Massage Parlor Murders

Production Year: 1974
Release Date: 04/09/13
Label: Vinegar Syndrome
Collection Number: 1321

What did I just watch?  Prostitutes, car chases, a weird man in a leotard doing a dance number?  How has this sleazy slice of cinema managed to avoid me all of these years?

I guess it might have a little something to do with the fact that is wasn't exactly readily available to the home video market until this great 2013 release.  Vinegar Syndrome is certainly making a name for themselves, while a few labels seem to be stuck in re-release mode Vinegar Syndrome has made it their forte to give the Blu-ray and DVD market a handful of rarely seen and forgotten films.  Believe it or not the DVD has been around for over 15 years now.  In 15 years with hundreds of thousands of films released, there are still numerous titles that have yet to make the jump.  Some are are stuck in VHS purgatory while some haven't even had a home media release.  After all these years, it's certainly refreshing when an older film makes the jump, especially when it's jump from obscurity lands it onto a nice high def release.

I had heard of Vinegar Syndrome last year when they brought forth a collection of seldom seen H.G. Lewis films to blu-ray.  While I didn't get a chance to pick up that title, with all the positive reviews it garnered I certainly couldn't ignore it.  Thus Vinegar Syndrome stayed on my radar and earlier last week I managed to get a few of their releases in my greedy hands.

So lets cut to the chase and discuss the film.  Massage Parlor Murders centers around a serial killer hellbent on strangling every hookin' masseuse in New York and the two cops who are relentlessly trying to pursue him.  The film starts out innocently enough with a new john haggling a nubile prostitute about her prices (which to be fair were pretty high, I mean twenty bucks just to see some boobs?  But I digress) this little scene goes on for a bit before the man gets frustrated thus kicking off the groovy title sequence.

At first this prologue might seem a bit out of place, but as the movie carries you realize that it is, in fact that scene isn't the only one that will leave ya' scratching your head.  Eventually an unseen killer strikes giallo style claiming his first poor victim.  Too bad for him this now deceased working girl was the favorite of a local detective who now is determined to find this killer and solve the case.

This is a weird one folks.  Random scenes of nudity, pool parties, murder.  All mixed in with a few (very) tedious shots of walking, window shopping,  dates...More walking.  The film really could have used some trimming here and there.  While some of this certainly does hurt the overall experience I felt the ending of the film made everything worthwhile.

Massage Parlor Murders isn't going to change your life, it's certainly not the best our beloved genre has to offer, but what I found most impressive about the disc wasn't exactly related to the film but more so the company.  Vinegar Syndrome treats this title like a company would treat a Halloween, or a Texas Chainsaw Massacre. They've done everything they could to give this seldom seen title the utmost attention from the new transfer to the extra features all the way to the booklet included in the release.  That's not to say this release is perfect, the picture does suffer from a few issues, there are a few points in the film where the quality seems to degrade and the film gets a bit dark.  I also noticed with the audio occasionally there would be a slight hiss.  Though considering the company that handled the transfer I think this has more to do with the materials they were working with than anything else.

Also included on the disc is a recut version of the film (essentially missing the opening scene I spoke of earlier) along with two versions of the trailer and outtakes.  It's also worth noting that this release is not region locked.

With this release my dear Vinegar Syndrome you have earner yourself a new supporter.  While the film didn't knock my socks off I felt it was the perfect bit of sleaze that I needed during this early Saturday morning.  The booklet included was an interesting read and I thought it tied the whole package together nicely.  Cheers, I look forward to seeing what else you have in store for 2013.

There certainly is a lack of companies putting out this type of film with such care, so please get your ass to their website and support this label!  Seriously, what are you waiting for!?


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    1. Yeah, I was scratching my head too until I googled the meaning haha

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