Sorting Out the Syns: '80s Horror, '70s Sleaze, and Everything In-between with Roberta Findlay, Ted V. Mikels, and More
Vinegar Syndrome had another stellar year in 2017, marking nearly five years of madness on film with a raft of bizarre and fascinating releases from the '70s right on through 1990. This week we're looking at a trio of films from exploitation legend Roberta Findlay in A Woman's Torment, Prime Evil, and Lurkers, a classic from low-budget warrior Ted V. Mikels in The Corpse Grinders, a '70s exploitationer in Trip with the Teacher, and a pair of straight up nutso horror films in Blood Beat and Demon Wind.
All six of these releases definitely deserve a spot in your collection, but click through the gallery below for more details.
Director Earl Barton's Trip with the Teacher is one of those films that has for years been relegated to the bargain bin in those 50 Films on 2 Disc collections at the bottom of the Walmart dump bins, but leave it to Vinegar Syndrome to take this nasty little piece of work and do it up right.
Ms. Tenney, played by Brenda Fogarty (star of more than one '70s sexploitation film), is taking her class of nubile young girls on a field trip to the Grand Canyon when their fun is interrupted by a gang of horned-up bikers looking for some fun. When the bikers, led by The Red Shoe Diaries’ legendary creator Zalman King in one of several of his supremely unsettling on-screen appearances as a sleazy villain, don't take this rejection lightly and the bus carrying the young ladies breaks down, it becomes a battle for survival in the western badlands. The bikers lead the girls to an abandoned farmhouse, and I'm pretty sure you can imagine the rest. Will they get away of won't they? That's the question, and perhaps only the teacher can save them.
Trip with the Teacher is pretty textbook in its approach to the roughie formula of the '60s, only with less explicit sex and a tad bit more plot. The film is cut together nicely and even though 90 minutes sounds a bit long for a film like this, it actually moves along at a decent clip. The film finds itself somewhere between legendary hardcore film The Farmer's Daughters (also starring Zalman King) and Wes Craven's Last House on the Left, but more ambitious than the former and less than the latter. All in all, it pretty much does what it says on the tin and fans who are interested by the premise will more than likely be satisfied by the execution.
Vinegar Syndrome presents Trip with the Teacher in yet another excellent looking 2K transfer and restoration from the original 16mm camera negatives. You do lose a bit of resolution coming from a less dense piece of source material, but this looks as great as I can imagine anyone wanting it to look.
In terms of extras, Vin Syn provides a feature commentary with director Barton and stars Cathy Worthington & Dina Oursley, a great interview with another actress on the project, Brenda Fogarty who talks about her long career in the arts including a long time spent as a dancer, as well as a trailer and some TV spots to round out the package.
Trip with the Teacher never bored me and for fans of '70s exploitation or the films I mentioned above, it's a home run.