• Prime Evil/Lurkers

    Prime Evil/Lurkers
    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: October 24th, 2017.
    Director: Roberta Findlay
    Cast: William Beckwith, Christine Moore, Gary Warner
    Year: 1985
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    The Movie:

    Vinegar Syndrome unleashes a double dose of Roberta Findlay directed horror pictures on Blu-ray for the first time.

    Prime Evil:

    Directed by Roberta Findlay in 1988, this horror picture is a bit of a stinker, though to be fair, it does have its moments. The film is set in the New York City of 1988 and as such it features a bit of cool location footage but it's not scary, nor is it really all that interesting. A flashback alerts us to a monk who rebuked God and decided to worship the devil centuries ago. We cut back to the present day where the death of a Satanic priest spurs a curious nun to go undercover into the world of the occult to try and blow the lid off of these devil worshippers.

    Soon enough we forget about the nun as we see a woman named Alexandra (Christine Moore) who was the victim of incest and sexual abuse at the hands of her father about to get married. It turns out that her grandfather (Max Jacobs) is involved with the aforementioned devil worshippers and he plans to use her in an upcoming ceremony as a human sacrifice. Why? So that he can usurp control of the cult and give the devil the glory he feels he's due. At the same time, a guy from the cult is running around killing people, much to the dismay of a few cops trying to sort all of this out.

    Incoherent, poorly paced and goofy as goofy can be, Prime Evil is pretty has a few nifty special effects that pop up in the last half hour or so, but it’s fairly slow for what it is. Kind of a poor man's Devil's Rain, Findlay's film is erratic, poorly edited and not much in the way of the story department. We’ve seen this type of thing before and we’ve seen it done better than this. The performances are as uneven as the tone and while the idea of Satanic monks running around in Manhattan adds some novelty value, this picture is far from an unsung classic. Still, there are scenes that work – mostly those involving the cultists doing their thing.


    The second film is a lot better. It tells the story of a girl named Cathy who, as a child, witnessed the -murder of her father at the hands of her insane mother inside the apartment they called home. Lucky to have made it out of the incident alive, Cathy grows into a lovely young woman (Christine Moore) but understandably can’t quite shake what she’s been through from her mind. This manifests in strange nightmares where she sees eerie figures standing around her bed at night.

    Things go from bad to worse for her when she has to return to the scene of the crime – her childhood home – when her manipulative boyfriend Bob (Gary Warner), a fashion photographer, brings her to a party there.

    We won’t spoil any more of the plot than that because this is a surprisingly engaging ghost story that is high on spooky atmosphere even if it isn’t necessarily the best showcase for anyone’s acting abilities. Moore is okay in the lead but some of the supporting players leave a little to be desired. The movie, however, delivers. It’s fairly well shot and the scenes involving those lurkers, the otherworldly beings that seem to be plaguing poor Cathy, are weird enough to work.

    The story teeters on the edge of incoherence at times but by the time the time the film is finished, it more or less makes sense – at least so much as in that it provides a satisfying conclusion to the storyline. Again, some decent New York City locations are used in the picture to give it a bit of character. This one works quite well, it definitely gets points for originality and atmosphere.


    Both films are presented on Blu-ray framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfers that are ‘newly scanned and restored in 2k from the 35mm original camera negatives.’ Both films look great here – there’s the expected amount of natural, organic looking film grain but little in the way of print damage aside from some minor specks and the like. Colors are nicely reproduced, black levels are solid and detail is considerably improved over previous DVD editions. No complaints here – the picture quality on this disc is strong.

    Each film is presented with a DTS-HD Mono track in English with optional subtitles provided, also in English. These tracks are true to source. Range is understandably a bit limited by the original recordings but for the most part they sound fine. There’s a bit of hiss here and there but it’s never particularly distracting. Dialogue stays clear and audible throughout.

    The main extra on the disc is a commentary track with Roberta Findlay moderated by Casey Scott that plays over Prime Evil. These two have a pretty good rapport going. If you’ve heard Findlay’s commentary tracks in the past, you’ll know she’s pretty honest about her feelings and her experiences making these pictures and this track is no exception. As they discussion plays out she talks about who she came to collaborate with on the film and why, the locations that were used, how she feels about the film and lots more.

    Outside of that we get theatrical trailers, TV spots and isolated score options for both films as well as menus and chapter selection. Vinegar Syndrome has also seen fit to bless this release with some genuinely cool reversible cover artwork. As this is a combo pack release, we also get a DVD containing standard definition versions of each movie.

    The Final Word:

    Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray debut of Roberta Findlay’s Prime Evil/Lurkers presents two of the director’s horror pictures in very nice shape and with some decent extras, highlighted by the commentary over the first film.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!