Vice Squad Blu-ray
Director: Gary Sherman
Screenwriter: Sandy Howard, Gary Sherman, Robert Vincent O’Neil, Kenneth Peter
Cast: Season Hubley, Gary Swanson, Wings Hauser, Pepe Serna, Beverly Todd, Nina Blackwood
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated R | 97 Minutes
Release Date: August 13, 2019
“Come on, scumbag! Make your move, and make my day!”
Co-written and directed by Gary Sherman (of Death Line (aka Raw Meat), Dead & Buried, and Poltergeist III), 1982’s Vice Squad stars Season Hubley (of Lolly-Madonna XXX and Hardcore) as Princess, a single mother who turns to prostitution to support herself and her young daughter.
Princess receives a distressing phone call from her friend and fellow prostitute, Ginger (former MTV VJ Nina Blackwood), who is hiding in a motel from her abusive pimp, Ramrod (Wings Hauser of Deadly Force and Mutant). The sadistic flesh-peddler, dressed in head-to-toe western wear, gets to Ginger first and, after savagely beating her with a wire clothes hanger, kills her.
Princess, wanting to avenge her friend’s death, grudgingly agrees to work undercover alongside volatile police sergeant Tom Walsh (Gary Swanson of The Bone Collector) as part of the Hollywood Vice Squad to bring the psychotic Ramrod to justice.
If you’ve never seen Martin Scorsese’s favorite movie of 1982, you are in for a treat – and by “treat” I mean a stomach-churning, emotionally harrowing cinematic experience that is brutal, provocative, and often hilarious. Sherman’s film is an insane, over-the-top crime drama that, at its most restrained, feels like Dragnet‘s “The LSD Story” episode and Reefer Madness at its most unintentionally satirical.
Wings Hauser, who also sings the track “Neon Slime” featured over the film’s credits, exists somewhere between Rutger Hauer and Gary Busey as Ramrod. Racist, misogynist, homophobic, and an all-around asshole, Ramrod is menacing and yet, it’s hard to take a cowboy pimp named Ramrod seriously. I’ve got to say though, the lyrics to “Neon Slime” perfectly encapsulate the vibe of Vice Squad:
“The streets come alive / That big city monster / Just opened his eyes / The hustle, the muscle / The chrome and the steel / Got what I want, baby / Let’s make that deal / Bang bang, shoot ’em up / Talkin’ ’bout crime!”
If that doesn’t get you excited, then nothing will – not even Season Hubley in a wedding dress, seducing an elderly man whose kink is lying in a casket and pretending to be dead. Yes, that’s an actual thing that happens in this movie, and it makes about as much sense onscreen as it does written here. I wish I could explain it better, but I can’t. You’ll just have to see Vice Squad for yourself. Preferably in a coffin, if you have one lying around.
Scream Factory’s Blu-ray Collector’s Edition offers a transfer taken from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative. Lensed by John Alcott, who was Stanley Kubrick’s cinematographer on 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, and Barry Lyndon, the film perfectly encapsulates the sordid and unsavory landscape of late ’70s, early ’80s Los Angeles. The sleazy, neon-soaked cesspool of pimps, prostitutes, and pushermen is presented in high-definition with copious amounts of grit, grime, and film grain.
As is the case with most Scream Factory releases, this Blu-ray Collector’s Edition is packed with new and previously released special features, including an audio commentary with director Gary Sherman and producer Brian Frankish, as well as a bevy of interviews with cast and crew. Here’s the full list:
NEW 4K scan of the negative
NEW Audio Commentary with Gary Sherman and Brian Frankish
NEW Tracking The Beast – An Interview with Gary Swanson
NEW Of Poltergeist & Neon Lights – An Interview with Gary Sherman
NEW Hollywood Magic – An Interview with Brian Frankish
NEW The Roots Of Reality – An Interview with Beverly Todd
NEW Catching A Killer – An Interview with Pepe Serna
NEW Princess Driver – An Interview with Michael Ensign
NEW Hollywood Streetwalking – A Look at the Locations
Audio Commentary with Gary Sherman
If you’re a fan of grindhouse, exploitation, and cult films, you’ve got to pick up this new release of Vice Squad. It’s one of the craziest, sleaziest movies ever made, and now you can see it in high-definition, which makes it even SLEAZIER.
Word of warning: you’ll definitely want to take a shower afterward. Or maybe you’ll want to put on a wedding dress and seduce a creepy old man. Or perhaps you already are a creepy old man, in which case Sherman’s movie will give you the motivation you need to build your own faux-funeral parlor in your basement so you can scare call-girls dressed as brides. In any case, Vice Squad will scratch your itch and then some.
The Vice Squad Collector’s Edition is now available at Amazon. For more reviews of Scream Factory releases, click here.