May 30, 2022

Fans of post-nuke cinema (and Turbo Kid) really owe it to themselves to check out Game of Survival, a 1989 marvel shot on Super 8 and now Game of Survivalsomehow unleashed on Blu-ray from the maniacs at Culture Shock. Improbably given a hefty VHS release by Raedon back in the day and reconstructed here from Game of Survivalthe original film elements (complete with newly created HD credits with its original title, Games of Survival), this one opens up with a fantastic dime-store motorized chase scene a la The Road Warrior as we plunge into a dystopian world where a modern but corrupt Earth is used as a contest hunting ground for the amusement of alien forces. Here seven prisoners and social outcasts rounded up from various planets have been dumped for the latest round, where they have to fight to the death Highlander-style among an L.A. population filled with pushers and crooks. Zane (Nicholas Hill, billed as "Nikki Hill") is more or less our hero since he was apprehended helping a buddy escape prison (and hates smoking), so the film more or less follows him facing off against opponents with names like Skullblaster and Gothic while possibly falling in love with an earthling named Cindy. The location shooting here is amazing complete with vintage Angelyne billboards, trashy alleys, and Lakers t-shirts as our adorably dressed contestants fight it out for a studded ball thingy that will make them the new champion. It's all totally ridiculous and kind of glorious if you know what you're getting into, and the 75-minute running time flies by very quickly.

The Blu-ray looks shockingly good for Super 8, and the DTS-HD MA English 2.0 mono track (with English subs, thankfully) sounds okay considering the whole thing was dubbed Doris Wishman-style after the fact (except a lot more muffled). Extras include an intro (51s) and low-key commentary by director Armand Gazarian, "8mm Hollywood" video interviews with cinematographer Bruce Hensius (8m31s), about doing his first feature here and having a small supporting role as a carjack victim, and actor Johnnie Saiko (30m35s) about his time on the film and general experiences in Los Angeles. A crazy "Slime and Punishment" music video from 2018 by Municipal Waste features Saiko as his character here going on a video store expedition at Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee, followed by a 4m4s restoration comparison and bonus trailers for Video Murders, Slash Dance, The American Scream, and Girlfriend from Hell. Buy from Diabolik.

Speaking of Raedon VHS titles that have since fallen into obscurity, another one of their titles, 1989's Alien Private Eye, has gotten nothing less than a loving 4K restoration from the folks at Vinegar Syndrome for a region-free Blu-ray release. The title delivers exactly what it promises as Lemro ("Nikki Alien Private EyeFastinetti," actually Nicholas Hill again!) is an L.A. private investigator who dresses like an extra from Breakin'. As we see during a romantic encounter when he removes his fedora, he has Vulcan-style pointy ears that give away his extraterrestrial origins. Meanwhile a low-life Hitler fan named Kilgore (Cliff Aduddell) wants to get rich and conquer the world by introducing a designer drug from Lemro's planet, Styx, where it was banned for being too dangerous. Unfortunately the disc that's integral to manufacturing the drug is in Kilgore's hands... or at least half of it, with the other out in the possession of Lemro's current romantic interest, Suzy (Judith Burke). Lots of gang action and alien action ensue, but the real fun here is the barrage of "WTF?" elements like actor John Alexander as Scama, a fellow Alien Private Eyealien who talks like Peter Lorre for no apparent reason. It even tries for a little Starman-style pathos at times with Lemro waxing nostalgic for his home planet... though he ain't quite Jeff Bridges. And like any good low-budget sci-fi/action hybrid, it all ends in a big, dark warehouse with bullets, lasers, and a neon-lit kickboxing showdown.

