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The Vagrant (1992) - Blu-ray Review

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The Vagrant (1992) - Blu-ray Review

3 beersThe late Bill Paxton certainly had an interesting career in movies.  From Weird Science to Aliens and beyond, the characters he played were almost always left or right of center.  He was a damn good character actor and, as made clear by the horror and hysterics of The Vagrant, always made memorable even the straightest of characters.  His slap happy performance as the young executive Graham Krakowski in 1992’s The Vagrant often (and unjustly) gets overlooked.

But that’s about to change with this release.  The Vagrant, celebrating its HD debut this week thanks to Scream Factory, is an absolute hoot of manic amusement.  Paxton sharpens his character acting skills in the lead role by playing a hopeful yuppie who purchases a home he then suspects a homeless man to be using and abusing as his own life goes up in flames.  It is obsession turned on its head and Paxton sells every horrific bit of it as comedy.  

Directed by Chris Walas, a special effects/make-up artist (known for the effects in The Fly, Gremlins, and the face melting scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark), this little known horror-comedy is definitely worthy of the punched-up visual upgrade that Scream Factory has provided.  There are so many things going on in the background of Graham’s new/old home and on the face of the vagrant (Total Recall’s Marshall Bell) that audiences will certainly be in for some surprises.

The Vagrant, much like the character it takes its name from, never announces itself, but damn if it doesn’t prove to be effective in establishing all the right tones.  For 90-minutes straight, it never takes itself seriously, yet manages to both be creepy and comical as Graham begins to doubt his own sanity.  And it’s all at the hands of the local homeless man he sees sneaking in and out of his house.  Graham drops his groceries as gracefully as only Inspector Clouseau could; he gets tangled in phone cords in the goofiest of manners; and is constantly tripping over himself and objects on his way to see the annoying vagrant locked up. 

But was the vagrant there at all?  You see, Graham is a bit of loony himself.  He’s stressed at work because he’s trying to score the big raise.  He purchases the home to impress a girl he likes (but, really, he wound up buying it because he was ducking an over-sexed female realtor – played by a fun Colleen Camp – who wanted to bone him on the toilet), and now his security is threatened by a grotesque homeless dude who keeps sneaking into his house. 

And so he spends even more money to safeguard his tiny bungalow.  Hysterically, the quaint home becomes obscenely well lit and gets a privacy fence wrapped around in it; all in the middle of an industrial area of town.  It’s quite out of place and hysterical to watch Graham pull up to the house at night.  But all those protections don’t seem to stop the vagrant from breaking into the home nor do they help protect what few neighbors Graham does have.

Is Graham going crazy? 

His buddy, Chuck (played by Marc McClure), thinks it is a damn good possibility.  The local police department is in agreement, too.  They are tired of his constant calls to complain about a man they can’t even prove is pissing in public and, when Graham’s neighbors start turning up dead, Lt. Ralf Barfuss (Michael Ironside) turns up the heat in order to catch Graham in a lie.    

With the performance of Paxton and composer Christopher Young’s circus-like score leading the charge, The Vagrant is kooky fun.  Completely.  As a black comedy, the film nails every aspect of a screenplay written by Richard Jefferies (Scarecrows).  Nothing is truly explained; shit just happens.  There’s a genuine weirdness to it all – including Graham’s new job as a trailer park manager, his ability to score chicks, his lack of sanity, and the mullet that he winds up sporting – that logic dares not touch.

The Vagrant will leave you in stitches.

The Vagrant (1992) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
91 mins
Director
: Chris Walas
Writer:
Richard Jefferies
Cast:
Bill Paxton, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
He's NOT home alone.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Don't worry! He an't going to even make it to the hospital."
Theatrical Distributor:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 15, 1992
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 23, 2017
Synopsis: Ambitious young executive Graham Krakowski (Bill Paxton, Aliens, Titanic) has plotted out every move of this life and career. What he didn't plan on was a creepy vagrant living opposite his new home. And when the mysterious man (Marshall Bell, Total Recall, Virus) sneaks into Graham's home and starts playing sick mind games, he is driven to take matters into his own hands. Detective Ralf Barfuss (Michael Ironside, Scanners) stays hot on Graham's trail while Graham wages war against the unrelenting vagrant, who is robbing him of his sanity... and quite possibly his life.

The Vagrant (1992) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- May 23, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Language:
English
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Scream Factory presents this lesser-known title on 1080p with a fine transfer that is detailed and fleshy.  It definitely has a new life on blu-ray.  With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and Dolby Digital Stereo track, the film is treated nicely by Scream’s efforts.  Nicely saturated, there are no dents in its shiny armor.  Colors are strong throughout and are particularly memorable with their inclusion of details and strong edges.  Black levels are clearly defined, too.  Important considering the film takes place during the evening hours.  Shadows are detailed.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  •  Nothing.  No Paxton track as fans were hoping.

Special Features:

There is but the film’s original trailer.  This is truly a disappointing release from Scream Factory as far as supplemental materials go.

The Vagrant (1992) - Blu-ray Review

 

 

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