The Exterminator (1980)

R   |    |  Action, Crime, Drama

The Exterminator (1980) Poster

A man's best friend is killed on the streets of New York City. The man (Robert Ginty) then transforms into a violent killer, turning New York City into a great war zone, and Christopher George is the only one to stop him.

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  • The Exterminator (1980)
  • The Exterminator (1980)
  • Robert Ginty and Steve James in The Exterminator (1980)
  • The Exterminator (1980)
  • Robert Ginty in The Exterminator (1980)
  • Robert Ginty in The Exterminator (1980)

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Cast & Crew

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James Glickenhaus


James Glickenhaus

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

28 March 2006 | Coventry
| Rough, tough and stone-cold exploitation!
The good thing about late 70's/ early 80's B-cinema was that, whenever a new idea hit big at the box office, an endless amount of shameless rip-offs would follow almost immediately, most of which even more exploitative that the original success film. "Last House on the Left", for example, resulted in huge load of brutal revenge films like "I spit on your Grave" and "House on the Edge of the Park", whereas Michael Winner's "Death Wish" caused a giant stream of low-budget vigilante action movies. "The Exterminator" is one the most remarkable rip-offs and definitely also a cult-favorite, simply because the style of this film is so grim, raw and nihilistic. Writer/director James Glickenhaus certainly doesn't waste any time, as "The Exterminator" opens with a very violent Vietnam flashback (containing THE vilest decapitation scene I ever saw!), introducing us to the inseparable buddies John Eastland and Michael Jefferson. Back in New York, Jefferson quickly becomes the victim of a coward racist attack by street gang members, leaving him numb in a hospital bed. Eastman responds by becoming a one-man vigilante squad, only he doesn't stop at killing his buddy's aggressors but continues to take on corrupt politicians, pimps and ordinary thugs. The tone of "The Exterminator" is very distant at all times. It's like Glickenhaus doesn't want you to develop neither feelings of sympathy or aversion for the protagonist! We simply observe his actions, not really picking sides for either him or the obtrusive cop Dalton. This surely isn't meant to be pleasant film-experience, as the editing and camera-work are roughly handled, there's almost no use of color and the musical guidance is very depressing. The only light-headed moments involve the romantic interactions between Detective Dalton and a nurse, and they're actually quite redundant.

Critic Reviews

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Did You Know?


The Vietnam sequence cost four hundred thousand dollars to film, which was twenty percent of the movie's budget of two million dollars.


CIA Agent Shaw: This "Exterminator" is the most dangerous serial killer in the United States and he is in New York City! Now what do you think about all this?
Detective James Dalton: I think you need to take a shit. It's coming out of your mouth instead of your asshole.


At the very beginning, when Eastland's friend saves him from an imminent beheading, they fire on an enemy soldier standing at the water's edge. The man is blown backwards not by the impact of the bullet but from a clearly seen rigged see saw that throws him into the air.

Crazy Credits

"The producer" is credited as burping ghoul

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema release was cut by 44 seconds with edits to the decapitation scene, the stabbing of Michael and a scene where a prostitute is tortured with a soldering iron. Video versions were cut by 3m 38 secs with further cuts to the cinema edits, and additional cuts to slow-motion footage of Vietnam killing scenes and the removal of an entire sequence where John makes mercury-filled dum-dum bullets. The Synergy DVD released in the UK in 2000 was treated much more leniently and was cut by only 22s, with the opening beheading and the prostitute's torture still edited. The film was finally passed completely uncut in the UK by the BBFC in 2004, since the offending scenes were no longer judged to be harmful by 2004 standards.


Friday Night Fool
Written and Sung by
Roger Bowling


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


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