Casual Cosplay, Fall Edition: #13 - Snake Plissken (Escape from New York)

"The world's greatest leader is a hostage in the most dangerous place on Earth. Now only the deadliest man alive can save him."

That is right: Snake Plissken. Wait, you heard he was dead? Yeah. You and everybody else. A common exchange throughout John Carpenter's Escape from New York (1981), which helped inspire the character Solid Snake from Konami's Metal Gear Solid. No, Snake Plissken was alive and well (not even an eye patch can slow him down). Portrayed by Kurt Russell (take a moment to swoon) - Snake or Plissken (depending on what he allows you to call him) is a former Special Forces operator (Unit Black Light), found in World War III (of course, it was the 80s so that fictional war was fought against the Russians), but is now considered a criminal. Why did he turn to a life of crime? Well - let's just say he quickly realized the United States government was not to be trusted. And at the beginning of Escape from New York, we soon understand why.

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In 1997, Snake is arrested trying to break into the U.S. Federal Reserve in Colorado. He was sentenced to life in New York maximum security prison, which by now comprises the entire island of Manhattan. Oh yes, the entire island of Manhattan was turned into a prison (see in the 1980s New York was a rough city and a lot of films depicted its demise in one way or another due to violence and criminal activity). Inside the prison anything goes, so, its no surprise when the President's plane is hijacked and crashes into the Manhattan prison. The president (played by Donald Pleasence) is kidnapped and Snake is offered a deal: full pardon if he can rescue the president. Of course, its not that simple. They give Snake a time limit and inject microscopic explosive capsules in Plissken's carotid arteries to make sure he completes his mission. Within the high security walls it's anarchy, as Snake soon finds out. Luckily there are many interesting and colorful characters along the way: the Duke of New York -  "A-Number-1, the Big Man, that's who!" - (Isaac Hayes), Harold "the Brain" Hellman (Harry Dean Stanton), Brain's "squeeze" Maggie (Adrienne Barbeau), a taxi driver that goes by Cabby (Ernest Borgnine), and a lot of other criminal types along the way. Snake finds himself in some interesting situations - psychotic wrestling match, anyone?.

Fans really do make the best art: John Carpenter's Escape From New York by Alain Bossuyt

Snake is cynical, curt, and tough as nails, which makes him a survivor. He is, if you pardon my language, the ultimate bad-ass. There is no one quite like Snake. I am not usually one for camo pants, long locks, and eye patches… but Snake is the absolute exception (yes, I just confessed to my crush on Snake Plissken and who could blame me?). Futuristic movies were common in my house. My mother’s favorite film was and still is Blade Runner. The 80s were ripe with futuristic themes: Alien, Back to the Future, Starman, The Terminator, Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, Scanners and Robocop to name a few. However, part of me really thought the future would look a little like Escape from New York or at least a few men might resemble my all-time manly man, Snake Plissken. Of course, when 1997 came and went, the only thing that resembled the Snake I know and love was the sequel Escape from LA (1996). There he updated his outfit to all black and even tried his hand at surfing (though oddly, the wind gliding scene is the most ridiculous part in my opinion).

I kept my fall inspired casual cosplay Snake Plissken look to four key parts: black dress, leather jacket, black & gray camo leggings, and black lace up boots. You can call me Snake. No eye-patch needed for the day-to-day cosplay, but with one this casual look goes from day to convention or even Halloween. 

"Call me Snake"

"Call me Snake"

"My name is Pliskin"

"My name is Pliskin"

It is all about the camo. 

It is all about the camo.