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Angel (1983) January 20th, 2021

It’s December 2019. Christmas is just around the corner, we’re planning our wedding in March, and no one is thinking about Wuhan much at all. Before I head home from work I get an email notification that my Vinegar Syndrome Black-Friday-sale shipment has arrived. This is great news, I was worried that due to their high order volume mine wouldn’t make it to Alaska before Christmas. I rush home like a giddy child and sure enough there’s a box waiting at the front door with my name on it. There’s another box or two, one’s really big, like four or five times the size of my Vinegar Syndrome box, but I dismiss it as one of my fiancĂ©’s monthly Amazon shipments. I rush upstairs with the mail and rip open the package and find everything I ordered. Tammy and the T-Rex in 4k, Savage Dawn, and Hell Comes to Frogtown among others. I’ve attached a photo to illustrate my sizable haul. I get the wrappingpaper and clear enough floor space to start the whole process but this big Amazon box is in the way.

Not a bad stack for Christmas.

I begin to move it, when what to my wondering eyes should appear? My name, on the big box from Syndrome Vinegar. “This says box 1 of 1.” the old Me-Claus hissed. If they charged me extra I’m gonna be pissed. I cut the thing open like a tauntaun on Hoth. “Did I order more, and forgot?” I ponder and froth. And when the box opened, to my great surprise, ’twas stuffed with more movies than I could surmise . Don’t trust me? That’s good! What I’ve said can’t be so! Unless you’re inclined to believe a photo.

A not badder stack for Christmas.

Then I slithered and slunk, with a smile most unpleasant, around the whole box, looking at every present! Horrors and boxsets of schlock and of scum, pornos and skin-flicks to make people… nope. I’m advised not to finish by my rhyme advisor The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. (Wait a second…)

One of these goodies was the Angel Boxset. The high quality of Vinegar Syndrome’s products is evident nowhere more than their boxsets. I didn’t know anything about Angel before Santa left this gift at our doorstep but this beautiful collector’s edition made me want to give it a try.

Angel is the story of a high school prostitute who ‘s struggling to balance her career and school while her ‘work friends’ are being hunted by a serial killer. Angel’s friend Mae is a cross dressing sex worker played by Dick Shawn who gets the best lines and gives the best performance in the picture (I’d expect nothing less from the actor who voiced the Snow Miser in The Year Without Santa Claus) who’s usually accompanied by his friend Kit Carson a former Hollywood western movie star who makes his living taking photos with tourists on the sunset strip. These two characters are the heart of the film, without them it’s a movie about a high school hooker who’s almost never in high school and never hooks.

I suppose the movie’s actually about getting to know the Angel character enough to empathize with her situation as the killer picks off people in her circle before eventually swooping in to hurt her, but that doesn’t fulfill the poster’s promise. Angel isn’t really a story about a girl balancing high school and prostitution. It’s not an examination of female objectification in the marketplace. It’s not a criticism of the ethical labor myth demonstrating all work is prostitution. It’s a half-assed prostitute comedy smooshed into a half-assed slasher flick that’s whole-assed dumb in the end.

The upsides of Angel are the offbeat performances by the casts veteran character actors and that’s it. The plot is weak, the cinematography is ok for a low budget movie, and the premise doesn’t fully commit to any of its bizarre elements enough to do anything interesting with them. That said I’m probably going to watch the sequels at some point. I can’t imagine they’re any less weird and I kinda want to see how Angel becomes a lawyer or a cop or whatever the fuck the next poster’ll lie about, and really what do I have to lose? They were free.

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