I’ve been so looking forward to getting the All-American Murder 2k restoration Blu-ray release in the mail. Christopher Walken and bloody deaths? Sign me up!
From the Vinegar Syndrome All-American Murder page:
This special limited edition embossed slipcover (designed by Ralf Krause) is limited to 4,000 units and is only available here at VinegarSyndrome.com!
Artie Logan has a history of getting himself in trouble. He’s been kicked out of every school he’s attended and is no friend to the law, which makes matters extra complicated for his wealthy father, who happens to be a judge. Given one last chance, Artie is shipped off to Fairfield College. But when his new fling, and senator’s daughter, Tally, is burned to death by an unknown assailant, suspicion immediately falls on Artie. Adamant of his innocence, he’s granted a 24 hour period in which to unmask the actual culprit. As his hours of freedom dwindle, the killer strikes again and again…
A twisted hybrid of slasher and giallo, All-American Murder is the sole theatrical feature by acclaimed actor and TV director, Anson Williams (Happy Days) and co-stars Academy Award winner Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter), Charlie Schlatter (18 Again), and Josie Bissett (TV’s Melrose Place). Tightly paced, suspenseful, and featuring an array of unexpectedly grisly murders, Vinegar Syndrome is proud to bring this under-seen piece of early 90s horror to Blu-ray, newly restored in 2K from its 35mm interpositive.
Directed by: Anson Williams
Starring: Christopher Walken, Charlie Schlatter, Josie Bissett, Richard Kind, Joanna Cassidy
1991 / 93 min / 1.85:1 / English Stereo
• Region Free Blu-ray
• Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive
• Commentary track with The Hysteria Continues!
• “Being on a Team”- an interview with actor Charlie Schlatter
• “A Valuable Experience” – an interview with cinematographer Geoffrey Schaaf
• Reversible cover artwork
• English SDH subtitles
Artie is the new guy on Campus and he only has one thing on his mind, Tally Fuller, the most popular girl in school. Until she is found dead and Artie becomes the prime suspect. Will he be able to clear his name and find the real killer?
All-American Murder stars Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter 1979 – read our retro review here), Charlie Schlatter (Ferris Bueller TV series), Josie Bissett (Mikey 1992 – read our retro review here), and Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner 1982). The film was directed by Happy Days’ Anson Williams, although originally Ken Russell (Altered States 1980) was slated to direct. The script was written by Barry Sandler (Evil Never Dies 2003).
You can’t talk about All-American Murder without mentioning Charlie Schlatter’s hair. It’s fabulous. You think Steve from Stranger Things has great locks? His coif wishes it was as awesome as this. It should have its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It deserves its own shelf at the Library of Congress. Its profile should be immortalized on a stamp. Nations have risen and fallen at the foot of Charlie Schlatter’s hair. This is the reason aliens have tried to contact us.
Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, right. All-American Murder. Anyhoo…
You have not lived until you’ve seen Christopher Walken as Detective P.J. Decker talk down a kidnapper by talking up the guy’s girlfriend. Introducing Decker this way is a perfect setup for the character and a hilarious speech in the arsenal of an iconic actor.
“She’s some bunny isn’t she? Great to see her again. It’s been years, but I never forget a face… especially if I’ve sat on it. I hope you have the fun with her that I do… I love that little mole on her butt, don’t you? How about that sensitive left nipple. And what mouth action! I thought only Jaws moved that fast in water! You know Lou-Anne, likes to make a guy happy. More than you do for her, Marco! But then, you have a problem, don’t you? It’s called LIMP DICK. And Lou-Anne is losing patience. Yeah, me and Lou-Anne, Lou-Anne and me… We just pump away, singing that song we love… Feelings! Nothing more than feelings!”
Speaking of quotes, there are so many great lines in Barry Sandler’s script. The dry humor and wit is spot on.
Logan: “Well, I hope it doesn’t bite.”
Decker: “You hope what doesn’t bite?”
Logan: “The bug up your ass! It’s crawlin’ around there right now thinking the same thing I am.”
Decker: “And what’s that?”
Logan: “Wow! I’ve never seen a bigger asshole before in my life!”
The twist at the end of All-American Murder is pretty dang good. It surprised me at least. Every time I thought I had it figured out, the suspect would get killed, and I’d be left reevaluating the evidence once again. The idea that Decker gave Artie time to run around campus trying to solve his girl’s murder is a unique one that actually made sense along with the story. There are some cool kills, too, like when Tally was burned alive as she ran out of a school building, and one guy even gets a grenade dropped into his pants while he’s working out. The results can be seen below.
Let me just say that there’s no way Artie would get away with badgering a girl to go out with him like he did with Tally. I’m not sure if I love it for reminding me of movies like The Pick-up Artist (1987) and Can’t Buy Me Love (1987) or if it freaks me out because it’s totally stalkerish. He did lead with that hair, though, so I’m not surprised that Tally couldn’t resist. But seriously, was that supposed to be romantic? Or am I so hypervigilant about assuming every guy that pursues a woman is immediately Ted Bundy that any kind of extra attention is automatically labeled as creepy?
As for the All-American Murder 2k restoration, the colors and light are gorgeous, something we’ve come to expect from Vinegar Syndrome. The sound is a bit weird, though. I’m not sure if this was the original sound or if it was something added in the restore, but there are strangely loud noises in All-American Murder. Footsteps clomp on the floor and cheerleader pom-poms crackle like fire. A bite of a pickle snaps like a cracked branch. And the sounds don’t always match up to what’s happening onscreen. It’s a bit distracting, to be honest.
What Doesn’t Work
While I do agree that All-American Murder is a murder mystery, it is certainly not a horror film. It’s more like a dark comedy drama rom com thriller. The leads spend more time talking about how much they love the women in their lives than anything else. It got to be a bit much. Plus, the actors talk fast. Too fast. It’s almost hard to follow their conversations. It’s like the director told them they were being timed as to how fast they could say them. Combined with the weird sounds that could be a part of the restoration but is probably just an overly excited Foley artist from the original release, the sound is a bit of a setback.
All-American Murder is a witty, dark comedy drama with some familiar faces and a cool twist. While it’s not what I would consider a horror movie, it does have some unique kills and a fantastic, dry humor. If you’re looking for a twisted thriller with some witty banter, check out Vinegar Syndrome’s 2k restoration of All-American Murder.