Once again, Vinegar Syndrome have made the odd decision to provide a double feature whose top billing is more or less worthless, but paired with a far more interesting and entertaining feature at the bottom of the bill. Thankfully, I chose to tackle the ‘B’ picture first, or you might have gotten a very short review here…
Black Love, blu-ray, Ecstasies of Women, Grindhouse, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Linda and Abilene, lost films of herschell gordon lewis, Mike Vraney, Sharon Matt, Something Weird Video, third eye cinema podcast, Third Eye Cinema; podcast; film review, vinegar syndrome
Listeners to Third Eye should be well aware of my longstanding frustration at the apparent loss of three (and only three) films in the classic exploitation canon. While similar annoyance surrounds the loss of at least half the Andy Milligan catalogue, certain Doris Wishman films and a few titles here and there from the likes of Joe Sarno, the Findlays, and other purveyors of grindhouse and drive in cinema of the period, it’s been well established that these three films did in fact still exist…but that the lab was effectively holding the sole surviving prints hostage over outstanding lab and storage fees.
I spoke to Mike Vraney (who has been the sole source to date for the Lewis catalog), and he said they’d likely never see the light of day.
I spoke to Herschell himself, who corroborated that assertion.
At that point, and with the rapid decline in DVD “boutique” labels over the past few years and industry-led push towards inferior DVD-R (as an interim measure) and an eventual non-private ownership streaming milieu (as an aim and end to be strived towards), I’d pretty much given up hope on ever seeing these three films, whose tantalizing stills and posters peppered books on Lewis for years – particularly the amusingly titled, totally out of character erotic blaxploitation film Black Love.
Thus it was with more than a modicum of surprise and delight that I was pointed towards the existence of internet startup company Vinegar Syndrome (who takes the time to credit each and every one of their Kickstarter campaign ‘investors’ in the liner notes). As an opening salvo in their upcoming line of drive in and grindhouse unearthings, they have delivered what is certain to be the Blu-ray of 2013 in the appropriately titled Lost Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis.