15 September 2006

Summer of Sam (1999)

a special collection of unusual screenshots taken from
the Spike Lee movie

Also Known As:
The Son of Sam
S.O.S. - Summer of Sam
S.O.S. - Son of Sam

Directed by
Spike Lee

Plot summary:
Based on true events, Spike Lee's Summer of Sam is set in New York, 1977. It was a sweltering summer in which the activities of a serial killer dubbed Son of Sam by the media saw temperatures and emotions disappear off the scale as his violent actions with a .44 rocked the city.

Son of Sam mania is gripping the city and New York's finest are going all out to catch the killer, aided by the local mafia and hindered by the neighbourhood vigilantes who, after much thought, place Jews, blacks and punks at the top of their list of suspects.

Between reading the headlines and watching the news, a small group of friends in the Italian community of the Bronx spend their time shimmying to classic disco tracks. Vinny (John Leguizamo) has a beautiful wife (Mira Sorvino), a neat line in sta-press nylon and fancy footwork, but he's deeply affected by the killings, his own marital problems and the strain a serial killer on the loose is putting on his social life. When his best friend Ritchie (the striking Adrien Brody) returns to the neighbourhood with a new-found self-expression - PVC trousers, Union Jack T-shirt, spiky hair and faux London accent - this bigoted circle declare punk only a little less unsavoury than murder.

As in Do the Right Thing, central to Spike Lee's action here is the all-pervasive heat, both sexy and dangerous and, as the temperature rises, a heady concoction of fear and ignorance tests this group of friends. [source: kamera.co.uk]

Background:On the morning of July 29th 1976, approximately 1 am in the morning, Donna Lauria and Jody Valenti were shot in their car by an unknown assailant, who was armed with a .44 Charter Arms Bulldog handgun. Though Donna was killed instantly in the hail of bullets, Jody was able to escape and seek help after the attacker fled on foot. But because of the shock of the incident, she was unable to provide a useful description of the assailant to police. With no apparent motive and little evidence to go on, the New York Police Department classified the assault as a random act or a botched mob hit. However, what they did not realize at the time was that Donna Lauria was merely the first victim of New York's most notorious serial killer, David Berkowitz, whose random attacks eventually paralyzed the city of New York in the summer of '77.

Two more attacks occurred during the fall of 1976, injuring three more New Yorkers. Unfortunately, despite a similar modus operandi, the police were never able to recover an intact bullet from the crime scenes, and thus never linked the separate attacks to the same individual. However, on January 30th 1977, another shooting claimed the life of Christine Freund, after which the case came to the attention of Detective Sergeant Joe Coffey. After noticing the large bore of weapon used by the attacker, a .44 Charter Arms Bulldog, he formed a theory that it was the same weapon and the same individual that had been involved in the four unsolved attacks. Unfortunately, a detailed examination of the victim's histories did not yield any common elements that would point to a possible suspect, other than the fact that all the victims in the shootings were attractive brunettes with shoulder-length hair.

On March 8th 1977, after Viriginia Voskerichian was killed while on her way home from classes, the police had found a matching bullet that linked the attack to the previous four. The attack was followed by a press conference held by the city's police commissioner, who announced that the NYPD were seeking 'a white male, twenty-five to thirty years old, six feet tall, medium build, with dark hair'. In addition, the Operation Omega task force was organized, chartered with identifying and stopping the unknown serial killer.

On April 17th 1977, a few short weeks after the Voskerichian shooting, the so-called '.44 caliber killer' struck again, killing Valentina Suriani and Alexander Esau, as they sat in their car. However, this time around, Berkowitz left Captain Joe Borelli, the head of Operation Omega, a note that announced to the world his name-- Son of Sam.

Excerpt of a letter left at a crime scene by David Berkowitz, aka Son of Sam:
Dear Captain Joseph Borrelli,

I am deeply hurt by your calling me a wemon hater. I am not. But I am a monster. I am the 'Son of Sam.' I am a little brat.

When father Sam gets drunk he gets mean. He beats his family. Sometimes he ties me up to the back of the house.

Other times he locks me in the garage. Sam loves to drink blood.

'Go out and kill,' commands father Sam.

'Behind our house some rest. Mostly young -- raped and slaughtered -- their blood drained -- just bones now.

Papa Sam keeps me locked in the attic too. I can't get out but I look out the attic window and watch the world go by.

I feel like an outsider. I am on a different wavelength then everybody else -- programmed too kill.

However, to stop me you must kill me. Attention all police: Shoot me first -- shoot to kill or else keep out of my way or you will die!

Papa Sam is old now. He needs some blood to preserve his youth. He has had too many heart attacks. 'Ugh, me hoot, it hurts, sonny boy.'

I miss my pretty princess most of all. She's resting in our ladies house. But I'll see her soon.

I am the 'Monster' -- 'Beelzebub' -- the chubby behemoth.

I love to hunt. Prowling the streets looking for fair game -- tasty meat. The wemon of Queens are prettyist of all. It must be the water they drink. I live for the hunt-- my life. Blood for papa.

Mr. Borrelli, sir, I don't want to kill anymore. No sur, no more but I must, 'honor thy father.'

I want to make love to the world. I love people. I don't belong on earth. Return me to yahoos.

To the people of Queens, I love you. And I want to wish all of you a happy Easter. May God bless you in this life and in the next.

