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HISTORY

Chef/driver Lloyd Thomas’s first name is misspelled “Llloyd” in the credits.
       According to studio notes in AMPAS library files, Marked for Death was filmed in Los Angeles, CA, using city locations for Chicago, IL, and Jamaica over a fifty-five-day schedule. A second unit filmed exteriors in Jamaica. Two downtown Los Angeles landmarks used in the film were a closed Neiman-Marcus department store and the Mayan Theater. Voodoo-like rituals depicted on screen were based on research of Aba Qua, an African-based Caribbean religion.
       Production began 20 Feb 1990 in Los Angeles under the title Screwface, according to the 2 Mar 1990 DV. The 8 Sep 1990 Long Beach Press-Telegram noted that the title was briefly changed to A Safe Place during the summer, but the 17 Aug 1990 DV reported that Twentieth Century Fox settled on Marked for Death because the three-word title resembled those of star Steven Seagal’s first two box-office successes, Above the Law (1988, see entry) and Hard to Kill (1990, see entry). These earlier films had been distributed by Warner Bros., but when the studio objected to the violence, the producers’ agent, Martin Baum, took the project to Twentieth Century Fox, the 9 Oct 1990 DV noted. The 11 May 1991 Var reported that the film required the excision of nearly five minutes of “hard violence” before the Motion Pictures Association of America would give it an R rating.
       Marked For Death had the “Second best Fall opening ever recorded” and spent three weekends “atop the national b.o. chart,” according to ... More Less

Chef/driver Lloyd Thomas’s first name is misspelled “Llloyd” in the credits.
       According to studio notes in AMPAS library files, Marked for Death was filmed in Los Angeles, CA, using city locations for Chicago, IL, and Jamaica over a fifty-five-day schedule. A second unit filmed exteriors in Jamaica. Two downtown Los Angeles landmarks used in the film were a closed Neiman-Marcus department store and the Mayan Theater. Voodoo-like rituals depicted on screen were based on research of Aba Qua, an African-based Caribbean religion.
       Production began 20 Feb 1990 in Los Angeles under the title Screwface, according to the 2 Mar 1990 DV. The 8 Sep 1990 Long Beach Press-Telegram noted that the title was briefly changed to A Safe Place during the summer, but the 17 Aug 1990 DV reported that Twentieth Century Fox settled on Marked for Death because the three-word title resembled those of star Steven Seagal’s first two box-office successes, Above the Law (1988, see entry) and Hard to Kill (1990, see entry). These earlier films had been distributed by Warner Bros., but when the studio objected to the violence, the producers’ agent, Martin Baum, took the project to Twentieth Century Fox, the 9 Oct 1990 DV noted. The 11 May 1991 Var reported that the film required the excision of nearly five minutes of “hard violence” before the Motion Pictures Association of America would give it an R rating.
       Marked For Death had the “Second best Fall opening ever recorded” and spent three weekends “atop the national b.o. chart,” according to the 10 Oct 1990 and 30 Oct 1990 editions of DV. The 19 Nov 1990 HR reported that its first month’s receipts totaled $40.7 million.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “Special thanks to Marty Baum; David Nochimson; Lou Adler; the Jamaican Film Commission, Jampro; Jackie Neath; Suzanne Thomas.” Credits conclude with the disclaimer, "The posse phenomenon is estimated to be a fraction of one percent of the Jamaican population and should not detract from their country or the contributions Jamaicans have made to this country." More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 Mar 1990
p. 3
Daily Variety
2 Mar 1990.
p. 19
Daily Variety
4 May 1990
p. 6
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1990
p. 3
Daily Variety
8 Oct 1990
p. 2, 13
Daily Variety
9 Oct 1990
p. 2
Daily Variety
10 Oct 1990.
p. 1
Daily Variety
17 Oct 1990
p. 2
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1990
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 1990
p. 5, 12.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 1990.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
8 Sep 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Oct 1990
p. 4.
