BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Evil Town (1985)

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Evil Town (1977)

The Vinegar Syndrome Archive line, celebrating forgotten cinematic oddities from the video store era, has officially started thanks to the HD release of Evil Town!

Getting old sucks ass.  Just ask the character that Dean Jagger plays in Evil Town.  The aging process has him all down in the dumps, but time might be on his side . . . if he can find enough dumbass young people.  The young people in Mendocino, California will never be the same once Dr. Schaeffer gets done with his experiments.

"if old people attacking hippies in SLOW MOTION is your cup of tea, then Evil Town, newly scanned in 2K from the original 35mm film elements, is the movie for you."


Reversing mortality.  That’s only one part of Evil Town, a horror “movie” (if we can call it that) that appears to be three separate films stitched into one.  The second story involves two delinquents who love kidnapping and raping the women who enter the town and the third story involves an escaped mental patient.  You won’t really care about either narrative and you probably won’t be able to follow the chronology either . . . that’s what you get when you enter the troubled production of Evil Town, which ironically is probably the best part of this recycled and repurposed film.

Directed (rather unsuccessfully) by Larry Spiegel, Peter S. Traynor, Mardi Rustam, and L.A. Confidential’s Curtis Hanson at three or four different times in its history, Evil Town might have started out with the title of God Damn, Dr. Shagetz, but that’s not how it finished.  With most of the film primarily about an aging doctor who started experimenting on the youth, the story got expanded over the decade it took to finish it to include the hospital where the experiments are being conducted and some its nefarious lowlifes employed there.  But the film’s mojo – like the damned doctor’s sex drive – petered out and the movie was shelved.  It was producer/director Mohammed ‘Mardi’ Rustam who, knee deep in the VHS hoopla, bought the shelved film, ripped it off by making his own version as Evils of the Night, then released the film with added nudity and more confusing inserts, and then introduced into the public as Evil Town

If it weren’t for Playboy Playmate Lynda Wiesmeier (Wheels of Fire) dropping her top and running through a forest at the film’s beginning, the entirety of your stay at Evil Town would be a complete disaster.  As it is, this film – which started filming in 1977 but didn’t finish until 1985 (after some of the actors had died) – goes nowhere pretty damn fast, even the additional work just drives this flick straight into the ground. Evil Town (1977)

Evil Town stars James Keach, the aforementioned Dean Jagger, Robert Walker Jr., Doria Cook-Nelson, Michele Marsh, Regis Toomey, and Hope Summers and it all takes place in a very tiny town (named Smalltown) which boasts of a population of 666.  Weird.  Any traveler who comes through the town disappears.  Whether stopping to get gas, directions, or if needing car repair, it doesn’t take much for the residents of Smalltown to kill you dead. 

If old people attacking hippies in SLOW MOTION is your cup of tea, then Evil Town, newly scanned in 2K from the original 35mm film elements, is the movie for you.  It is now available on blu-ray thanks to Vinegar Syndrome who offer this film with bottom loading VHS inspired slipcase that features the original video art used for the film and a double-sided poster.

2/5 beers

Evil Town (1977)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- May 23, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Armed with a brand new 2k restoration of its original camera negative, this VHS-era forgotten gem looks all sorts of crisp and crackling-like.  The film is thing of lo-fi beauty.  The region free Blu-ray/DVD combo looks incredible.  Black levels are consistent and so, too, are the colors.  The new 1080p transfer is crisp with defined edges. Colors are vivid and fine details are noticeable. Skin tones are warm. Occasionally, the red tones overcompensate in some areas, but a sharp-looking release nonetheless. This was filmed in the daylight, so keep that in mind as the detail in the woods is nice.  The faithful English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is an incredible accompaniment to the feature.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

With a comparison between Evil Town and Evils of the Night as its main supplemental feature, those interested in this film’s history should take note.  There is also an audio interview with one of the film’s directors, Larry Spiegel.

  • Audio interview with director Larry Spiegel
  • Compare and Contrast

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 2/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 2/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

2.5/5 stars

Evil Town (1977)

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
83 mins
Director
: Curtis Hansen
Writer:
Robert Bassing
Cast:
James Keach, Dean Jagger, Robert Walker Jr.
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The Place Where Terror Dwells
Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:

Official Site:
Release Date:
October 23, 1987
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 23, 2019
Synopsis: A group of four friends traveling the West Coast arrive in a small town with a strange history of its residents disappearing mysteriously. What's more is that the town's illusive doctor, Dr. Schaeffer (Dean Jagger), is rumored to be conducting sinister experiments on the town's youth so as to combat the aging process. As the group of young travelers find themselves embroiled in a diabolical scheme of medical madness, they realize - perhaps too late - that they are Dr. Schaeffer's ideal specimens.

Evil Town (1977)

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