Director/writer William Byron Hillman (also of David Heavener vehicle Ragin’ Cajun) brings us Double Exposure, a film that positively reeks 1970’s (possibly very early 80’s) TV movie, from the hammy casting and hollow yet in your face foley work right down to the score by Jack Goga.
The film revolves around 70’s TV regular Michael Callan (Chained Heat, Leprechaun 3) as a nightmare afflicted, possibly crazed photographer who may or may not be a serial killer and his disabled stunt driver (!) brother. Naturally, with Callan being a photographer of the era, that means that he gets to shoot then bag multiple nubile young ladies, so there’s some eye candy enlivening the otherwise workaday if not turgid mix of melodrama, doofy comedy and semi-slasher “thrills”.
A horror movie, this really isn’t…though it’s hard to see what else to classify it as.
A few notables pass through the film, including youthful crushes Joanna Pettet (The Evil, Casino Royale, episodes of Banacek and Night Gallery) and Pamela Hensley (Doc Savage, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century‘s sexy Princess Ardala) as well as familiar faces like Cleavon Little (Blazing Saddles, Scavenger Hunt), oddball perennial Hollywood scenester (and once frequent Howard Stern guest) Sally Kellerman (Private Benjamin and more TV series guest spots than you’d ever believe), fellow television regular James Stacy, Seymour Cassel (of the amusing Gary Busey action film bid Eye of the Tiger) and Robert Tessier (The Deep, Doc Savage, Starcrash, The Sword and the Sorcerer).
Previously released by Scorpion to DVD back in 2012 as part of their Code Red-shared Crown Pictures package deal, this one’s mainly notable for its brightened, Blu-ray remaster and extras, though the earlier release did contain an on camera chat with star Callan not carried over here.
Extras in the new Blu version kick off with a commentary track with the director and an isolated score-only track, for those so inclined..
For the rest of us, there are two on camera interviews, most prominently a half hour one with cinematographer R. Michael Stringer (whose credits swing as far afield as John Cassavettes and Al Adamson and from Invasion of the Bee Girls, Phantom of the Mall and the Freddy’s Nightmares series to Blue Money and Devil in Miss Jones 3-4 (!), and who explains how the film wound up being shot in anamoprhic widescreen despite the material not exactly lending itself to such.
There’s also a 20 minute chat with his wife, script supervisor Sally Stringer (who followed Hillman to David Heavener’s Ragin’ Cajun and Leprechaun 4 In Space), who talks of how she got drafted for her first film in this role (under Orson Welles, yet!) despite being a theatrical stage manager.
Where the earlier Scorpion release was a perfectly acceptable transfer of a film of its vintage, Vinegar Syndrome turns up the brightness and contrast to the degree where even the film’s opening night scene moves from murk to a grain-speckled clarity.
As much of the film takes place in the bright California (and desert) sun, you can imagine just how much more vibrant their version is, so if you’re one of those who felt this film some overlooked piece of neo-slasher genius (rather than the nigh-television film shrug of the shoulders it actually is), there’s no question this is the version to pick up.