John Leguizamo.... Vinny
Mira Sorvino.... Dionna
Jennifer Esposito.... Ruby
Adrien Brody.... Richie
Michael Rispoli.... Joe T
Bebe Neuwirth.... Gloria
Al Palagonia.... Anthony
Ken Garito.... Brian
Saverio Guerra.... Woodstock
Michael Badalucco.... David Berkowitz
Mike Starr.... Eddie
Patti LuPone.... Helen
Spike Lee.... Reporter John Jeffries
Roger Guenveur Smith.... Detective Curt Atwater
Ben Gazzara.... Luigi
Anthony LaPaglia.... Detective Lou Petrocelli
Brian Tarantina.... Bobby Del Fiore
Joe Lisi.... Tony Olives
John Savage.... Simon
Arthur J. Nascarella.... Mario
Darielle Gilad.... Debbie Cadabra
James Reno.... Crony
Lucia Grillo.... Chiara
Nelson Vasquez.... Officer Cruz
Jimmy Breslin.... Jimmy Breslin
Michael Harper.... Raygun
Jessica Galbreath.... Fire
Evan Cohen.... Bite
George Tabb.... Spider
Michael Imperioli.... Midnight
Victor Colicchio.... Chickie
Peter Maloney.... Detective Timothy Dowd
Christopher Wynkoop.... Sam Carr
John Turturro.... Harvey the Black Dog (voice)
Ernie Anastos.... Anchorman
Jim Jensen.... Anchorman (as Harold 'Jim' Jensen)
Melba Tolliver.... Anchorwoman
Phil Rizzuto.... Yankee Broadcaster (voice)
Reggie Jackson.... Himself
Danielle Burgio.... Woman in Car #1/Victim #1
Lisa France.... Woman in Car #2/Victim #2
Peter Epstein.... Chuckie
Jill Stokesberry.... Rose
Joseph Lyle Taylor.... Ron
Kim Director.... Dee
Bill Raymond.... Father Cadilli
Mildred Clinton.... Italian Woman at Murder Site
Emelise Aleandri.... Italian Woman at Murder Site
Michael Sorvino.... Bowler in Diner #1
Phil Campanella.... Bowler in Diner #2
William H. Burns.... Officer
Ernest Mingione.... Officer
Frank Fortunato.... Doorman
Dan Zappin.... Simon's Male Friend
Murielle Arden.... Simon's Female Friend (as Murielle Cohen)
Christina Kolbe.... Simon's Female Friend
Charlotte Colavin.... Neighbor
Clayton J. Barber.... Punk
Joie Lee.... Bed Stuy Woman Interviewed
Rome Neal.... Bed Stuy Man Interviewed
Mark Breland.... Bed Stuy Man Interviewed
Susan Batson.... Bed Stuy Woman Interviewed
Evander Holyfield.... Man in Riot
Toneda Laiwan.... Dot, Atwater's Girlfriend
Janet Paparazzo.... Young Woman Shot by Son of Sam outside Apartment/Victim #4
Jodi Michelle Pynn.... Young Woman Shot by Son of Sam outisde Apartment/Victim #5
Jennifer Badger.... Woman in Car/Victim #6 (as Jennifer S. Badger)
Jeff DeRocker.... Man in Car
Nick Oddo.... Husband
Damien Achilles.... Wounded Man/Victim #8
Joanne Lamstein.... Woman in Car/Victim #9
Gabriel Barre.... Johnny Nasso
Tara McNamee.... Woman Victim on College Campus/Victim #7
John Michael Brown.... 'L.E.S. Stitches' Band Singer
Damian Branica.... 'L.E.S. Stitches' Band Bassist
Lorne Behrman.... 'L.E.S. Stitches' Band Guitarist
Curtis Gove.... 'L.E.S. Stitches' Band Guitarist
James Baggs.... 'L.E.S. Stitches' Band Drummer
Rozie Bacchi.... Brian's Girlfriend
Grace DeSena.... Joe T's Girlfriend
Zoe Bournelis.... Anthony's Girlfriend
Ashleigh Gloss.... Princess
Frank Cadilac.... Patty, Man with Weird Eyes
Daniel J. Courtenay.... Guitar Store Owner
Michael Prozzo.... Rocco
Kathryn Hud.... Rocco's Girlfriend
Antonio Torres.... Man Pulled from Car
Pamela Wehner.... Lady at Block Party
Dionna Colicchio.... Girl at Block Party
Victoria Galasso.... Girl at Block Party
Danielle Tutelian.... Girl at Block Party
John Martucci

Mario Macaluso.... Italian Chef
Andrew Lasky.... Officer Cruz's Partner
Richard Paul.... Detective with Decoy Dummy
Ray Carlson.... Crime Scene Cop
Alexander J. Vega.... Bouncer
Steven Croft.... Limo Driver
Mary Jo Todaro.... Lady in Window
Jacqueline Margolis.... Lady in Window
Iris Braydon.... Lady in Car Window (as Iris Alten)
Valerie Mazzonelli.... Lady with Dog
Hal Sherman.... Arresting Detective
Nicholas Brown.... Young Detective Petrocelli
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Brickhouse.... Himself - 1954 World Series Announcer (voice) (uncredited) (archive footage)
David Brown.... Bouncer/CBGB (uncredited)
Tom Cassell.... Waiter (uncredited)
Howard Cosell.... Himself - 1977 World Series Announcer (voice) (uncredited) (archive footage)
Kevin Coyle.... Protester (uncredited)
Anna Damergis.... Salon Patron (uncredited)
Robert Garcia.... D.J . (uncredited)
Jeffrey Hoffman.... Club Dancer (uncredited)
Keith Jackson.... Himself - 1977 World Series Announcer (voice) (uncredited) (archive footage)
Michael Mercurio.... Protester (uncredited)
Michael J. Meyers.... Detective (uncredited)
Rich Pecci.... Protestor (uncredited)
Christian Reeve.... Club Dancer (uncredited)
Guy Shahar.... Club Dancer (uncredited)
Sharon Shenk.... Principal Dancer (uncredited)
Kevin Craig West.... Man in Barber Shop (uncredited)
Jenna Zablocki.... Protestor (uncredited)