09th Dec2016

‘Murder Weapon/Deadly Embrace’ Blu-ray Review

by Mondo Squallido

mw-de-blu-cover

MURDER WEAPON

Stars: Linnea Quigley, Karen Russell, Lyle Waggoner, Lenny Rose, Stephen Steward, Michael Jacobs Jr, Allen First, Richard J. Sebastian, Eric Freeman, Rodger Burt, Allen Tombello | Written by Ross A. Perron | Directed by David DeCoteau

When mobster daughters Dawn (Linnea Quigley, Creepozoids) and Amy (Karen Russell, Vice Academy) by chance meet in an insane asylum, the pair hatch a plan to free themselves. They do this by manipulating and downright blackmailing their psychiatrists Dr. Randolph (Lyle Waggoner, Wonder Woman) and Dr. Gram (Lenny Rose, Beach Babes From Beyond). Once successfully free, the pair decide to celebrate their freedom by holding a little get together. They decide to invite their ex-boyfriends Kevin (Stephen Steward), Eric (Michael Jacobs Jr), Cary (Allen First), Billy (Richard J. Sebastian), Jeff (Eric “Garbage Day!” Freeman), Bart (Rodger Burt) and Al (Allen Tombello) to celebrate their release and hopefully get a little of welcome home action. Although something of a sausage fest, the party is going well and everyone is having a damn good time. Unfortunately however, things take a sinister turn when the boys slowly start getting picked off one by one in bloody and gory fashion by a mysterious clad killer. Is this the work of rival crime families? Maybe there’s some jealousy between the male party guests? Could the father of one of the girls be involved or could it just be the girls getting their revenge on past lovers?

I have to say that going in to this film, I really wasn’t expecting too much. Thankfully, what I got was a damn good time. First of all, the story is simple, but works well. It’s a solidly written effort from Ross A. Perron (this and American Rampage being his only credits) and the use of flashbacks to further the story and answer some of the twists and turns is quite refreshing in such low-budget schlock of its time. There’s not too much to some of the characters, but it doesn’t matter too much and never hurts the film. Performances through may not be Oscar worthy, but again, it doesn’t matter and what are you really expecting? For me, one of the greatest surprises with Murder Weapon is the violence and gore. I was expecting the occasional fit for purpose cheesy gore gags here and there, but what we have instead are a collection of genuinely nasty and quite shocking moments of gore. David P. Barton (300) and his team do a very impressive job indeed with the practical and make up effects. Another quite thing is the fact that the violence and gore is used sparingly adding that punch that most films would lack in that regard. Editing and cinematography are both solid enough and the only slight problem I had with the technological aspects was the sound. Even that is a minor gripe because the only time it was a real issue was when Del Casher’s (Tropical Heat) score would be playing over some of the dialogue. Like I said, a minor gripe. All in all, it’s far from a perfect film, but it’s a damn enjoyable one. It may be a little light on the sleaze and erotic elements, but Karen Russell and Linnea Quigley are a very potent combination so you smut peddlers out there will appreciate that aspect!

DEADLY EMBRACE

Stars: Ken Abraham, Linnea Quigley, Jan-Michael Vincent, Mindi Miller, Ruth Collins | Written by Richard Gabai | Directed by David DeCoteau

Chris Thompson (Ken Abraham, Hobgoblins) is your typical teenage college student. He’s got himself a stunning wannabe actress girlfriend named Michelle (Linnea Quigley) that he wants to spend the rest of his life with. One day at college after listening to a lecture from rich sleazeball Stewart Moreland (Jan-Michael Vincent, Airwolf), Chris finds himself getting a gardening and housekeeping job from said rich sleazeball [it's not what you know, it's who you know!]. The only condition is that he has to stay at the residence which isn’t too bad of a thing because Moreland’s wife is the lonely and horny Charlotte (Mindi Miller, Body Double). With her husband away and getting his jollies with his secretary DeDe (Ruth Collins, Death Collector), it’s only natural that her cougar sights are set on the fresh meat her husband has bestow upon on her. With a heartless husband and a madly in love girlfriend thrown in to the mix, this could make for a steamy affair or even a deadly one.

I’d say I hate to surprise you, but I think you know already that it will be the latter. I won’t be a prick and completely ruin it for you, but I will say that the final third is probably the strongest aspect of this whole film. The problem with a film like Deadly Embrace is it’s not amazing or terrible, it’s juts a bit dull. Richard Gabai’s (Kickboxing Academy) script is solid enough, but really doesn’t do anything too unique. It’s safe to say that you will have seen this film made multiple times in terms of its narrative. The build up to the finale and the psychological aspects however are satisfying, but it’s too little too late. Acting is above par and actually a lot more solid than most erotic thrillers of its time and budget, the standout for me being Mindi Miller who plays the bored and lonely housewife perfectly. You sympathise her situation perfectly. The erotic elements of the film work well, mainly in that so bad it’s good sort of way. There are those moments where people will be grinding against each other with underwear still clearly visible, but again seeing the likes of Quigley and Miller do make up for that (yes, I’m a pig!). All in all, there’s really not too much to talk about with this film. It’s your typical 80′s softcore erotica, just a tiny bit bland and needing some much spice! Just how was this one of DeCoteau’s biggest selling films?
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Regardless of what I think of the actual films, this is another winner of a release from Vinegar Syndrome. Both films look and sound great and are presented in 2k from the original 16mm camera negatives. Films of this niche could be seen as undeserving of the restoration they receive, but I for one am thankful that labels like Vinegar Syndrome exist and do exactly this job. The only real imperfections found in the sound and visuals come mainly from the films themselves and the way they were shot, but with that being said, they are both very accomplished productions. Both films come with commentaries from DeCoteau and Quigley, director introductions, a video trailer for Murder Weapon, outtakes for Deadly Embrace and some striking original artwork with some nice gory reversible art for good measure. Yeah, Murder Weapon completely outshines Deadly Embrace for me, but if you are either a fan of DeCoteau, Quigley or cheap erotic 80′s schlock – you are in for a breast, blood and cheesy synth filled treat.

Murder Weapon & Deadly Embrace are available as a DVD and Blu-Ray combo from Vinegar Syndrome.

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