• Last Gasp (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: March 16th, 2021.
    Director: Scott McGinnis
    Cast: Robert Patrick, Joanna Pacula, Nan Martin, Don Edmonds, Mimi Craven
    Year: 1995
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    Last Gasp – Movie Review:

    Directed by Scott Mc Ginnis and released straight to video in 1995, Last Gasp introduces us to Leslie Chase (Robert Patrick), a cut-throat real estate developer who cares about one thing and one thing only, and that’s closing the deal and making some money. If it just so happens that in order to get his latest project off the ground he needs to attempt genocide on a remote tribe of Mexican natives to make that happen, well, Leslie is a garbage human being and isn’t above taking that route.

    A few days and a whole lot of dead tribespeople later, including the tribe’s chief, Chase has the land he wants to move forward with his project. What Leslie didn’t count on was getting possessed by the spirit of the very chief he oversaw the murder of. When that happens, it complicates things as Leslie is soon out murdering various people involved in all of this. As the murders continue, a private detective named Ray Tattinger (Vyoto Ruginis) is hired by a woman named Nora Weeks (Joanna Pacula) to find out what happened to one of the people that Leslie killed. He’s savvy enough to follow the clues back to Chase and starts putting the pieces of this puzzle back together.

    Last Gasp is a bit of a mixed bag. It offers some reasonably salacious moments of decent gore effects and some late night cable TV style nudity to check off a few low hanging exploitation checkboxes but suffers from some pacing issues in the middle stretch. Some of the murder set pieces are fairly tense and nicely shot but a lot of the movie looks a bit bland, in spite of using the type of exotic locations and characters that should spice things up a bit in the visuals department. The bad soft jazz soundtrack feels more like something you’d hear in an episode of The Red Shoe Diaries than in a horror movie, and it does the film no favors whatsoever.

    Robert Patrick isn’t bad as the male lead here. He’s always had a knack for playing characters that lean towards the nastier side of the spectrum, and he makes good villain when given the proper material to work with. He makes the most of the lead role offered him with this project and does just fine. Joanna Pacula is also more than decent here as the female lead, handling the material without any real issue. Mimi Craven (Wes Craven’s one-time wife) is nice to see here, and Ruginis is okay as the private detective character. The rest of the cast are fine, if not particularly memorable.

    Had the plot been a bit more gripping and the film more successful at building tension this would probably be better known and better regarded than it is, but that didn’t wind up happening and the end results are just okay, never really all that remarkable.

    Last Gasp – Blu-ray Review:

    Last Gasp arrives on Region A Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome “newly scanned & restored in 4k from its original 35mm negative” in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. Taking up 23.6GBs of space on the 25GB disc, Vinegar Syndrome has once again done a really nice job with the transfer. Detail is impressive and often times very strong. The movie is often times very dark , with lots of it taking place at night, so the film’s natural color scheme doesn’t always pop the way some brighter movies would in high definition, but the color reproduction here is very good. Skin tones look nice, black levels are strong and there are no problems at all with any noise reduction or edge enhancement.

    Audio options are offered in 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono and Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, both in the film’s original English language. Optional SDH subtitles are available in English only. The lossless track is, obviously, the way to go if you’ve got the hardware for it. Dialogue is clear and concise, always easy to follow. The score sounds solid, no problems with any hiss or distortion, it all sounds very good.

    The main extra here is the inclusion of over fifteen-minutes of extensive outtakes. These were silent so they’re presented with music over top. Some of them are interesting to see as we get a fair bit of gore here and there, some establishing shots, some added violence, a bit more footage with the natives and even some body painting!

    An original theatrical trailer is also provided on the disc, as are menus and chapter selection. It’s also worth pointing out that this release comes packaged with some nice reversible cover art.

    Last Gasp - The Final Word:

    Last Gasp is entertaining enough to give it a watch if you’re a slasher movie buff or have an affection for mid-nineties straight to video horror pictures thanks to some decent effects and a couple of good performances but the film suffers from some pacing issues and a plot that never really catches fire. That said, if Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray release isn’t stacked with extras the outtakes are nice to see and the presentation is top notch.

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