Hung JuryOverview -
A Jersey whodunnit with a fetish video backbone, 1994’s Hung Jury from W.A.V.E founder Gary Whitson makes the jump to Blu-ray thanks to Saturn’s Core. This slow-burn thriller features scores of hogtied damsels and a bloody revenge plot that will please SOV horror fans at every turn. The Blu-ray features a respectable A/V package and plenty of bonus material to round out an excellent release. For Fans Only.
An unemployed and drug addled loner is sentenced to death for robbing and drowning an innocent girl in 1974. During his execution, he vows revenge on the judge, jury, and prosecutor who convicted him. 20 years later, two actresses are hired by a mysterious benefactor to charter a yacht full of strangers and travel to a remote island locale for a murder mystery weekend. The guests soon realize that the murders are no performance, as a mysterious killer begins dispatching each patron on the island one by one using a variety of gory and gruesome methods.
Undoubtedly the most elaborate, SOV passion project from director Gary Whitson and his New Jersey based company W.A.V.E. Productions, Hung Jury is a mind melting, 1994 island set whodunnit slasher epic of mammoth proportions boasting a huge (mostly non-thespian) principal cast, underwater videography, and exotic yacht and beachfront locations. Featuring performances by Tina Krause (Limbo), Dave Castiglione (Backwoods Marcy), Clancy McCauley (Dead North), and Michelle Caporaletti (Bloody Creek), Hung Jury weaves a perplexing revenge slasher plot together with some of the most over the top kills in W.A.V.E. history; including barn door crucifixion, bludgeoning by dismembered arm, and the most astonishing post-coital weightlifting axe massacre in cinema history!
directed by: Gary Whitson
starring: Judy Pasternak, Shelly Deuber, Dave Castiglione, Tina Krause, Tom Beschler
1994 / 114 min / 1.33:1 / English DTS-HD MA 2.0
- Region Free Blu-ray
- New transfer from the SVHS master tape
- Audio commentary with director Gary Whitson moderated by Ross Snyder, co-director of Mail Order Murder: The Story of W.A.V.E. Productions
- Alternate extended cut (119 min.)
- Audio commentary with Richard Mogg, Author of Analog Nightmares: The Shot on Video Horror Films of 1982-1995
- BONUS MOVIE: THE PERILS OF PENELOPE (84 min.) -W.A.V.E.’s infamous 1992 ode to the old time, episodic serial cliffhangers starring Hung Jury star Michelle Caporaletti
- “The Perils of Penelope: The Hypnotic Gem” -Sequel short from 2008 starring Elizabeth Raven (20 min.)
- Reversible cover art
- English SDH subtitles
- “Hung Jury: Fit to Be Tied”: a 28 page booklet featuring rare behind the scenes photos plus writings by Grace Lovera (Horror Fashion Review), Taylor Heider (Mondo Videos), filmmaker / artist Caroline Kopko (Cannibal Hookers, Cinderella’s Tolerance), plus a foreword by director Gary Whitson
Purchase Original Edition From Vinegar Syndrome.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
“Mr. Jenkins is one of you.”
Hung Jury is a twisted and horny whodunnit. Director Gary Whitson places a greater emphasis on the story instead of kink but still structures most scenes around a particular fetish. As the narrative unfolds, the film becomes convoluted as characters and subplots are added. Thankfully once the murders start occurring the momentum changes and the various pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Fans of “damsels in distress” will find plenty to enjoy here as well.
The film begins in 1975 as parolee Bill drowns a sexy neighbor (Michelle Caporaletti, Play Dead) and vows revenge at his execution. Years later in 1994 two aspiring actresses are hired to facilitate a murder mystery weekend on an isolated island off the Jersey shore. Alecia (Christine McNeilly) and Karen (Shelly Deuber) are suspicious of the shady details provided by Mr. Jenkins but they are desperate and need the work.
