Victims! Blu-ray Review (Olive Films / Slasher // Video)
Victims! has a chance to be pretty good, but technical difficulties along with an inexperienced crew make this one a tough watch. Nevertheless, Olive Films provides curious viewers with a chance to check it out in its very rough state.
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Eventually, at about 30 minutes into the 75-minute runtime, four scantily clad women head out to the desert to look at rocks while being naked. Two killer/rapists/bank robbers hunt them down and start torturing them. It turns out; men are pigs.
Director: Jeff Hathcock Actors: Robert Axelrod, Lonny Withers, Ava Kauffman Genre: Horror Year of Release: 1985
Victims! (not to be confused with Victims, another 80s movie with a similar plot) is director Jeff Hathcock’s first foray into filmmaking and the constraints of the budget, time and acting are evident on screen. Matters are made worse when you pop in the Olive Video Blu-ray and realise that it looks like a VHS rip with some of the most terrible sound design ever.
Still, having said all that, Victims! has a certain something to keep the viewer interested in the themes and ideas it’s trying to convey, mainly men are pigs and women have been mistreated for a long damn time. The statement “no matter what happens to a female, if she dresses scantily clad, she deserves what’s coming to her” should never be thought of as true, but there are evil people out there that believe that and Victims! tries to show the nasty side of those thoughts.
The beginning of Victims! is a bit on the scatterbrained side, throwing random scenes of violence against women at you. After that randomness, the film settles into its groove of following four women as they head out to the desert to study some rocks, get naked and go skinny dipping and just have an all around fun time. Unfortunately for them, they run into a pair of bank robbers/rapists/killers out in the desert, but these aren’t women who are willing to give up so easily.
Victims! doesn’t hold back when it comes to showing plenty of sleazy moments on screen that will leave you feeling icky. There is an abundance of rape scenes, tortuous moments and lots of unjustifiably cruel treatment against women. Thankfully, Jeff Hathcock knows enough to make sure the audience can cheer for these women as the men get their comeuppance. However, cheering is cut short as the ending makes sure to drive home the point that women just can’t catch a break.
It is a shame that the film wasn’t shot with a bit more talent behind the camera and a bigger budget. The idea for the movie is rather well thought out, even if the general story has been seen numerous times before (The Last House on the Left for example). Top the small budget constraints with terrible sound, which makes hearing dialogue difficult; you have a movie that is hard to get into, but I still think it’s worth checking out.
Violence is the name of the game when it comes to talking about Victims! We have plenty of women being stabbed and slashed. The film doesn’t shy away from showing the red stuff. The beginning of the movie has the most violence, with women being cut up. Cruel stuff.
Most of the sex and nudity in this movie is on the uncomfortable side. It usually is happening when a woman is either being forced to strip nude or raped. Not very fun if you ask me. However, there are some sexier scenes with some very good looking women that won’t make you feel so damn dirty.
Showering with underwear or just a really white ass?
The beginning is so randomly put together; it will take some time to recuperate
Audio: Mono Language: English Subtitles: English Region: Region A/1 Runtime: 75 min Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio commentary with director Jeff Hathcock and Slasher Video’s Jesus Terán
Interview with director Jeff Hathcock
As previously mentioned, Olive Films and Slasher // Video has upconverted a VHS rip and called it good enough. The video is fuzzy, blurry and hard to make out.
To be fair, Olive Films does provide this statement: Victims! is a presented using the best available elements provided by Slasher // Video. Not sourced from an HD master; remastered from Beta SP and upconverted to Blu-ray and DVD specifications.
The audio fares even worse, with so much of the dialogue being drowned out or muffled. It’s a damn shame more work wasn’t done on this film, but I have a feeling this was the best it was ever going to be, no matter the company producing it.
Extra features included are a commentary with director Jeff Hathcock, a 20-minute sit down with the director who has plenty of things to say out his work on this film and others. He goes into great detail on the writing, which always cool. Rounding it out is a trailer and a still gallery, which is just screen grabs from the VHS and numerous photos of the actual VHS.
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