Anyone who suffered through that fuzzy VHS tape (or the even worse, super compressed bootleg YouTube uploads) will be stunned by the transfer here. The film truly looks like it could have been shot yesterday if it weren't for the music and fashions, and as far as late night programming choices go, it'll be a fine movie party choice. The man who made it all happen as writer, director, and producer, Vik Rubenfeld, appears for a fun audio commentary with Vinegar Syndrome's Brad Henderson talking about his adoration of the new restoration, the stories behind the cast, the process of writing the story, staging the fight scenes, and more. He also pops up on camera for "Master of Suspense" (28m55s) speaking more generally about his career and early love of movies that led to a colorful career eventually leading to his creation of the hit TV series Early Edition in the mid-'90s. He also goes into this film a bit more, too, such as his affection for Humphrey Bogart films that inspired the noir elements here. In "Fashion Show Film Noir" (9m53s), cinematographer Jürg V. Walther chats about the experience with Ulli Lommel on The Devonsville Terror that he brought to this film and the "frugality" with shooting that served him well. Finally in "Mister Lemro Private Investigator, I Presume" (15m8s), Hill (now known as David Hill) goes into his martial arts teaching and rough personal life before this film, his first-time experience on this film after answering an ad, the pressure he felt, his love of doing fight scenes with the stunt people, and the major life change that led to his current career as a chaplain. Buy from Diabolik.

A very effective and surprisingly emotional horror indie that still hasn't caught on as much as it should, 2015's They Look Like People depicts a friendship pushed beyond the breaking point when dejected Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews) comes to crash at the apartment of his childhood best friend, Christian (Evan Dumouchel), who's putting on a good front after a self-destructive breakdown. That's why Wyatt's less than eager to warn Christian that people They Look Like Peopleare them are being taken over and replaced by something sinister and not human, leading Wyatt to believe that a final war is coming. Meanwhile Christian tries to strike up a possible relationship with his boss Mara (Margaret Ying Drake), something that could be jeopardized when They Look Like PeopleWyatt finally decides to tell Christian for his own good what's coming their way. And what exactly does Wyatt have going on in the building's basement?

A lot of horror films have used mental illness as the basis for scares all the way from Mad Love and Repulsion to The Babadook, but this one diverges from the norm by showing an escalating madness (or is it?) building between two damaged friends whose only hope for holding on lies with each other. Both of the leads are excellent and have some nice lived-in moments that convince you they've truly known each other for years, which makes it even more jarring when writer-director Perry Blackshear drops a big shock into the mix. Despite getting respectable festival play and hitting streaming, this one's been strangely MIA on physical media until Yellow Veil finally issued it on Blu-ray and DVD in 2022. As expected it looks and sounds immaculate with a subdued but effective DTS-HD MA 2.0 English mix that rattles where it should. Subtitles are provided in English, Spanish, and French, while you also get separate commentaries by director Perry Blackshear, a producers' track with Blackshear, Andrews, and Dumouchel, and a cast commentary with Drake, Dumouchel, and Andrews, all of which jam in a lot over the 79-minute running time as they cover the 17-day shoot which happened mostly chronologically. On the video extras side you get a video intro with Blackshear (1m27s) about the process of getting the film released on Blu-ray nine years after its completion and the influence of Ingmar Bergman's Winter Light and a video conference interview session (11m16s) with Blackshear, Andrews, Dumouchel, and Drake touching on an earlier movie concept that got ditched and the process of looking back at the film now versus going through it as their much younger selves. A collection of behind-the-scenes footage (22m42s) definitely gives you a different angle on some scenes that played a lot creepier in their final form, with some video journal entries by Dumouchel and Blackshear giving it all a bit of structure. A reel of deleted and extended scenes (12m9s) shows a few interesting bits from the cutting room floor (mostly dropped for pacing issues), with optional Blackshear commentary. The very short trailer is also included, and the packaging features an insert with a new essay by Anton Bitel. Buy from Diabolik

