In Search of Bigfoot/Cry Wilderness
Directors-Lawrence Crowley, William F. Miller, Jay Schlossberg-Cohen
Cast-Robert W. Morgan, Eric Foster, Maurice Grandmaison
Country of Origin-U.S.
Because lovers of low-budget drive-in schlock can never get enough Bigfoot movies Vinegar Syndrome has piled two of the sub-genre's more obscure entries onto one DVD with new high-definition transfers. Both are rather inoffensive and won't appeal to anyone but fans of family-friendly monster porn.
The first is the documentary In Search of Bigfoot, in which a crew of scientists and explorers lead by Robert Morgan heads into the forests of Washington State in a seemingly futile pursuit of the elusive Sasquatch. The team devotes three-and-a-half months to a search that takes them to the base of Mount St. Helens, almost five years prior to its 1980 eruption, and through underground lava tubes that the creature may have used as a home or burial site. Morgan notes that bringing firearms is pretty much pointless because they would be ineffective against Bigfoot. The film is low on unintentional comedy value though the narration by Phil Tonken comes the closest to eliciting any laughs due to its excessively sincere tone. It wouldn't be spoiling anything to note that In Search of Bigfoot ends with the creature remaining undiscovered after a forest fire sadly cuts Morgan and his team's journey short (and also causes much destruction and death to the landscape and wildlife, but who gives a shit about that?).
The star of the show is the borderline-obsessive Morgan, his shaven scalp making him look like a missile charging into the woods to prove that he isn't a lunatic. The team assembled to accompany him on his delusional quest includes a biologist, naturalist, anthropologist, and the requisite Sasquatch expert among others. Since the focus is mostly on Morgan the other members of the team don't get much screen time unless their fearless leader also happens to be present. The footage filmed at the Washington locations looks good and directors Lawrence Crowley and William F. Miller throw in plenty of random shots of animals prowling and brawling to break up the lack of Bigfoot, though there is very little interaction between Morgan's team and the other woodland critters. The music is provided by Jeff Gillman and award-winning studio musician and composer Robert Mounsey and features an infectious harmonica-and-banjo theme that is so good the filmmakers let it play in full over the end credits even though the full cue runs around four minutes and there's only two-and-a-half minutes worth of credits.
The second feature on this double bill is the 1986 family feature Cry Wilderness, probably best known as the only full-length movie made by Jay Schlossberg-Cohen, a segment director on the horror anthology Night Train to Terror (another recent release from Vinegar Syndrome). The hero of Cry is Paul Cooper (Eric Foster), an adventure-seeking kid who runs away from boarding school when the mythical Bigfoot (Tom Folkes) appears to him in a vision and warns that the life of his father Will (Maurice Grandmaison), a forest ranger, is in jeopardy. After hitchhiking for a single night and day Paul manages to locate his father in the middle of the woods as Will and a posse are on the hunt for a creature that has the nearby townspeople running scared. Together with Will's Indian friend Jim (John Tallman) the father and son team encounter bears and tigers (but not a single lion) that don't mean them much harm. The greatest danger to their lives is Morgan Hicks (Griffin Casey), a hunter who freelances for the government and has been hired by the local sheriff (Joe Fuzz) to kill Bigfoot before the town's summer resort is scheduled to open two weeks before the beginning of the season.
Made solely to appeal to kids and adults alike (but mostly the kids), Cry Wilderness is an ideal example of disposable children's entertainment made with competency and skill. With the exception of the ridiculous Bigfoot make-up design nothing about this movie really stands out, but though the sum of Cry's parts isn't a number at which to be amazed it still makes a pleasant enough diversion to warrant a mild recommendation. The lead performance by Eric Foster is fine for a character who straddles the line between precocious and irritable for most of the film and his acting looks all the more like a seasoned professional when compared to the flat, leaden performances from his adult peers. Cry Wilderness is a goofy hybrid of kiddie fantasy and outdoor adventure with the hook behind the use of Bigfoot being that only children can see him and adults could if they only believed. There is also some Native American mysticism thrown into the mix for good measure, because when you already have a Bigfoot only visible to kids with flights of fancy, random wildlife hi-jinx, a hotel magnate villain straight out of a 1970's disaster flick, bear wrestling, and a strange Coca-Cola product placement nothing else can be considered overkill.
Vinegar Syndrome scanned both films in 2K using the best available elements. For In Search of Bigfoot they used the original 16mm camera negative, and for Cry Wilderness the original 35mm camera negative was employed. Each transfer carries a few modest defects but they are for the most part quite clean and low in grain content. In Search is presented in the 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio while Cry's anamorphic widescreen transfer is framed in the 1.85:1 ratio. Only Cry carries a noticeable defect whose inclusion in the print in retrospect feels unnecessary. During a brief montage of wild animal footage there are a few stray shots that looked sourced from a third generation VHS bootleg. V.S. could have edited them out and no one would have been the wiser, but they weren't and their presence mars what is otherwise a good transfer. The English mono tracks provided for both films do their jobs well with audible dialogue, clean ambient effects, and not a trace of distortion or lasting damage to the soundtracks. Subtitles have not been included.
