Vinegar Syndrome has done a great service to drive-in cinema fans by rescuing two rock-bottom exploitation "classics," Anatomy of a Psycho and The Lonely Sex, from Public Domain DVD hell with the release of this set, newly remastered in 2K from 35mm elements. The former movie is a campy early entry in the "psycho killer" genre, coattailing not only on Hitchcock's Psycho, but Anatomy of a Murder as well, while the latter is actually a serious, heartfelt, if flawed, exploration of the pain and isolation of the sexual misfit, years before such a subject could be explored openly in mainstream movies, with enough "smut" elements to get it played on the raincoat circuit. Unfortunately, while the transfer of Lonely Sex is a huge improvement on the Sinister Cinema edition I already owned, it's disappointing to find that it's missing a few minutes of footage.
As I watched my copy of the VS release yesterday, it seemed that Lonely Sex ended rather abruptly, and was missing the end credits I remembered from previous viewings. So I dug out my Sinister Cinema disc and, sure enough, after the point where the VS transfer ends, there is a short scene of Mr. Wyler peeping at the strip club again (the VS DVD has just music and a black screen here) and a final Citizen Kane-like "reveal" at the psycho's shack of the flower lying on the floor, followed by the final credit roll. This amounts to about 1:58 of material. I also noticed a very brief scene of a bartender reading newspaper headlines about the sex slaying moved to a different position near the beginning of the film, but it doesn't make a difference.
It's really too bad, because otherwise the transfer blows away the SC disc; it's not immaculate, but still a huge upgrade. Which means it probably blows away the Alpha edition as well since many of their DVDs are sourced from old Sinister videotapes. I was pleased to finally have "definitive" editions of Anatomy of a Psycho and Lonely Sex, until I found that LS is still not quite all there. Bummer.
Fortunately, Anatomy of a Psycho looks so great that it makes the purchase of this set worthy all by itself. It completely destroys my Sinister copy, which was itself better than the PD DVD version (probably Madacy's) I had before that. There are a few very brief, isolated instances of print damage, and some minor speckling and reel-change blemishes, but otherwise the transfer looks terrific--crisp and detailed, with deep blacks, rich grayscale, and excellent brightness/contrast. This obsoletes every crummy PD edition out there, hands down, and Anatomy of a Psycho will probably never look better unless VS puts out a Blu-ray someday, or somebody unearths original elements.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings; this would have been a five-star release for me, even with no extras, were it not for the problem with Lonely Sex. But I'm going to have to hang on to my Sinister DVD-R of Lonely Sex indefinitely now, instead of upgrading and being done with it.