Tenement (1985)

Joe Lynn, Mina Bern, Walter Bryant, Corinne Chateau,
A drug selling and violent street-gang terrorize the renters of a big trashy apartment-house.
  • 5.7 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Joel Bender, Rick Marx, Writer:
  • Roberta Findlay, Director:
  • Walter E. Sear, Producer:


7/10 / 10

If one were to crown Roberta Findlay's best film, I think TENEMENTwould be it. A variation of "people trapped in the house" genre,TENEMENT takes place in a run down building, all in one day withFindlay keeping the tension going with on screen titles giving the time(and sometimes even the apartment levels). This helps as the gangruthlessly tries to make its way up to the tenants.

The gang is, as most gangs in films were during this time period,cinematic-ally goofy. It is a multi-ethnic gang dressed to the hilt inchains and leather. Findlay admits on the DVD audio commentary thatduring filming she encountered many real gangs in the Bronx andsubsequently found out that her vision of gangs "wasn't veryrealistic." Regardless, the cast, comprised of mostly unknown butprofessional actors, is very convincing. Both Sam (Joe Lynn) and Chaco(Enrique Sandino), the leaders of the good guys and bad guysrespectively, are given very strong portrayals by the actors. Aninteresting bit of trivia, TENEMENT marks the film debut of PaulCalderon, a recognizable character actor who went on to be in a widerange of stuff from PULP FICTION to LAW & ORDER.

One of the multiple films in the mid-80s urban warfare genre, TENEMENTis perhaps the sleaziest of the bunch. Director Findlay goes for thethroat in terms of the violence, featuring brutal rapes, stabbings,throat slicing, animal mayhem and castration. It created a cumulativeeffect so strong that the film was award an X rating by the MPAA(interestingly, so was the gang war epic DEATH WISH 3 at the time, butit was reversed on appeal).

7/10 / 10

I have to say, I had never heard of this flick. It came in a 3-pack Ijust got called 'Grindhouse Psychos' and man the price was worth thisone flick alone. Even if the other two films SUCK, I'd pay what I paidfor all any day for just this movie.

The acting is atrocious, though you'll see some familiar faces. I keptgoing: 'I've seen that dude/chick in something before...' but it wasdifficult to put my finger on exactly what it was. "Tenement" wastotally brutal. It has some scenes that are downright nasty and this isnot a film for the faint of heart. Here is the thing though; this movieis really entertaining! It might be cheesy and the blood looks likeCampbells tomato soup, but there sure is plenty of it to make it worthyour while.

I commend the folks who made "Tenement" because you can tell they puteverything they had into it and that's why it deserves this rating.Unlike so many other films that Hollywood keeps churning out thesedays, every penny was squeezed dry and people had a blast making thisfilm and you can totally tell through the whole grueling experience. Iwatched it last night, but I slept on it before reviewing it and todayI kept thinking how awesome it was...Yea, I dug this one!

The plot: a group of HILARIOUSLY STEREOTYPICAL New York tenementtenants call the cops on some AWESOMELY BAD thugs living in thebasement. The thugs get out of jail and come back for revenge and in abig way.

If you can find this flick, buy it. It's worth every cent. The onlydownfall I found with this one was the ending...a little lackluster.

7 out of 10, kids.

/ 10

A piggish gang of inner-city punks embark on a sadistic killing spreeinside a ruinous low-income housing facility, intent on making thebuilding "their own". Some truly vexatious scenes of gleefully exactedtorture and murder make TENEMENT one of the most inclement exploitationfilms of the 80s.

Rather deficiently crafted for the most part, this is still possiblyschlock-queen Roberta Findlay's most technically accomplished effort,and it actually features a few uncommonly decent performances. TENEMENTis a deliberately discomforting urban horror film recommendedexplicitly to those seeking a challenge to their humane sensitivitiesand emotional sang-froid...not exactly a "feel good movie of the year"nominee, but it certainly meets its grievous objectives head-on. Beaware of what you're in for.


7/10 / 10

I have to admit, this is a real favorite of mine in the graphic extremebloody genre of semi-revenge thrillers. (is that even a genre?) Ohwell, I saw this back in the day, and what I remember is the x-ratingit got, and I don't believe it was ever edited to get any other rating.I watched it a 2nd time last night, and listened to the interestingcommentary by director Roberta Findlay. She doesn't understand why itgot an x-rating at all, but believe me, this was very strong stuff backin 1985. Basicially a gang of drugged out baddies get kicked out oftheir basement dwelling and arrested, and soon come back to killeverybody left in the tenement. This has some great stuff in it, somereally zonked out homicidal gang members, and some residents thatdecide to put up a fight. And it is has some pretty decent productionvalue, and the main goodies, extreme graphic violence and a highabundance of blood. This is a good eighties nasty, which deserves aplace in your sleeze collection.

7/10 / 10

In a truly slummy area of NYC, a vicious street gang squats inside adingy apartment building. One of the residents rats them out to thecops, but the revolving doors of justice being what they are, the scumare back out on the street later in the day. Guided by their cool-catleader Chaco (Enrique Sandino), they spend one whole night and earlymorning terrorizing the residents, one floor at a time.

Considered by some to be exploitation legend Roberta Findlay's finesteffort, "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. Thisis pretty much prime sleaze, although it does suffer from an overabundance of dummies. These protagonists just do not act sensible oftenenough. The only one of them who's got something resembling a brain isbuilding tough guy Sam Washington (Joe Lynn). But it's still fun when,in the movies' final quarter, Washington leads his comrades in aconcerted effort to thwart the bad guys.

And what magnificently nasty bastards they are. Sandino is an amusinghead villain, with future Hollywood character actor Paul Calderonmaking an impressive film debut as one of his flunkies. Super sexyKaren Russell is easy to watch as Chacos' lady friend Chula. All inall, 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 junkieboyfriend (Angel David of "The Crow"), Rhetta Hughes as the toughtalking Leona, Larry Lara as the insufferable Rojas, Alfonso Manosalvasas lovable old blind man Mr. Gonzales, and Gy Mirano as the verypregnant Anita.

There are some lovely gore moments, and a very hip soundtrack. (Thattheme song is likely to be stuck in your head after the movie is over.)The single most depraved sequence involves a broomstick; it's alsosomething the viewer will definitely remember.

Lively entertainment with a smashing climax that takes place as thenight is at its darkest and stormiest.

Seven out of 10.