Cannibals, Lurkers, and Deadly Breezes Oh My!
Vinegar Syndrome’s October releases include six restored movies featuring monsters both human and otherwise. The titles include Demon Wind, Blood Beat, The Corpse Grinders, Prime Evil & Lurkers double feature, and A Woman’s Torment.
Demon Wind (1984)
A young man gathers some friends for a trip to his grandparents’ house after a lifetime of bad memories. His father killed himself there too, but the pull is strong. They arrive to find a house destroyed — and yet still accessible — and soon something far worse finds them.
This mid 80s supernatural shocker is the highlight of the month’s titles as it delivers some pretty great practical gore effects, attractive cinematography, and some entertaining shenanigans. A character reads some Latin aloud, creepy kids show up along the way, and we even get a Cabin Fever-like beat with a magician (?) who suddenly busts out some karate moves when threatened.
It’s a fun little horror movie blending the likes of Evil Dead and, I don’t know, some movie about wind. The friends are an odd bunch with more charisma than obnoxiousness, the demonic threats are varied, and it’s entertaining through to the end.
Vinegar Syndrome brings the film to Blu-ray with a new 2K restoration, and it looks fantastic. The disc includes a trailer, gallery, reversible cover, and the following special features.
- Producing Demon Wind: An Interview with Sandy Horowitz [26:27]
- Acting in Demon Wind: An Interview with Sherry Leigh [16:31]
- Shooting Demon Wind: An Interview with Thomas Calloway [19:57]
- Audio Interview with editor Christopher Roth [20:17]
Buy Demon Wind on Blu-ray/DVD from Vinegar Syndrome
Blood Beat (1982)
A young couple heads to a family home in a remote area for a relaxing Christmas, but a stress-free holiday isn’t in the cards. Unnatural events and a killer samurai turn their vacation into a nightmare.
There are some interesting elements at work here as the family members share time at the cabin and out hunting in the woods, but I’d be lying if I said I had a clue what the hell was going on plot-wise. Sex and violence are tied together via editing — the samurai’s killing spree is paired simultaneously with some shadowy copulation (as captured in the cover art) — but even as the ending delivers a big reveal it comes with little understanding. The fault here is probably with me, the viewer, but even without “getting it” the movie manages some interesting visuals along its confusing journey.
The film comes to Blu-ray in a 4K restoration, but it’s from a 35mm print that has suffered mold and moisture damage over the years. It was the best negative available, and Vinegar Syndrome’s new restoration is the best possible presentation of the film and happily looks pretty great more often than not. The disc features a still gallery, reversible cover, and the following extras.
- Commentary by writer/director Fabrice Zaphiratos
- Interview with Fabrice Zaphiratos [18:04]
- Shooting Blood Beat: An Interview with Van Maule [18:44]
- Silent version [28:08] – featuring Nervous Curtains and Horror Remix
Buy Blood Beat on Blu-ray/DVD from Vinegar Syndrome
The Corpse Grinders (1971)
A cat food company in danger of going belly up finds a new way to feed those feline bellies, and it involves digging up fresh corpses! That’s not all that horrific on its own, of course, but what if I told you the cats that ate the human meat turn into bloodthirsty killing machines?! Because that’s what happens.
Ted V. Mikels’ tale of kitty carnage is undeniably silly, and the production values are about what you probably expect from the man behind The Astro-Zombies, but there’s fun to be had if you’re open to it. Get past the overdone score and constant smoke machine presence, and there’s some goofy creature antics interspersed with “bad” people doing bad things.
Vinegar Syndrome’s new 2K restoration is from a “well-used” 16mm negative, but while it’s far from ideal the soft picture is the best that can be expected and never detracts from the viewing experience. The disc includes a still gallery, a reversible cover, and the following special features.
- Audio commentary by American Grindhouse’s Elijah Drenner featuring archival audio from Ted V. Mikels and vintage drive-in theater announcements
- Ted Talks: Archival interview with Ted V. Mikels [18:00]
Buy The Corpse Grinders on Blu-ray/DVD from Vinegar Syndrome
Prime Evil / Lurkers (1987 / 1988)
First, in Prime Evil, the church is meant to be a sanctuary, but for some New Yorkers, it’s where they go to die — unwillingly, of course. Young women are being abducted and sacrificed to Satan in exchange for their killers gaining years onto their own lives. Then in Lurkers, a young woman finds herself drawn back to her childhood home where she knew only pain, trauma, and murder.
This Roberta Findlay double feature opens with the lesser of the pair, but while Prime Evil doesn’t quite feel fully realized it still delivers some genre thrills. Bloody demises, naked victims, and some monster effects come into play for what’s ultimately a harmless slice of indie horror.
Lurkers works a bit better as the story comes together on its way towards a story that’s reminiscent of Michael Winner’s The Sentinel (1977). There are some unsettling facial prosthetics that lend the film a creepy atmosphere with ghostly figures and unknown motivations, and it ends up being a fun little chiller.
Vinegar Syndrome’s double feature puts both 2K restored films on one disc and includes trailers, a reversible cover, and a commentary track from writer/director Roberta Findlay on Prime Evil.
Buy Prime Evil / Lurkers on Blu-ray/DVD from Vinegar Syndrome
A Woman’s Torment (1977)
A young woman named Karen moves in with her sister and brother-in-law, but it’s quickly made clear that her odd, disturbing behaviors have them both concerned. She heads to the family beach house after overhearing their plans for her committal, but instead of peace and tranquility, Karen finds more reminders of her own madness. Soon the bodies start hitting the floor.
Writer/director Roberta Findlay, credited here as Robert W. Norman, delivers a sexually explicit riff on Roman Polanski’s Repulsion with her tale of a woman pushed towards madness and the people around her who suffer for it. Strangers and acquaintances alike who enter her vicinity pay the price for that minor transgression with their lives, and it’s often in the form of bloody attacks with a knife or fireplace poker. The film’s rough at times in its acting and production, but the core pain seeps through in Karen’s hallucinations and visible trauma which in turn give an air of sadness to the slaughter.
Blood isn’t the only bodily fluid spilled here, though, as hardcore sex shares the screen with the murders and the madness. It’s a rarity in that the porn feels like filler amid the story and character work as opposed to the other way around.
Vinegar Syndrome’s 2K restoration brings the tormented woman’s world into dreamy, soft focus, and the disc also includes the alternate R-rated cut, a reversible cover, and the following extras.
- Commentary by Roberta Findlay on the R-rated version
- Q&A with Roberta Findlay [22:38]
- Wrath of A Woman’s Torment: An Interview with actor Michael Dattore aka Michael Gaunt [16:07]
Buy A Woman’s Torment on Blu-ray/DVD from Vinegar Syndrome
Related Topics: Horror