Robert Hammer's DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE (1980) from Vinegar Syndrome

Discussion in 'High Definition' started by bruce h, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. bruce h

    bruce h Editor - CINEMA ARCANA

    Apr 26, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    From my Cinema Arcana FB Page -- some more details about VS' upcoming DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE:

    Coming this January -- Vinegar Syndrome's new restoration of Robert Hammer's superbly sleazy slasher DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE (1980)! The hulking Nicholas Worth stars at Kirk Smith, a 'Nam vet turned fashion photographer who's seemingly unable to keep from ritualistically murdering his beautiful subjects. Regularly confessing his sins to a local radio DJ, she's soon the object of his obsessive taunting; can the police stop Smith before the station needs to place another Help Wanted ad?

    Based in part on a then-current string of real life strangulation murders, the film is a grimy little masterpiece that's anchored by Worth's absolute must-see performance -- he elevates what could've been a generic genre outing to another plane altogether. Whether he's suavely seducing models, delivering riotous monologues to his not-present dad, body slamming cops on couches, having uncontrollable sobbing fits, or just pretending he's Latino, you simply can't take your eyes off of him, and his go-for-broke eagerness and commitment makes all the difference. Add in some great '80s Los Angeles locations, plenty of attractive actresses and a supporting cast of familiar faces, and you have a solidly sordid effort that deserves its place alongside other psychotic classicks like MANIAC and LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET.

    Fan reaction to the company's initial announcement has been mixed, primarily based around the fact that previous licensor Scorpion Releasing had already issued the film on Blu-Ray. For clarification, I asked Vinegar Syndrome Co-Founder / Director of Acquisitions Joe Rubin about their decision to acquire the title:

    "I selected the Crown International titles we're doing based on my personal taste. I really, really like DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE, but when we first did our Crown deal, I didn't include it. A few months in, I was thinking about it and decided, 'What the hell, why not?' considering the Scorpion disc was limited and going out of print. After all, why should only 1,000 people ever be allowed to own it on Blu?

    "However, when I looked through Crown's vault list, all they had listed on the inventory were two CRIs -- dupe negatives used for making prints. The original camera negative was nowhere to be found. I considered passing, but since it's easily my second favorite Crown film (after BLUE MONEY), I decided to research further and, completely unexpectedly, stumbled upon the original neg. With this discovery, I knew I needed to release it and also knew that I could create a restoration that was notably superior to everything else that existed -- the last HD transfer was done back in 2013 and from a CRI. So, we decided to really make this the ultimate restoration and do it in 4K, and put it on a BD-50 to maximize presentation quality and bitrate. Basically, this is the best the film will ever look."

    Vinegar Syndrome's release will also come with a wealth of supplements, including the commentary track with director Hammer and journalist Shane M. Dallmann that was left off of the previous HD release, an isolated music track with Byron Allred's wonderfully trashy score, a pair of featurettes with star Nicholas Worth discussing this film and others (his last interview before he passed), a new essay from veteran critic Michael Gingold from Fangoria & Rue Morgue, along with a pressbook reproduction, theatrical trailers and assorted spots.

    The BD / DVD combo is slated for release on January 31st, 2017, but you'll be able to pre-order this coming Black Friday from Vinegar Syndrome's website as part of a monthly package deal. It will also be available individually through retailers like Amazon and Watch this space for links. "Adios, creep!"

  2. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

    Oct 27, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    I was thinking of passing, but this gives me more to think about.
    bruce h likes this.
  3. SilentScreams

    SilentScreams Member

    Jun 25, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Glad I didn't pay nearly $30 for the Scorpion disc with an inferior source. This should be under $20 on Amazon. Sold!!
    Angelman and bruce h like this.

Share This Page