"Massage Parlor Murders (1972/Blu-ray & DVD Combo/Vinegar Syndrome)" Review

Review: Every once in a while you come across a film that attaches itself so much to an area, or a place in time that it almost overwhelms the film itself when it is viewed years later. That is not necessarily a bad thing, and as a matter of fact, it's quite entertaining when it's a film like the one we have here. So rare that it could have been considered an almost "lost" film despite it's numerous stars among the cast, "Massage Parlor Murders" has been rescued from obscurity by those great folks at Vinegar Syndrome.
There's a maniac loose in 1974 New York City killing off the girls who work at the massage parlors there. It's up to a pair of increasingly frustrated cops to find out who the killer is before the body count gets any higher. A simple plot. Almost too simple, but it's carried out in a rough giallo style that has surgeons gloves replacing the classic black gloves of that genre. It turns out to be quite the mystery for the cops, and the viewer as well as we are only given one clue to go by, and that little bit of information is never expanded on as the film unfolds. there's lots of topless females, and fun dialog to keep the pace going though. The best part of the film has to be the New York City locations. It was filmed around 42nd street, and there are several scenes that have one of our heroes walking aimlessly among all the movie houses and grindhouse cinema palaces talking to himself. Whatever he's talking about I never heard, because I was too interested in trying to read all of the movies playing back in 1974. There's also a pretty cool car chase that my attention was slightly taken away from realizing that this was the same area that the original Blues Brothers movie filmed one of their great car chases some time later.
Then comes the cast. You'll find it hard to believe that this many people were in a film that was almost lost to us on any home viewing format. Sandra Peabody (Last House On The Left) has a pretty substantial role in the film. George Dzundza (The Deer Hunter) has a cameo in one of his earliest roles, and Brother Theodore (The 'Burbs) even has a scene in the film. All of these things I've mentioned equals cult classic, and the experts at Vinegar Syndrome has  brought this film back to life for the people who love exploitation flicks.
Massage Parlor Murders is presented here in an excellent widescreen print, and also has great sound for such a rare film. This BD/DVD combo even comes with extras! We get theatrical trailers and outtakes, and the package comes with an 8 page booklet detailing the films inception and the director behind it. As a last little treat, you get a replica "timer" card from the first reel of the film. A nice little collectable to keep with this very sweet package.
If you're looking for some rare exploitation action, and you want top quality, you need to pick up Vinegar Syndrome's Massage Parlor Murders. You will not be disappointed.
- Bill Wolford
Director: Chester Fox & Alex Stevens
Genre: Exploitation
Blu-ray&DVD Release Year: 2013
Theatrical Release Year:1972
Time Length: 80 mins.
Company: Vinegar Syndrome