Welcome to this column dedicated to my appreciation of physical media supplements called: Feature Presentations. The goal of this column is not to say whether a film is good or bad and worth picking up or not—I would like to highlight the discs that go the extra mile and provide film fans with enough tasty tidbits to satisfy even the hungriest of cinephiles. With all that out of the way, today’s article will focus on Infernal Rapist from Vinegar Syndrome.
As one might expect with a film such as this title, please be warned that there will be brief discussions about rape depicted within the film, Infernal Rapist.
I don’t know, man; you have a movie titled Infernal Rapist; should I be surprised with how a film of such a title plays out? I’ve never been one that gets offended or turned away from a movie based on its content. I’m of the mind that all film is art. Good or bad, creative minds got together to craft a film, whether it reaches for the cinematic heavens or plunders the hellish theatrical depths, bringing us to this week’s article.
When Vinegar Syndrome announced that Infernal Rapist would be making its Blu-ray debut and, as a subscriber, this film would be added to my collection, a sense of trepidation washed over me. Understanding how much money you have to plunk down to become a subscriber just to have a film titled Infernal Rapist land at my doorstep, needless to say, I was questioning my financial decision-making. Seeing some of the curious offerings Vinegar Syndrome has released in the past, I braced myself as if only one could for a film with such a title.
And the verdict? It was pretty lackluster for a film with such an exploitative title.
Now, when you have a title such as Infernal Rapist, you have an expectation. And yes, there’s plenty of rape during its runtime, but the film alternates between silly and snooze-inducing. The film opens with Carlos, a criminal who meets his maker via the electric chair. Before making his way into the bowels of damnation, a Satanic spirit offers him a deal he can’t refuse: return to Earth to live a life of sin in exchange for the lives of his victims. All too eager to sign up, Carlos makes his pact and begins a drug-fueled spree of murder and rape—only pausing to wine and dine his victims first.
And that’s the biggest fault within the film: it gets into a pattern of drugs, chit-chat, rape and death. Not always in that order, but it doesn’t deviate much.
There’s a heavy fantastical element that runs through Infernal Rapist. This aura keeps it from feeling like a down-and-gritty grindhouse flick, but that surreal vibe isn’t cranked to 11 as often as it should to make Infernal Rapist a must-watch event. Too often, the film pauses for multiple “getting-to-know-you chit-chat” scenes that bog down what should be an unforgettable cinematic experience into a (outside of a ludicrously bonkers finale) mediocre watch.
The package for Infernal Rapist features a cardboard slipcover with a lovely balance of red design on one side and green on the other. The case features a reversible art identical to the slipcase art.
The disc’s features kick off with a brief interview with actor Juan Moro. There isn’t much depth. Moro briefly discusses his time on the production, speaking highly of everyone involved. He talks about his life outside of acting and how he remembered a particular trait regarding his character. It’s a surface-level interview and doesn’t offer much for those seeking additional information on the film.
Actor Fidel Abrego sits down to discuss his time on set for Infernal Rapist for another abbreviated interview. As with the prior discussion, Abrego speaks well about his time filming this Mexican exploitation film and his co-stars—though he gets slightly more philosophical as he talks about his many years in the business. Those looking for production details won’t find it here, but Abrego is an appreciative man, and his comments are worth a listen.
The final interview on the disc is a discussion with actor Arturo Mason. Just as brief as the prior discussions, this sitdown with Mason offers slightly more details on the film’s production. Mason portrays a victim of Carlos and discusses the challenges he and the crew faced when filming his infamous rape scene. As with the prior conversations, Mason appreciates his time on Infernal Rapist and mentions how the film helped him as an actor.
The disc comes to a close with an audio essay by author and critic, Alexandra-Heller-Nicholas. As with most features in which Heller-Nicholas appears, this is the finest feature on the disc. Heller-Nicholas looks to deconstruct Infernal Rapist by discussing the difference between cinematic trash and garbage. She uses Infernal Rapist as an example of an exploitation movie that you do not have to apologize for watching. It’s a sentiment I share, but I’ve never been one to be ashamed of relishing cinematic “trashterpieces.”
From here, Heller-Nicholas digs into the film itself and the possible meaning(s) behind the themes and ideas of Infernal Rapist. Heller-Nicholas discusses the roles in the movie; the female Satanic spirit offering Carlos all his vices, demanding only his unquestioned loyalty for appeasement.
She strives to find the ideas underneath the surface, not finding Infernal Rapist as generic grindhouse garbage. While the sentiment is there, and I agree with some of her summations, in the end, while I didn’t hate the film, its pedestrian storytelling is the fatal flaw of Infernal Rapist. Even still, Heller-Nicholas’ comments are well worth listening to and a highlight of the disc’s features.
And there you have it! Infernal Rapist lives up to its claim. It’s hard to recommend the disc: with a film of such a title, you more than likely know if you’ll be checking out this Blu-ray. While I didn’t walk away from the movie finding a diamond in the rough, it was a curious journey into the world of Mexican exploitation cinema. Outside of a well-constructed essay from Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, there isn’t much substance for those hunting supplemental material. It comes down to the title. If a film titled Infernal Rapist entices you, Vinegar Syndrome‘s Blu-ray is the release you’ll want to own.