"When I was 17, I lost my virginity to a female extraterrestrial." That's the opening line of the documentary Love and Saucers: The Far Out World of David Huggins, and rest assured it just gets wilder from there in this truly one-of-a-kind release from Terror Vision. Through extensive interviews and visual aids we get to enter the life of David Huggins, who started getting visited and snatched up by aliens in his teens in Georgia for a string of carnal encounters that stretched on through his life, led to some deeply suppressed memories, caused some unexpected results when it comes to progeny, and ultimately Love and Saucersinspired him to channel his inexplicable encounters into scores of vivid paintings. Along the way the scope expands to an alien encounter therapy group and reflections on what his art means to the UFO culture out there, but what really holds your interest is Huggins himself. His matter-of-fact recounting of his meetings with these aliens (including his Love and Saucersgirlfriend Crescent) is filled with bizarre turns along the way, and even he acknowledges how hard it is to believe (as well as his inability to grasp why he was chosen). At only 65 minutes the whole thing flies by in a flash, too, never overstaying its welcome by dwelling too long on any one aspect.

Any lingering questions you have might be answered by the extra starting with the audio commentary with director Brad Abrahams and producer Matt Ralston, which goes into how they first came across Huggins' work, how they decided to embark on the doc in the first place, and how they decided to approach the material and do it justice. For the record, neither of them has ever seen a UFO. A Q&A with Huggins from a PhilMOCA screening in 2017 (27m33s) is a great addition as he'd just seen the film for the first time and was pleased with the result, explaining how his open disposition meant he didn't care whether anyone believed him. Also included are separate Zoom interviews with composer Derk Reneman (20m9s), cinematographer Munn Powell (24m20s), QAnon Anonymous podcast host Julian Feeld (25m44s) doing a fascinating examination of how conspiracy theories and pathology intersect, artist Rob Corradetti (16m34s) covering the concepts of alien artwork and pop psychedelia, Professor Jeffrey Kripal (17m38s) of Rice University, screenwriter Richard Hatem (29m59s) who wrote The Mothman Prophecies, Strange Skies podcast host and UFO researcher Rob Kristofferson (28m35s), and legendary artist Robert Crumb (25m25s) who is not only a fan but the proud owner of some of Huggins' paintings. Buy from Diabolik.

If you ever wondered what happened to Eric Brown, the actor who specialized in playing fantasy-fulfilling students in Private Lessons and They're Playing with Fire, you'll see a very different side of him in 1989's straight-to-video thriller, Video Murders. Released the same year as Video MurdersBrown's supporting role in Waxwork, this one isn't remotely as sleazy as you'd gather from the cover art or the premise of a guy who picks up and strangles hookers while recording the crimes on his camcorder. (For the record, Brown went on to get a political science degree and is now a podcast host.) He actually gives a really solid performance here for a film that feels a lot more like a slightly nastier than usual Lifetime TV thriller as David Lee Shepherd, a troubled young man with major mommy issues and a strangulation fetish. The cops headed by John P. Fertitta figure a serial killer's at work in the Shreveport, Louisiana area, and the stakes get upped when he ends up kidnapping friend Melissa (Virginia Loridans) and making her participate in Video Murdershis psychological games instead of killing her.

This one's much more ambitious than the VHS-level production implied when it was released by Trans Word, including a large-scale bridge finale that really lets Brown close his character out with a bit of actual pathos. The grainy 16mm photography is captured well in the Blu-ray from Culture Shock, which brings out some genuine atmosphere captured by father and son team of director Jim McCullough Sr. and writer-producer Jim McCullough Jr. (Mountaintop Motel Massacre, The Aurora Encounter). The transfer here looks fine given the very grainy, sometimes dark and diffused appearance of the film itself; the 1.85:1 framing seems awfully tight at times during intimate dialogue scenes but works for the most part. The DTS-HD MA English 2.0 mono track sounds fine and features optional English SDH subtitles. A new audio commentary with first assistant cameraman David Akin and Brad Henderson is full of production info and anecdotes about the Shreveport theater acting scene and small film community, and Akin also pops up for a video interview (12m48s) covering his overall film school crash course experiences on films like this (starting with The Aurora Encounter while working at a bank) and going into his eventual career doing EPK featurettes. Then you get an interview with Fertitta (11m25s) about how the film fell into his lap and covering the Shreveport shooting scene some more, while the band The Insatiables (who get to do a scene-stealing synthpop number in the movie) are represented by a music video for that song, "Black and White," and a new video interview with the trio (10m10s) about how they ended up as a new band doing an appearance in the production. Finally you get a batch of audition tape footage (32m53s) with a wide variety of actors reading lines and frequently breaking, with participants including Fertitta, Lee Larrimore, Loridans, Tracy Murrell, Frank Baggett, and Jr. Buy from Diabolik.

