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Friday, January 1, 2016

Exterminator 2 and Frozen Scream (Vinegar Syndrome DVD)

From James Bryan to Frank Roach, this Drive-In Collection from Vinegar Syndrome isn't exactly a historical retrospective on one filmmaker's work. This is Video Nasty and obscure sequel in a set that works despite the strange diversity of material. These are beautifully grindy, exactly how you like your DVD doubles from VS.

Exterminator 2

From Vinegar Syndrome:

Someone is killing off LA’s most vicious criminals and the police are powerless to do anything about it. As the commissioner (Aldo Ray) enlists the help of his top lieutenant, Roger (Chris Mitchum), to solve the case, Roger begins to suspect that the mysterious Executioner might be his old friend from Vietnam. Outrageous, absurd, and unflinchingly bizarre, Director James Bryan and Producer/Writer/Co-star Renee Harmon’s EXECUTIONER PART II is one of the most head scratching pieces of independent cinema to emerge from the 1980s.
Director: James Bryan / 86 minutes / Color / AR: 1.85:1

Let’s be perfectly honest with Exterminator 2. This movie is completely fun, action movie, near parody post-war, during mid-80’s crimewave in the US that features plenty of the vengeful, violent moments you’ve seen done better in every other movie about the period. Think Vigilante. Think Exterminator. Hell, even take a stretch and go to Class of 1984. The difference here is that Exterminator 2 clearly had the lowest of the low budgets but great big heart. The filmmakers wanted to make a buck and have some fun. It’s obvious that they accomplished one of those goals (this movie looks like a blast to produce).

The masked vigilante has a completely hokey disguise, but that means that every time he avenges a would-be victim, you feel that he’s more of a superhero than “man on a mission”. That result is non stop yucks with some original moments of violence albeit unbelievable violence.

Pay attention to some exquisite 80’s synth music that really catches the ear and seems to go way beyond the budget of the movie. I’d almost think it was stolen, but I’m afraid that’s pure speculation, however would only make me adore the movie more. The ADR working on this one… pretty bad. It may as well be a Kung Fu movie by the Shaw Brothers the dubbing is so bad. Again, this make it even more lovable.

Frozen Scream

From Vinegar Syndrome:

People are being murdered in grisly ways and being implanted with devices that turn them into homicidal zombies. A young woman, who witnessed a killing and now might know too much, is cared for by the strange Doctor Stanhope (Renee Harmon), but the good doctor might be more involved with the bloody goings on than she appears. Directed by Frank Roach (Nomad Riders), FROZEN SCREAM is a fever dream of bizarre dubbing, cheap gore effects and hypodermic needles.
Director: Frank Roach / 80 minutes / Color / AR: 1.85:1

The reason you buy Frozen Scream is because it’s a Video Nasty. It’s important as a completest that this movie makes it into any self-respecting collector’s library. I suppose there are two important things to note in that regard. 1. It has no business being on the Video Nasty list as provided by the Video Recording Act of 1984 in the UK. It’s one of those movies that made it on to the list that will feel like a complete let down if you expect extremist violence or copious amount of nudity. 2. The one sheet for this is fantastic. It always fascinated me growing up at my mom and pop video store. The movie won’t live up to it, but again, it’s iconic and memorable.

Frank Roach directed two movies, and in 1975 he made a mad scientist/zombie flick that played on two popular tropes in Horror for the period that allowed him to fill the screen with just about anything he’d want while not having to conform to Hollywood style story telling. He wouldn’t make Nomad Riders until about 10 years later which didn’t fair any better than Frozen Scream. Both Frozen Scream and Executioner II feature Renee Harmon who had a short but fun cult cinema career through the 70’s and 80’s.

It may have been a non-prosecute Video Nasty, but it also hadn’t received a re-release in the UK after the shit went down in 84. This should be folks a chance to see what terrified people in 1984 while preserving one of the only film creations by Frank Roach. 

Make sure to order this double feature from Vinegar Syndrome:


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