Perhaps like me up until now you may never have heard of The Vineyard but if like me you love ridiculous, hilarious cult horror then let me introduce you to your soon to be new favorite film.
Made in 1989 The Vineyard is co-written, co-directed and stars James Hong whose career spans more than 50 years and includes more than 350 roles across film, TV and voice over’s for cartoons and video games.
Spanning multiple genres’ Hong is most recognizable for his role in Blade Runner as the replicants unhinged eye creator, Tia Carrere’s angry dad in Wayne’s World 2 and the root of all ancient evil in 80’s classic Big Trouble in Little China.
In The Vineyard Hong plays Dr. Elson Po millionaire island owner, nefarious villain, occult warlock and award winning winemaker; and if that sentence alone doesn’t make you want to see the film then what the hell is wrong with you!
Po’s wine is legendary amongst aficionado’s the world over however in his mansion on where he makes his wondrous vintage he also concocts magic potions using a mix of the blood of innocent victims and shavings from a powerful amulet he stole many, many moons ago from his mother.
These elixirs give him eternal life and without them he is transformed to the withered, hideous, ancient creature he truly is. With his supply running low Po must perfect his potion before its too late but to do this he needs fresh, young, healthy bodies.
Cue a bunch of nubile, horny teens sent to the island to act in a film Po is producing who arrive ready to party and hopefully find fame unaware that they are about to be crushed like grapes, bled dry to bring Po eternal youth and planted in the vineyard ready to grow into a mindless zombie.
A brilliant blend of horror, action, sex, comedy and carnage The Vineyard is a pure cult classic with everything anyone could ever want from a film including zombies, kung fu fights, 80’s music, nudity, gore, Chinese magic, bad fashion, wine auctions and a dance party.
Holding everything together is Hong whose performance is inspiringly insane crafting Dr Po into a cult horror icon by committing a billion percent to the bat shit crazy character making him and the movie all the more entertaining.
The rest of the cast including Po’s over weight henchman army and the expendable teenagers are more laughable than believable but do all add immensely to the films amusement value and watching them fight, frolic, get attacked by spiders and be skewered by acupuncture needles is wonderfully wicked fun.
The Vineyard like such 80’s cult classics as Neon Maniacs and Masterblaster are lost gems of horror hilarity that fit perfectly into the so bad there brilliant category and thanks go to Arrow for bringing this little known cult masterpiece to the masses.
Most definitely the best wine movie ever made The Vineyard is the perfect film to watch with a bunch of like minded horror loving mates, plenty of popcorn and snacks and a load of drinks, just make sure if you have a bottle of wine its not one of Dr Po’s!