There are no extras on this double feature release.
Two decently entertaining Bigfoot movies for the price of one and the kids can enjoy them too. The video and audio quality for both features aren't perfect but they are doubtlessly much better than they've looked and sounded in years. Excellent work from Vinegar Syndrome.
The Films: 3/5
All Night Long (1975)
Director- Alan Colberg
Cast- John Holmes, Sharon Thorpe, Patricia Lee, Esther Walker, Kevin Goodrum
Country of Origin- U.S.
Written by Abraham Phillips
John Holmes is one of the most legenedary porn actors of all time, and he starts in All Night Long, an absolute masterpiece of classic adult entertainment. The plot is simple, two men Holmes and porn god Rick Lutze make a pacton to see who can win have sex with the most women in one night. The plot is simple, but allows for some truly classic and entertainment moments. John is at his best and the action is hot, sweet and eye opening perfect. On an interesting note, cult and horror movie lovers will recognize a familiar face, George “Buck” Flower is in this. All Night Long has a bit of something for every classic porn fan from great humor, great sex, orgies, domination and even a little bit of love. A must see, must own for any fan of sexual cinema. John Holmes fans will love taking a peak into his career beginnings.
Vinegar Syndrome have done a fantastic restoration with this title. The picture quality is presented in its original anamorphic widescreen of 1:85:1. Restored in 2K from the original 35mm camera negative. I highly recommend this classic.
The Film: 4/5
Tapestry of Passion (1976)
Director- Alan Colberg
Cast- John Holmes, Sharon Thorpe, Leslie Bovee, Annette Haven, Patricia Lee
Country of Origin- U.S.
Written by Abraham Phillips
The second half of this double feature stars John Holmes once again. Another classic retro trip of sex. Now Holmes plays his iconic character of Johnny Wadd. He is a detective. He is on a case seeking out a black widower who is offing her lovers. Now what’s better than a film, about big Private Dick seeking out a sex killer? A mystery is happening and Holmes is going to solve the case the only way he knows how. Of course being John Holmes, this detective isn't lucky for cash for his time. Tapestry has a fun somewhat classic and cliched storyline, that is perfect for this sort of cinema. A perfect example for lovers of this cinema.
Vinegar Syndrome knows how to please the fan and like All Night Long the picture quality is presented in its original anamorphic widescreen of 1:85:1. This one ACTUALLY looks and sounds a lot better than the first feature All Night Long. I enjoyed being able to experience both of these in a restored fashion.
Both of these features are truly a must own experience even for, the, none porn fan. If you’re a fan of porn then these are required to own, if you’re just now seeking out the world of porn or better yet the wonderful amazing company Vinegar Syndromes line of sex films, then this is where you should start.
The Film: 4/5
The Ultimate Pleasure (1977)
Director: Carlos Tobalina
Cast- John Holmes, Nina Fause, Iris Medina, Vicky Kauffmann, Dolores Couburn, Peter Dubois, Sheela Derby, Marilyn Martin, Doris Gray, Peter Ace
Here we go again on another ride of the John Holmes' pleasure train. This time there is a young couple that sadly is trapped in a marriage with no love. Now Joe finds a suitcase of money as a mafia man dies in his cab and so now Joe realizes, he can live out the pleasure he needs. Rose the sexless wife needs something to help them get the dirty monkey love back. So she goes to a well-known psychiatrist in hopes they can save their marriage but most of all to have hot, passionate, sweaty sex. Soon Jim joins her at the therapist. Rose learns her sexual problems are from incidents in her childhood. Soon she takes a trippy drug and has fantasies that end up probing her orifices in many ways. One way is with big dingy John Holmes. This film has a strange and confusing atmosphere for a film of it's type. Yes it’s a porn but it’s an odd porn. There is no real structure to it.
The overall direction or at least odd editing is what might be its weird downfall. Director Tobalina crafted bizarre porn films adding unnecessary long dialogue or even preachy speeches about the government and so on. Overlooking that added social commentary and strange pacing and just getting to the eye candy then it works for seeing the sexual love making of Jim and Rose in all there. This is restored from its original negative of 35mm’s in a wonderful DVD by Vinegar Syndrome.
The Film- 3/5
I am Always Ready (1978)
Cast- John Holmes, Ronnie Ross, Fernando Fortes, Barbara Wallace, Susan Madrid, Harry Reed, R.P. Mason
This is a simple porn film. A woman has a fantasy of starring in an X-rated film with her fantasy lover and icon John Holmes. Now John as we all know is one of the most legendary stars in the industry on account of his size. How he walks at times I wonder. This film is the second half of a Carlos Tobalina double feature, and like The Ultimate Pleasure the film has a strange atmosphere with a dash of social commentary.
I am Always Ready was restored from its original 35mm negative. This set of two porn films, The Ultimate Pleasure and I am Always Ready are possibly my least favorite of the Vinegar Syndrome releases. This set just was not anything to remember. It was great seeing the icons of porn cinema, but these two clearly even for porn was made poorly when they came out. With that said if you’re a completion collector of Vinegar Syndrome or John Holmes then this is a must buy.
The Film: 2.5/5