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Deathrow Gameshow – Vinegar Syndrome (BluRay / DVD Combo) 
Written by: on October 26th, 2016


Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1988
Director: Mark Pirro
Writers: Mark Pirro, Alan Gries
Cast: John McCafferty, Robyn Blythe, Beano, Darwyn Carson, Mark Lasky, Bill Whitehead

BluRay released: October 25th, 2016
Approximate running times: 81 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98


Synopsis: In the near future death row inmates are put on a game show were their decisions will ultimately decide if they live or die.

The film features an interesting premise a game show that kills death row inmate’s all in the name of entertainment. And though this premise may give some reading a feeling of déjà vu? The director of Deathrow Gameshow insists that he has never seen The Running Man.

When it comes to the plot don’t expect to many surprises since there is a predictability to the events which unfold and the ending is a letdown. Fortunately, when it comes to pacing there are no glaring issues as things move along briskly from one moment to the next.

Anchoring this film performance wise in the role of the show’s host, an arrogant personality named Chuck Toedan who has as many admires as he does people who want to kill him. Needless to say, the film is filled with over the top performances which lend themselves to the absurdity of the films plot. And the humor is satirical and often dark in tone. Ultimately Deathrow Gameshow is best summed up as a Z grade satire that never fully capitalizes on its interesting premise.

The BluRay:

Deathrow Gameshow comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer created for this release was scanned and restored from in 2k from 35mm original camera negative. This release is a marked improvement upon all previous home video releases. Grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds, clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too.

Extras for this release include, reversible cover art, a T.V. spot (40 seconds), a trailer for the film (2 minutes 13 seconds), an image gallery, a bio for the director (text based extra), intro to the film with director Mark Pirro (1 minute 15 seconds), two short films also directed by Mark Pirro – the first short film is titled Buns (1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive, 20 minutes 43 seconds, in English) and the second short film is titled The Spy Who Did It Better (1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive, 45 minutes 42 seconds, in English), a “Making of” documentary titled Revisiting Deathrow Gameshow (32 minutes 14 seconds) and an audio commentary with director Mark Pirro, actor John McCafferty & actress Robyn Blythe.

The short film titled Buns is a Slasher / Horror themed story about a madman killing those who eat hamburger buns. The short film titled The Spy Who Did It Better is a spoof of the James Bond films.

Topics discussed in the documentary titled Revisiting Deathrow Gameshow include, ho w his debut feature film A Polish Vampire in Brooklyn lead to the director working with Crown International, the budget for Deathrow Gameshow was 200,000 & the film was shot in 3 to 4 weeks, the cast & the crew, clashed between new crew members and those who has previously worked with the director, the look of the film, on set memories, critics and audience reaction to the film, how the film has done very well on home video and their thoughts on how the film turned out.

Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, the various films that they have collaborated on, how Deathrow Gameshow was the first film that Pirro shot on 35mm, the opening credits and who created them, the score, locations, the director’s cut for the film & what changes were made to this version, on set memories and other production related topics.

Other extras include, 2015 director’s cut of DeathRow Gameshow (1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive, 80 minutes 8 seconds, in English).

Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall another excellent release from Vinegar Syndrome.

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