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July 29, 2013

Movie Review: Punk Vacation (Blu-ray, 1987)

The punk sub-genre had a really nice life during the 80s'. Class of 1984 and Suburbia come to mind as some essentially viewing for anyone interested in that period. Heck, even Return of the Living Dead had an oder of "punk" to the rampant brain-eating shenanigans. Vinegar Syndrome have dug up a punk film that I had no idea existed, a little flick called Punk Vacation from director Stanley Lewis and producer Stephen Fusci and given it the Blu-ray treatment - with an additional disc of goodies!

When a punk gang decides to go on a trip to get away from the congestion of the city they also bring trouble with them. Instead of relaxing, roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories these motorcycle-riding Aqua Net abusers bring their own brand of foolishness with them when they start harassing a convenience store owner and his daughter, Sally (Karen Renee) over 40 cents lost in a soda machine.

Things end badly for the father and Sally isn’t much better, but thankfully she’s alive after the punks dash from the scene. Deputy Steve Reed (Stephen Fiachi) and his girlfriend, Lisa (Sandra Brogan) -- who happens to be Sally’s sister -- are there too little too late. It isn’t too late though for an angry Lisa to exact revenge on the bastards for killing her Dad and hurting her sister.

 Punk Vacation looks much sharper then you’d expect from the title, it’s actually shot quite well and even the acting is for the most part serviceable. We get some nice bursts of action as well in between some gobs of melo-drama. While not overly campy, there are some lines in the movie (particularly some of the exchanges between the dopey cops) that will have you laughing. The movie overall has the vibe of a cheesy action flick that would be shown on cable just before Red Shoe Diaries and the other soft-core pickle-slapping.

On the second disc (DVD) Vinegar Syndrome has been generous with some cool extras that include interviews with actor and producer Stephen Fusci and stuntman Steve Rowlands. Also included on this bonus disc is an extensive gallery with photos from behind-the-scenes as well as numerous promotional items.

The best bonus is the inclusion of Nomad Riders. A group of murderous rebel-rousers named The Marauders terrorize a town, tossing grenades at innocent folks, blowing up construction workers trying to crap in port-o-potties and trashing an elderly woman's house just for kicks. The locals soon become instilled with fear of this gang of savages.

The Marauders end up messing with the wrong guy though, after they toss a grenade in the tent holding Steve Thrust's (Tony Laschi) wife and child. Following this event viewers are treated to one of the goofiest slow-motion post-death breakdowns by a character. Right here I was hooked! We soon find out these bastards were sent on a hit by a mobster to kill Thrust, but fail to do so and just piss him off more.

This Death Wish inspired nugget is surprisingly fun, albeit horrifically acted and written; it's frequently hilarious though. At one point The Marauders are hanging out in the world’s worst biker bar (complete with a flat-chested stripper wearing an awful looking bra from TJ-Max) and out of nowhere some brave audience member busts out some electric boogaloo. Hilarious stuff, indeed, especially if you like this kind of ridiculousness.  Some viewers may actually enjoy Nomad Riders more then Punk Vacation as it's so goofy. The film is tape sourced (unlike Punk Vacation) but looks very good considering

This release is a little bit of a departure from previous Vinegar Syndrome releases, but this package maintains an oddball charm that seems to make each of their releases unique from the last. Punk Vacation is enjoyable and looks fantastic on Blu-ray but I have to say, if you purchase this disc don't bypass Nomad Riders as just an "extra" because honestly, it's a hoot! Fans will be pleased, as this is another winner from Vinegar Syndrome.

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