Plot: The small town of Smalltown seems like a typical, rural community, but just under the surface lurks a mysterious darkness. The local mechanics prey upon travelers who pass through, attacking and abducting anyone they deem of interest, then assaulting the females when the mood strikes. But the mechanics are kidnapping travelers with more of a purpose than just random violence, as the victims are turned over to the eerie Dr. Schaeffer (Dean Jagger). Meanwhile, a new batch of visitors has arrived in Smalltown, a colorful group of friends looking for good times, only to be stranded when their car breaks down. As it happens, these new arrivals are of great interest to the locals and thus begins the usual routine from the mechanics. But can the young friends somehow figure out the town’s sadistic secret in time or will they learn about Dr. Schaeffer’s strange, horrific experiments first hand?
Entertainment Value: An old adage tells us that it takes a village to raise a child, but in the case of Evil Town, it took a village of directors and a mishmash of visions to raise this horror curio into existence. The movie began production in the 70s, but would pass through the hands of several filmmakers, each of whom would bend it to their will a little before exiting the production. The mid 80s would see Evil Town released, a kind of patchwork sewn together from all those visions and the production was troubled, I think the movie itself is a lot of fun. Of course, you need to have an appreciation for off the wall, convoluted cinema, but if you have the taste for this kind of b movie magic, you should have fun here as well. The movie is often compared to Evils of the Night, since several scenes are direct lifts from that picture, but rest assured, Evil Town has its own vibe and texture. This is simply mind melting stuff, with a convoluted plot, outrageous performances, and the kind of dialogue that makes you want to rewind all the time, to make sure you heard what you thought you heard. This kind of curio isn’t going to dazzle those who prefer more traditional, straight ahead horror of course, as the ride is a bumpy one and makes a lot of bizarre, downright mystifying choices. But for those who appreciate the stranger side of cinema or movies that defy all description, Evil Town is a must see movie.
A lot of sex talk and skimpy clothes in this one, but just one presenter of actual nudity, though is an epic one. Lynda Wiesmeier has a topless scene and her jugs are simply breathtaking, on showcase for a long stretch here. If you can only make room for one set of bare breasts in the movie, we can be thankful Wiesmeier’s legendary rack was the one chosen here. This movie has some violence, but it is non graphic and little active bloodshed is shown on screen. A few scenes have some aftermath blood painted on the victims, but there’s no gore or kinetic bloodletting on showcase here. But we do have people getting hit with various blunt objects and some martial arts action, fueled by one man’s glorious mustache. The dialogue here is quite simply magical, line after line of awkward, outlandish, and quotable material, rarely slowing down and always hilarious or mind crushing. The ridiculous girl talk, cringe level sex discussions, and general odd and inexplicable exchanges abound. But the real star is Dean Jagger, who turns in one of the most unusual and outrageous performances I’ve seen, with dialogue delivery you likely won’t believe. As his character unravels in the finale, his lines and delivery devolve into total madness and it is a wonderful experience. As should be evident by this point, Evil Town earns some serious insanity points, from the patchwork narrative to the brain pulsing dialogue to the outrageous performances, plus a consistent flow of just what the hell is going on moments. The slow motion donut party is a highlight as well, just a totally off the wall artistic choice that I loved.
Overall Insanity: 10/10
The Disc: The second release in the Vinegar Syndrome Archive series, Evil Town has been lavished with a new 2k scan and restoration, sourced from the original camera negative. At this point, I think we all expect Vinegar Syndrome titles to surpass our expectations, but I am still always impressed by how good they’re able to make these movies look. This presentation is remarkable, as the print looks so clean and clear, as if time has little to no toll on the elements. The colors look natural, black levels are good, and detail is excellent. I can’t imagine how Evil Town could look better and once again, Vinegar Syndrome has gone above and beyond. As for extras, we have an informative audio interview with one of the film’s directors, Larry Spiegel, which runs about half hour and loaded with production insights. He also talks about his career as a whole, so it is a terrific piece. A short look at the how the film shares some traits with Evils of the Nights is also present. This limited edition release also featured a double sided poster and a hard box slipcover.