Of course we've gotta have some SOV (shot-on-video) horror in here given how much has been getting the unlikely Blu-ray treatment recently, so how about starting with 1993's Burglar from Hell from Burglar from HellSaturn's Core Audio & Video. An E.C. Comics-style slice of madness shot in New Jersey by writer-director Phil "Chip" Herman for his mail order line Falcon Video, this camcorder wonder starts off with bulky, foul-mouthed burglar Frank the Tank (Bryant Sohl) scoping out a house in broad daylight while taking time out to rip open the throat of a coughing neighborhood watch busybody and whiz on his corpse. However, his rough treatment of the elderly owner backfires when she whips out a shotgun and blows open his stomach. Upon burying Frank's body in the Burglar from Hellbackyard, she promptly keels over from a heart attack and dies. Some time later, a bunch of friends get together in the house and chitchat a lot before eventually trying out an occult rain ritual that brings Frank back from the dead instead. Cue the gory murders, profane one-liners, and rampant pandemonium. Wildly tasteless and filled with local flavor, this one also boasts a far more diverse cast than usual for the time and has a pretty depraved sense of humor, including a bathroom gag you definitely won't forget. It's obvious Herman and company were watching a lot of Spike Lee around the time, too, which isn't something you'd normally expect in an SOV quickie.

The 2022 Blu-ray marks the first real commercial release of this film, bringing it from the direct-order VHS wild to an appalled public with a new transfer "from the recently unearthed SVHS master tape." It still looks like a moldy EP-speed VHS tape though, so don't expect a demo piece here by any means. Optional English SDH subtitles are provided and are highly recommended since some of the dialogue is virtually indecipherable. Herman chips in with a new video intro (55s), an audio commentary, and a video interview, "A Chip Off the Old Block" (11m16s), in which you get to hear all about his early love of Super 8, his first experience with a camcorder ("We was runnin' around the neighborhood killing everybody"), and the history of Falcon Video. In "From Pop Scene to Scream Queen" (9m56s), actress Debbie D. covers her singing career running in tandem with her appearances in low budget horror, while "Rockaway Beach Memoirs" (12m13s) with actor Barry Gaines is a pretty fascinating story about his long-running friendship with Herman that spurred him on to becoming a filmmaker establishing his own company. Finally "Frank the Tank Speaks!" (3m46s) features Sohl briefly recalling his friendship with Herman and Gaines that led to his shot at a lead bad guy role here. Also included here is an entire second feature, Herman's unreleased 1989 "action" opus The Wrong Side of Town (63m45s), which features many of the same cast members and often feels like it could rupture the space-time continuum. Finally you get the early Super 8 short Mercenary (19m24s) starring Herman, Gaines, and Sohl, with a soundtrack that will sound very familiar to classic slasher movie fans. Also included are trailers for both films and bonus ones for Mail Order Murder: The Story of W.A.V.E. Productions, Psycho Sisters, Duck! The Carbine High Massacre, Sinistre, Red Spirit Lake, and Shatter Dead. Buy here from Diabolik.

