Directed By: Eddy Matalon
Starring: James Mitchum, Robert Carradine, Belinda Montgomery
Tag line: "The night the power failed.... and the shock began!"
Trivia: In Australia, this film was released as NEW YORK ESCAPEES
A blackout in New York City is a bad situation. Throw some escaped convicts into the mix, and you have a real mess on your hands!
A severe thunderstorm causes a massive power failure, plunging all of New York City into total darkness. As a result of the blackout, an armored vehicle transporting dangerous prisoners loses control and crashes into a wall, killing the guards on impact. Of the prisoners, only four survive. Led by the sociopathic Christie (Robert Carradine), this quartet manages to break into a posh apartment complex, where they go door-to-door, terrorizing residents in their search for money and a getaway car. Officer Dan Evans (Jim Mitchum) is the only policeman on the scene, and he hopes to apprehend the escaped cons...by himself, if he has to...before they've had a chance to do any serious damage.
At the heart of Blackout is an excellent performance by Robert Carradine, whose Christie is a natural leader of men, yet one with a mean streak a mile long. The other surviving prisoners, Chico (Don Granberry), Eddy (Terry Haig) and Marcus (Victor B. Tyler), were on their way to jail after spending time at a psychiatric hospital, and Christie, who's extremely bright, knows just what to say to gain their trust. In contrast to the camaraderie he develops with his fellow fugitives, Christie shows nothing but contempt for the well-to-do tenants of the high-rise complex, who he believes contribute to a corrupt system that favors the rich. One of the first apartments the group enters belongs to a French magician named Henri (Jean-Pierre Aumont), whose only companion is his little dog. Along with the fact he has no cash to give them, Christie is further annoyed to learn Henri uses the dog in his magic act, accusing the aging Frenchman of exploiting the animal for financial gain. Prior to walking out of the apartment, Christine will stick a knife in Henri and leave him to die. Another victim of Christie's cruelty is Mrs. Grant (June Allyson), whose husband (Fred Doederlein) is hooked to a life support system. Claiming Mother Nature has no time for the sick, Christie turns off the machine that's keeping Mr. Grant alive, leaving Mrs. Grant, who's been tied to a chair, to watch as her husband slowly suffocates.
Carradine is deliciously evil as the man who considers himself a crusader for the lower classes, yet is, at his core, merely a psychopath, bent on stirring up as much chaos as he possibly can. Small and somewhat frail in appearance, Christie is far from physically intimidating, but his powers of persuasion, coupled with a militant attitude, make him the most dangerous person these particular tenants are likely to ever face.