LA Aids Jabber - LA Aids Jabber(Blu Ray) [Visual Vengeance/Wild Eye Releasing - 2022]
L.A Aids Jabber is one of the more bad taste focused/ bizarre films to appear from the 1990’s Shot of Video cycle. It’s part tame slasher, part detective drama, and part social commentary thriller. Here from the guys at Visual Vengeance, the retro low-budget/ SOV label of Wild Eye Releasing, is a new Blu-ray release of this rare/lesser-seen film. Featuring a director’s commentary, and a good selection of new extras- making it a must for any fan of SOV fare.
L.A Aids Jabber (aka Jabber) appeared in the year 1994- and was the one and only director/writer/producer credit from Drew Godderis, who had a few B-movie acting credits in the likes of Blood Dinner (1987), Cannibal Hookers (1987), and Deep Space (1988). The film runs at the one hour and eighteen-minute mark, and it’s a fairly typical mid-range SOV fare- with a relatively big cast, a few locations, and dabs of decent production. Though on the less positive side, the pacing is extremely mixed, and the acting moves between barely able-to-read lines and (mostly) competent.
The film opens with Jeff (Jason Majik) a twenty-something guy, with his girlfriend parked up late at night somewhere. We find out he’s not been feeling the greatest of late- unable to figure out what’s wrong with him- but has had blood tests awaiting the results. His girlfriend asks if he wants to make out, but he flinches away with pain- asking her to drive them back home. The next morning he’s into meeting the doc, who is clearly trying to recall the script- he informs Jeff he has AIDS, unsurprisingly this doesn’t go down well- and he also threatens the doc on his way out of his office. He goes to his warehouse job three hours late- and promptly gets fired, as he’s scribbling his boss's name on his ‘list’.
He heads home to his seemingly just a sofa apartment and decides he is going to add more to his list. The list is people he’s going to inject with his own blood…and he sets off to track down the first name on the list, a hooker he slept with some months back. He goes into her apartment syringe behind his back, as the embrace, he stabs her with the needle, rants and runs off. Fairly soon a blond female cop, and her male partner turn up- and the investigation/ trying to figure out who committed this, and the proceeding attacks.
Aside from the first attack, the jabbing’s largely take place off-screen/or you can’t really figure out what has just happened. The film largely focuses on Jeff's unfolding sanity and the police investigation- with the stalking/attacks being largely underwhelming. Majik is acceptable enough as the slowly going deranged Jeff- though as you’d imagine there is a fair bit of hammy/ overacting going on. The two cops are passable if at times a little flat/ bland.
Content-wise we have some rewardingly awkward interactions, and these start with the opening scene, where the characters briefly forget their lines. We have an unconvincing angry discussion in an open-top car. There’s a bumbling meeting between the blond female cop, and her sitting on the steps with a mullet-ted boyfriend & their child- which looks like either on them. On the whole L.A Aids Jabber is very much a curio in the SOV genre- firstly it has its bad taste concept, then secondly it mixes a few genres- not managing any of them perfectly. So, it’s not a top draw example of shot-on-video film, but if you’re a fan/ collector of the genre it’s something you need to see, as it is rather bizarre/ distinctive.
Moving onto this new region free Blu-Ray, and we get a good/ fair selection of extras on the disc. We have a commentary track featuring director Drew Godderis, Rob Hauschild from Wild Eye/ Visual Vengeance, and SOV legend/ B-movie maker Mark Polonia. The track is dotted with interesting facts/ info, through Godderis does often result in describing what’s going on-screen, which does become a little tiresome in places. We find out the film was shot in six weeks in the year 1990, in of course LA- with much of the filming going on at the weekend. There was no nudity/ overt gore in the film, as it felt it would detract from the film's message. We find out the Doctors office is actually a chiropractor- hence the big spine-only skeleton in some of the shots. The film's budget was around $5’000, and this was kept low as it was often filmed either in places the director lived at the time or worked- the boss in the films was Godderis real-life boss. We get talk about shot set up/ type of shots, and that apparently it was filmed in sequence with very few takes. We find out that the film's editor not only did the job he was employed for, but also composed the soundtrack- doing everything for $600. It’s an interesting enough track- though I just wish there was less on-screen description going on.
Otherwise, we get a selection of onscreen interviews with the cast & crew- there’s one Godderis( 10.03), where he talks about living in LA for thirty-five years, and how his wife died around the late 80’s- leaving him with a two-year-old son, hence he jumped from acting to producing/ film making- before talking about the film to hand. We get interviews with the following- lead actor Jason Majik (28.33), actress Joy Yurada (6.58), actor Gene Webber (4.28), Cinematographer Rick Bradach( 6.28), an interview with Godderis son Justin (8.43), and an interview with Jackie Kong (9.12) who worked with Godderis as an actor in Blood Diner- each of these are well worth a play too. We get an around minute and a half filmed intro to the film by the director, a photo gallery, and a recently created trailer.
So it's nice to see Visual Vengeance giving such a thorough & extras-packed release of L.A Aids Jabber- and while it may not be the most captivating or dynamic of SOV pictures- it’s certainly original in its concept. So, if you either have a general interest in 90’s SOV, and/ or more bizarre (if largely) bloodless low-budget slashers, then this is something you’ll be wanting to pick up.