The Sentinel (1977) – Brooklyn
The slow-burn horror film is an endangered species these days, shoved to the side by the likes of frenetic found footage or glorified (and gorified) music video director reels. The Sentinel is from that by-gone ’70s era of gradual, intense buildup, charting the slow mental deterioration of a fashion model (Cristina Raines) after she moves into a Brooklyn Heights brownstone apartment inhabited by very strange neighbors who (probably) don’t exist. In a morally dubious move, real disfigured individuals were used during the finale when the gates of hell open up. Early appearances by Christopher Walken, Tom Berenger and Jeff Goldblum (dubbed) only sweeten the deal, and you should see it before Blumhouse remakes it (badly).
Maniac (1980) – Queens
A down and dirty slice of early ’80s exploitation where everyone looks like they were rubbed with ham and every set probably smelled like a jock strap, this seedy story tracks a serial killer named Frank Zito (Joe Spinell) on a kill rampage fueled by -you guessed it- oedipal anxiety. With the majority shot in Woodside, Queens, along with permit-less guerilla location work in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Maniac is classic sleaze co-written by Spinell, which is why it’s no wonder his brutally ugly character is “charming” enough to score an awkward date with super hottie Caroline Munro, who plays perhaps one of the least perceptive photographers in movie history.
Head to page 4 to explore supernatural activity in the Bronx and Roosevelt Island!