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Shriek Of The Mutilated (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Shriek Of The Mutilated (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: January 26th, 2022.
    Director: Michael Findlay
    Cast: Alan Brock, Jennifer Stock, Tawm Ellis, Ed Adlum
    Year: 1974
    Purchase From Amazon

    Shriek Of The Mutilated – Movie Review:

    Directed by Michael Findlay (who has a quick cameo in the opening scene) from a screenplay co-written by Ed Adlum and Ed Kelleher (the duo that brought Invasion Of The Blood Farmers), 1974’s Shriek Of The Mutilated is the story of Dr. Ernst Prell (Alan Brock), a university professor who decides to bring a quarter of his students - Karen Hunter (Jennifer Stock), Keith Henshaw (Michael Harris), Tom Nash (Jack Neubeck) and Lynn Kelly (Darcy Brown) – to a remote island where they’ll stay with Dr. Karl Werner (Tawm Ellis) and his manservant Lauging Crow (Ivan Agar), a mute Native American in his employ.

    Before they head off, Prell takes Keith to a weird lighthouse restaurant where he orders him a special meal and talks to him about their work. Elsewhere, the students hold a party where Spencer Ste. Claire (Tom Grail), a former student who once went on a similar expedition led by Prell, warns them not to go. He was the only survivor of the four students and nobody believes him when he tells them about the beast he encountered while up there. Spencer likes to drink and after the party he tries to kill his wife, April (Luci Brandt), who then throws an electric toaster into the bathtub before she passes away to pay him back in kind. This double murder has nothing else to do with the story and is never really brought up again.

    Anyway, the group arrives at Werner’s house where he tells them about the Yeti he believes to be running around in his backyard and Tom plays a weird song on the piano for everyone. The next day, they go out to investigate, and after coming face to face with the creature, Tom gets killed. The rest of the team don’t realize this at first, after all, we’re told he’s an experienced woodsman, but eventually they have to face the facts. As the day turns into night, the monster attacks yet again – but is this really a case of a hungry Yeti running around the suburbs of New York City or is there more to this than meets the eye?

    Logic is frequently thrown out the window in Shriek Of The Mutilated and the movie is as goofy as they come but eighty-seven minute cheapie shot in and around Westchester, New York is nothing if not entertaining. With an ending and a vibe reminiscent of Ivan Reitman’s Cannibal Girls and a similarly low budget, the film offers up a few dollops of cheap gore and a ridiculous monster suit to complement the cast of enjoyably awful actors. It isn’t a good move on a technical, thematic or production value level, but it is a pretty fun way to kill some time.

    Shot by Roberta Findlay, the cinematography is better than you’d probably expect (despite some questionable day for night scenes) and the film’s score is pretty keen (and yes, ‘Popcorn’ is here, intact on the soundtrack, as it should be).

    Shriek Of The Mutilated – Blu-ray Review:

    Shriek Of The Mutilated arrives on Region Free Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation framed at 1.37.1 widescreen with the feature taking up 25.6GBs of space on the 50GB disc. Newly scanned and restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative, the picture quality here is almost shockingly good. The elements were clearly in excellent shape as there’s virtually no print damage here at all, while the film’s frequently garish color scheme is reproduced perfectly. Skin tones and black levels look great throughout and there’s loads of depth and detail noticeable here, as well as great texture. The image always looks like proper film, showing no obvious digital manipulation or compression problems. It’s honestly hard to imagine the movie looking much better than it does here.

    An English language audio option is provided in 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono with optional subtitles provided in English only. Audio quality is pretty solid. The dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow and the track is always properly balanced. There’s a bit of depth to the score here and there and the track is free of any hiss, distortion or sibilance. No complaints!

    There’s a nice selection of extras included here as well, starting with a new commentary track with cinematographer Roberta Findlay and moderator by film historian Casey Scott. It’s a good track, these two always have a good rapport. They cover the different names that pop up in the credits, how Michael Findlay want on to do a lot of X-rated work after this picture, whether she did or didn't have anything to do with some of his films even if she's credited in some of them, where she and Michael Findlay's relationship was during this period, where some of the locations were, Ed Adlum's work on the movie, details on some of the people that pop up in the movie, what Michael Findlay was like as a director, certain directors that she appreciates (Billy Wilder being one) and quite a bit more. Roberta notes frequently that she doesn't remember much about the making of this movie but Scott keeps her engaged and fills in the gaps during the times she goes quiet.

    Yeti Again is a new thirteen minute interview with Roberta Findlay where she talks about how she met Michael Findlay when she was sixteen when they went to school together and he brought her on to help as a pianist to accompany silent films. She then discusses how he started making roughies and exploitation movies and insists that she didn't work on any of them as she was still in school at the time, working together for the first time on Snuff, working with Shriek Of The Mutilated’s producer Ed Adlum, how Adlum insisted that she shoot the movie, where the infamous Yeti suit came from, shooting in the main house location and some of the difficulties that entailed, the use of music in the film, branching out on her own and making adult films and then horror movies to take advantage of the home video market.

    So Bad So Great is a new twenty-two minute interview with producer/co-writer Ed Adlum. He goes over his upbringing and education, how he got his start in the film industry, some of his early efforts like Blonde On A Bum Trip, his connections to the juke box industry, how he came to work with Findlay and how he came to direct the movie, Shriek Of The Mutilated's odd distribution history and how that came to be, how he feels about the quality of the movie and the script that he co-wrote, working with the different cast members and Alan Brock's quirkiness, the sensationalism of the title, making sure there were a few 'shock scenes' in the movie and the work he did in the magazine business after he finished working on the movie.

    The fourteen minute The Wilds Of Westchester takes a look at the locations that were used in the making of the movie hosted by Mike Gingold. Here, over fourteen minutes, we get a look at the college campus used in the movie, the gas station, the bridge, the roads that led up to the house on the 'island' and then, of course, the house itself and the surrounding grounds. We also get to see the restaurant featured in the movie, the police station and a few other buildings.

    Last but not least, we get a half hour long Audio Essay by Cryptozoology author David Coleman. The audio quality warbles a fair bit, but Coleman goes over the film's historical context and its limited theatrical release, how the financing came into place, the way that knowledge about cryptozoology has grown amongst the general public over the years since this movie was made, Michael Findlay's career and some of the trademarks of his work, details on the different cast members (most of whom didn't appear in any other movies), the problems with the Yeti in the movie and why Ed Adlum wound up playing that role, Michael Findlay's untimely demise and the legacy he has left behind.

    It’s also worth noting that this release comes packaged with some reversible cover sleeve art and, if purchased from the Vinegar Syndrome website, the first 6,000 copies come with a limited edition, embossed slipcover designed by Robert Sammelin.

    Shriek Of The Mutilated - The Final Word:

    Shriek Of The Mutilated is a lot of goofy, goofy fun, a vintage low budget seventies creature feature that is nothing if not entertaining. Vinegar Syndrome has done an excellent job bringing this cult classic to Blu-ray with a gorgeous presentation and a nice selection of extra features that do a nice job of exploring the film’s history.


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

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