BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Killer’s Delight (1978) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive - Blu-Ray Review

Killer’s Delight (1978) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

Beware the yellow van!

Opening with some great aerial shots of San Francisco, Jeremy Hoenack's Killer’s Delight (originally shot as The Sport Killer and later re-released as The Dark Ride) shocks its audience when a van that we’ve been following pulls to the side of the road and a nude, dead woman is tossed down the side of the mountain.  This attention-getting beginning is a great way to introduce the unseen killer that is taking out one female hitchhiker after another to us in this proto-slasher and detective drama which takes its Ted Bundy roots a little too close to the bone.

"completely disturbing thanks to its atmosphere and its stark locations as a killer has his way with his victims.  They might claw at his eyes, but they never get too far away from his van."


The views of San Fran are as good as some of the close-ups as this murder mystery puts us all in the van with the killer.  Everyone is a suspect and, while the detectives bumble around in the search for the deranged lunatic responsible for the killings, the bodies begin to pile up.  The film, after settling into its murder/detective work pattern, might not be as interesting as its opening lets on, but that doesn’t stop Killer’s Delight from being completely disturbing thanks to its atmosphere and its stark locations as a killer has his way with his victims.  They might claw at his eyes, but they never get too far away from his van.

Starring TV actor James Luisi (The Rockford Files) as Sergeant Vince De Carlo, Susan Sullivan (Falcon Crest), John Karlen (Dark Shadows), and genre film character actor, George 'Buck' Flower (Berserker) in an early scene as a witness, Killer’s Delight is a Bundysploitation flick made during the actual manhunt for his crimes.  It is interesting to watch because the sadism is toned down a bit and, as there was no way that the filmmakers knew to the full extent of his crimes, comes across in a believable manner, no matter how desperate De Carlo gets.Killer’s Delight (1978) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

None of that dispels the made-for-television feel that this drive-in flick has, though.  We get handheld camera shots and a great (but brief) appearance from Anne-Marie Martin (Halloween II, The Boogens), yet the fact remains that too much of this flick feels as cheap as the gore.  I’m not saying there aren’t some unsettling fingers and arms broken moments, but the nudity is relatively tame and so, too, are the details in the violence.

But, seriously, hats off to the aerial work because those moments are astounding in this flick.

Vinegar Syndrome has released Killer’s Delight with a special limited edition embossed slipcover (designed by Earl Kess) is limited to 5,000 units and is only available at VinegarSyndrome.com.

3/5 beers

 

Killer’s Delight (1978) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- July 27, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono; English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A, B

An unknown killer has been stalking Northern California, picking up innocent young women in his van and then brutally torturing and murdering them, leaving their mutilated bodies in nearby woods. Sgt. Vince De Carlo has been assigned to the case but finds himself with almost nothing to go on, that is, until the murderer begins picking off teenage girls who frequent a local public pool. With the aid of psychologist Carol Thompson, De Carlo begins to devise a plan to lure the killer into the open...

Video:

Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm interpositive, Killer’s Delight  is an absolute STUNNING transfer.  The slasher looks filmic with its high grain factor.  It is truly impressive, adding a layer of depth to the serial killer hunt and his haunts.  Colors are cool.  Black levels are textured and interiors look good in high definition.  The film is dominated with reds and greens that spark with strong colors.  It’s a cheap film, for sure, but the Northern California backgrounds and pool sequences burst from the transfer with new details and a nice level of clarity.  Black levels are solid and skin tones are natural. There are lots of night scenes; thankfully, the lines hold their edges. Shadows are defined and the film has a new depth previously unseen. 

Audio:

An English Stereo track provides all the screaming and shouting as one killer haunts the hills of Northern California!

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a commentary track with director Jeremy Hoenack.

Special Features:

More than slightly inspired by the then hot case of notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy, Jeremy Hoenack's Killer’s Delight is an intriguing mix of proto-slasher and detective drama which stars prolific TV actor James Luisi (The Rockford Files) alongside Golden Globe nominee Susan Sullivan (Falcon Crest),  John Karlen (Dark Shadows), and genre film character actor, George 'Buck' Flower (Berserker). Vinegar Syndrome is proud to present this gritty true crime thriller on Blu-ray for the first time, newly restored in 4K from its original 35mm camera negative.

  • New interview with director Jeremy Hoenack
  • New interview with writer Maralyn Thoma
  • New interview with cinematographer Arthur R. Botham
  • New interview with actor Martin Speer
  • Outtake scenes
  • Original TV spot
  • Still gallery
  • Reversible cover artwork

Blu-ray Rating

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

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3.5/5 stars


Film Details

Killer’s Delight (1978) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
85 mins
Director
: Jeremy Hoenack
Writer:
Maralyn Thoma
Cast:
James Luisi; Susan Sullivan; John Karlen
Genre
: Thriller | Horror
Tagline:
A small town. Five girls in one week. It's been fun.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:

Official Site:
Release Date:
August, 1978
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 27, 2021.
Synopsis: An unknown killer has been stalking Northern California, picking up innocent young women in his van and then brutally torturing and murdering them, leaving their mutilated bodies in nearby woods. Sgt. Vince De Carlo has been assigned to the case but finds himself with almost nothing to go on, that is, until the murderer begins picking off teenage girls who frequent a local public pool. With the aid of psychologist Carol Thompson, De Carlo begins to devise a plan to lure the killer into the open...

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Killer’s Delight (1978) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

 
Killer’s Delight (1978) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive

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