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Mankillers (Blu-ray Review)

MankillersA female homage to The Dirty Dozen directed and written by David A. Prior (Deadly Prey,Killer Workout), Mankillers stars Edd Byrnes (TV’s77 Sunset Strip), Gail Fisher (TV’s Mannix), Edy Williams (The Naked Kiss), Lynda Aldon (Doctor Detroit), William Zipp (Deadly Prey), Christine Lunde (The Masque of the Red Death) and Suzanne Tegmann (Death Chase).  It’s wall-to-wall action and adventure in Mankillers.

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Film 

Mankillers features a rag tag group of bottom feeders —murderers, thieves and other assorted miscreants  — who, unless they coalesce into a lean, mean fighting machine to stop a rogue agent and the drug cartel that employs him, have the option of a prison cell or the electric chair.

Yeah, consider me a fan of trashy, midnight b-movie auteur David A Prior.  I had only seen Deadly Prey and Killer Workout going into Mankillers.  Both of those I loved, so I trusted the brand.  And it was right up there with them in terms of what to expect and the quality.

If you like both of those movies, you’re in luck.  This one is as if the cast of Killer Workout got thrown into the world of Deadly Prey.  A lot of this movie is muscle dudes and hot babes firing off big guns in the woods as squibs explode on white shirts and the like.  Strangely, no nudity in this one.  There are some crude female abuse aspects to it, but they’re within the shittiness of the male characters and something you’ve seen done much worse in other movies of its ilk.

Billed as a “dirty dozen with females” venture, it kinda is that in the team up, suicide mission aspect, but Prior should be given some credit.  There is nothing I thought about other than him when watching this.  Despite the cheap aspects and such, this is through and through his movie.  I don’t exactly know what it is, but from the look of one, I think I can tell when a film is his.  Plus, this is just a silly fun time with some good 1980s straight to video exploitation.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Clarity/Detail:  Once again, Slasher Video brings a David A Prior masterpiece to Blu-ray through the transfer of a VHS tape.  If you’ve seen Killer Workout or Deadly Prey, its right up there with them.  There is some eating of the tape.  Details aren’t very great and color variation is low, but damnit, at least you get to have a copy of Mankillers on a trustworthy format.

Depth:  Flat.  Things move like a VHS, and cinematically with some blur.

Black Levels:  Blacks are dark and can cover up some detail.  No crushing here, at least.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are dingy and very one note.  Not a lot of variation here, due to the source material. 

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are…I dunno, solid and consistent in their appearance.  There’ a bit of flicker here in there in the natural scheme of things and how the transfer works.  Detail is light on facial features, things gotta be very close up.

Noise/Artifacts:  This transfer is good, but the unavoidable VHS problems are abound.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This is VHS quality sound.  There are analog distortions here and at points where the tape has some defects, the sound does suffer.  You’ll have to turn this one up a little bit.  You get what you get.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is decent, managing to come through and be audible through the tape hiss and lower quality.

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Extras 

Photo Gallery (HD, 6:27) 

Trailer (HD, 2:39) 

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Summary 

I give kudos to Slasher Video for getting these titles out there and really available again.  Yes, its a bummer that the only source materials that seem to be available are a VHS tape, but hey, that’s something. I’d rather plop down a couple bucks for a brand new Blu-ray or DVD than $50 – $100 on an out of print VHS tape on eBay.  Really, all you need for this one is the DVD, but some people refuse to buy them realizing that in a situation like this, its no bother. But for those who pick up this Blu-ray, its as good as its going to be.

Mankillers-Blu-ray

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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