Vineyard, The (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus visits a vineyard and realises James Hong is probably insane...
Scientist and celebrated winemaker Dr. Elson Po (James Hong) has discovered the secret to everlasting life. Using a bunch of good-looking and horny youngsters as ingredients, the latest victims are invited to Dr Po's island and the hot young things are about to find out how the celebrated wine maker makes his special brew.
Opening with a series of odd, not fully explained visuals, you could well believe this movie is about drinking blood from blonde girls to have sex with brunettes. This rule is broken about a third of the way through the film but generally the thin veil of generating eternal life through supernaturally blood fueled wine doesn't seem to have the same focus as the screen time that's dedicated to the scantily clad young ladies / victims throughout the film.
Generally the tongue in cheek 'horror' is absolute madness with some crazy ass characters being put through equally crazy ass situations revolving around wine and sex. The party scene at the vineyard is especially insane, with a masked James Hong wildly dancing girls into a dancing trance and that's even before a zombies turns up.
With a soft porn mood in both acting and its T&A visuals The Vineyard is never anything to take too seriously. Highly made up cheek bones and cleavage is the order of things for the ladies and pretty much every character, male or female is a total ditz right up until their deaths. Some of the dialogue and its delivery is truly awful and the accompanying synth score helps nothing to make the budget on this one seem larger than micro.
With that said, James Hong goes 100% into his performance and it's quite entertaining to watch. From his opening sort-of-sex scene with his young cheating bride (even if you look away the disturbing sound of Kung-Fu Panda's dad getting it on is enough to give you nightmares) he's playing this in classic kooky ways. Wildly over the top at every turn, he's by far the best thing about the film and for all of its cheap nastiness Wong made me chuckle enough to buy into the movie from a horror comedy standpoint alone. He really plays this one with a glint in his eye. The fact he wrote, starred and co-directed the film might be the excuse for that I guess.
The TV/soft porn lighting here has a very soft, very VHS looking image. There's specks of dancing grain and odd flecks of dirt throughout and outside of the the very pink skin tones this holds a rather largely muted colour pallet. This is mainly because every exterior location feels overcast or shot in the shade and the interior scenes are strangles by the softness, only enabling the odd primary colour to reach out of the screen.
The stereo track is clear but of course limited. Bigger scenes can have crowd ambiance, swells of noise and even get added layers of score from time to time but none of that reaches beyond the TV movie production really. The synth score is probably the strongest element here, mainly because it's so offensively bad but this entire track is enough to keep the late 80s feel of cheap horror slasher flicks but totally fails when trying to create any sense of tension or scares.
The only extra here is the trailer and at four minutes long it does its best to paint The Vineyard as a horror and makes the film seem much darker than it's played in the actual film.
The Vineyard should actually be called ' Idiots Who Can't Handle Their Wine And Deserve What They Get' but even with a cast of fools taken into account I have to say I had a lot of silly fun with this one. The disc itself is lacking in extras and isn't exactly a disc to excited about A/V wise but for a silly T&A 80s horror, this one is actually stupid enough to entertain.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Release Date: 1st January 1995
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Stereo 2.0 English
Easter Egg: No
Director: James Hong, William Rice
Cast: James Hong, Karen Lorre, Michael Wong
Length: 89 minutes
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