PSYCHOS IN LOVE (1987) Blu-ray/DVD combo
Director: Gorman Bechard
Vinegar Syndrome

Once thought "Too Gory for the Silver Screen", the direct-to-video PSYCHOS IN LOVE comes to Blu-ray/DVD combo from Vinegar Syndrome.

Strip club owner Joe (Carmine Capobianco, THE SINS OF DRACULA) is having a hard time on the dating scene since he ends up killing his dates more often than not, particularly if they like grapes. Sharing his extreme aversion to grapes is manicurist Kate (Debi Thibeault, DEATH COLLECTOR) whose clientele is primarily male and usually wind up with one of her cuticle tools jammed in their throats or eyes. The two meet cute and reveal their secrets, as well as their acceptances that they are clinically insane, and decide to make a go at being "unstable together." They maintain an open relationship in as far as they continue to meet strangers to kill them, but Kate's jealousy upon seeing one of Joe's big-titted prospects has her suggesting that they try killing as a couple. They both eventually become disenchanted with killing and decide to get married and suburban life, vicariously enjoying murder through the purchase of a VCR and raiding the local video shop for the various horror franchises. Unfortunately, they eventually cross paths with a cannibalistic plumber (Frank Stewart, THRILLED TO DEATH) who discovers "finger food" in their clogged sink drain and proposes that they kill and supply bodies for his consumption.

Although reviews at the time of its release suggested that director Gorman Bechard (YOU ARE ALONE) and writer/star Capobianco were ripping off EATING RAOUL, the filmmakers themselves have cited other comic fare including the more obvious ANNIE HALL along with classic physical comedy of the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin. Although the film is never meant to be taken seriously as a horror movie or a love story, the latter is oddly endearing and the leads have a nice chemistry that extends to a couple Woody Allen-esque semi-improvised back-and-forths. The film has a better sense of humor than the superficially similar MICROWAVE MASSACRE; and, while there is plenty of blood and body parts, as well as its share of gratuitous nudity, the film is never as unpleasant or misogynistic as some of the other low budget regional imitators of slightly better budgeted indie and mainstream genre fare. Victims include Penthouse Pet Angela Nicholas (ALIEN SPACE AVENGER), porn director/performer Ed Powers (DIRTY DEBUTANTES), Ruth Collins (DOOM ASYLUM), and future sitcom actor Eric Lutes (CAROLINE IN THE CITY).

Released by Wizard Video as one of their "Too Gory for the Silver Screen" direct-to-video titles, PSYCHOS IN LOVE built up a bit of a cult following before the rights reverted to Bechard who set about marketing it for DVD release right away, landing a deal first in Germany for which he and Capobianco recorded a commentary track and then planned to put it out himself before Media Blasters contacted him for their 2010 release for which he recorded a second solo commentary track and a number of extras, many of which are included on Vinegar Syndrome's Blu-ray/DVD combo. Although an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen DVD popped up in Sweden, Vinegar Syndrome has chosen to go with the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio for their 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC pillarboxed presentation which is an improvement in detail and resolution over the Media Blasters edition even if the colors are a shade cooler (although reds are still well-saturated). The original mono track is included in DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 and English SDH subtitles also transcribe the song lyrics.

In addition to a newly-shot optional director's introduction (0:32), the disc includes the Behcard/Capobianco track from the German DVD and the solo Bechard track from the Media Blasters disc. The former is a lively track that is as informative as its humorous, with the pair discussing their collaboration on the script, the origins of the main duo's hatred of grapes, Capobianco's grape monologue, and the Bechard-penned song Capobianco would set to music. They also discuss their Capobiano's working relationship and Bechard's offscreen relationship with Thibeault (which lead to an engagement that ended on their next film). On the solo track, Bechard discusses film school and getting ousted by the feminist head of the department who took offense to his feature film project DISCONNECTED on which he first worked with Capobiano, his own spin on the development of PSYCHOS IN LOVE, and how Charles Band not only picked the film up for the Wizard Video line but also offered him a four-picture deal. The deal resulted in GALACTIC GIGOLO and CEMETERY HIGH (originally titled ASSAULT OF THE KILLER BIMBOS before Band reassigned the title to another film) which were taken out of his control in the editing, neither of which he is proud or includes on his resume. He does not hold back on his hatred for Band and recalls how the experience colored his subsequent film career.

In "Directing the Psychos" (11:11), Bechard recalls how he became disenchanted with filmmaking after his experience with Band and started writing novels, only returning to film after his works had been optioned repeatedly but never made. After losing control of post with THE KISS, a romantic drama with Terence Stamp, he resolved to make films and documentaries on which he had total control even if it narrowed his options (although he has been fairly prolific in the last decade with a handful of features and several documentaries. In "Playing a Psycho" (15:26), Capobianco discusses writing the film, ad-libbing lines, working on the make-up effects, as well as the film's cult following and its contemporary reception (including fans who either want him to deliver the grape monologue or to deliver it to him). He also recalls sitting next to Elizabeth Shepherd (TOMB OF LIGIEA) at a Cinema Wasteland screening. "Discussing Psychos" (20:06) is an extended discussion between Behcard and Capobianco who cover much of the same ground while also reveling in the recollection that a video store owner complained about several tapes returned broken because of the scene in the film where the lead couple are able to see images from the films by holding the tape up to the light. The "Carmine Capobianco Q&A from Cinema Wasteland 2016" (49:18) covers some of the same material but seems fresher due to the hard time Capobianco gives to the interviewer for the audience's amusement. It does, however, provide more background on GALACTIC GIGOLO and CEMETERY HIGH than Behcard was willing to provide (and Capobianco was willing to discuss in his presence). "Making Psychos" (13:01) is a vintage making-of featurette that finds Capobianco just as cagey about answering questions of characterization but also puts faces and voices to some of the behind-the-scenes crew members discussed elsewhere including then-fifteen-year-old intern Jan Radder who has since continued to work with Behcard, as well as the director's sister who shot stills and filled some other roles behind the camera.

Additional extras include the film's trailer (1:44), a behind the scenes photo gallery (10:39) and promotional image gallery (1:19), along with Wizard's alternate opening credit sequence (1:12) which presented the credits in a plain font on black apart from a fancier animated title card. While the German DVD included the rough cut of the film in its entirety, a rough edit outtakes & extended scenes (9:55) segment includes some additional angles as well as some slight extensions on a few scenes (including a bit more flirtation between Joe's POV and the second victim). Highlights from the "Psychos in Love" stage play (13:46) – mounted at Wisconsin's Broom Street Theater (an experimental theater established by Stuart Gordon in 1969) – are played very broadly and perhaps the audience is more entertained by their memories of the film more so than the play's additions (although the Behcard and Capobianco liked it enough to suggest mounting it again without some of the references to copyrighted characters like Freddy Krueger) for an entire Blu-ray extra. The disc also includes four short films by Behcard – "The Only Take" (2:32), "Pairs" (0:33), "Bartholomew" (6:33), and "Objects in the Mirror Are Further Than They Appear" (14:59). The set comes with a booklet with essays by Art Ettinger and Matt Desiderio, and limited copies purchased directly from Vinegar Syndrome come with a slipcover featuring artwork by Derek Gabryszak which is also included on the disc insert itself with the home video artwork on the reverse. (Eric Cotenas)