By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Filmmaker Charles Band enjoys listening to fans of his works, and in response, he is re-releasing his catalogue of old classics from his Empire/Full Moon days onto Blu-ray. The trend has been going on for a while now, starting with Doctor Mordrid, and this producer will keep it going. C. Courtney Joyner’s The Lurking Fear, inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, is now available (released Jun 15, 2016).
Band kept the original 35mm prints of many of the films he’s either produced or directed. In what he gets done, there’s hardly ever any pixelation. Of course, there will be the usual dust and scratches, and to get all that fixed takes time. No Photoshop plug-in can do the job. Like a film projectionist, each frame has to be analysed and colour corrected for the best image possible. He notes that it’s really expensive to go back to the original negative in order to make an high-definition (HD) master, but unless you have fantastic technical talent who truly appreciates the work — to bring the product back to its original lustre — the thought of putting it out to HD for those collectors is a gamble.
“The key ingredient to any of these transfers is to have an excellent colorist,” noted Band. “We have a guy who has been doing most of our work for the last 4-5 years. When he’s busy, I wait because he’s the only guy I trust.”
Other titles that are in the works of getting a remaster and re-release is Meridian: Kiss of the Beast starring Sherilyn Fenn and Dark Angel: The Ascent starring Angela Featherstone (dates TBA). I will be making space for both of these upcoming releases.
Band reveals he has a beautiful transfer of Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (set for July 11, 2016 release), which will be next. This 1988 film starring Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer started a sub-genre of horror comedy T&A movies which Band is proud of starting.
At the same time, Kings of Cult will release online, which has Band and Roger Corman talk about exploitation cinema. What’s interesting about Band’s involvement with this aforementioned movie is that he was the first guy who thought of making all the behind-the-scenes material to include in VHS releases. He wasn’t sure why the hell he did that, to have a crew filming behind the scenes material, but perhaps, in the back of his mind, he guessed somebody will enjoy looking at the material.
For collectors like me, in a group who enjoy purchasing physical releases, he knows what we want. Provide fun behind-the-scenes material and looks into the product from a movie maker’s perspective. He said that’s what enthusiastic consumers of his works look for. As for whether there’s anything older that he might have recorded, he believes the material in Sorority Babes is the oldest to date (that he recalls) that was recorded, almost 30 years ago.
Interest in this type of material may be limited, but for fans who love looking at it first before gandering at the film, Band knew early on he had to provide. From VHS, DVD, Blu-ray to streaming services, not every medium is perfect for putting the bonus material onto. Band does his best to provide, and this release of Lurking Fear is no different. I’m looking forward to the reveals offered in the videos produced by his team who worked in Romania and Italy when the movie was in production. Band said that back then, filmmakers could afford to film there. Now, because of conservation and protection of historical monuments, not even the big studios are able to get past the red tape. Charles Band lived in great times when his production team located there to make their movies.
As for what’s next on the slate (I’m hoping for Oblivion to be added), Band said there’s no real rhyme or reason in what’s going to be next after the two that’s being worked on right now. Doctor Mordrid did very well when he started remastering his company’s early catalogue of films to high-definition. He puts out what makes sense. I expect this title will fly through the roof once when the hype for Doctor Strange starts.
“Because we’re self-funded here, and we are not an appendage of a major studio, we just kind of do every month what we can really afford,” said Band.
Available on this release will be
* 16×9 widescreen & 5.1 Surround Sound presentation.
* audio commentary by Courtney Joyner, writer/director, recalling her experience in making this film.
* footage of the production’s time spent filming in Romania.
* original video zone
* deleted scenes
Note: This article is an updated and cleaned up edit of the same article first published on Skewed and Reviewed by this author.