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April 5, 2017

Movie Reviews: Deadly Embrace (1989) and Murder Weapon (1989)

Directed by Ellen Cabot (aka David DeCouteau)

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Deadly Embrace: Fresh-out-of-rehab and desperate for dough – Jan-Michael Vincent (THE Jan-Michael Vincent, and not his character in Deadly Embrace, “Stewart Moreland”) takes a private eye gig at the behest of friend Evan (Jack Carter) who thinks his wife (Ty Randolph) is having a lusty affair with their gardener (Chris Bauer).  Linnea Quigley walks in and has sex with whoever, and fellow Scream Queen Michelle Bauer gropes herself in some unrelated fantasy sequences as the “Female Spirit of Sex.” People are shot and killed.

Murder Weapon: Daughters of mob bosses Dawn (Quigley) and Amy (Karen Russell) win their release from a sanitarium after performing sexual favors on psychiatrists Dr. Gram (Lenny Rose) and Dr. Randolph (Lyle Waggoner from TV’s “The Carol Burnett Show” as well as the sick-o necrophile romance Love Me Deadly, 1972). They throw a party at Dawn’s late father’s mansion and invite a bunch of boys in short-shorts for a party. There are a bunch of surprisingly graphic murders – especially to viewers accustomed to these type of projects that rarely deliver – and it was Linnea all along! Aaaah! 

Yup, yup, yup, DeCouteau’s three-day wonders have hit Blu-Ray thanks to the fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome, The results are less than thrilling. One questions a society where preservation of such errata is worthy of first-class digital preservation. Little surprise as there’s no making a silk purse out of these sow’s ears. Deadly Embrace is the far less offensive of the two, reminding one of something watched on a Sunday morning in a low-rent motel room without cable TV. Perfectly mediocre, it moves fairly well and is relatively painless.

Murder Weapon, on the other hand, has lots of comically inept moments that would endear it to any camp movie audience. The film’s music composer (he did get a credit, can’t find him on the imdb, I’m NOT going to watch the movie again to get his name) serves as the unsung hero for the feature. By chance or design, his sonorous synthesizer soundtrack drowns out the long dialogue scenes between Quigley and Rose/ Russell and Waggoner, shot against stark black and white minimalist backdrops, respectively. These scenes capably eat up screen time, music drowning out the actors, at one point making your home entertainment system positively HUM from over-modulation. No amount of tinkering by the wizards at Vinegar Syndrome could save this, it appears.

The gore comes as a major surprise. One guy’s head is graphically squished, another has his chest torn apart from a hand coming up from underneath a mattress he’s laying on – and in an especially gruesome touch, the hand forces the poor guy’s intestines down his mouth! As stated previously, these scenes are quite shocking to those who rented these at the video shoppe back in the day for the sole intention of looking at Linnea’s tits. It doesn’t save the day, however.

This Vinegar Syndrome release – available both on DVD and Blu-Ray, features brief introductions by director DeCouteau, a commentary track each by DeCouteau and Quigley – who co-produced, as well as outtakes and a trailer for Murder Weapon. In the meantime … Lon Chaney’s London After Midnight continues to languish in a vault somewhere …

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