• Necromancer (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: October 27th, 2020.
    Director: Dusty Nelson
    Cast: Elizabeth Kaitan, Lois Masten Ewing, Stan Hurwitz, John Tyler, Shawn Eisner, Russ Tamblyn
    Year: 1988
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    Necromancer – Movie Review:

    Dusty Nelson’s 1988 film Necromancer basically opens in a garage that has been converted into a Satanic lair of sorts where a witch, or maybe a Necromancer, converses with her dark lord, conjuring up an axe that lands smack dab in the middle of some poor woman’s skull. A punk rock nerd observes all of this, and she uses her evil powers to make his bike disappear into thin air!

    Later, a trio of nogoodniks breaks into a movie house. Julie (Elizabeth Cayton) calls for security but it’s no use and she winds up being raped by the three bad dudes while the guard is in the bathroom taking matters into his own hands, if you catch my drift. The leader of the three guys, Paul (Stan Hurwitz), isn’t worried about her going to the cops because he figures they won’t believe her. Proving him right in a sense, Julie doesn’t bother talking to the fuzz. Instead, she finds an ad in a newspaper advertising ‘The Power’ with a rad phone number. She calls that number and then meets up with Lisa (Lois Masten Ewing), the Necromancer from the opening scene in the Satanic garage. A few minutes and twenty bucks later, and Lisa has made contact with some demons or evil spirits or something and sent into play a wonky revenge plan to get back at Paul and the others on Julie’s behalf.

    Before it’s all over, Lisa will party at Paul’s house and Charles DeLonge (Russ Tamblyn) will grope woman’s breasts under their shirts while a demon that looks an awful lot like our heroine kills a bunch of people while Eric (John Tyler), Julie’s boyfriend, and his band Trapper, rock the fuck out.

    Elizabeth Clayton, who has popped up in Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood as well as Savage Dawn, makes for a decent enough heroine in the picture. She’s pretty and likeable and we definitely do want to see that Paul and the other shit bags that raped her get their comeuppance. Lois Masten Ewing dials her performance up to 11 for this movie, she’s a lot of fun to watch here strutting about in her skimpy red dress spouting off inane dialogue. On top of that, we get an unusually horny Russ Tamblyn running about doing his thing too. Clearly, some wise casting choices were made before this one started filming.

    A weird, supernatural rape revenge movie dressed up like a B-grade horror picture, Necromancer is loaded with late eighties charm and silliness, which makes for a truly entertaining, and seriously goofy, way to kill eighty-eight-minutes in front of your television. The picture doesn’t walk away from the exploitative elements that it needs to work either, meaning that we get a decent amount of reasonably well-done gore, male and female nudity in healthy dollops and a couple of delightfully low-rent Satanic rituals all crammed into the movie’s running time. These things matter more to Dusty Nelson than deep characters or a plot that consistently makes sense and abides by the rules of logic, and honestly, the movie is probably all the better for it.

    Necromancer – Blu-ray Review:

    Vinegar Syndrome brings Necromancer to Blu-ray ‘newly scanned and restored in 4k from its 35mm original camera negative’ on a 50GB disc with the feature taking up just over 26GBs of space and framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. The picture quality here is excellent. We get impressive detail throughout, even in the scenes where heavy, stylized lighting is used, and we get nice, accurate looking skin tones as well. There’s strong depth and great texture and the image shows no issues with any obvious noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifact problems.

    A 24-bit English language DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track is the main audio option on the disc. A Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix is also included, as are optional English subtitles. The lossless mix is a good one, offering a properly balanced track with clean, clear dialogue and a nice, rich soundtrack. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note, it all sounds very good.

    Extras start off with Taking The Reins, an interview with director Dusty Nelson that clocks in at fifty-six-minutes and goes into quite a bit of detail about his background and training, working in the public access television arena before moving into film, shooting his first feature (which would have been Effects), how he came on board to direct Necromancer and why he replaced screenwriter William T. Naud, what it was like working with the cast and crew and his thoughts on the film a few decades since making the picture.

    A Despicable Job is a fifteen-minute interview with actor Lee Cole who covers why he chose to be credited as ‘Stan Hurwitz’ in the movie, how he got the part, how and why screenwriter Naud was originally meant to direct, how he got along with Nelson, what it was like on set, getting along with the cast and crew and then shifting from acting to doing effects work.

    Conjuring The Past gets actor Waide Riddle in front of the camera for twelve-minutes to talk about his cosmetology work, how he landed the role in this movie, working with Producer William J. Males and Director Dusty Nelson, thoughts on his character, how he got along with some of his fellow cast members and how he feels about the movie in hindsight,

    NOTE: This release is part of the Vinegar Syndrome Archive line, and it comes packaged a double-sided poster included inside the keepcase alongside the disc. We also get some cool reversible cover sleeve art as well. Like all VSA releases, this one is ONLY be available on the Vinegar Syndrome website and at participating brick and mortar retailers. This release is limited to 4,000 copies.

    Necromancer – The Final Word:

    Necromancer is a lot of fun, a seriously entertaining not-so-serious B-movie with some neat ideas at play, some wild eighties style and enough trash-movie elements tossed in to ensure that, if nothing else, we’re never bored. Vinegar Syndrome has done a really nice job bringing this one to Blu-ray with a strong presentation and some nice extras. Recommended!

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