BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Vineyard (1989) - Blu-ray Review

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The Vineyard (1989)

Zombies from San Jose!  Oh, snap.  Is Oakland next?

James Hong is a Hollywood Legend.  Never heard of him?  Well, you aren’t paying close enough attention to the voices and characters on your television screen.  And, if you have never seen The Vineyard, (his own and only directorial venture), missing out on its brief theatrical run thanks to New World, then your chance is coming back around again.

"This horror film is nonstop fun in its ridiculousness."


Hong has been in over 500 film and television productions and most of them are classics.  From Hannibal Chew in Blade Runner, David Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China, and Mr. Ping in the Kung Fu Panda franchise, Hong’s presence is everywhere.  He is eternal thanks to his work in Hollywood . . . which is why The Vineyard, now available on blu-ray with a newly scanned 4K transfer thanks to Vinegar Syndrome, is so damn interesting.  This is a cult cinema fan’s dream come true.

Written by James Marlowe and Douglas Kondo and directed by Hong himself, The Vineyard concerns itself with the winemaking horror that is Hong’s character, Dr. Elson Po, who fights his own aging with the blood of his prisoners.  Po has a dungeon, you see.  He also has a lot of money and a lot of time on his hands to spend with his beautiful wife.  That is until she cheats on him and he must put down in the dungeon, too.

As the film opens, he welcomes a group of libido-charged actors to help him with winemaking film.  Obviously, they are targets for him and his live forever experiments.  They don’t expect it, which makes some of the settings – the dance party, the acupuncture scene, the graveyard scene – so damn hilarious.  This is a laugh-fest for sure and it is aided thanks to the straight performances by a mix of amateurs and playmates.  Yes, the B-movie eye-candy from Karen Witter and Cheryl Lawson is greatly appreciated, too.

Thing is, the dead bodies in the wine fields behind his house, drained of blood, are restless and, with a bunch of fresh and nubile young actors hanging around Po’s house and surrounding properties, well they get a little hangry.  Hands pierce the earth and beg for help.  Some are even licked clean of their filth by dogs.  It makes for a pretty unsettling atmosphere for this low budget flick that feels like throwing everything at the screen.

So, along with the rats in the dungeon (and hanging on Po’s shoulder), we also have voodoo dolls, zombies, potions, and so much more in this wild horror flick that is co-directed by William Rice.  The hijinks and the hilarity are both unending in this culinary cook-out as Po races against time to restore his face time and time again.The Vineyard (1989)

This horror film is nonstop fun in its ridiculousness.  You have to be willing to go with it because nothing on the screen makes one lick of sense, but it is tasty.  Just like the wine Po makes for his guests.  Flesh for fantasy indeed! 

The Vineyard has been reopened thanks to Vinegar Syndrome’s newly restored 4K scan.  A special limited edition embossed slipcover designed by Earl Kessler Jr. is only available at VinegarSyndrome.com.

4/5 beers

The Vineyard (1989)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- September 24, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Vinegar Syndrome offers The Vineyard on blu-ray thanks to their newly scanned & restored 4k transfer from its 35mm original camera negative.  This is a region-free Blu-ray/DVD release that features a number of new supplemental items, including a brand new interview with director/actor James Hong and producer/actor Harry Mok.

Visual:

Clocking in at a brisk 94-minutes, The Vineyard is a wild film that looks absolutely grand on blu-ray.  The details in the house and the dungeon below are strong and so too are the details in the fibers of the clothing and the primped-up late 1980s hairdos.  Framed in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the transfer here is amazingly detailed and popping with strong colors.  The gore is quite good and sticky and so too are some of the laser-brained effects as the filmmakers throw everything at us in the finale.  There are strong black levels throughout.

Audio:

The DTS-HD Master Audio track is a good one, making even the clinking of wine glasses expressive and haunting.  The growls!  The grunts!  Everything is crisp and clear in the center speakers.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Cult film lovers will dig this release, especially the brand-new interview with Hong, co-director William Rice, cinematographer John Dirlam, and actor Harry Mok.  Also included is a reversible cover and the film’s original theatrical trailer.

  • Welcome to the Vineyard
  • Zombies From San Jose
  • Sacred Earth and Restless Souls
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

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

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

The Vineyard (1989)

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
95 mins
Director
: James Hong, William Rice
Writer:
James Hong
Cast:
James Hong, Karen Lorre, Michael Wong
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
An island of death fueled by the blood of its victims.
Memorable Movie Quote: "They taste like spiders!"
Theatrical Distributor:
New World Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 21, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 24, 2019
Synopsis: The wines created by Dr. Elson Po have been known for decades as among the finest in the world, but unknown to the public, Po has been using his vintning and chemistry skills as a front for a much more sinister purpose; harvesting fresh blood from his youthful victims to produce an elixir designed to keep him young forever. Unfortunately, his special potion seems to be weakening in its strength and Po finds himself in need of fresh bodies. Deciding to use his connections to the film industry, he presents himself as a potential film investor and invites a group of attractive young actors and models to his secluded island mansion, with the intent of harvesting their life sustaining properties. When they arrive, Po becomes convinced that statuesque beauty, Jezebel, might be the ideal candidate from which more elixir can be created and sends his henchmen out with the task of violently killing off her friends.

The Vineyard (1989)

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