BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Rest in Pieces (1987) - Blu-ray Review

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Rest in Pieces (1987)

They don’t make ‘em like this anymore!

Spanish director José Ramón Larraz offered some exploitation masterpieces in his time behind the camera.  From the SIN-sation that is Vampyres to the unnerving brilliance that is Black Candles, Larraz was known for his fiery persona and his willingness to GO THERE with horror, often shocking his audiences with bare breasts and sudden violence that was as gruesome as it was unforeseen.  

"fun, ridiculous, and deadly with its use of black humor that you might just be forgiven for not “getting” it."


While Rest in Pieces has all of these things, it shocks more because it all comes across as a comedy with blacker than black comedy roosting in its soul.  What audiences really didn’t expect in one of his final films was comedy, but that’s exactly what Rest in Pieces is: a horror/comedy hybrid with a euro-trash feel that it can’t escape.

And I absolutely love it for that reason.  Rest in Pieces is a terrible movie, to be sure.  But the film - as empty headed as it is - was made by an auteur who knew exactly what he was up to behind the camera.  The results are sophisticated humor squeezed through a “Dumb Fun” strainer and, yes, there’s plenty of pulp to please even those harder-edged audiences out there.

Vinegar Syndrome’s new 4K restoration from the original 35mm negative arrives just in the nick of time.  What better way is there to ring in the new year and leave the dumpster fire that was 2020 behind then with a biting horror/comedy that has enough visual tension to keep us all on edge throughout January.  Rest in Pieces (1987)

Starring Patty Shephard (My Dear Killer), Scott Thompson Baker (General Hospital), Lorin Jean Vail (Arizona Heat), Dorothy Malone (The Big Sleep, Basic Instinct), and Jack Taylor (Conan the Barbarian), Rest in Pieces deals with an inheritance that is not as it seems.  And in the other-worldliness, is where Larraz likes to play with stirring visuals, pulpy uses of blood and gore, and an ample amount of self-aware humor.  

Helen Hewitt (Vail) has inherited her recently deceased Aunt Catherine's humongous country villa. After arriving at their new home, she and her husband Bob immediately feel a sense of unease and hostility from the estate's staff and tenants, all of whom do their best to make the young couple feel unwelcome. And they refuse to leave!

As strange and increasingly sinister events begin to take place around her, Helen becomes determined to uncover the truth about the goings on, and slowly begins to unearth the horrifying and unspeakable evil occurring at the mysterious mansion

Rest in Pieces, awful gimmicky title aside, is an underappreciated entry in his final attempts a making movies and, because of its unappreciation, seems to be completely misunderstood for what it is: an interpretation of a very American type of horror meets comedy film as this Witches of Eastwick-type flick.  It’s fun, ridiculous, and deadly with its use of black humor that you might just be forgiven for not “getting” it.

Rest in Pieces is now on blu-ray thanks to Vinegar Syndrome, who specializes in the masterful restoration and distribution of cult, horror, and erotic films from the 1960s-90s.

4/5 beers

Rest in Pieces (1987)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- November 17, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Region free, Vinegar Syndrome offers Rest in Pieces with a new 4K restoration on blu-ray, minted from the original 35mm camera negative.  One of a handful of films that acclaimed Spanish horror and exploitation auteur, José Ramón Larraz, made primarily for the American market, Rest in Pieces plays like a refined piece of Euro-horror as filtered through the trashy mindset of late 80s, direct-to-video trash. Pleasantly grotesque (the gore effects earned a 1987 Goya Award nomination) and with a wry sense of self-aware humor, Rest in Pieces co-stars Dorothy Malone (The Big Sleep, Basic Instinct), Jack Taylor (Conan the Barbarian), and Patty Shepard (My Dear Killer). Never before released on disc, Vinegar Syndrome is delighted to present Rest in Pieces!

Video:

Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original negative, Rest in Pieces’ 4K scrub works to brighten the mood a bit in this black comedy.  The colors don’t really pop thanks to the low budget in play, but there are more refined colors and black levels due to the effort.  Lines are detailed and shadows thick.  The house in question looks spooktacular thanks to the new image, which is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

Audio:

The DTS-HD Mono track includes both the original English and the dubbed Spanish language soundtracks.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a commentary with film historians and authors Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger.  

Special Features:

Fans get an interview with actor Scott Thompson Baker as a bonus featurette.

  • Piece by Piece

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3.5/5 stars

Rest in Pieces (1987)

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Runtime:
88 mins
Director
: José Ramón Larraz
Writer:
Santiago Moncada
Cast:
Scott Thompson Baker, Lorin Jean Vail, Dorothy Malone
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Their dream house brought them together...Their neighbors are tearing them apart!
Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor:
Avid Home Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:

DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 17, 2020.
Synopsis: A young, married couple move into the wife's aunt's estate after inheriting the sprawling property. Soon, weird occurrences begin to happen around the house, and they start to suspect the tenants are responsible.

Rest in Pieces (1987)

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