***½/**** Image B+ Sound B+ Extras B+
starring Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer, Nancy Loomis
written and directed by John Carpenter
by Bryant Frazer Written and directed by USC film-school grad John Carpenter, Assault on Precinct 13 is the work of a man with something to prove. Carpenter had finished one film, the shot-on-16mm SF parody Dark Star, co-written with Dan O'Bannon, but he found that nobody in Hollywood took it (or him) seriously. After winning a for-hire writing gig for Columbia Pictures (Carpenter wrote the screenplay that became The Eyes of Laura Mars), he got his hands on a hundred thousand dollars and wrangled some of his friends from USC to help him make the first "real" John Carpenter film. The project, which borrowed its story from Rio Bravo and its mood from Night of the Living Dead, was a siege movie set in an abandoned police station in the fictional Anderson, CA, identified on screen as "a Los Angeles ghetto."