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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. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Director Roberta Findlay says the savage rape of Leona (Rhetta Hughes) was inspired by a real life incident in the 60's wherein a lady named Kitty Genovese was raped for as much as 20 minutes or half an hour while tenants chose to remain apathetic to her plight. See more »
In a truly slummy area of NYC, a vicious street gang squats inside a dingy apartment building. One of the residents rats them out to the cops, but the revolving doors of justice being what they are, the scum are back out on the street later in the day. Guided by their cool-cat leader Chaco (Enrique Sandino), they spend one whole night and early morning terrorizing the residents, one floor at a time.
Considered by some to be exploitation legend Roberta Findlay's finest effort, "Tenement" (a.k.a. "Game of Survival") is gloriously trashy. It's got plenty of sex and violence to satisfy lovers of the genre, with decent action and great attention to grim and grubby detail. This is pretty much prime sleaze, although it does suffer from an over abundance of dummies. These protagonists just do not act sensible often enough. The only one of them who's got something resembling a brain is building tough guy Sam Washington (Joe Lynn). But it's still fun when, in the movies' final quarter, Washington leads his comrades in a concerted effort to thwart the bad guys.
And what magnificently nasty bastards they are. Sandino is an amusing head villain, with future Hollywood character actor Paul Calderon making an impressive film debut as one of his flunkies. Super sexy Karen Russell is easy to watch as Chacos' lady friend Chula. All in all, the acting IS better than you'd usually find in a Findlay movie. We've got Mina Bern as old lady Ruth, Walter Bryant as amiable Mr. Wesley, Corinne Château as Carol, the prostitute supporting a junkie boyfriend (Angel David of "The Crow"), Rhetta Hughes as the tough talking Leona, Larry Lara as the insufferable Rojas, Alfonso Manosalvas as lovable old blind man Mr. Gonzales, and Gy Mirano as the very pregnant Anita.
There are some lovely gore moments, and a very hip soundtrack. (That theme song is likely to be stuck in your head after the movie is over.) The single most depraved sequence involves a broomstick; it's also something the viewer will definitely remember.
Lively entertainment with a smashing climax that takes place as the night is at its darkest and stormiest.
Seven out of 10.
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