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Last Gasp Main

Last Gasp Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Vinegar Syndrome

Last Gasp Large

Directed by Scott McGinnis
Written by Pierce Milestone
1995, 92 minutes, Rated R
Released on April 27th, 2021

Robert Patrick as Leslie Chase
Joanna Pacula as Nora Weeks
Vyto Ruginis as Ray Tattinger
Mimi Craven as Goldie
Alexander Enberg as Duane
Nan Martin as Mrs. Hardwick
Adrian Pavlovski as Totec Chieftan

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While overseeing a development project in San Del Sol, Mexico, Leslie Chase is dogged by the indigenous Totec Indians, who are targeting his workers, killing some in ritual sacrifice and leaving their bodies on public display. Chase is a ruthless man and orders his men to hunt and slaughter the Indians. He participates in the murders and later returns home only to be attacked by the tribe’s chieftain. The two fight to the death, with Chase the victor, but with his dying breath, the chief’s spirit passes into Chase in order to possess him.

Six years later, in Boone County, Pennsylvania, Nora Weeks is doing her best to keep it together, but her husband Julian has been missing for several months and she is growing more alarmed every day. The police are worthless and she is desperate for information. Enter Ray Tattinger, an opportunistic private detective looking for his next big case (pronounced paycheck). He takes Nora to dinner and learns the details of her husband’s disappearance and assures her he will do his best to find him. Ray follows a few leads, including a visit to an impound yard where Julian’s car has been found. He returns after hours and bullies an employee for information about the car and writes down an address. After a week of silence, Nora fears Ray has ditched her case and run off with her deposit. She takes her husband’s file and enlists the help of her friend Goldie to pursue the lead of the address which takes them to Chase’s house. Chase busts them trying to break in, but Goldie tells him she is a realtor looking for properties. He sees through her bullshit, but plays along and tries to charm her. Nora is creeped out by him, but Goldie is infatuated.

Over the past few weeks a series of unsolved murders have grabbed the headlines as mutilated bodies turn up around the city. Nora approaches a surprisingly chatty reporter who is quick to disclose many confidential details about the case leading her to suspect Chase. She begs Goldie not to date him as he could be a murderer, but her friend won’t listen. With Ray in the wind and Goldie acting like an idiot, it is up to Nora to try to solve the mystery of what happened to her husband and what if anything Chase had to do with it. He is not a man to be trifled with and Nora will learn some hard lessons along the way and will require more than a bit of luck if she is to survive this ordeal.

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Mystical Indians are a popular genre trope that for decades has been used to add a supernatural flair to a spooky horror story. In the 1970s and ‘80s the device seemed to flourish in films like Shadow of the Hawk (1976), The Manitou (1978), Wolfen (1981) and Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), just to name a few. In his script for 1995’s Last Gasp, screenwriter Pierce Milestone (Warlock III: The End of Innocence) explores the idea of soul transference via dying breath. The Totec Indian chief possesses the man who killed him and commands him to commit a string of grisly murders. The details of how this curse works are conveniently vague but make for an interesting story. Directed by Scott McGinnis (Caroline at Midnight), the film has some gory images and decent tension coupled with softcore erotica and some slightly less polished sex scenes.

Robert Patrick (The Faculty) stars as Leslie Chase, the even-tempered business man with a flair for murder. He carries the picture with a solid performance that is cunning and darkly playful. Patrick is quietly menacing in the role and it is fun watching him toy with Nora. Joanna Pacula (The Kiss) co-stars as Nora Weeks, a woman on edge and out of her depth. She does a fine job filling the character with anxiety and desperation. Vyto Ruginis (Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies) plays the private investigator Ray Tattinger, who drives the story in his search for the missing husband. Ray’s methods lack finesse, but he is actually pretty good at his job and Ruginis makes him a memorable character. Rounding out the core cast is Mimi Craven (Servants of Twilight) – widow of Wes – as Nora’s best friend Goldie, an energetic and somewhat reckless woman looking for a good time.

Last Gasp is an odd film that has some good ideas, but falters in execution. There is no mystery as to who the bad guy is as Chase kills somebody and is possessed within the first ten minutes. Then we jump to a new location six years later and it is unclear if the spirit has been dormant all this time or if he has been steadily killing all along. It is also unknown how Chase selects his victims or if he is aware of his murderous behavior. The script is pretty familiar and includes a nice nod to Psycho structurally, and there are many tense moments throughout. It is relatively predictable but remains entertaining enough to recommend a viewing, although I suggest catching this one streaming before committing to a purchase.

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Video and Audio:

The original camera negative has received a 4K scan and restoration with the picture presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This is an impressive transfer that delivers a crystal-clear image filled with bright colors and inky black levels. Small-object detail is especially strong in hair and fabrics and flesh tones appear natural throughout.

A DTS-HD MA 2.0 track preserves the original stereo recording and delivers clean and clear dialogue levels free from hiss, pops or other distortion. Music cues and sound effects are well-balanced and never intrusive.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

A silent collection of outtakes (15 minutes) set to music from the film provides a look at some of the crew at work as well as footage of some of the more interesting moments of the shoot.

The theatrical trailer has been included.

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Movie: Twoandahalfstars Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Buy Amazon Uk
Video: Fourandahalfstars
Audio: Threeandahalfstars
Features: Twostars
Overall: 3 Star Rating

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About The Author
Robert Gold
Author: Robert Gold
Staff Reviewer - USA
Robert's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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