Survival (1985) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shriek Show
Available on Blu-ray
- August 8, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: PCM 2.0 mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Courtesy of Media Blasters and its Shriek Show label, the 1080p transfer from the new 2K HD scan of the film looks superb.  Sure, it’s low budget but there’s a new shimmy and shake to the action on the screen.  Blood – however bright and paint-like it is – flows with graphic details.  Occasional scratches appear on the print.  Nothing too distracting, though.  Details in the trashed out building are nice.  Black levels are consistent.  The sound is presented in a ripped Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix which handles the synthesizer score and dialogue well enough.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  •  Roberta Findlay steps up to the microphone and records a blistering effective commentary concerning the making of the movie and its grindhouse legacy.

Special Features:

Complete with an on-screen interview with Roberta Findlay, Shriek Show also provides the fans of this grindhouse classic with the film’s original trailer, radio and TV spots, and a photo gallery.  Fans will be pleased with the involvement of Findlay.

  • Roberta Findlay Interview
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Radio & TV Spot
  • Photo Gallery

 

 

Tenement: Game of Survival (1985) - Blu-ray Review

 

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