• The Killing Kind (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: October 23rd, 2018.
    Director: Curtis Harrington
    Cast: Ann Sothern, John Savage, Ruth Roman, Luana Anders, Cindy Williams
    Year: 1973
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    The Killing Kind – Movie Review:

    Poor Terry (John Savage) is a troubled young man. After being coerced into taking part in a gang rape, he’s sent to jail for a while. Upon his release he returns to the small town in California where he grew up but finds that things just don’t seem to fit anymore. He heads to the home of his mother, Thelma (Ann Sothern), where she gives him a room in the boarding house that she runs. She’s obviously excited to have her son back in her life and she immediately begins coddling him, treating him like a child as if he had never gone to jail in the first place.

    When a foxy young woman named Lori (Cindy Williams) moves into the home, Terry stands up and takes notice though Thelma does warn her that hanging around Terry might not be in her best interest. Terry spies on her through her bedroom window without realizing that the nosey woman across the street, Louise (Luana Anders), is actually spying on him at the same time. Terry soon begins running into some of the women from his past – Tina (Sue Bernard), the young woman who sent him to jail, and Ms. Benson (Ruth Roman), his former attorney both have some interesting run-ins with the newly freed man. It soon becomes obvious, however, that Terry is not at all normal. His mother might deny it and try to cover up his actions, but how long will she be able to hide the fact that her son is not at all right in the head?

    The Killing Kind is a slightly predictable but wholly effective thriller from the late Curtis Harrington. While the film is well directed and well-paced, the primary reasons that it works are the excellent performances from Savage and Sothern who are perfect in their familiar roles. Sothern in particular is quite convincing and, in her own way, quite chilling as the all too attentive mother while Savage’s range of emotions really convey not only the anger and frustration that Terry obviously feels but also the undeniable urges he can no longer fight and the confusion that would come with those feelings.

    An interesting supporting cast also works well in favor of the film. It’s fun to see Sue Bernard (probably best known for playing in Linda Faster Pussycat… Kill! Kill!) in a supporting role despite the horrible things that happen to her character and seeing a pre-American Graffiti/Lavern & Shirley Cindy Williams pop up in the picture is kind of nifty in a ‘hey look at that’ sort of way! Ruth Roman from Day Of The Animals is good as the lawyer and Luana Anders of Easy Rider fame as the neighbor is appropriately quirky.

    Worth noting is that the Louise character from The Killing Kind also shows up in The Attic (where she’s played by Carrie Snodgrass rather than Luana Anders), which was directed by George Edwards rather than Curtis Harrington but which was written by Tony Crechales and George Edwards, the same team that wrote The Killing Kind.

    The Killing Kind – Blu-ray Review:

    Vinegar Syndrome presents The Killing Kind in its original 1.85.1 widescreen aspect ratio in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation taken from a new 2k scan of the original 35mm negative and it looks fantastic. The image is very clean, showing very little print damage at all outside of an occasional small white speck. The picture retains its film-like qualities throughout, showing no evidence of any noise reduction. Edge enhancement and compression artifacts are never a problem while fine detail is strong throughout save for a few scenes that were intentionally shot a little soft. Colors look great, black levels are nice and deep and there’s impressive depth to the image.

    The sole audio option on this disc is an English language DTS-HD Mono track that comes with optional English subtitles. Dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow and there are no problems with hiss or distortion. A few scenes are a bit flat but for an older, low budget picture there’s nothing to complain about here. The film sounds just fine and the score in particular gets a nice boost here over the past DVD edition.

    Extras for this release start off with a commentary track from David Decoteau of Rapid Heart and David Del Valle of Sinister Image. They spend a good bit of time talking about Harrington’s background, his early days in the business, and his various projects in the film business. As they both knew Harrington in real life, they’ve got some interesting stories here and manage to do a nice job of detailing the production and its history.

    Also included here is Harrington On Harrington, a twenty-five-minute career-spanning interview with Harrington from Jeffrey Schwarz and Tyler Hubby wherein he speaks about his career and his projects as well as some of the Hollywood big times that he came into contact with over the years. This was clearly shot some time ago as he looks fairly young here. Either way, it’s a good piece and a nice look over this career in the entertainment industry.

    Carried over from the previous DVD release from Dark Sky Films is a length twenty-minute video interview with the late Curtis Harrington, shot shortly before he passed away in May of 2007. The jovial Harrington talks about his career in cinema, covers a few of the different films that he worked on and talks about how he got his start in the film industry. Aside from that, we get some animated menus and chapter selection.

    The disc comes packaged with some nice reversible cover art and the first 1500 units ordered directly from Vinegar Syndrome will come with a limited-edition slipcover. I’m not one to normally geek out over slipcovers but Vinegar Syndrome really does a fantastic job with theirs!

    The Killing Kind – The Final Word:

    A surprisingly underrated and effective thriller, The Killing Kind receives a very nice release from Vinegar Syndrome. We get a nice selection of extras and a fantastic presentation for the movie itself – and most importantly of all, the movie itself holds up quite well.

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