Massage Parlor Murders (1974)





Detectives Rizotti and O’Mara are hot on the trail of a mad man running rampant on 42ndStreet.  He is torturing and killing massage parlor hookers but he’s killed the wrong girl.  Rosie (Chris Jordan) is Rizotti’s favorite girl and when she’s found brutally murdered he and his partner go hard after the maniac because now it’s personal.

The cops roam the seedy parlors and theatres of Times Square running down leads.  They shake down a guy who has earned the moniker Mr. Creepy-DEER HUNTER’s George Dzundza in his debut role, Brother Theodore as kind of a cult leader version of himself and they interview the girls of the massage parlors including Sandra Peabody from TEENAGE HITCHHIKERS and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT.  Brother Theodore is really a hoot being his usual -maybe I should say unusual- kooky self and leaving the detectives more confused when they leave than they were when they arrived.

One of the real treats in this flick is Times

Square itself.  We get to see the people, the theatres, the signs, posters and neon.  It’s a nice time capsule of times past.  Also on display are the attitudes of the 70s.  Rizotti is in a rough marriage while O’Mara is living the bachelor’s life and both are swingers.  Rizotti frequents the massage parlors while O’Mara attends an orgiastic pool party. 


The film plays out almost like an American giallo.  The gloved killer is never seen during the acts of violence and the victims are always women in various states of undress.  The locales are uniquely American whereas gialli tend to express themselves almost as Italian travelogue.  Every character encountered is menacing each in their own way and the heroes are both deeply flawed.  Absent is the aspect of the menace of the mundane.  In its stead the creepy people are actually creepy while the “normal” people are mostly “normal” and places are shown with a gritty realism that is inviting as well as a tad off putting. 

Vinegar Syndrome gives THE MASSAGE PARLOR MURDERS

the deluxe treatment in their BD/DVD combo.  There are two cuts of the film; the longer of which has an introductory scene showing one of the girls attempting to relax a tightly wound gentleman’s grasp on his wallet to no avail.  They use a clean theatrical print and crisp soundtrack that really makes the movie pop in 1080p and sounds great.  There are liner notes included and the features are two trailers, and outtakes.  It’s presented in 1.85:1 widescreen.


For fans of grindhouse sleaze and maybe even gialli THE MASSAGE PARLOR MURDERS its a no brainer this is a definite pick up-boobs, blood, bullets and a bevy of beauties. If you do not like those types of movies you may not be so inclined.  You can get it from Amazon or directlyfrom Vinegar Syndrome. Check out the trailer below.


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