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Abel Ferrara (1951 - )

Lifespan: 1951 -

Related: Catholicism - American cinema - exploitation film - violent film

Films: Ms. 45 (1981) - Bad Lieutenant (1992)

Bad Lieutenant (1992) - Abel Ferrara [Amazon.com]

Another director who shows that he might - just might - prove that there's life in the old horror genre yet, is Abel Ferrara. He drew attention to himself - for all the wrong reasons - with his Seventies' exploitation film The Driller Killer, but he has since displayed an original vision in such impressive fare as Body Snatchers and The Addiction. Here is a director who is working within genre conventions - Body Snatchers is a subtle reworking of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers - to create something that escapes those conventions and takes off in all kinds of directions. What happens next? To borrow the closing line from John Carpenter's The Thing - let's just wait around and see what happens. --Noel O'Shea


Abel Ferrara (born July 19, 1951 in The Bronx) is an American movie screenwriter and director. He started out as a director by making amateur films on Super 8. In 1979, he first achieved recognition for directing and starring in The Driller Killer, a violent exploitation film about an artist who suffers a mental breakdown. His 1981 follow up, Ms. 45 was met with more positive reviews and helped to jump start his career. His theatrical releases through the rest of the decade included Fear City, China Girl, and Cat Chaser and were met with more mixed reviews while his career remained fairly stagnant despite the pictures larger budgets. The early 1990s are generally considered to be the golden period of his work. In 1990, King of New York was released to positive reaction from critics and viewers alike. He followed that up with Bad Lieutenant in 1992 to great critical praise and it is widely considered to be his finest work. In 1995 he released The Addiction and The Funeral, both starring Christopher Walken. Since then, he has released several films to very limited success.

Ferrara is noteworthy for setting the vast majority of his films in New York City. He has also frequently collaborated with Zoe Lund, who wrote and starred in several of his films, and Nicholas St. John, who has written many of his films and was a classmate of Ferrara's in highschool. His work is suggested to be heavily influenced by Robert Bresson. Ferrara's films often feature religion, specifically Catholicism, as a prominent theme. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abel_Ferrara [Mar 2006]

King of New York (1990) - Abel Ferrara

    King of New York (1990) - Abel Ferrara [Amazon US]
    This low-budget crime thriller has the feel of a major blockbuster and owes its roots to the hard-edged crime movies of the 1930s. Christopher Walken stars as a drug kingpin who is released from prison and vows to use his position and influence--and criminal enterprise--for charitable means. But a core group of New York cops are all over him and his gang, determined to go to war, whatever the cost, to bring him down. Eventually his empire--headquartered at, of all places, Donald Trump's Plaza Hotel--crumbles under the weight of double-crossing and a body count of open warfare with the cops. This is one of the most stylish films of the last decade, with a strong supporting cast (including Lawrence Fishburne, Wesley Snipes, and David Caruso) and some truly enthralling set pieces, including a stunning car chase and gunfight across a rain-soaked Queensboro Bridge. The film's tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top style offsets its nihilism; and its riveting visuals will have audiences hooked from beginning to end. --Robert Lane

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