Director – Paul Leder (Murder by Numbers, The Baby Doll Murders)
Starring – Bernard White (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Magical World of Disney), Marilyn Hassett (Deadly Nightmares, Rock-A-Die Baby), and Dick Sargent (Teen Witch, Bewitched)
Release Date – 1986
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
Tagline – “Thou shall not rape, steal or murder”
Every month I rush to my mail box in hopes that today is the day that I get Vinegar Syndrome’s monthly releases in. This company quickly became one of my favorites and you never know what they are going to announce next. Their monthly releases are usually equal parts exploitation and horror. Sometimes the exploitation is sleazier than most but they are always consistent with their releases.
Back in July Vin Syn released the sexploitation period piece The Naughty Victorians along with the 1986 religious thriller The Eleventh Commandment and the often ignored Larry Cohen film Perfect Strangers. After giving The Naughty Victorians a spin it only made sense to follow it up with The Eleventh Commandment. Thanks again Vin Syn for sending this one over.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Robert (White). Robert is the son of a wealthy business owner who was murdered by his own brother. To make matters worse, Robert watched his uncle kill his father before raping his mother. Now, years later, Robert is locked up in a mental hospital where he has turned to Christianity as a way to cope. His wealthy uncle is trying to convince Robert to sign over his father’s business to him and is using the doctor at the mental asylum to get this done. However, a weakness in the nursing staff allows Robert a chance to escape and begin his killing spree. He will stop at nothing to get his uncle back for killing his parents and locking him away for all those years.**spoiler Alert**
Vinegar Syndrome is a great company for finding movies that you would never hear about other wise. Most companies focus on popular films to re-release because they know they can make their money back on these titles. I love The Evil Dead and Phantasm but I can only buy the same movie so many times before enough is enough. A lot of times with Vin Syn their blu releases are the film’s first release since VHS. The Eleventh Commandment is one of the many films they’ve released over the years that I had never heard of until their press release was sent around. With that being said, I enjoyed it for what it is but it wasn’t without it’s own flaws.
The acting in this one is the high point of the film. Aside from a stellar performance from Dick Sargent and Lauren Woodland, I really enjoyed Bernard White’s performance as the gentle killer. He is unlike most madmen you would find in a horror film and he really pulls the viewer in. You feel for him and want him to kill those that wronged him. Such an amazing performance from a virtually unknown actor.
The story for this one has slasher elements but plays out more like a religious thriller. The slasher elements follows a man that was wronged (Robert) who then seeks to kill those responsible for wronging him. This is similar to slasher stories found in Prom Night and Friday the 13th. However, the style in which it was done flows more like a made for television religious thriller. It works if you are wanting something different but I don’t see much in the way of replay value.
Finally, the film has several on screen kills but they lack originality. Most of the kills follows Robert as he stabs people in the gut. We get some bright red blood but nothing out of the ordinary. With that being said, we do get two kills from gun shots that was exceptional. Not that original but they were very well done. Overall, The Eleventh Commandment is one you don’t hear people talk about but it does deserve at least one viewing. The story works well but it will not be making anyone’s top ten lists. The blu from Vin Syn has a great transfer with clear images and consistent audio. I highly suggest checking it out.
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive
“A Lifetime of Preparation” – an interview with actor Bernard White
“Through the Eyes of a Child” – an interview with actress Lauren Woodland
Promotional still gallery
Reversible cover artwork
SDH English subtitles