Vinegar Syndrome announced this past week that its next round of film restorations for delivery as DVD and Blu-ray product offerings will take place on Mar. 27.
Leading the pack is writer/director Alexander Cassini’s debut effort, Star Time, which opened at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 1992 and then went into sort of a distribution limbo (a small black hole) before surfacing at the iconic Nuart Theatre in early 1993 for midnight showings.
If you have one of the old VHS copies, you can keep it or can it, but you will certainly want Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack edition come Mar. 27. It is a new 2K scan from the original camera negative, so that’s the one to keep going forward.
Star Time, for many, will not ring any bells, but this was (and remains) a film, even with its modest budget, way ahead of its time. Consider how prophetic Paddy Chayefsky was with his Oscar-winning screenplay for Network in 1976, which correctly predicted that television news would become an entertainment vehicle.
Cassini’s Star Time, looks at the loss of reality by becoming attached to media and when that “reality” is shattered, so too is the individual. The story revolves around a twenty-something named Henry Pinkle (Michael St. Gerard — Hairspray, Great Balls of Fire!), who becomes unhinged when “The Robertson Family” television show is canceled and decides to kill himself.
Substitute a television show (‘90s pre-internet) for Facebook “likes” or some other social media alternate reality and you are right there with Star Time and Henry Pinkle. A voice, an embodied voice by the name of Sam Bones (played by John P. Ryan — Five Easy Pieces, It’s Alive, etc.), convinces Henry that killing himself is not the best solution and that if he were to become a serial killer he could be a television star himself. Great idea, so he becomes the “Baby Mask” killer and goes around hacking up people with a hatchet that Sam Bones has given him.
But when it comes to killing a social worker by the name of Wendy (Maureen Teefy), whom Henry has confided in, he just can’t bring himself to do it. So Sam Bones takes over and offers to whack poor Wendy … and that leads to the ultimate rooftop showdown between Henry and Sam!!!
Bonus features include commentary with writer/director Alexander Cassini, a short film by Cassini titled “The Great Performance,” and the featurette titled “Shooting Star Time.”
Also on the Mar. 27 release calendar from Vinegar Sydrome is the double feature Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack release featuring director Jamaa Fanaka’s Welcome Home Brother Charles (aka: Soul Vengeance) and Emma Mae.
These are two of Fanaka’s early films — prior to hitting it big with the Penitentiary films starring Leon Isaac Kennedy. Both are new 2K scans from the original 35mm camera negatives and bonus features are limited to a featurette titled “The History of the L.A. Rebellion & Jamaa Fanaka” and a Q&A session from a 2017 revival screening of Emma Mae featuring the film’s star, Jerri Hayes.
Adult filmmaker Alex deRenzy’s 1986 film release of Babyface II, starring Lois Ayres, Kristara Barrington, Stacey Donovan and Taija Rae, gets a new 2K restoration (from the original 35mm camera negative) and will be available for fans to enjoy as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.
On the DVD release front, director Gerald Graystone’s 1975 adult/arthouse film peculiarity, Confessions of a Teenage Peanut Butter Freak, teaming Zachary Youngblood (who also wrote the script) with newcomer — and future adult star — Constance Money (The Opening of Misty Beethoven, Mary! Mary!) sports a new 2K restoration from a combination of the best 16mm and 35mm source elements available.
And, Vinegar Syndrome caps off the Mar. 27 home entertainment release selections with its latest addition to its popular “Peekarama” line of DVD adult viewing products with the double bill selection of adult filmmaker Art Ben’s Women at Play (with Paula Meadows) and Good Girls, Bad Girls (featuring Colleen Brennan, Sharon Mitchell and Taija Rae).