Now we hop over to Houston, Texas for some more SOV insanity courtesy of 1994's No Resistance, which chronicles the latest assignment of pink-haired, shades-wearing, antisocial Dij (David Rains, doing his best Kurt Russell impression), who likes to huff and guzzle any laced table condiments No Resistancein sight. Now he's been hired to break into Texas Med to help an executive off his ailing mom so he can inherit all of her money. Stiffed on half his pay, he swipes a floppy disc for a drug cookie and uses it on the black market for leverage, which is handy given the world is embroiled in violent oil wars and the American dollar's almost bottomed out. However, Dij may be in over his head when he's summoned to the New Shamrock Hilton for a client tied to some terrorists out to wrangle a new computer virus -- which is linked to something far more apocalyptic just beneath the surface. Featuring a wild No Resistancesoundtrack by local band Pains Teens and a gloriously pissy screenplay, this one has cult favorite stamped all over it if you can deal with the fuzzy VHS-level aesthetic; there are tons of great ideas spinning around here in the script by Rains and Irving Cutter, with director Tim Thomson making the most of Houston's blighted urban landscape.

Barely seen anywhere at the time thanks to the fleeting VHS release from Scorpio International (who also handled the beloved DIY slasher film Crinoline Head), this one is quite the find from Saturn's Core who have given it the real red carpet treatment. The a/v quality is obviously only as good as the SVHS original source will allow (it ain't pretty), but the film is strong enough to make it worth the effort. Interestingly the DTS-HD MA English 2.0 track (with optional English SDH subs) is in intermittent stereo with some odd sound effect separation at times. Thomson, Rains, actor Irving Cutter, and producer Michael Schneider Jr. team up for one new audio commentary, while Thompson, Schneier Jr. and Pain Teens' Scott Ayers do the honors on a second track. Both are very giggly but entertaining as they riff on the film and swap memories of their guerrilla shooting process, including a fortuitous political event and the advantageous use of found locations. The video interview "Cyberpunk Yojimbo" (27m50s) is a handy overview of how the film came together among a batch of high school buddies from Corpus Christie who all wanted to make a sci-fi film, with several key collaborators jumping on board between 1989 and the shooting year of 1992. "No Re:" (2m11s) is a pitch trailer for a proposed TV series version, playable with optional Thomson commentary as well. You also get a batch of music videos: "Coral Kiss" by Pain Teens (with solo Thompson or cast and crew commentaries), "White Bunnies" by Truth Decay (with optional Thompson commentary), and three videos by DR:OP:FR:AME+E, "C.ontrolled F.light I.nto T.errain," "Bad:Angel," and "Seventy Nine Nine," which speak for themselves. Finally the extras wrap up with a pair of trailers and the usual batch of bonus Saturn's Core promos. Buy from Diabolik.

Apparently deciding that Belgium could deliver a gross-out comedy to compete with the likes of Borat, Klown, Jackass, et al, filmmakers Harpo and Lenny Guit pull out all the stops on 2021's Mother Schmuckers, a comedic endurance test that mixes some clever ideas with a few you won't believe made it in front of a camera. Idiot brothers Issacher (Maxi Delmelle) and Zubulon (Harpo Guit) are first seen disgusting their mother by trying to cook poop for breakfast, Mother Schmuckersbut somehow she still entrusts them with taking her beloved dog January Jack outside for a walk while they do errands. When one store won't allow dogs inside, they leave him out on a leash only to find him kidnapped moments later. Now faced with an ultimatum that they have to find the pup in 24 hours or get kicked out on their butts, they have to resort to increasingly ridiculous lengths to find him -- or else.

