Blu-ray Reviews: Nightmare Sisters and Murder Weapon & Deadly Embrace



There’s a magic when a director and a leading actor click over the course of several movies. The movies become a shared event between the creative forces. Think about John Carpenter and Kurt Russell, Federico Fellini and Marcello Mastroianni or Paul Fieg and Melissa McCarthy. During the late ’80s when low budget movies could be profitable home video, director David DeCoteau and actress Linnea Quigley were such a team. DeCoteau was a graduate of Corman University having worked at New World and followed it up by making films for Charles Band. This is like being a Harvard-Yale scholar of how to make profitable low budget films. Quigley was an up and coming scream queen that had made a name for herself as the topless punk rock gal in The Return of the Living Dead. After the two had successfully worked together on Creepozoids and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, it was time for them to make more movie magic. Three of their follow up films are finally coming to Blu-ray. Nightmare Sisters and the double feature of Murder Weapon & Deadly Embrace are a testament to a cinematic bond between director and actor.

Nightmare Sisters brings back the joys of Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama with the return of the Quigley, Brinke Stevens, and Michelle Bauer of the scream queen sisterhood. The trio are the awkward and nerdy sisters of Tri Eta Pi. They line up a little bit of excitement lined up when the sisters invite three equally socially inept newbie frat boys over for a party. However the boys more fratish frat brothers ban them from leaving their house. Luckily the trio can’t let the girls down and they sneak out. The party is as pathetic as imagined since they’re all equally nerdy and lack the moves to make the magic happen. In order to make things more fun, the girls break out a crystal ball recently purchased at a yardsale for a little supernatural spooky fun. Little do they know that an evil genie inside the ball is ready to spice things up. He turns the three girls into hot demons ready to take possession of all guys that fall victim to their spell. But don’t fear for the nerdy boys since the douchebag frat brothers arrive to send home the nerds and enjoy the new and wicked Tri Eta Pi girls. This night is going to be worse than a 1,000 hell weeks.

As proof that DeCoteau understood the lessons of Corman, he shot the film in four days. He also understood how to shoot scenes that the audience wants from a film like this when they stared at the VHS box at Dave’s Videodrome. The big scene involves the newly possessed girls sharing a bathtub together. Perhaps the biggest item on the budget was soap. For those who watched Nightmare Sisters on USA’s Up All Night, the R-rated cut will be a revelation of suds.

Murder Weapon & Deadly Embrace are two erotic thrillers from De Coteau and Quigley. The end of the ’80s was good for the genre that thrived off mysteries that promised to reveal the killer and the bodies of the main cast. A sensual VHS cover and a few notable names meant multiple rental fever. This also allowed Quigley to expand from merely being a scream queen to a suspected homicidal maniac. De Coteau put the name Ellen Cabot on the titles of both films since it always sounds better to have a woman making erotic thrillers.

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Murder Weapon (1989 – 81 minutes) is the simple tale of two girls who meet, discover a mutual background and go on a big adventure. That could make a dull movie except the two girls are daughters of mobsters who meet up at an insane asylum. They both fool their therapists (which include Wonder Woman & The Carol Burnett Show‘s Lyle Waggoner) into being declared sane. The girls decide to throw a big party with old boyfriends and others to celebrate being sprung. Quickly the party goes sour when the guests begin to turn up dead. The guys fear its a mobster dad taking them out. But maybe it’s someone else at the party?

Deadly Embrace (1989 – 83 minutes) has Jan Michael Vincent (Airwolf & Damnation Alley) with lady problems. He’s a fast moving businessman ready to dump his wife (Mindi Miller) so he can focus on his secretary (Ruth Collins). The only thing preventing him from his dream is that if he forces the divorce, he loses half of his fortune. His lawyer (Alligator‘s Jack Carter) advises him against that plan. But he’s not happy. He devices a plot to get his hunky pool boy to seduce his wife and make her leave him. It’s a fantastic plan except the pool boy’s girlfriend (Quigley) shows up. She’s not letting a married rich guy’s wife steal her pool boy lover. Is twisted romantic thriller going to end in divorce court or homicide division? This makes a fine double feature with Murder Weapon.

The three films here bring out the best of a director and their main actor. DeCoteau and Quigley weren’t making Oscar bait. The duo made movies that appealed to the audience that embraced Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. The production moved fast so that these film took longer to watch than make.

The videos is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfers look fine on all three films. Nightmare Sisters looks best since it was shot on 35mm. The other two were shot on 16mm so they have a bit more grain. The audio on all three movies is DTS-HD MA mono. You’ll get to hear all the splashing in the bathtub scene. The movies are subtitled.

DVD with all features of Blu-ray.

Audio Commentary with DeCoteau and Quigley focuses on her transformation from slub to sizzling.

Director’s Introduction (2:08) sets up on how the film came together so fast.

TV Edit (81:34) is how you would have seen Nightmare Sisters on USA’s Up All Night. The version appears to be off a VHS version so it looks rough.

Interview with Kenneth J. Hall (11:57) reminds us in a low budget film, the writer can also do other roles on the set. In his case, he ended up doing make-up and a few effects. Dalton Trumbo never had to figure out a fat suit.

Bloopers/Outtakes (8:15) are those little mistakes that slowed the shoot days down.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Nightmare Sisters. Directed by: David DeCoteau. Screenplay by: Kenneth J. Hall. Starring: Linneau Quigley, Michelle Bauer, Brinke Stevens, Dukey Flyswatter. Running Time: 82 minutes. Rated: R. Released: October 25, 2016.

Audio Commentaries on both films with DeCoteau and Quigley. The duo share tales and secrets from both productions. There is discussion of their name stars.

Director Introductions from DeCoteau are provided. Behind him is a poster of his numerous films. He’s had the output of major studios.

Video Trailer for Murder Weapon (1:25) sets up a party with two girls and a lot of boys.

Outtakes from Deadly Embrace (2:54) has a lot of shots from the dinner party that were ruined by a scratch. Somebody didn’t check the gate. There’s no sound.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Murder Weapon & Deadly Embrace. Directed by: David DeCoteau. Screenplay by: Richard Gabai & Ross A. Perron. Starring: Linnea Quigley, Jan-Michael Vincent, Michelle Bauer, Lyle Waggoner, Karen Russell. Running Time: 82 minutes. Rated: R. Released: October 25, 2016.

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