15th Nov2017

‘Prime Evil / Lurkers’ Blu-ray Review (Vinegar Syndrome)

by Mondo Squallido



Stars: William Beckwith, Christine Moore, Mavis Harris, Max Jacobs, Tim Gail, George Krause, Ruth Collins, Amy Brentano, Jeanne Marie, Gary Warner | Written by Ed Kelleher, Harriette Vidal | Directed by Roberta Findlay

Deep in the darkest reaches of New York – no, not Trump Tower – a group of Devil worshipping cultists within the Church are up to no good. No good is one Hell of an unholy understatement because they are prowling the streets looking for women to sacrifice and bring about the Devil himself so he can bring satanic rule to the streets of New York. The leader of the bunch – the aptly named Thomas Seaton (William Beckwith) has his sights on the beautiful Alexandra (Christine Moore), the granddaughter of one of his followers. She holds the key and he’s going to do what it takes to get her under his spell and lying on the alter. Although he has his loyal henchman Ben (George Krause) on the case picking off anyone who gets in their way and keeping the cults youthful looks in check through other sacrifices – his plans may fall victim to divine intervention when the young Sister Angela (Mavis Harris) goes undercover in his sect. Bill (Tim Gail), the fiancé of Alexandra is also suspicious of what is going on. Can the cult be stopped before it’s too late or will New York see it’s biggest antichrist since Mr. Trump himself? Don’t answer that… don’t want to get too political!

Ah, shitty low-budget late 80’s horror. Even Findlay herself wouldn’t have been a fan of this – in fact, she actually never saw Prime Evil until recently. Needless to say, she wasn’t missing much. Don’t get me wrong, Roberta Findlay (and Michael of course!) is a name that should be applauded and cherished by exploitation film fans, but this is far from her finest hour. The story is somewhat intriguing and plays out nicely, but the cheapness of the film is just too distracting for me. When you have background noise that is more audible than the dialogue – you’re starting to lose my interest. One could argue that the cheapness of this film holds all of the charm. The one thing that makes this film worthwhile for me (excuse me whilst I go in to chauvinist pig mode!) is the absolutely gorgeous Christine Moore. Sure, she can’t really act for shit, but she has such a presence. It’s amazing how an actor or actress can do that. Everyone else does an OK job, but I did actually really enjoy the seedy charm of Beckwith’s performance. He’s evil, but you can’t help but love him. Anyway, if you like films that deal with rituals that has splashings of blood and boobs – you will get a cheap kick out of this one. Aside from that, there’s not much else to say.


Stars: Christine Moore, Gary Warner, Marina Taylor, Roy MacArthur, Peter Oliver-Norman, Nancy Groff, Tom Billet, C.K. Steefel, Dana Nardelli, Lauren Ruane | Written by Ed Kelleher, Harriette Vidal | Directed by Roberta Findlay

Cathy (Christine Moore) is a young, beautiful and talented cellist who is about marry successful fashion photographer Bob (Gary Warner). The pair move to the wonderful and bustling city of New York to begin their new life together. It should all be champagne dinners and all day bedroom romps, but Cathy is starting to have visions. We’re not talking about cold feet here by the way. Ever since she was a young child she has suffered from visions of disfigured and horrific people. Not only that, but she also witnessed her bat shit insane and abusive mother butcher her father. Yeah, the girl sure has some repressed issues – it doesn’t help that her priest brother Phil (Gil Newsom) has all but turned his back on her believing she is too far gone to be saved by divine intervention. Initially, Bob is patient and supportive, but as she seemingly descends in to madness, he becomes a little frustrated. Maybe a nice loft party held by his glamorous business partner Monica (Marina Taylor) will help soothe nerves and distract Cathy a tiny bit? Well, the fact that Monica lives in the same building that Cathy grew up in could but a fly in the ointment. Is this a case of repressed issues being unleashed or is there something much more sinister afoot?

Lurkers is the better of the two films for me, but it still suffers from some of the technical issues found in Prime Evil. Thankfully, Christine Moore is here once again to save the film (with added boobage I might add!). I say that, but Lurkers has a much more interesting and engaging story. There are some nice twist and turns throughout and I have to say that the finale of this film was a nice shock and it wrapped everything up perfectly. In fact, it’s a wee bit sinister! Of course, the film is campy and cheap as Hell, but it’s genuinely fun. This for me is a perfect film to throw on for Halloween. You could even have this as a double feature with The Sentinel because there are similarities to be found. There’s a much more satisfying atmosphere here and although the score does tend to venture in to that cheap synthesised instrument twoddle – there are some great pieces of music thanks to the film’s producer Walter E. Sear. It’s far from perfect, but it has some great ideas!

Although these films have been released on disc before – I’d say this a great way to view them. Vinegar Syndrome have done a good job with the transfer and presentation with the only faults seemingly coming from the production quality of the film itself. Extras include a wonderful interview Roberta Findlay, theatrical trailers for both films as well as isolated soundtracks and to top it off there’s once again some lovely reversible artwork. These films aren’t perfect, but if you want a fun couple of hours – I could think of much worse. Oh, don’t forget Christine Moore!


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