New York Times
6 Oct 1990
p. 13
Variety
21 Mar 1990.
Variety
22 Oct 1990
p. 61
Variety
31 Dec 1990
p. 3
Variety
11 May 1991
p. 37
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Tom Wright
and
as Screwface
and
as Himself
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Victor & Grais Production
Produced in association with Steamroller Productions
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
DGA trainee
Dir of 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
Unit prod mgr, Addl photog
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam loader
Lighting gaffer
Best boy elec
Elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Dir of photog, Addl photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Lead person
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
On set dresser
Set dresser
Set des
Muralist
Muralist
Prop master
Asst prop
Asst prop
Const coord
Const foreman
Labor gang boss
Gang boss
Carpenter foreman
Labor foreman
Carpenter
Paint gang boss
Standby painter
Set painter
Set dec, 2d unit
Asst set dec, 2d unit
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Set costumer
Asst to cost des
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus supv
Mus ed
Scoring eng
Scoring eng
Score rec at
Score rec at
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cable person
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd eff ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR supv
ADR co-supv
ADR asst ed
ADR voices
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Titles and Opts
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup & Hair supv
Makeup
Hairdresser
Spec makeup eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst coord
Loc mgr
Prod assoc
Prod controller
Prod accountant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst to Victor & Grais
Asst to Victor & Grais
Asst to Steven Seagal
Asst to prod
Tech advisor
Research
Casting asst
Casting asst
Extras coord
Exec in charge of post prod
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Craft service
Chef/Driver
2d unit prod supv
Prod of Jamaican seqs supv by
Prod of Jamaican seqs supv by
Asst to prod, Addl photog
PSP-07 provided by
Energy & herbs provided by
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col [by]
Col timer
Process compositing by
SOURCES
SONGS
"En La Casa," performed by Mellow Man Ace, written by Sergio Reyes, Jeffrey Fortson, Michael Ross, published by Varry White Music/Word Life Music, courtesy of Capitol Records
"Roots And Culture," performed by Shabba Ranks, written by Rexton Gordon, published by Gunsmoke Music, adm. by Pow Wow Music, courtesy of VP Records
"Domino," performed by Masters of Reality, written by Chris Goss and Tim Harrington, published by Mudslide Music/Victor & Grais Music, courtesy of Delicious Vinyl Special Products
+
SONGS
"En La Casa," performed by Mellow Man Ace, written by Sergio Reyes, Jeffrey Fortson, Michael Ross, published by Varry White Music/Word Life Music, courtesy of Capitol Records
"Roots And Culture," performed by Shabba Ranks, written by Rexton Gordon, published by Gunsmoke Music, adm. by Pow Wow Music, courtesy of VP Records
"Domino," performed by Masters of Reality, written by Chris Goss and Tim Harrington, published by Mudslide Music/Victor & Grais Music, courtesy of Delicious Vinyl Special Products
"The Shadow Of Death," performed by Def Jef, featuring Papa Juggy, written by Jeffrey Fortson and Papa Juggy, published by Varry White Music/Word Life Music/Victor & Grais Music, courtesy of Delicious Vinyl Special Products
"I Wanna Do Something Freaky To You," performed by Kenyatta, written by Leon Haywood, published by Jim-Edd Music/Mudslide Music, courtesy of Delicious Vinyl Special Products
"I Joke But I Don't Play," performed by Tone Loc, written by A. Smith, F. White, O. Aguillen, M. Ross, M. Dike, published by Varry White Music, courtesy of Delicious Vinyl Special Products
"No Justice," performed & written by Jimmy Cliff, published by Lilbert Music, courtesy of Cliff Sounds and Films
"John Crow," performed by Jimmy Cliff, Steven Seagal and The Oneness Band, written by Jimmy Cliff and Steven Seagal, published by Steamroller Music/Lilbert Music
"Rebel In Me," performed and written by Jimmy Cliff, published by Lilbert Music, courtesy of Cliff Sounds and Films
"Steppin' Razor," performed by Peter Tosh, written by Joe Higgs, published by Joe Higgs Music, adm. by Wixen Music Publishing, courtesy of CBS Records, Music Licensing Dept.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Screwface
A Safe Place
Deadly Sign
Release Date:
5 October 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 5 October 1990
New York opening: week of 6 October 1990
Production Date:
began 20 February 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
2 October 1990
Copyright Number:
PA480819
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
92
Length(in feet):
8,374
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30742
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On assignment in Colombia, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) operative and martial arts expert John Hatcher and his partner, “Chico,” are forced to fight their way out of a cartel drug den when a deal goes wrong. A young prostitute shoots Chico, and John kills her in retaliation. When he returns to Chicago, John despises what he has become, and confesses to a priest that he killed a woman, falsified evidence, and committed other sins to get “the bad guys.” The priest suggests John return to his family and rediscover his “gentle self.” John resigns from the DEA, visits his sister, Melissa, his mother, Kate Hatcher, and meets his nieces and nephews. He returns to his old room in his mother’s suburban home, where his military and sports photographs are on display. Visiting his high school, John reconnects with Max, his former U.S. Special Forces comrade, who is now the school football coach. Nearby, two Jamaican drug dealers tempt students with marijuana and crack cocaine. The students scatter when Max and John walk by, and although Max is concerned, John tells him to forget about it. Meanwhile, Tito Barco, a Latino gangster, meets with local Jamaican drug lord “Screwface.” Tito worries about the Jamaicans selling drugs in his territory, as their visibility is more likely to attract police. Later, Tito visits a Santeria witch, gives her money and Screwface’s photograph, and asks her help against the Jamaicans’ powerful “Aba Qua” voodoo. She conducts a ceremony and puts a spell on Screwface, causing him to awaken in a sweat. Drinking beer at a local club, Max complains to John that his biggest problem with high school students is drugs. They watch ... +


