UHD Review – Terminal Island (Vinegar Syndrome)

Men and women… black and white. Taken from death row – condemned to Devil’s Island, U.S.A., where living is worse than dying

Director – Stephanie Rothman (The Velvet Vampire, Blood Bath)
Starring – Don Marshall (The Incredible Hulk, The Thing With Two Heads), Phyllis Davis (Knight Rider, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls), and Ena Hartman (Star Trek: The Original Series, Games)
Release Date – 1973
Rating – 4/5
UHD Release – 4/5

When Vinegar Syndrome announced that they would be releasing films on UHD I was expecting them to continue to release video store staples like Rad, The Beastmaster, Tammy and the T-Rex, Six-String Samurai. However, when Vinegar Syndrome announced the release of the 1973 exploitation flick Terminal Island on UHD I was extremely excited at the thought of future exploitation, even blaxploitation, releases that we would be getting from Vin Syn. I quickly snagged this release but couldn’t watch it when it arrived. However, my Thanksgiving vacation presented itself the perfect opportunity to finally dig into it. Keep up the good work Vinegar Syndrome.

**Spoiler Alert** The film takes place in an alternate 1973 where the death penalty was abolished. However, with overcrowding prisons the state of California has moved all those guilty of murder to an island nicknamed Terminal Island. Here a group of men enslave women forcing them to work during the day and fuck the men at night. However, a small group of outcasts fight them at any chance they can to free their women. Soon an all out war ensues with both faction of prisoners fighting each other for control of the island. **Spoiler Alert**

I knew Terminal Island was going to be a lot of fun but holy fuck did I love it. In fact, it was one of the few films that I’ve seen over the last year or so that I immediately started it over once I finished watching it the first time. I fucking loved it and I look forward to the other exploitation films getting the UHD release in the future from VS.

The acting in this one is great for the film but it’s not memorable performances from the cast. The characters fit the film perfectly and the cast really does get into their roles. With that being said, many of the characters do blend in with the background through most of the film.

The story for this one is the kind of story that I find myself very attracted to. Films where people are placed out of their element and forced to survive really pulls me in and supercharges my imagination. Having this set up as a prison setting made the film more grounded. I enjoyed the two conflicting groups and how they were surviving and thriving. I also liked how the bigger camps had a hierarchy. A lot of thought went into the setting for the story and how it was all put together. The more dramatic and action scenes does feel rushed and lacks the impact that it should have had. If the movie would have slowed down and approached these scenes in a better manner it would have a more positive impact on the story.

Finally, the film has some blood but don’t expect gory death that would fit a film like this. There is blood and minimal effects but that is the extent of it. Overall, Terminal Island is a must see for fans of exploitation cinema. This early 70’s action thriller is a lot of fun and definitely set the tone for other films that would follow in the years after. I highly recommend snagging this release from Vin Syn. It’s an amazing release and an even more amazing film.

Special Features:
Region Free UHD/Blu-ray Set
4k UHD presented in High-Dynamic-Range
Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original camera negative
“Why Be A Man, When You Can Be A Rothman?” – brand new extended interview with co-writer/director Stephanie Rothman
“From Hartman to Carmen” – brand new interview with lead actress Ena Hartman
“Crash Landing On Terminal Island” – brand new featurette with actress Marta Kristen and actor Sean Kenney
“The Rothmanaissance: Rediscovering The Work Of Stephanie Rothman” – brand new critical featurette with film historian Dr. Alicia Kozma and film author/journalist/programmer Heidi Honeycutt
Stills gallery
Theatrical trailer
Reversible cover artwork
English SDH subtitles

Written by Blacktooth

(Staff Writer) Lover of all things horror and metal. Also likes boobs and booze.

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