Since 2003 Shout! Factory has been the unsung heroes of DVD distribution. With licensing deals with all sorts of media companies they have released everything from Welcome Back, Kotter to Transformers to Mystery Science Theater 3000. They are doing the lord’s work when it comes to bringing older and forgotten TV and movies to the masses. Fast forward to late 2012 when they start a new subsidiary known as Scream Factory. Specializing in cult and horror movies they have been great about putting out definitive editions of some cult classics as well as duo packs of less remembered fright flicks. They have generally been good but they seem to be losing a bit of steam as of late. No doubt all the Halloween movies on BluRay are a big get but not quite necessary when they are all on BluRay already. They seem to be in a bit of a rut. Luckily I’m here to throw some ideas out there. I figure these would be better than yet another copy of Night of the Living Dead.
Boris Karloff is an absolute icon in not only horror but film in general. Starting in 1916 he broke out in Frankenstein and would go on to star in other classics like The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein and Black Sabbath. What some seem to forget is that he worked up until his death in 1969. His last American film was Targets which is awesome. The directorial debut of Peter Bogdanovich it is about a Vietnam veteran that goes on a shooting spree ala Charles Whitman. It all leads to a drive-in theater where horror legend Byron Orlock (Boris Karloff) is making his final appearance. It’s an interesting look at the difference between the monsters of old and the newer, shell-shocked ones of the day. It’s a good movie that despite good reviews it seems to be forgotten over time. While not exactly a horror movie it is a gripping thriller that really would benefit from an collector’s edition.
Tales from the Hood
With the success of ABC’s of Death and the V/H/S series the horror anthology seems to be back in vogue. Something I’m really glad for because if there is one thing I enjoy it is a good horror anthology. Considering the success of the subgenre it is surprising that nobody has, Scream Factory in particular, hasn’t rereleased Tales from the Hood.
I have really distinct memories of this 90’s gem, particularly the VHS box cover. Just look at it, it’s insanely badass. More importantly the movie delivers. While it has a very 90’s aesthetic it actually gets pretty deep when it covers subjects like race, police corruption and domestic violence. Given it isn’t exactly 12 Years a Slave but still surprising for what could have been your run of the mill horror movie. Despite a cult following it has only been released as a bare bones DVD in 1998 and has been out of print for quite some time. Despite being on Netflix Instant I would gladly put down $25 for a BluRay.
Turkey Shoot/Escape 2000
A person hunting people has been a thing since 1932’s The Most Dangerous Game. Since then it has been adapted and modified tons of times. Whether the movie starred Van Damme or Jennifer Lawrence or Ice-T the idea has resonated for nearly a century. One of the movies usually forgotten about is 1982’s Turkey Shoot. Starring Olivia Hussey of all people it is the exploitation version of the story. Nudity? Check. Violence? Check. Cast that hates the movie’s low budget? Check. It is everything you could want from an exploitation film. While Anchor Bay had a limited release of the DVD it was fairly bare bones with no special features that currently go for $48 used on Amazon. I think it’d be smart to a new edition out there before the Hunger Games series finishes up in theaters. If for no other reason than to have a montage of the actors hating the experience. That would be oddly fascinating.
Despite some lackluster movies for the past decade or so there is no doubt that Dario Argento is a legend in the horror genre. He brought a unique style with giallos like Suspiria, Deep Red and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. Of all his movies the one I enjoy the most is a movie he didn’t even direct, Demons. Only the producer and a screenwriter this insane movie was directed by Lamberto Bava. Released in 1985 it is about a mask that unleashes a demon plague into a movie theater and the craziest collection of people trying to stay alive. The movie has a grappling hook, a pimp and Billy Idol on the soundtrack. It is a little piece of insanity that needs to be seen to be believed. While it has been released a couple of times I don’t believe there has been a widely released BluRay of the movie (or its sequels for that matter). Speaking of the sequels I’d totally buy a BluRay copy of Demons 2. The world needs to experience the joy of The Smiths being in a movie about Demons.
New Horror, Period
Admittedly this is a bit unfair. Scream Factory has been pretty decent about distributing independent horror like Dead Shadows, Cockneys vs. Zombies and Chilling Visions. I also understand why you would re-release older stuff since they are more than likely going to sell more copies than newer, unknown properties. Still of the 120 releases (already released or announced) only 8 had been new releases. What bothers me most about this is that Scream Factory isn’t a here today-gone tomorrow distribution company. Over the years they have crafted a name for themselves as reliable distributors of horror like IFC or Synapse films. Instead of showcasing cool and out there stuff they rely on older material. I’m sure it’s more complicated than I am making it out to be and it does look like they will do more of this with the release of the critically acclaimed The Battery later this year. But with all the money that will come in with the Halloween BluRay set surely they can get the rights to release Discopath in the US. I swear this totally wasn’t one big reason to declare my love for Discopath. Scout’s honor.