5 Films 5 Years – Volume #2 (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray Review)

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5 Films 5 Years – Volume #2 (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray Review)
Rated: UR/Region O/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available from Vinegar Syndrome Limited edition of 2,500 units

Vinegar Syndrome did something really cool here in honor of their 5th year. They’ve made two sets of 5 films on each on a limited to 2,5000 copies in a way to honor their anniversary. These are all movies that didn’t get Blu-ray releases before, so that also makes them VERY cool. This time around we’ve moved on to the horror and exploitation side of things and I’ll admit as cool as vol. 1 was, this is totally more my type of thing here. Some of these I had seen before or had on DVD before, but I also found some gems here that I wasn’t aware of before.

Disc 1

The Muthers (1976)
Directed By: Cirio Santiago
Starring: Jayne Kennedy, Trina Parks, Tony Carreon, Rosanne Katon
1:85

One man exploitation filmmaking machine Cirio Santiago’s high octane and female led action classic, THE MUTHERS, chronicles a dangerous attempt to rescue an inmate from a brutal all-female prison.

Starring things off we have an honest to God exploitation flick in every sense of the word. The movie kicks off with a couple women heading up a ship of pirates that are robbing people on the sea, but one is trying to find her sister. One thing leads to another and we have the movie turns into a full-on woman in prison film. The women go through a lot of the people running the camp, we get lots of T and A, and we have things lead up to an escape plan and lots of violence. The Muthers is a movie that slowly grabs your attention but it gets it none the less and once things get fully cooking you’ll be more than interested in what’s going down on the screen. I enjoyed this movie a great deal because it mixes a few elements of exploitation into one.

Murder on the Emerald Seas (1974)
Directed By: Alan Ormsby
Starring: Peter Conrad, Robert Perault, Jennifer Michalover, Judy LaScala
1:85

The directorial debut of Alan Ormsby, this oddball murder murder mystery focuses on a series of mysterious deaths surrounding a beauty patent, promoting the lead detective to go undercover to investigate…in drag!

Directed by the same Alan Ormsby who starred in Bob Clarke’s Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, this movie is a very creative and strange film. I like the creative ways of it a bit but overall it wasn’t really my cup of tea. Here has a situation where every winner of this patent ends up dead. So in order to try to catch the bad guy, they set it up to where a policeman will dawn drag and go undercover and try to lure the killer out so that they can take the bad guy down. This is a movie that tries to be way more fun than anything else and has a very strange sense of humor. I can see where some might love it, but I wasn’t as blown away. It did have some funny moments. I’ll admit that.

Disc 2

The Dungeon of Harrow (1962)
Directed By: Pat Boyette
Starring: Russ Harvey, Aaron Phillips, Helen Hogan, Shelby Leverington
1:85

This Texas made 16mm obscurity directed by comic artist Pat Boyette is a contemporaneous tribute to early 60s gothic horror films, as a shipwrecked sailor finds himself trapped in a castle populated by bloodthirsty nobility.

A ship goes down and as you’d expect nobody is ready. This leads to the only two survivors being stuck with a madman and his hired goons. Take also into account that the madman we are talking about talks to people or things that might or might not be there. We have some gore shots and some nice for the time makeup effects tossed in, but the movie is just too odd for its own good and isn’t much fun trying to follow. It is done in a way that makes you tune out more than once and has no sizzle to go along with the steak. Some of the visuals are still cool, but that is about it. Still, it makes for an interesting film that I enjoyed more here on this set in HD than I did on the DVD before.

The Hang Up (1970)
Directed By: John Hayes
Starring: Sharon Matt, Mary McGee, Tony Vorno, William Conners
1:85

Unsung auteur, John Hayes’ masterpiece of misery follows the sad life of a lonely vice cop who begins an illicit affair with a beautiful prostitute, only to discover that she’s underage, sending him into a downward spiral of corruption and violence.

While it might be a bit of a slow burn in some ways, The Hang Up is a movie that drizzles down into just the type of exploitation film I really can dig. It gets violent and it has a lot of nudity in it as well. The story is like a can of worms for our leading man, but the worse things become for him the more entertaining the movie becomes for the rest of us. This is above all else just a really good story and is told very well with some pretty interesting characters on top of it all. You never really can tell where things are going to go and that makes it what it is. Also, I want to note that while every movie on here looks good, this one seems to really pop at times.

Flesh & Bullets (1985)
Directed By: Carlos Tobalina
Starring: Aldo Ray, Colleen Brennan, Robert Z’Dar, Mai Lin, Yvonne De Carlo
1:85

A confusing film from a confusing filmography, Carlos Tobalina’s bizarre 80s updating of STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, features the likes of Yvonne DeCarlo and Cesar Romero acting along side Mai Lin!

In what might be the highlight of the release, we follow a guy as he pays two dumb guys a grand total of $10 to unknowingly rob a bank. Then the next thing we know this guy is off to Vegas because he has the weekend of work where he sleeps with a hooker, then sleeps with the hooker for free, and then meets his buddy who is also having trouble with an ex-wife. Together they come up with a plan to murder one another’s wife, but oddly enough both start to catch feelings and that’s when this one gets really all over the place. I dig this one a whole lot because you never really know what’s coming next. It was directed by a porn director and has some porn stars in it but this one never goes over that line in the sex department. I had the DVD of this one before but this is the title that really made me excited about this set and it looks GREAT!

All in all, I’m loving what Vinegar Syndrome is offering here and I really do hope they release a lot more releases just like this one. While the adult one was a lot of fun, these obscure horror and exploitation flicks can’t be beaten in my book. All the movies here look good, even if some do have some damage left in them or should I say are presented more or less “as is”. They still look great and I’m happy to see movies that probably wouldn’t make their way to HD find their way to the format and hope to see more coming. I’m in for any and all kinds of compilations Vinegar Syndrome wants to release.

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Chuck Conry

Chuck Conry has been doing this for ten years! He does reviews, podcasts, and makes indie movies. The jury may still be out on if he does any of those things well.