• Mausoleum (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: November 23rd, 2018.
    Director: Michael Dugan
    Cast: Marjoe Gortner, Bobbie Bresee, Norman Burton, Maurice Sherbanee, LaWanda Page
    Year: 1983
    Purchase From Amazon

    Mausoleum – Movie Review:

    Mausoleum, directed by Michael Dugan in 1983, opens with a scene where a young girl named Susan Nomed (read it backwards – subtle, right?) enters a creepy old mausoleum to pay respects to her departed mother only to get possessed by a demon! From there, we learn that after her mother died, she was raised by her Aunt Cora (Laura Hippe) and grew into a stone cold fox as an adult (where she is played by Bobbie Bresee of Evil Spawn and Star Slammer). She even married herself a wealthy businessman named Oliver Farrell (Marjoe Gortner of Bobbie Jo And The Outlaw and Food Of The Gods). Her childhood may have been a rough one, but as an adult she seems to have everything you could ask for… if only there wasn’t the whole demonic possession/family curse thing to deal with. Even Elsie the maid (LaWanda Page of Sandford And Son and Shakes The Clown) notices that Susan’s behavior is really, really off.

    See, that possession episode from her childhood, it hasn’t really been properly dealt with. Her eyes are starting to frequently glow an eerie green and she occasionally transforms from a curvy blonde into grey, leathery looking monster with a thirst for blood and murder. If that weren’t enough, she seduces Ben (Maurice Sherbanee), their gardener, and then kills him. When she gets treated by Dr. Simon Andrews (Norman Burton, who played Joe Atkinson on the Wonder Woman TV show in the seventies), he doesn’t buy the whole possession thing… until she starts speaking in a demonic tongue right in front of him, at which point, yeah, he’s convinced something is up. At the same time, people start dying – can Susan be helped, cured of the evil that plagues her?

    Featuring some admittedly impressive effects work from John Carl Buechler (who worked on Halloween 4, Friday The 13th Part VII and plenty more), Mausoleum doesn’t always make a whole lot of sense but it is always entertaining. There’s some solid gore here and the lovely Ms. Bresee… she isn’t shy, let’s put it that way. Sure, the story might he a load of hokum but there’s no shortage of early eighties weirdness on display here. The glowing green eyes, which are pretty common throughout the movie, are cool enough on their own to make this worth checking out. The movie does feature a genuinely eerie opening, that whole thing early on with young Susan in the actual mausoleum, it’s pretty neat and the score from Jaime Mendoza-Nava (who worked on Vampire Hookers and A Boy And His Dog) is also pretty solid.

    The acting? Well, Marjoe Gortner is Marjoe Gortner, he’s fairly goofy here but likeable enough in his own way. Bobbie Bresee isn’t likely to be doing Shakespeare anytime soon but she’s not bad here. Not great, but not bad. She works in the part and was clearly game for everything that the story threw at her. That counts for something. It’s weird seeing LaWanda Page show up here but she’s pretty entertaining in her role, while supporting work from Maurice Sherbanee and Norman Burton is, if not really all that noteworthy, at least serviceable enough to work. Really though, it’s the zanier, trashier elements that make Mausoleum as memorable as it is, and on that level, it’s a whole lot of dopey fun.

    Mausoleum – Blu-ray Review:

    Vinegar Syndrome brings Mausoleum to Blu-ray mostly scanned from the original 35mm negative and framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and it looks beautiful. The elements used for the transfer are virtually pristine, there’s very little damage here at all, while the color reproduction looks fantastic – those glowing green eyes really pop. There’s a lot of appreciable fine detail here to take in, great depth and texture as well, while black levels remain nice and deep without crushing anything. There are no noticeable problems with any compression artifacts nor are there any issues with obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement to complain about.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono is also pretty solid. Dialogue is plenty easy to follow throughout the film and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note. The score and effects sound good and balance is fine from start to finish. Optional subtitles are provided in English only.

    The main extra on the disc is Making Monsters, a nine-minute interview with John Carl Buechler about the makeup effects work he did on the movie. This is done in a split screen, with his interview on the right and clips from the movie on the left. He talks a about his he got the gig, how the producers wanted an old-fashioned demon, his own creative process and how he got along with some of the cast including Bobbie Bresee (who he notes had an allergic reaction to some of the makeup)! He then talks about some of his favorite bits from the movie, who really called all the shots on the film during the shoot, how the vibe on the set was pretty chaotic.

    The disc also includes a theatrical trailer, two TV spots, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    Note that the audio commentary track that was recorded with Bresee for the old BCI DVD release (where it was double featured with Blood Song) remains exclusive to that disc.

    Mausoleum – The Final Word:

    Mausoleum is good, trashy fun providing enough exploitation and horror to satiate most fans. The Blu-ray release from Vinegar Syndrome offers a pretty huge upgrade over what fans have had in the past, presenting the film in beautiful shape and with good audio too. The disc is a little light on extra features, but the quality of the presentation more than makes up for that!

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