All-American Murder is a 1991 direct-to-video thriller film directed by actor Anson Williams (Lone Star Kid, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Baywatch, Charmed, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Star Trek, and A Quiet Little Neighborhood, a Perfect Little Murder). It was written and produced by Barry Sandler (Crimes of Passion, The Other Side of Midnight, Evil Under the Sun, and Making Love). It was produced by Barry Barnholtz (Leprechaun, Sometimes They Come Back… Again, The Mangler 2/3, Cyborg 2, Deadfall, Another 9½ Weeks, and Thunder in Paradise franchise). It was released direct to video in the states by Trimark Pictures.
Artie Logan (played by: Charlie Schlatter from 18 Again!, Heartbreak Hotel, Diagnosis Murder, Ferris Bueller TV Series, and Bright Lights, Big City) has a history of getting himself in trouble. He’s been kicked out of every school he’s attended and is no friend to the law, which makes matters extra complicated for his wealthy father, who happens to be a judge. Given one last chance, Artie is shipped off to Fairfield College. When his new fling who happens to be the senator’s daughter, Tally (played by: Josie Bissett from Hitcher in the Dark, The Doors, Mikey, and Melrose Place) is burned to death by an unknown assailant. The suspicion immediately falls on the known loser Artie. Adamant of his innocence, he’s granted a 24 hour period in which to unmask the actual culprit. Detective P.J. Decker (played by: Christopher Walken from The Addiction, The Dead Zone, The Jesus Rolls, Excess Baggage, Pulp Fiction, Suicide Kings, The Deer Hunter, and True Romance) is hot on his trail and waiting for him to make a mistake at any given time. As his hours of freedom dwindle, the killer strikes again and again!!!!
All-American Murder starts out as your typical 90’s teen flick but it gets dark really quick soon after. It’s been called an American Giallo which just means suspense thriller and sometimes borderline slasher in the states. I missed this one back in the day when it first hit home video here and I’ve always been a huge Christopher Walken fan so that alone grabbed my attention right away. When I seen it first announced and promoted, I figured it was just going to be quick cameo from the legendary actor and I was definitely wrong about that. Christopher Walken is a major character in All-American Murder. He has some of the best dialogue and scenes from the witty and dark script for this. I think he was the best character here and I loved how he did his police work during his investigation. He conned the criminals so he could take them out during self defense. This rarely seen role is worth looking into if you are a fan of his work. He doing all kinds of huge productions at the time, I am shocked that they got him to do this smaller independent feature. Charlie Schlatter is the lead here and he is very popular at the time. His character is really odd here and you can see why everyone thinks that he is the killer from the start. Josie Bissett was excellent eye candy in this. All-American Murder had a solid supporting cast that included Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner), Woody Watson (Eddie Macon’s Run), Richard Kind (Spin City), Mitchell Anderson (Jaws: The Revenge), and J.C. Quinn (Days of Thunder and Maximum Overdrive). It had some slasher vibes at times and some of the kills here were brutal. It had a good tension and thrills during it’s runtime. The finale had a better than expected twist. This one kinda surprised me on how good it was, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Vinegar Syndrome. This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer is newly scanned and restored in 2k from it’s 35mm interpositive. I did some research for this coverage, I checked out some of the original releases when it came to the transfers for this direct to video thriller and Vinegar Syndrome made this one look like a whole new movie when compared to those past versions. They prove once again, they are one of the best when it comes to film restoration. This brand new blu ray blows everything away and it’s the best it’s ever going to look. It has a few different audio tracks that includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and English: Dolby Digital 2.0 on this release. It’s definitely an improvement from before. This one won’t blow up your speakers or anything but it does have a nice boost during the tense moments in this with it’s elevated music. All of the dialogue is crystal clear. It has English SDH subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Vinegar Syndrome! It has an “Audio Commentary” with The Hysteria Continues. They chat about how they were first introduced to this film. They talk about the comedy, horror, and thriller hybrid that it combines. They bring up the cast and go over some of their favorite scenes. It has some decent information during the track. They just have lots of fun checking out this while giving their thoughts on it. It has the little over 15 minute “Being on a Team” interview with lead actor Charlie Schlatter. He reveals that original director was supposed to be Ken Russell. He goes over his role here. He chats about the cast and his experience from this feature. He tells a few stories about Christopher Walken. The script, locations, and poor distribution is brought up here, He brings up the rest of his acting career towards the end. It has the almost 15 minute “A Valuable Experience” interview with cinematographer Geoffrey Schaaf. He chats about previously working with the director. He talks about only having a few weeks to do this project so he had be creative with it while moving fast. He goes over his experience, style, and Christopher Walken, It has reversible artwork. It’s available on VinegarSyndrome.com and it’s limited to 4,000 copies so do not sleep on this release especially during their Halfway to Black Friday sale that’s going on right now. It’s available at various other locations right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!