One of the best genre labels out there brings three films to Blu-ray as part of their February slate. Penitentiary II is a prison bral flick, Prey is an odd sci-fi feature from the UK, and Mary! Mary! is one of the 70s funnier, sexier adult films.
Penitentiary II (1982)
Martel “Too Sweet” Gordone (Leon Isaac Kennedy) is out of jail and on parole. It’s not quite freedom — one wrong move and he’s back in the slammer — but it’s an opportunity to do right. Unfortunately an old nemesis is also back on the street after a daring escape, and Half Dead (Ernie Hudson) only has one goal in mind for his time back in the real world. He wants to make Martel suffer.
Writer/director Jamaa Fanaka‘s first entry in the trilogy added some clunky fight scenes to something of a dramatic look at prison life and social injustice. By contrast, the follow-up opens with a Star Wars crawl that isn’t even the slightest bit shy about its aping of the Star Wars crawl. That goofiness spreads throughout the film with a more prevalent sense of humor, but even better the film’s fight scenes are amped up with better choreography and a messy aggression that adds intensity to the brawls.
As a genre piece its tone feels all over the place. The humor bleeds into exploitative elements that in the first film resulting in non sequitor sex/nudity but here are played strictly for laughs. The flip side, though, sees Half Dead commit a fairly brutal rape scene/murder. It’s jarring — as it should be — while also feeling a bit harsh for the rest of the film. The story proceeds similarly in that its narrative becomes a bit fractured as it bypasses Martel’s triumphs, jumps straight to a big end fight, and then ends on a somewhat underwhelming note. It’s an odd film, but it remains watchable in part thanks to Mr. T‘s presence as himself in full-on inspirational mode. You read that right.
Vinegar Syndrome’s new 2K restoration looks great, and in addition to the special features listed below the Blu-ray includes a trailer and the isolated soundtrack.
- Commentary track (archival) with director Jamaa Fanaka
- In the Raw [27:39] – archival interview with director Jamaa Fanaka
- *NEW* Too Sweet on the Outside [16:14] – interview with actor Leon Isaac Kennedy
An alien craft buzzes the United Kingdom leaving one of its own behind to sample the goods, and after slaughtering a kindly couple he crosses paths with another pair of locals. Josephine and Jessica are lovers, but while Josephine has no interest in welcoming a strange man into their home the younger Jessica rules in favor of compassion. Big mistake.
What a weird movie. The film opens and closes with pure genre flourishes including the alien — a humanoid with a fox-like face — terrorizing people and tearing into human flesh, but the film’s middle spends an absurd amount of time with the bickering lesbian couple. They feurd and fight, and it soon becomes clear that their drama goes beyond a mere spat. Josephine has some dark secrets of her own, and they odd an interesting spin to the pair’s initial appearance as innocent protagonists.
The film gets surprisingly explicit for a sci-fi flick from the 70s — while still being not so explicit for a Vinegar Syndrome release — as Josephine and Jessica get intimate, and the addition of Anders into the mix doesn’t exactly go story-wise where you think it might. Like I said, it’s a weird movie with odd pacing, but it’s worth a watch for various reasons including its stellar ending line that lends the whole affair a fun Twilight Zone-like feel.
As is often the case with this label, they’ve brought another film that I’ve never heard of to Blu-ray with a newly 2K restored picture and informative extras.
- *NEW* Commentary track with director Norman J. Warren and actress Sally Faulkner
- *NEW* Directing the Prey: An interview with Norman J. Warren [21:57]
- *NEW* Becoming the Prey: An interview with Sally Faulkner [13:56]
- *NEW* Producing the Prey: An interview with Terry Marcel [7:17]
Mary! Mary! (1976)
Ned and Mary are happily married but face a real problem in the bedroom. He’s something of a quick draw in bed, and while she still loves him he can’t help but feel terrible about it. Lucky for them someone overhears their dilemma — and that someone is the devil himself. Satan appears and offers a deal. He’ll give Ned legendary virility in exchange for his soul. Ned accepts, and before you can say “O-face” Ned’s satisfying Mary and other women all over town. The devil’s deal isn’t done yet though.
I’m not exactly a pornography connoisseur — honest! — but I’m comfortable saying that this is a highly entertaining movie. The sex itself is explicit, obviously, but it features far more legitimately sexy beats and far fewer posterior shots of guys plugging away with hairy ass cheeks and swinging ball sacks.
Even better and more surprising, it’s pretty damn funny too. There are some big laughs here in addition to some chuckle-worthy interactions and dialogue bits. The fact that it ends with a mass murder is just one more twist to convention that marks this as an oddity worth enjoying, celebrating, and watching with the blinds closed.
There are no extra features here, but as is their playbook Vinegar Syndrome gives the film a new 2K restoration ensuring every nook and cranny comes through crystal clear.
You can’t buy porn from Amazon ya pervs, but it’s worth a pick up directly from Vinegar Syndrome if your religion allows it.
Related Topics: Home Video