Grave Robbers Blu Ray Review (Vinegar Syndrome)
Grave Robbers (aKa Dead Mate) is a 1988 horror comedy written & directed by Straw Weisman (Man of the Year, Trunk, Dreaming Heaven, & The Truth: The Journey Within). It was produced by Lew Mishkin (Monstrosity, Carnage, A Hard Day for Archie, & Pelvis). Nora Mae Edwards (played by: Elizabeth Mannino) had always dreamed that a handsome & wealthy man would offer to marry her, but she never expected to find love while working the night shift at a sleazy diner. However, when John Henry Cox (played by: David Gregory from Never Let Go, Jailbreak, The Marked One, & The Hi-Jackers) proposes to her within moments of their meeting, Nora can’t help but say yes. Whisked off to John’s home town of Newbury to live in his family’s mansion, Nora discovers that her new husband’s profession is that of an undertaker, & that the local death toll is disproportionately high. Something isn’t right with this small town, the locals are a little odd which include Sheriff Porter (played by: Larry Bockius from An Empty Bed), Morley the Chauffeur (played by: Kelvin Keraga from Underground), Evan Matthews (played by: Adam Wahl from Buford’s Beach Bunnies), Evan Matthews (played by: Jerry Rector from Mean Guns, Fatal Instinct, Army of Darkness, & Blast), & many other wacky characters. As the joys of marital bliss soon give way to increasingly violent nightmares, she begins to suspect that her seemingly gentle husband may be harboring a dark secret, especially when she learns that she’s far from the first ‘Mrs. Cox,’ but even more terrifyingly, that while her husband desires her body, he’d prefer it cold and dead….
I’ve never heard of Grave Robbers until Vinegar Syndrome announced it for blu ray. The story & concept grabbed my attention right away. I had low expectations but I was pretty excited to check it out to be honest. It ended up being so much better than I thought it would be! This lower budget film is full of entertainment & it gets really dark. Necrophilia is a subject that surprisingly doesn’t get covered much in cinema when it comes to horror. Most people would probably say it’s going too far & pushing the limits but I disagree. Everyone has the right to make whatever they want when it comes to film. In the late 80s, they were pumping out so many horror films for the home video market that smaller stuff like this got lost in the mix. It has some funny moments especially all the weird people in this but for the most part it’s more serious in tone & kinda fucked up. For what they had to work with, the special effects were very impressive on this production. There’s some memorable gruesome stuff in this. It’s definitely the highlight here. Also, one of my favorite things about this feature was the music for it. The score & the soundtrack were a nice mix. It had some solid twists & turns to keep you on your toes while viewing it. The ending kinda throws you for a loop. I didn’t expect that at all. If you are looking for something new to check out for 80s horror, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this title & release from Vinegar Syndrome!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Vinegar Syndrome! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer taken from a new scan & restoration in 2K from a 35mm camera negative. Vinegar Syndrome proves once again that they are the best when it comes to restoring forgotten & older features. Grave Robbers looks like it had a bigger budget than it actually did. The cinematography was crafty & towards the end it got real crazy! The English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track is very clean & the music from the film sounds great here! It was used at all the right moments here & it elevated the production. It also includes English SDH subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features on this blu ray disc. There’s a “Intro” from director Straw Weisman before the feature starts. “Audio Commentary” with director Straw Weisman moderated by Vinegar Syndrome’s own Joe Rubin. He talks about the origin of the project. He chats about the struggles of getting a theatrical release in the late 80s. He brings up all the similar competition at the time. He mentions some of his other projects & experiences with low budget film making. He goes into detail about his other jobs in the film industry & how he earned money back then. He talks about working with producer Lew Mishkin. He says there’s things he would do different if he made this film today. He talks a little bit about the cast at the end. “Interview” is an almost 19 minute chat with director Straw Weisman. He says it’s hard being a independent filmmaker. He talks about his past & what work he’s done in the film industry. He tells a story about working on his first porn shoot. He chats about his screenwriting & he says he ghost directed a few projects that no one knows about. Last but not least, you get the “Original Video Trailer”. It’s also available direct from Vinegar Syndrome which includes a limited edition slipcover!!!!