Vinegar Syndrome announced its May lineup of new Blu-ray and DVD product offerings this past week and there is plenty for film fans to get excited about. So let us get right to it.
Leading the way on May 30 is the new 2K restoration (from the original 35mm film negative) of director George Bowers’ 1980 Crown International Pictures horror chiller, The Hearse.
Jane (played by Trish Van Devere — Where’s Poppa?, The Last Run, The Day of the Dolphin, etc.) inherits her aunt’s lovely old home in the country and the timing couldn’t be better. She just went through a nasty divorce that has left her emotionally drained and getting away to the rural hamlet of Blackwood (actually shot in the Griffith Park area of Los Angeles) could be the perfect place for her to recover from her troubles.
In theory that would be the case, but on her way to her new digs she is nearly driven off the road by a mysterious hearse and upon her arrival at the house she is greeted by Walter Prichard (Joseph Cotten), her late aunt’s attorney. He’s not exactly the welcome-wagon as he makes no bones about wanting her to sell the place to him … sort of like, “Welcome to Blackwood, now get out!”
It’s just too nice a place to take him up on his offer, so stay she will. Things start to get weird when she discovers her aunt’s diary and learns that she was a Satanist and the town’s population will now have nothing to do poor Jane as a result of her aunt’s conversion to the dark side … perhaps that offer from the creepy attorney isn’t so half-baked after all.
In any case, she gets some additional information from Reverend Wilson (Donald Hotton), which isn’t good. Her dead aunt did not arrive at the funeral home as there was a fiery accident and both her coffin and the driver of the hearse mysteriously vanished. Didn’t a hearse almost run her off the road, so maybe nothing is as it seems?
She soon discovers that the house might be haunted and that hearse keeps appearing … perhaps it is time to sell! Just when things seem hopeless, she meets a man named Tom (David Gautreaux) and it is love at first sight. Safe at last … or perhaps not!
The Hearse is a decent horror mystery that keeps you guessing as to whether Jane will survive the good fortune of inheriting her aunt’s home … or become its next victim.
Bonus goodies include a video session with actor David Gautreaux that is titled “Satan Get Behind Thee.”
Also from the film vaults of Crown International Pictures on May 30 is the new 2K film restoration (all from the original 35mm film negative) of director Irvin Berwick’s 1979 sexploitation thriller, Malibu High.
Jill Lansing, in her only film role, stars as Kim Bentley, a high school senior from the wrong side of the tracks, by Malibu standards, who loses her boyfriend, Kevin (Stuart Taylor), to a well-healed trollop named Annette (Tammy Taylor — Meatballs Part II) and then goes off the deep end. In short order she starts turning tricks for some extra cash, gets involved with the mob, becomes a hit woman (well, actually a hit teenager, as opposed to your standard “hit man”) and dies a horrible death on the beach at the film’s end. WOW, not what you were expecting.
The previous year, Crown International Pictures had a solid hit with Malibu Beach, so this film, which started out as something quite different, ended up being released theatrically with a very similar title, Malibu High, but beyond the “Malibu” part and Crown being connected with both films, they are polar opposites.
Bonus features included commentary with producer Lawrence Foldes and actress Tammy Taylor, video sessions with both Foldes and Taylor, as well as actor Garth Pillsbury (who played Lance … the pimp who moved Kim on to bigger and better opportunities) and a Q&A session filmed at the New Beverly Cinema featuring Foldes, Taylor and actor Alex Mann (Tony, her fist pimp).
There are also two short films from Lawrence Foldes, Struggle for Israel and Grandpa & Marika.
On the DVD release front from Vinegar Syndrome on May 30 we find the next installment in the company’s popular “Peekarama” series. The double-feature selection this time out are two new 2K restorations (from 35mm source material) featuring the work of director John Christopher — Here Comes the Brides and The Pussycat Ranch, both from 1978 (which means shot on film) and showcasing the talents of Samantha Fox!
Also available on DVD on May 30 is director Fred Lincoln’s 1983 adult film homage to screwball comedy film classics, That’s Outrageous. Jamie Gillis stars as a Paris fashion photographer who gets to work with the likes of Mai Lin, Tiffany Clark, Anna Ventura, Sharon Kane, Natasha and Franie Lomay.
Bonus goodies for That’s Outrageous include a video session with actor John Mozzer (aka: Alan Adrian).