The guests for the weekend include scuba diver Bill (Dave Castiglione, Backwoods Marcy), stockbroker Phillip (Tom Beschler, Dead North), psychiatrist Dr. Shannon (Shama Peterson), Colonel Nathan Blackstone (John Peterson), businessman Joseph (Joseph A. Cedatol Jr.), teacher Melissa (Melissa A. Curnew), and Jenna (Sharon Hawkins) who is in the “entertainment business”. Once the guests arrive the tame sexual escapades begin while a murderer is on the loose taking them out with horrific results.
The biggest hurdle of the film is keeping the names of the characters straight! Because of the lackluster lighting and format, you can barely tell the men apart in the film The ladies however are clearly defined by their lack of bras, wardrobe changes, and 80’s hairstyles. Conservative editing to the myriad of sex scenes reveals just enough skin though fans of wet t-shirts will want the pause button handy. Director and W.A.V.E Productions founder Gary Whitson doesn’t hype the nudity but places greater emphasis on the victims and their violent ends. He provides an excellent range for all tastes whether it's a bathtub electrocution or a hog-tied schoolgirl.
Hung Jury is played straight hoping to pull you into the killing spree and figure out the killer’s identity. Kill scenes get enough blood to register an impact on the viewer but this isn’t an overly gory endeavor until the film’s climactic ending. An unexpected final torture scene cements the film’s place in SOV horror history as the killer is revealed.
The amateur cast performances are wooden with every scene highlighted by an actor either flubbing their lines or repeating themselves. Emotions run high as the body count rises but you wouldn’t know from the dumbfounded faces of the concerned island guests. Everyone is committed to their roles even when beaten with a severed rubber arm. Some W.A.V.E regulars here include Tom Beschler, Michelle Caporaletti, Dave Castiglione, and Clancy McCauley.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Hung Jury arrives on Blu-ray thanks to Saturn’s Core and OCN Distribution. The All-Region disc is housed in a transparent keepcase with reversible artwork and an insert booklet. Loading the disc presents the Main Menu screen with scenes from the film playing against typical navigation options.
Hung Jury makes the leap to HD with a respectable 1080i transfer in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. As with all SOV productions, the source material provides many limitations. Detail is nonexistent with analog fuzz permeating the image. The interiors are dark making it extremely challenging to discern the various characters in play. Primaries are apparent and distinguishable with yellows and reds strong within the presentation. Compared to other Saturn's Core releases this one is on par with others from the label.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo track provides a satisfying sound mix for the film. Unfortunately, levels peak within heated dialogue exchanges as the various victims meet their untimely demise. Hiss and pop are a constant threat to the film along with the actor’s stumbling over their lines. Keep those subtitles on or the volume up to understand what's happening.
Saturn’s Core loads this disc with plenty of supplemental material for fans of the film and those interested in more specific material from W.A.V.E Productions. Start with the excellent commentary track then move through the Penelope fetish features before returning to the Alternate Cut. Enjoy!
- Audio Commentary with Director Gary Whitson, moderated by Ross Snyder of Saturn’s Core
- Alternate Version: Extended Cut of Hung Jury (HD 119:10) with optional audio commentary by author Richard Mogg
- The Perils of Penelope (1992) (HD 84:08) A kinky “damsels in distress” SOV feature with multiple vignettes showing poor Penelope (Michelle Caporaletti) getting tortured by cartoonish villains.
- The Perils of Penelope: The Hypnotic Gem (2008) (HD 20:17) A sequel to the first film, a sadistic Nazi leader (Debbie D) tortures Penelope (Elizabeth Raven) while hunting for a precious gemstone.
- Additional Saturn’s Core Trailers (HD 10:43)
Hung Jury has the potential to be a capable whodunnit outside its SOV horror trappings. Whitson’s fetish-leaning set pieces can be a distraction but for W.A.V.E audiences it's a real treat. With a cast of interesting amateur actors this Jersey giallo is an entertaining mix of gore, sex, and intrigue. Saturn’s Core provides a respectable A/V package and exciting bonus features worth checking out. For Fans Only.
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