I have some good news for Third Eye readers.
From the earliest podcasts, we’d spoken to industry folks like Don May of Synapse, Bill Norton Olsen of Code Red, Katarina Leigh Waters from Scorpion, Mike Raso of EI, Retro-Shock-O-Rama and Camp Motion Pictures, Mike Vraney of Something Weird, Nadav Rechov of Pink Eiga and Tim Lucas of Video Watchdog about the ongoing decline of the home video format, with DVD on the wane and Blu-Ray appearing to be something of a brief reprieve from its incipient demise.
With dozens of quality “boutique” labels vanishing seemingly by the day over the last few years, and others moving to direct sales if not the despicable VOD “streaming” rental format, it seemed like the promise that DVD (far moreso than its predecessors in VHS and laserdisc) seemed to offer to cult film aficionados was destined to remain unfulfilled, something of a worthy if abortive experiment in getting quality restorations, director commentaries and cast and crew interviews out on the market and into the eager hands of cineastes everywhere.
One of the more disheartening was the (apparent) loss of Grindhouse Releasing*, who had put out a few high quality packages such as Ruggero Deodato’s notorious Cannibal Holocaust and Umberto Lenzi’s more entertaining homage Cannibal Ferox (whose star Giovanni Lombardo Radice joined us as our very first guest), Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond and Cat in the Brain, and a few less lauded but equally welcome cult favorites like Dave Durston’s I Drink Your Blood and Juan Piquer Simon’s Pieces (complete with a hilarious live audience track that brings inappropriate gales of laughter to the many cheesy lines and gruesome killings the film offers).
* (I’ve since been informed that the company never in fact went away, and has been active keeping their films in theatrical runs during the interim between releases)
With the untimely passing of co-founder Sage Stallone last summer, it seemed that all hopes of getting that long-promised Duke Mitchell film, advertised from their very first release several years back, seemed to be indeed “Gone with the Pope”.
However, in a surprise announcement a few months back, co-founder Bob Murawski has for all intents and purposes “resurrected” the label, and it’s looking to be stronger than ever.
First out of the gate are a long-forgotten obscurity from the era of psychedelia called An American Hippie in Israel, which has apparently become something of a Rocky Horror style phenomena – I’m anticipating another Miami Connection, if not something like The Room or Birdemic here – and the long awaited Peter Cushing oddity Corruption, in what may be its first home video release ever.
I’m personally looking forward to the latter most, with its being helmed by the same man who brought us the gothic oddity The Black Torment and Bloodsuckers (aka Incense for the Damned) and featuring the sexy Vanessa Howard of Girly and Blood Beast Terror. Both Blu-ray/DVD combos are scheduled for September 10 release, apparently set to coincide with what would have been Cushing’s 100th birthday.
And later in the year, it seems like we can look forward to Gone with the Pope itself, as well as Violent City and Revolver’s Sergio Sollima’s “spaghetti western” classic The Big Gundown. Even S.F. Brownrigg (of Don’t Look in the Basement and Don’t Open the Door infamy) is getting the red carpet treatment, when Grindhouse releases his Scum of the Earth (not to be confused with the Herschell Gordon Lewis classic roughie)…
All I can say is, welcome back, guys.