Blue Vengeance Blu Ray Review (Vinegar Syndrome)
Blue Vengeance is a 1989 horror action hybrid film written/directed by J. Christian Ingvordsen (Airboss Trilogy, Hangmen, Mob War, The Outfit, & Absolute Aggression). This direct to video rarity didn’t have any home video release here so it’s pretty much unknown to most unless they seen it on late night cable, a bootleg, or purchased a overseas release. It was available from RCA / Columbia Pictures Video in the United Kingdom, Germany, & Australia. It was produced by Shapiro Glickenhaus Entertainment. The relentless serial killer Mark Trex (played by: John Weiner from Shocktroop, B.F.D., Comrades in Arms, & Shatter Dead) also known as the Mirror Man Killer has just escaped from the mental asylum after a faked suicide. Everyone thought they were safe from his madness until now. He is on a mission that leads him to New York City to find his favorite band Warriors of the Inferno. He believes that their lyrics are speaking directly to him.
Their words of Satan & Death are his inspiration for his evil crimes. He wants to confirm that the musical act is serious about their message. All of the band members are now living normal lives & they all moved on from Warriors of the Inferno. Mark Trex is experiencing weird visions & starting his own collection of body parts during his path of destruction. It’s personal for the disgraced N.Y.P.D. Detective Mickey McCardle (played by: co-director J. Christian Ingvordsen from Covert Action, Search and Destroy, Backfire!, & Fort Doom) who lost his partner to this same monster several years ago. He gets help from photographer Tiffany O’Brian (played by: Garland Hunter from Childhood’s End, The Tao of Steve, & Tiny Furniture) who is familiar with the local music scene. Mickey McCardle is a cop that pushed his limits too far when it came to the law. He is determined to do anything to stop the killing spree from this ruthless maniac.
I am a big fan of the New York cop sub genre & I tend to enjoy more of the officer on the edge type of a character compared to your cliche hero. Any fans of gritty New York cinema & crime will appreciate this obscure title. Blue Vengeance almost feels like a lost Larry Cohen production to me. That’s not a surprise considering J. Christian Ingvordsen was a Key Grip on The Stuff & A Return to Salem’s Lot. It’s really about two characters clashing with each other & trying to be one step ahead. It’s a good psychological study between two different people going through the same situation. I thought the horror elements added to the familiar crime concept & it elevated everything. Blue Vengeance steps in slasher territory & it honestly it could easily be considered one at the end of the day. This isn’t super gory or filled with non stop killing but it does have some nice moments in it. It’s definitely enough to keep any horror fan entertained. Mark Trex / the Mirror Man Killer is a pretty good villain & John Weiner steals the show as the deranged psychopath. Hopefully more people check this out after it’s release, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition (1.85:1) presentation for this. It was newly scanned & restored from in 2K from the original 35MM camera negative. I have nothing to compare this to since it never had a home video release here. This was the first time I’ve seen Blue Vengeance but it looks really good for being a late 80s low budget film. The transfer is actually way better than expected, especially for something that’s pretty much been unreleased in America all these years. Honestly, I’ve never been let down by Vinegar Syndrome when it comes to restoration. The DTS-HD master audio mono track sounds great on my home set up. Christopher Burke’s (The Toxic Avenger, Splatter University, The Refrigerator, & Fright House) score & all the bands in the club scenes really stand out on it. Considering music plays a big part in this feature, it adds more life into the production.
Vinegar Syndrome KILLED it on this new blu ray release when it comes to the special features! You get an intro from writer/director/producer/actor J. Christian Ingvordsen before the film. Audio Commentary with writer/director/producer/actor J. Christian Ingvordsen & moderated by former Fangoria editor Michael Gingold. They get in conversation about the last great run for independent cinema. Ingvordsen chats about his working experience with Larry Cohen. They discuss some of the New York locations in the film. Ingvordsen talks about his appreciation for Conan the Barbarian. You can tell he was inspired by it during certain moments in Blue Vengeance. The 2nd Audio Commentary with actor/writer/producer John Weiner by himself. The villain of the film actually keeps it entertaining while doing the audio track solo which isn’t easy to do. He mentions some of the similar stuff from the other commentary like the New York locations used in the film & stories about the production.. He talks about some of the music in the film. He was friends with one of the bands. He also brings up his research for the role. He brings up Troma Entertainment & how they were doing similar films as them at the time. It’s nice to have two different options when it comes to this specific extra. “Making ‘Blue Vengeance'” is a 19 minute documentary. It features co-writer/co-director/producer/actor J. Christian Ingvordsen, co-writer/co-director Danny Kuchuck, actor/writer/producer John Weiner, sound/actor Whitney Ransack, & assistant director Matthew Howe. The title is a little misleading because it’s not really all about the actual film. It’s more of a discussion on how movies were made back then. It was easier to get projects made back in the day when it had a known actor featured in it.
The rental places were begging for new VHS titles to fill their shelves so everyone was pumping out low budget productions to make that quota. It’s ironic that this is brought up on this particular film because it actually never had a U.S. release. They basically say this one was made too late & missed out on that home video explosion. Which obviously explains why it never had a domestic release here until now. Ingvordsen talks about how he loved the New York cop genre & they wanted to make that type of film. It didn’t go as planned because the distributor wanted horror elements thrown in the mix to help sell Blue Vengeance. Ingvordsen brings up Larry Cohen again & he talks about how he inspired him when it came to film making. “On Blue Vengeance” is a 13 minute conversation between J. Christian Ingvordsen & Michael Gingold. This is a basically an extension of what was said on the previous feature & adds more details to the topics brought up before. It also adds other stories like working with Shapiro Glickenhaus Entertainment & his earlier film projects. Last but not least, I feel like this extra is kinda being down played by others when it comes to reviewing & writing up on this release. This is one of the best special features you can ever get! This blu ray is basically a double feature because you get co-writer & co-director Danny Kuchuck’s unreleased arthouse sci-fi film from 1996 titled “The First Man”. It runs a little over 83 minutes & I was very impressed by the cast in this. It features Heather Graham (Twin Peaks), Ted Raimi (Intruder), Lesley Ann Warren (Color of Night), Paul Ben-Victor (Body Parts), Keith Bogart (Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers), & Lisa Zane (Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare)! The treatment Vinegar Syndrome gave for this little known direct to video project is incredible. That’s why I love Vinegar Syndrome as a label because they handle every film the same way no matter how popular it is. You also get a reversible cover & a DVD copy of the release. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!