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Red Lips (Saturn’s Core) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Red Lips (Saturn’s Core) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Saturn’s Core
    Released on: June 28th, 2022.
    Director: Donald Farmer
    Cast: Ghetty Chasun, Michelle Bauer, Danny Fendley, Mandy Leigh
    Year: 1995
    Purchase From Amazon

    Red Lips – Movie Review:

    Somewhere, two 90s Goth gals are making out. They get baked and make out some more, it's pretty graphic but not quite hardcore. The Gothiest of the two, wearing a choker, then bites the other, her victim’s blood turning her lips red! And we're off!

    From here, we travel back in time and meet a young woman named Caroline (Ghetty Chasun). She's down on her luck and needs a fast influx of cash and so she agrees, for a fee, to play guinea pig to a doctor (Mandy Leigh) who operates a blood bank. One quick injection later and Caroline is passing out on the sidewalk in front of a smut shop, not looking so healthy. The only thing that seems to make her feel better? Licking some blood off of her fingers. There's a fair bit of blood licking in this movie.

    Anyway, a short time later she heads back to the doctor's office and, after talk, she wants to, but doesn't, sink her teeth into two gals with bit Jersey hair, one of whom runs off with a chubby middle-aged guy (George Stover) to have sex in a hotel room. When the prostitute leaves, Caroline shows up and after the guy offers her some water she chomps down on his neck. When his gal pal returns, Caroline bites her too.

    Eventually, Caroline fondles and then kills her doctor and a few more random types eventually meets a woman named Lisa (Michelle Bauer) who breaks up with her girlfriend (the buxotic Kitten Natividad, who was pushing fifty when this movie was made) over the phone after her bath (where Kitten proves that, for better or worse, even if she’s aging, she’s still willing to show it all!) and winds up stuck in New York City. They hit it off - Lisa buys Caroline some new sunglasses! - and start making their way through town, Cleary enjoying one another's company as they cruise the bars and night clubs of The Big Apple looking for love in all the wrong places and taking in a weird avant-garde punk rock show that turns into a make out session of sorts. Later, they meet a girl named Gina (Jasmine Pona) who takes them back to her place to hang out. Things take a turn when Lisa learns that her new friend is a vampire and an evil pimp gets named Tony (Danny Fendley) involved.

    Red Lips is pretty repetitive – Caroline makes out with someone, kills them to drink their blood, and then moves on to killing someone else, so that she can drink their blood – but to be fair to Farmer and company, there’s a bit more thought put into the second half of the story than you might expect there to be. The acting from Chasun (who has an interesting, enigmatic quality to her that makes her really watchable in this picture) and Bauer, both of whom look really good here, is also better than you’ll see in the countless other shot on video vampire pictures that are out there. It looks as cheap as it is, but like with so many vintage shot on video micro-budget productions, a lot of the fun of watching Red Lips comes from the quirky background details. Examples? Caroline wears a pretty rad L7 'Smell The Magic' t-shirt. There’s a picture of Charles Manson on the wall and a great picture of a cat in a scene where a dude in an Exploited shirt fools around with Caroline. Stuff like that. We also get to see a subway ride and station walk shot in really poor focus and various locations from cities that are and are not New York City worked into the production through the magic of editing. The pacing is decent and there are a few pretty solid gore effects showcased in some of the murder set pieces. The movie doesn’t shy away from showing plenty of female skin, never a bad thing, and it’s smart enough not to overstay its welcome.

    More often than not, this one works pretty well. It isn’t like to bring those with an aversion to SOV movies into the fold, but for fans of trashy, no-budget micro-cinema, this is a fun, sleazy watch.

    Red Lips – Blu-ray Review:

    Red Lips comes to region free Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080i high definition transfer that was transferred from an unnamed analogue source. Framed at 1.33.1 with the seventy-six minute feature taking up 17.9GBs of space on the 25GB disc, this looks very much like the micro-budget SOV production that it is, but it’s more than watchable if you keep its low budget origins in mind. Detail can’t surpass the source material but the disc is well authored and compression is obviously much better here than had the movie been put onto a DVD. Colors and black levels look alright, skin tones too. Again, don’t expect a revelation here but those accustomed to the way that camcorder epics such as this look on optical discs will be more than happy with this way this has turned out, so long as expectations are kept in check.

    The 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo audio, available with optional English subtitles, sounds fine in both cuts. Levels are balanced well enough and there isn’t much in the way of hiss or distortion to complain about. Again, the limitations of the source material do factor into the equation here, but overall, given the film’s roots, the audio is decent.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary with writer/director Donald Farmer that talks about deciding to open the movie with an attention getting scene with two hot chicks making out and how we see Caroline get the blood from her victim. He talks about the film's cast and producer, the effects work, how Kitten Natividad wound up in the movie, where different scenes were shot (it was actually shot in four different cities), what's happened to Ghetty Chasun since she got out of acting, the movie's shooting schedule, George Stover's appearance in the movie, shooting without permits, shooting lesbian scenes and how the different actresses reacted to these scenes, making the movie without and art director, the influence of Last Tango In Paris and lots more. Farmer remembers pretty much every detail here and is pretty enthusiastic about looking back and telling the story about the making of the movie.

    Farmer pops up again in a new interview titled Seeing Red that runs for sixteen minutes. He talks in a video shot in his car in a strip mall with a liquor store and a nail salon about where his career was at when the movie was made, how and why he came to make Red Lips when he did, where the idea for the movie came from, he came to meet Ghetty Chasun, getting Michelle Bauer for the film, having to replace an actress early in the process, why he decided to end the movie the way he did, how the success of Red Lips helped his career and working in the low budget horror scene in general.

    The disc also includes a vintage interview with actress Ghetty Chasun recorded at the 1994 installment of New Jersey’s own Chiller Theatre Expo. Chasun talks for thirteen movies, about the premise for the film which was in production at the time, her acting career and her work in Gorotica and Damselvis, Daughter of Helvis, her work as a performance artist, her thoughts on being labelled a 'scream queen' and playing strong female characters. Ten minutes into this, it switches from an interview to a scene where she sits down to watch a movie with a male friend who puts the moves on her only to get his throat torn out.

    Distortion Is A Woman: The Blood Transgressions Of Red Lips is a video essay by filmmaker / video artist Caroline Kopko that is done with some text screens over oddly stylized footage from the movie. It goes over Farmer's work, the relationships needed to get the movie made, how Farmer uses vampirism as a metaphor for being ostracized from society, the influence of Jess Franco and more.

    A still gallery, bonus trailers for Mail Order Murder, Psycho Sisters, Burglar From Hell, menus and chapter selection options finish up the extra features, though it is worth pointing out that this release also comes packaged with some boss reversible cover art.

    Red Lips – The Final Word:

    Saturn’s Core has given Donald Farmer’s Red Lips a solid special edition. The transfer looks as good as it probably can, given the movie’s roots, but the extras are strong. The movie itself is an entertaining mix of softcore sex and schlocky horror but that isn’t a bad thing at all. Fans of Farmer’s output and of no budget horror/exploitation pictures should get a lot of enjoyment out of this.


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Red Lips Blu-ray screen caps!

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