Features and Columns · Movies

Like Comedy in Your Horror? Vinegar Syndrome’s ‘There’s Nothing Out There’ Is a Must Own

January’s new releases from the Criterion of low-budget genre fare offers something for everyone.
Theres Nothing Out There
By  · Published on February 25th, 2019

Vinegar Syndrome’s January 2019 releases include Bloody New Year (1986), Uninvited (1987), There’s Nothing Out There! (1991), Splatter University (1984), and A Climax of Blue Power (1974). Keep reading for a look at these five new fully-loaded Blu-rays from best to less best.

There’s Nothing Out There (1991)

Theres Nothing Out ThereMike and his friends are heading out to a (very nice) cabin in the woods, but as a serious fan of horror movies he has more than a few reservations. A demolished car on the road in seems like a warning as does the green slime they keep finding around, but no one believes his increasingly panicked warnings. That changes once a tentacled monster attacks killing some, mesmerizing others, and leaving Mike saying “I told you so you stupid sons of bitches” or something along those lines.

This ultra low-budget gem is an early meta horror film, and while it’s very much a comedy it wears its love for the horror genre on its slime-covered sleeves. It’s a little bloody with a cool face melt, a beheading, and more, but our surrogate — the very sarcastic Mike — is a constant reminder of what they should and shouldn’t do if they want to survive. Its embrace of of the genre extends to an abundance of T&A too in forms both frivolous and less so as the alien tries to procreate with the ladies. It’s a legitimately funny movie (and features one of my favorite instances of a character looking into the camera) designed solely for big genre fans with a casual sense of humor. Because seriously, a character uses a visible boom mic to swing over the creature and escape. It’s genius.

Vinegar Syndrome’s always done good work when it comes to special features, but they’ve outdone themselves here. The film looks great and the Blu-ray/DVD discs are absolutely loaded with goodies including a trailer, music video, galleries, behind the scenes footage, auditions, test/deleted footage, a reversible cover, and more.

Uninvited (1987)

UninvitedAn animal testing lab is prone to violence, but while it’s typically aimed at the animal subjects an escaped feline turns the tables leaving staff members torn apart. The beast escapes and ends up on a yacht where fun-loving young people and some corporate gangsters find themselves fighting for their lives at sea against the mutant pussy cat. Will any of them survive? Will they get away with the briefcase full of cash? Does the killer cat have nine lives?

Writer/director Greydon Clark’s killer cat flick isn’t a good movie and to pretend otherwise would be disingenuous, but that doesn’t stop it from being fun. We get some overacting from genre legends like Clu Gulager and George Kennedy, some bloody demises, and one hell of a ridiculous monster cat puppet. It’s obviously never scary, but it is entertaining as the murderous muppet popping out of the kitty cat chews its way into the people. Clark’s no stranger to horror having also directed the more put together Without Warning (1980), but this entry is more in line with his 1977 romp Satan’s Cheerleaders — dumb fun for a lazy night watch.

The release includes the film on Blu-ray/DVD and features both the original cut [1:30:51] and the extended international cut [1:32:55] with additional footage (ie boobs) and a completely new ending. Extras include a trailer, a reversible cover, and the following.

Bloody New Year (1986)

Bloody New YearParty-goers at a New Year’s Eve celebration begin disappearing never to be seen again. Years later a group of friends find themselves on the same island and discover the now abandoned hotel is ready to party once again. They begin seeing ghosts and phantoms, and when some thugs who they crossed paths with previously follow them to the island things take a far deadlier turn. Murder, zombies, and eternal damnation await these guests who will not be checking out anytime soon.

Part slasher and part ghost story, director Norman J. Warren’s mid 80s horror film is an increasingly absurd descent into horror. It borders on the surreal at times as the shenanigans take on a dream-like feel, and it builds to a left-field explanation of sorts to all that’s come before. Nonsensical? You bet, but we get ghosts, zombies, punks, and some bloody demises so who needs logic? The film doesn’t approach the bonkers degree of something like Demon Wind as the real weirdness doesn’t arrive until later, but once it hits the odds are you’ll be smiling.

The release includes the film on Blu-ray/DVD, a sharp restoration, a reversible cover, and a commentary track. It’s light on the extras, but the film is a fairly bonkers gem worth picking up for its weirdness alone.

A Climax of Blue Power (1974)

A Climax Of Blue PowerA disgruntled security guard takes out his frustrations on young women by fixing up his car like a cop car and pretending to be an officer of the law. What starts as a way to get free sex grows into an obsession, and while he’s a villain he finds new heroic purpose when he catches wind of a possible murder. Can he use his fake badge to solve a crime? Or will he find that being a cop is about more than abuse of power?

The majority of Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray releases are horror or thrillers, but the label’s love of obscure adult cinema remains. This is every bit an X-rated feature complete with several hardcore sex scenes, but it’s of the “roughie” variety meaning you really shouldn’t find it all that arousing. (Seriously.) Ignore the graphic sex, though, and you have a pretty fascinating look at a disturbed man who finds purpose in false authority. His morality is clearly suspect, but the journey is a darkly engaging one.

The release includes the film on Blu-ray/DVD along with a reversible cover, still gallery, and trailer.

Splatter University (1984)

Splatter UniversityA madman escapes from the asylum and kills a woman at a nearby university, but education waits for now man so the new semester rolls on with barely a thought given to the poor deceased teacher. Her replacement arrives hoping to start a new career, but as the bodies start piling up it becomes clear the killer is still on the campus.

The basics are here for a fun slasher flick — a student body ripe for murder, some bloody demises, a mystery as to the killer’s identity — but the execution leaves more than a little to be desired. It feels generic more often than not in its set-pieces and characters, and while its ending reveal might surprise it’s not one fully supported by all that comes before. Slasher fans who like digging deep might give it a spin, but it’s far from a must-see example of the genre.

The Blu-ray/DVD looks unsurprisingly fantastic release includes a reversible cover, still gallery, trailers, and more.

Related Topics:

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.