Pacific Heights (1990) is a thriller film directed by John Schlesinger, starring Melanie Griffith, Matthew Modine, and Michael Keaton.Patty Palmer (Griffith) and Drake Goodman (Modine) have just bought a large $750,000+ house in the San Francisco neighborhood of Pacific Heights, where they renovate it and plan to rent the two apartments on the ground floor in order to help cover the mortgage. When they meet Carter Hayes (Keaton), everything seems perfect, as he appears to be the ideal tenant - until they discover that he is a shady con artist who refuses to pay either the rent or the security deposit and changes the locks on all the doors. In short order, he inflicts a campaign of terror on his hapless landlords through scare tactics, verbal baiting and turning his own apartment into a dark cockroach-infested den. It is all part of Hayes' elaborate scheme to use the California tenant laws against the Goodmans to obtain the property cheaply.Ultimately, though, he goes too far, inspiring Patty to seek revenge...
Pacific Heights contains examples of:
- Ax-Crazy: Hayes eventually becomes this after being at the receving end of having his own life ruined.
- Depraved Bisexual: In the original script, Hayes was supposed to be bisexual and sexually menace both Patty and Drake. In the final version, it is merely suggested.
- Hollywood Law: Hayes engages in various outrageous illegal acts against his landlords, who become Legal Victims as they are thwarted from any recourse by a system of indifferent police, judges and attorneys, as well as Keaton using the Loophole. This movie was a nonstop sequence of Hollywood Law and Legal Victim, as well as Vigilante Justice as the victims were driven to take the law into their own hands, which the police even stated would be the only real recourse.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Carter, on a pipe, that he exposed himself. Irony...
- Playing Against Type: Michael Keaton had just previously done this with Batman, and he follows up with this film.