Monday, July 11, 2005

Coming to a DVD near you...

One of the joys of DVD is that it’s a much less cumbersome and expensive format than VHS, meaning that lower unit sales are required to break even and go into profit. This allows fannish companies to come into existence, run by people who are actually interested in the films they release, meaning they put a lot more love and care into the materials than a big company would, assuming they’d even release such obscure films.

One example of this idea is Media Blasters, who among other films, has been releasing DVDs of non-Godzilla oriented Toho science fiction titles, including The Mysterians, Matango (aka Attack of the Mushroom People), Dogora and Varan. Their discs include gorgeous widescreen transfers, the original Japanese language tracks, and plenty of goodies.

One new company is Dark Sky Films, a cult movie arm of MPI, which promises top-notch releases of cult movies. In August they will be releasing the dilieriously barouque West German production of The College Girl Murders, featuring a hooded monk-like figure who kills his victims by breaking their necks with a bullwhip. This is one of a run of German campfests very loosely based on the gothic works of author Edgar Wallace (known by buffs as ‘krimis’), and a title I’ve been waiting to see again for quite some time. Future titles supposedly include such prime junk as Horror of Party Beach (YES!), Werewolves on Wheels, Terror Beneath the Sea, The Flesh Eaters (no longer with Retromedia, as previously announced), Curse of the Living Dead, and other stuff. I hope this company stays afloat.

Meanwhile, NoShameFilms, a house dedicated to Euro schlock, will be releasing the uncut-for-the-first-time Big Alligator River (aka The Great Alligator) in all it’s gory glory, along with several Giallo flicks.

Finally, Blue Underground has announced a box set of the Blind Dead movies, Now Totally Uncut & Uncensored For The First Time Ever On DVD!" This thing looks packed, and is due out in September.


At 8:46 AM, Anonymous KurtVon said...

The way it was described to me, a DVD is actually more expensive to produce in small quantities than a VHS. The difference is that with VHS the costs are almost all materials, wheras with DVDs the costs are almost all mastering.
When costs are materials the price is non negotiable. Plastic and machinery cost what they cost.
When costs are mastering, though . . . well, that's just hourly wages to a professional. A professional doing it for love, or even just an amature putting in some extra effort, can reduce the costs significantly. And nowadays even automated encoding and preprogrammed menus can be acceptable.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Thanks for the clarification, Kurt.

Past that, though, it's all gravy. The product is smaller and significantly lighter and cheaper to store and ship, and presumably has less non-working units, since tapes have moving parts and such, not to mention being generally more fragile.

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous KurtVon said...

Yeah, it's kind of exciting to think that the trend VHS started, that of the independant distributor, has now been extended to the point where you can even be an "amature" distributor.

I've got my fingers crossed this will bring in a new golden era of cheezy independant cinema. Although I suspect that in the end all it's going to revolutionize is porn.


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