• Deadly Daphne’s Revenge



    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: May 26th, 2018.
    Director: Richard Gardner
    Cast: Anthony Holt, Richard Gardner, Laurie Tait Partridge, Candy Castillo, John Suttle, Alan Levy, James Avery, Jody Jaress
    Year: 1981
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    The Movie:

    Originally known as The Bigot and then The Hunting Party (which is the title that appears on the transfer on this Blu-ray) before then being released by Troma as Deadly Daphne’s Revenge, this picture (which appears to have been made in 1981 but not released until 1987), introduces us to a loudmouthed asshole named Charlie Johnson. He’s made quite a bit of money in the trucking business and plans to celebrate by heading up to his hunting lodge with three pals – his half-brother Steve (director Richard Gardner), his wormy insurance agent Brucie and one of his employees, a guitar-playing Spanish guy he calls Bobo.

    When they stop for beer at Hobo’s Liquor, they wind up picking up a young blonde hitchhiker named Cindy Langley (Laurie Tait Partridge), promising her a ride to San Diego. Rather foolishly, she gets into the RV with the four guys and wouldn’t you know it, Charlie wants to have his way with her. Steve pushes him back for a while but Charlie, who has been drinking, it’s pretty insistent. They get to the lodge and Steve stays in Cindy’s room for a while to protect her. She can’t resist his manly charm and they make love, but once they finish, Steve figures that Charlie is drunk enough not to be a problem and so he leaves. Of course, at this point Charlie, with some help from Bobo, heads up into Cindy’s room and rapes her.

    Eventually Cindy escapes and she gets a lawyer, planning to go after Charlie and the others for what was done to them. While this is going on, Daphne Wood (Candy Castillo), Charlie’s former flame, has escaped from a mental hospital and may or may not be dangerous. As Steve tries to set things right with Cindy and Charlie tries to get a hitman to take her out, melodrama aplenty rears its tacky head until things reach an appropriately predictable conclusion.

    There’s a whole lot more goofy melodrama here than there is horror or rape/revenge exploitation elements but it’s hard not to have a good time with this low budget dope of a picture. It’s not very good, mind you, and both the title and the cover art (carried over from Troma’s campaign) completely misrepresent the film but it’s got that inexplicable (and very dumb) low budget charm to it that goes a long way towards making it entertaining even when it really shouldn’t be. The pacing is clunky, the aspects with the Daphne character are basically tacked on without much consequence, and the whole thing is one giant cliché – but again, if you’re in that weird demographic that enjoys screwy, regional filmic oddities you’ll probably get a kick out of it. The violence is fairly tame, the horror is non-existent and the nudity pretty fleeting but the melodrama and overwrought performances enough to keep it fun.

    As far as the acting goes, watch out for a supporting role from none other than Uncle Phil himself, James Avery – who chews some serious scenery here! But maybe more importantly than that, there’s the key cast members. Anthony Holt, who sounds kind of like Tommy Chong when he speaks, delivers his consistently nasty, racist, sexist dialogue with unsettling sincerity. He’s the dope, bearded redneck you expect him to be, guzzling brews and carrying guns around in his RV – you know the type. Director Gardner makes a positively wooden hero in Steve, but you can’t help but like the guy. He’s definitely trying, and that counts for something. You feel bad for Laurie Tait Partridge’s character, but the reality is that she’s kind of annoying. She clearly doesn’t deserve what happens to her, but we’re supposed to like her and it’s hard to when she grates on your nerves the way she does here. The guy who plays the dorky insurance broker is at least fairly sympathetic, and that guy who plays Bobo? He’s okay. He plays guitar at least.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Vinegar Syndrome’s transfer of Deadly Daphne’s Revenge is presented on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 taken from a new 2k scan of the film’s original 35mm negative and it looks excellent. There is one scene early on in the film near the three minute mark where the characters are in the RV where there’s a fair bit of print damage but otherwise, the image is very clean and quite film-like. There’s no evidence of any noise reduction and the image is free of compression artifacts. Edge enhancement is a non-issue and the transfer retains a nice, natural amount of film grain. Fine detail is very strong and there’s nice depth and texture here throughout the picture. Skin tones look nice and natural, color reproduction is just fine and black levels are pretty strong too.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track, which comes with optional English subtitles, is of solid quality. Dialogue is easy to follow and to understand. The levels are properly balanced and the track is free of any hiss or distortion. The lossless track does a nice job with the score, and the effects sounds decent enough here too.

    The most substantial extra on the disc is a ten-minute interview with actress Jody Jaress entitled Answering The Call. Here she speaks about how she landed the part of Rhea, Charlie’s secretary in the film. She talks about her surprise in being asked to do an interview for this project, how it changed titles and how the film was never really shown after it was made – she hadn’t seen it until she was asked to do the interview. She mentions having fun working on the film but how much of her material shot for the film was cut, how they may have not had a script when they were working on the picture, how she has no idea what the casting process was, working alongside Anthony Holt on camera, her thoughts on director Richard Gardner and her thoughts on the quality of the finished product (she’s not impressed).

    Aside from that, look for the alternate Deadly Daphne’s Revenge opening titles sequence, a pretty large still gallery documenting the making of the movie and a lot of the articles that were written about it during production and an isolated score option. Menus and chapter selection are also included.

    As this is a combo pack release we also get a DVD version of the movie containing the same extras as are found on the Blu-ray disc. Packaging includes reversible cover sleeve art – with a Deadly Daphne’s Revenge image on one side and the more appropriate but less awesome The Hunting Season art on the reverse. This release also includes a very cool embossed slipcover.

    The Final Word:

    Deadly Daphne’s Revenge is pretty goofy stuff, but it’s entertaining in its own quirky, stupid way. Come for the fleeting exploitation elements, stay for the wonderfully overcooked acting and the ridiculous soap opera style melodrama. Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray of this Tromatic obscurity sounds good and looks great and while it’s not a super-stacked special edition, it contains a few nice extras as well.

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