The Blu-ray from Dark Star definitely does its best to make a case for this one, and whether it's up your alley will be obvious pretty quickly once someone vomits straight into the camera to create the title card. The new wave of shock for shock's sake comedies has been really up and down (think stuff like Assholes and Wetlands), and with its very brief running time (including closing credits that kick in not long after the one-hour mark), this often feels more Mother Schmuckerslike a sketch than a full-fledged feature. That said, the punchline of what was planned for January Jack is definitely novel and something you'll never see in another movie. It looks great though and features a ridiculous indulgence of French audio options (5.1 DTS-HD MA, 5.1 Dolby Digital Stereo, and 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo) and optional English, Spanish, or Romanian(?) subtitles. Extras include the short film "Nathalie vous nique tous" (17m40s) and its trailer, the short "La Brigade du Kiff" (12m22s), the Tigre Blanc music videos "Beau Gosse" and "J'ai besoin d'amour," three really abrasive episodes of "Le Pierre Azoulay Show" (7m8s), a collection of 15 mini-shorts all running roughly a minute or so ("Habib: Le Micro-ondes," "Anti-master," "Les bijoux pour Zizi," "Petunia s'est fait Racketter," "Habib: Téléchargement," "Simon avoue tout," "Le monde letrange du LSD," "Serge le millionaire," "Répétition," "VL est mort," "Le Chou Chou de Jackie," "Monsieur Tobasco," "S'embrasser pour combler l'ennui," and "Proutman"). Then you get an option to hear the song "Qui m'a mis dans le puits" in its entirety (if you really want to), plus "Fresco's Demo Reel" (1m15s) for the canine star, the U.S. and Belgian trailers, and a 26-image photo gallery, plus bonus trailers for Potato Dreams of America, The Last Matinee, Koko-Di Koko-Da, The Old Ways, and King Car. The packaging also comes with a pretty great sheet of stickers that tie in with the slipcover art design. Buy from Diabolik.

You can always cTrue Story of a Woman in Jail: Hell of Loveount on Impulse Pictures' line of Nikkatsu titles to keep delivering surprises, and that continues with 's True Story of a Woman in Jail: Hell of Love. Here we get a Muzak version of "Jingle Bells" in the opening True Story of a Woman in Jail: Hell of Loveseconds which means this is a Christmas movie, the perfect segue to Mayumi (studio star Hitomi Kozue) unleashing a big sword for bloody retribution against her boyfriend and his afternoon playmate. It's off to the slammer for Mayumi who undergoes the usual probing, hosing, and other degradations, which is even weirder since the guards are Bible-spouting holy rollers. In the God-fearing Cell 31 life is hard, especially when a rival cell block stirs up trouble and someone from Mayumi's past pops up in the communal bathtub. Perfectly in keeping with past entries True Story of a Woman in Jail: Sex Hell and True Story of a Woman in Jail: Continues, this 1976 wrap-up to the loose trilogy manages to pack a lot in its 67 minutes of debauchery including more finger play than usual, after hours lesbianism with ceramic sex toys, prison yard hymn singing, a bitch-slapping showdown around a volleyball net, a secret torture chamber with a metal snake-like interrogation dildo, improper use of an inflated condom, and the obligatory prison riot. It's just as filthy and entertaining as you'd expect with some great funk guitar music throughout and a sopping wet climax you really won't believe. The 2.35:1 transfer on the Impulse DVD looks quite nice and ranks in the upper tier of their catalog Nikkatsu releases, with optional English subtitles. The sole extra is the subtitled Japanese trailer that gives you a nice taste of what to expect. Buy from Diabolik.

White SlaverImpulse can get into the hard stuff, too, and that's what you'll find in the '70s hardcore White Slaverquickie White Slaver, one of those anonymous sickies from the early '70s that was probably shot in two days or less. For 58 grungy minutes you get to ride aboard a boat with early '70s porn stalwarts Bill Scott and Jim Mayer who have kidnapped a pair of women (including Devon Mayer, familiar from Something Weird titles like Refinements in Love and School for Sex) to transport across the ocean for the human trafficking market. Jim orders Bill to leave the girls alone, which of course he ignores and goes off to torment one of 'em with a switchblade. Meanwhile the whole thing is overseen by a grouchy lady boss who sits around barking orders and fiddling with herself while guzzling beer. Of course, allegiances will shift and flesh will be violated before the nautical journey finally ends with the obligatory downbeat twist ending. This one's made the rounds from labels like Gourmet Video and Alpha Blue over the years in a cruddy VHS-era master, but the newer scan here (from a seasoned but colorful print) on the Impulse DVD looks pretty nice with those gaudy '70s hair accessories nearly glowing off the screen. Buy from Diabolik.