On assignment in Colombia, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) operative and martial arts expert John Hatcher and his partner, “Chico,” are forced to fight their way out of a cartel drug den when a deal goes wrong. A young prostitute shoots Chico, and John kills her in retaliation. When he returns to Chicago, John despises what he has become, and confesses to a priest that he killed a woman, falsified evidence, and committed other sins to get “the bad guys.” The priest suggests John return to his family and rediscover his “gentle self.” John resigns from the DEA, visits his sister, Melissa, his mother, Kate Hatcher, and meets his nieces and nephews. He returns to his old room in his mother’s suburban home, where his military and sports photographs are on display. Visiting his high school, John reconnects with Max, his former U.S. Special Forces comrade, who is now the school football coach. Nearby, two Jamaican drug dealers tempt students with marijuana and crack cocaine. The students scatter when Max and John walk by, and although Max is concerned, John tells him to forget about it. Meanwhile, Tito Barco, a Latino gangster, meets with local Jamaican drug lord “Screwface.” Tito worries about the Jamaicans selling drugs in his territory, as their visibility is more likely to attract police. Later, Tito visits a Santeria witch, gives her money and Screwface’s photograph, and asks her help against the Jamaicans’ powerful “Aba Qua” voodoo. She conducts a ceremony and puts a spell on Screwface, causing him to awaken in a sweat. Drinking beer at a local club, Max complains to John that his biggest problem with high school students is drugs. They watch a Jamaican exchange drugs for money, but John says there is nothing they can do. Tito, who owns the club, enters with several members of his gang, and Jamaican gunmen strafe them with automatic weapons. John uses martial arts to subdue a Jamaican named “Monkey,” and turns him over to police lieutenant Sal Roselli, who informs John that a Jamaican “posse” is taking over Tito’s territory. Roselli’s colleague, a Jamaican policeman named Charles, explains Jamaican graffiti on the club walls, as Professor Leslie, an expert on Caribbean voodoo, takes notes. Meanwhile, Screwface murders the voodoo witch that cursed him. Local crime figure Jimmy Fingers bails Monkey out of jail, and during a voodoo ceremony, Screwface tells Monkey he must take revenge against John. Later, Max tries to convince John they need to fight against the local drug gang, but John claims he only goes after trouble when it comes to him. As John and Melissa enter her house, Monkey and his posse drive past, firing automatic weapons. John’s niece, Tracey, is taken to the hospital in serious condition, and Melissa blames him for attracting violence to her home. John and Max confront Jimmy Fingers, and when the gangster threatens him with a gun, John kills him. A Jamaican named Nesta attacks, but John subdues him and demands to be taken to Screwface. Rather than betray his boss, Nesta jumps through a window to his death. When Screwface learns of Nesta’s fate, he orders his posse to murder John and his family. John returns to the house to find a cross on the door and voodoo symbols on the floor. Leslie, the young female professor, tells him that his family has been “marked” for death. John telephones Melissa and asks if police are still guarding her house. When the line goes dead, John runs to his car and speeds toward home. Several Jamaicans attack Melissa and drag her into the dining room, where a voodoo sacrifice table has been prepared. During the ceremony, Screwface claims ownership of her, but as John arrives, the Jamaicans slip out of the house. Melissa tearfully informs John that the men will be back to kill them both. John and Max begin surveillance of the Jamaicans, and after observing a drug deal, they chase the posse’s car through the city with guns blazing. The Jamaicans crash through a department store window, and in the ensuing fight, John kills one and breaks the arms of two others. When John asks Leslie for advice on how to destroy Screwface, she explains that the posse believes he has spiritual powers. The only way to defeat the posse is to kill Screwface, proving John is more powerful. Driving home, John is trapped between a large truck and a bulldozer, which crushes the top of his car. Screwface tosses a Molotov cocktail into the back seat, and John squeezes through the broken windshield only moments before the car explodes. Charles, the Jamaican policeman, informs John and Max that Screwface has returned to Kingston, Jamaica, and the three decide to confront the gangster in his own country. Using their Special Forces connections, John and Max buy weapons and night-vision goggles. Upon arriving in Jamaica, Charles shows them the hard streets that produced Screwface. One of Charles’s sources directs them to a club where Screwface’s girl friend dances. John questions her, but she is too afraid of Screwface to talk. Meanwhile, at a mountainside compound, Screwface performs an Aba Qua ritual and realizes that John is coming for him. Later, John, Max, and Charles approach Screwface’s retreat. Using a silencer and a night scope-equipped sniper rifle, John kills several guards. As the three men sneak into the compound, John plants bombs and detonates them by remote control to begin the attack. While machine guns blaze outside, John enters Screwface’s sanctuary and finds his own photograph smoldering in a bowl on a ritual table. A group of Jamaicans pounce on John and try to tie him down, but he uses martial arts to fend them off. When Screwface attacks with a sword, John grabs the weapon and cuts off his head. Returning to Chicago, John, Max, and Charles go to a warehouse to meet with the Jamaican posse. As Charles holds up their former leader’s severed head, John brandishes Screwface’s ceremonial sword and orders them to leave the city. Suddenly, someone who resembles Screwface stabs Charles in the back. During the ensuing fight, John encounters Screwface’s twin brother, who swears vengeance. The two men duel with swords, then fight hand to hand. John gouges out the Jamaican’s eyes with his thumbs, then breaks his back and drops his body down an elevator shaft, where it is impaled on a metal post. Seeing Screwface’s body, the Jamaican posse knows John now has all the power. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.