James Hong’s cult 1989 horror film “The Vineyard”, which comes to UK
DVD this month courtesy of arrow
films, is undoubtedly one of the more bizarre releases I’ve had to review in
Set on a secluded island, Hong (who directs and stars) plays noted winemaker Dr Elson Po, who’s Vineyard’s cover his spacious estate. His wines are extremely popular, and sell for ridiculous amounts on the mainland. But the reason for their popularity has something to do with their special ingredients, which no one seems to know about.
Seems Dr Po has been turning people into zombies, in order to produce a special elixir that maintains his relatively youthful looks, and has been burying them in his vineyards as they provide vital soil nutrients for the grapes he uses for his special wines (good job the food standards agency don’t pay him a visit then).
When a group of film makers visit his island looking for filming locations for a movie they are preparing to shoot, little do they realise Dr Po and his assistants have other plans for them. But when the zombies in the vineyard burst out of the ground and go on the rampage, the group find themselves caught between
fighting assistants on one side and the hoardes of the undead on the other.
Originally released back in 1989, this is a really weird film, which takes the old “mad doctor on a secluded island” setting and mixes in elements of modern day horror with oriental sword and sorcery.
Directed by star James Hong (of “Big Trouble in Little China” and “Tango and Cash” fame), whilst competently shot, it did have a slight “made for TV” feel about it and indeed was almost like watching an extended episode of “Tales from the Crypt”, but that in no way detracts from the overall campy fun of the film (even though the ghastly 80s fashions worn by the teenagers do look a little dated now).
The film is available now on UK
on Arrow Films ‘Arrowdrome’ label and contains the theatrical trailer as an
extra. The case comes with a special collectors booklet and the sleeve features