If that synopsis Around the World with John above sounded pretty simplistic, it's like a Christopher Nolan Around the World with John film compared to Around the World with John "The Wadd" Holmes, a ridiculous 1975 mondo-style look at the adult film legend's globe-trotting lifestyle in what looks an awful lot like a few random L.A. apartments. For 81 minutes you get narration from John (who claims he's been with 10,000 women since the age of seven) complete with random scenes from his earlier films interspersed with stock footage of locales like Las Vegas, London, Paris, Rome... you get the idea. We start off in San Francisco where he does nudie modeling photo shoots and has to break in a new model named Charlene and talks his new secretary (Suzanne Fields) into giving it a go, too. As we hear in graphic detail, John is actually on a lifelong quest to find the one woman on the planet who can handle all of him in every way, and we get alternating narrative contributions from his female partners along the way for some variety. Anyone who's seen films like Cheri, My Tongue Is Quick, or Hot Summer Night will experience some deja vu here as you get a parade of stars like Cyndee Summers, Sharon York, and Becky Sharpe among the contestants to become John's dream girl. Despite the title, this has nothing to do with Bob Chinn's popular 007-spoofing Johnny Wadd movies with Holmes -- which makes this one of the supreme examples of Holmesploitation at the height of his popularity. VCX trotted this one around since the VHS days, but again here you get a fresh scan on the Impulse DVD from a pretty good quality print that makes for an upgrade if you're a big Holmes fan (so to speak). Buy from Diabolik.

Finally we get to one of the wilder innovations Vinegar Syndrome has brought to the home video market, namely the breakthrough of classic adult films on 4K UHD in addition to its already stellar work on Blu-ray. The first one out of the gate was the incredible Sex World, and now with their Peekarama sub-label they've given us a UHD and Blu-ray combo of 1984's Stiff Competition. Exactly the kind of crazy high-concept porn title that would get passed around Stiff Competitionlike crazy by high school students, this all-star blast came near the end of the 35mm theatrical wave when everyone was still trying to make these look and feel at the same caliber as mainstream movies. The presentation here in 4K with HDR delivering some blazing color schemes is a really surreal treat to behold, and oneStiff Competition can only hope this keeps paving the way for more titles to get the same love. The premise here revolves around the nationally beloved Suck Off competition with female athletes competing to see who has the most accomplished oral skills, done in the ring boxing-style. Rival managers Jake the Snake (John Leslie) and Jeff (Kevin James) are gunning to claim the championship, which gets complicated when Tammy (Gina Carrera) ends up at a warm-up contest where one of the top contenders throws a fit and leaves. Now known as Tammy the Tongue, she has to get in shape for the big event with a few twist and turns along the way.

Often very funny in addition to the usual multitude of sex scenes, Stiff Competition is one of the best films from director Paul Vatelli who first make a strong impression with his opulent classic, I Like to Watch, and sadly passed away not long after this came out. He gets the most out of the satirical subject here including hilarious shots of viewing parties cheering on the champs and Paul Thomas having a blast as the increasingly excited announcer during the climax. The cast is packed with stars of the era as well including Cyndee Summers, Bridgette Monet, Herschel Savage, Tom Byron, Peter North, and even a girl-girl scene with Carrera and Russ Meyer legend Kitten Natividad. After getting no-frills releases from Caballero for years, this special edition is a welcome upgrade in addition to the greatly increased a/v quality. (Incredibly, the Blu-ray also features French and German language dubs if you want to learn how to emcee a blowjob contest in Europe.) Carrera appears for an enthusiastic and often funny new commentary in conversation with Casey Scott about her entire career, from the origins of her stage name (she's not Italian) to memories of her costars and the ins and outs of the industry. You also get a new video interview with Natividad (13m48s) explaining how she drew the line at what scenes to do for adult films (at the time) and offering a very different account of her scene with Carrera, so we may have a bit of a Rashomon situation going on there. Buy from Diabolik.


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