Space vampires, suburban incest, and the certifiably insane Rudy Ray Moore.
Vinegar Syndrome isn’t quite the household name across the country that it deserves to be, but for fans of dark, dangerous, and/or dubious cinema they’re one of the best labels out there right now. Each month sees them release a handful of titles in cleaned-up editions, with the Blu-rays typically featuring new 2k restorations, and August was no exception.
They released three films ‐ Disco Godfather, Evils of the Night, and Taboo —all making their Blu-ray debuts, and we take a look at each of them below. (VS also released dvd-only titles with Sex in the Comics and Peekarama Double Feature: Body Girls & Let’s Get Physical.)
Disco Godfather (1979)
You’d think Bucky would find enough vicarious thrills with the woman by his side or in the company of his Uncle Tucker (Rudy Ray Moore) ‐ an ex-cop turned club dj ‐ but no, the young man goes out and tries some of the PCP. The drug sends him into a psychotic meltdown that leaves him seeing demons and acting out of control. Tucker’s outraged and sees no option but to take the fight directly to the drug dealers responsible.
Moore’s string of successful blaxploitation action/comedies came to an end with this late ’70s feature for one simple reason ‐ it prioritizes preachiness over fun. It’s essentially a Rudy Ray Moore afterschool special and yet no where near as entertaining as that description sounds.
The fun, egotistical pontifications he usually delivers are replaced with a serious visit to the local hospital’s PCP ward where we learn just how dangerous the drug is ‐ one lady served a baby she roasted in her oven! Another guy thinks he’s a caterpillar! The hallucinatory sequences with devils, basketball, and animated blood give the film a different feel from Moore’s earlier work, but it amounts to far less in the end.
Thankfully Moore’s fighting “skills” are once again without equal ‐ we as a society missed out by never seeing him paired against Jackie Chan ‐ meaning there’s some goofy fun to be had amid the message.
Vinegar Syndrome gives the film the same royal treatment Moore’s earlier three classics got including a 2K restoration and the following special features.
- I, Dolemite Part IV: The Disco Godfather [25:14] ‐ The fourth and presumably final interview segment featuring various players including Moore discussing the film’s production and how its “anti-drug/do-gooder” message tanked his career.
- Commentary track with Rudy Ray Moore, his biographer Mark Jason Murray, writer/director J. Robert Wagoner, co-writer Cliff Roquemore including rare on-set audio
Barbara (Kay Parker) is wife to an ungrateful husband and mother to a mature “teenage” son, but while her suburban life seems perfect from the outside it’s fracturing from within. Her husband leaves claiming her frigidity is to blame, and she takes the accusation to heart. Thankfully her best friend has just the cure ‐ swinging! Barbara makes tentative strides into this new and wild lifestyle, but she’s surprised to discover the strongest pull on her sex organs is coming from her son’s bedroom.
That’s right. Barbara wants to ride her own son’s fleshy Pogo stick.
Apologies if you thought the “taboo” in question was going to be suburban swingers and key parties. Director Kirdy Stevens’ 1980 feature is new to me but apparently found widespread (within the world of adult films) popularity upon its release. The incestuous shenanigans probably play a large role in that ‐ people love a taste of the forbidden after all ‐ but credit is probably due more to the sex scenes themselves. Don’t worry, I’m not about to give you a blow by blow breakdown of the various couplings (and triplings) on display here.
I’ll say only that while I’m no porn aficionado ‐ I’m more of a soft-core-stop-before-the-unpleasant-angles-come-into-play kind of guy ‐ the physical antics are well-produced and highly enthusiastic. As with most porn films the film has little to offer if moist slurping and skin slapping aren’t your bag.
Vinegar Syndrome is the only label out there giving such elaborate love to films like this, and it’s evident in their 2K restoration from the original 35mm film elements. They’ve paired it with a whopping four commentary tracks too.
- Four commentary tracks including two with lead actress Kay Parker (one new, one archival), one new track with writer/producer Helen Terrie, and one archival commentary featuring Terrie and director Kirdy Stevens
- Archival interview with Kay Parker [7:14] ‐ she discusses the film’s success, the panic she felt at the start of production
Evils of the Night (1984)
Somewhere in the U.S. rests a small town populated by girls who are allergic to clothes and guys who can screw through their pants, and their sole occupation is hanging out and having a good time. Is that two things? Not important. Someone or something is interrupting their lazy love-making though to abduct the young people for nefarious purposes. Who or what could it be?!
Pat yourself on the back if you guessed a pair of backwoods mechanics working for elderly space vampires.
Mardi Rustam’s horror/sci-fi hybrid is probably best-remembered for a poster that mixes a nipply young woman being grabbed from below by the undead while the Millenium Falcon soars overhead. Seriously. Look at its glory. It’s ridiculous and bears almost no similarity to the film itself, but there’s no denying how eye-catching it is.
The film itself is an equally odd and not wholly successful mash-up of ideas. The “teens” are introduced, disrobed, and abducted with no time given to character plotting, and the alien visitors ‐ vampires in theory as they’re after blood, but they acquire it through transfusion as opposed to with their mouths ‐ are played by older actors (John Carradine, Tina Louise, Julie Newmar) dressed in ’50s sci-fi wardrobe and communicating through Lego rings. The sci-fi vampires take a backseat to the horny teens and sexually frustrated mechanics meaning much of the film has more of a conventional slasher feel to it, but it deserves credit for an unpredictable death sequence that offers some surprises.
Vinegar Syndrome brings Evils of the Night to Blu-ray with a new 2K restoration and a few special features.
- Alien Blood Transfusions: Video interview with Mardi Rustam, writer/director/producer [9:22] ‐ Rustam discusses his career as a producer and his decision to make this his directorial debut. “I felt it was low budget and didn’t need a lot of technical aspects,” he says, and suddenly the film you just watched makes a lot more sense. He talks about the inspiration of The Day the Earth Stood Still, the need for “name” actors to attract foreign investors, and how a marketing friend helped design that poster.
- Alternate feature length TV edit, sourced from tape [1:32:46] ‐ A TV-friendly cut featuring nearly eight additional minutes to help make up for what’s missing. “There’s no Amber Lynn in this one,” says the introduction. “Sorry guys.”
- Isolated score by Robert O. Ragland
- Outtakes [24:26]
- Work in progress original theatrical trailer, TV spot