Back on June 28, 2019, I wrote an article that still gets hits on this site called “Ten movies that were never even released on DVD.” Of those films, only a few haven’t been released, which makes me really happy.
In a world where we can get premium releases of movies like Endgame from Severin, Spookies from Vinegar Syndrome, American Rickshaw from Cauldron Films and Get Crazy from Kino Lorber.
Yet there are other movies — so many of them! — that in a world where it seems like everything is available just aren’t available. My hope is that this article will be seen by some of these labels and just maybe these movies will see the light of day in a format that costs so much that my wife will get mad when she sees the charges on PayPal.
Some rules: Yes, there may be a foreign release or a DVD, but I want a full release of the film packed with extras so that the world — well, the world of dudes obsessed with slip covers and the obscure — can enjoy some of the movies that I love. And if, let’s just say, one of those labels would like me to do a commentary track, I would not say no.
I also realize that most of these can be found streaming. Maybe you haven’t see the movie cave that I live in. I don’t want these digital. I live for physical media.
Let’s get into it:
1. Elves (1989): Yes, I know that there’s a foreign steelbook DVD. Yes, I know that the amazing Terror Vision released the soundtrack. Yes, I also know that this was on the previous list that I mentioned. But it remains one of my missions in life to get more people to love this movie. Every year during Black Friday sales, I wait and hope that this is the year when this Third Reich incest holiday movie is in my stocking. Let’s make it this year.
2. Trick or Treat (1986): How is the magical world of Sammi Curr not on blu ray? One assumes music rights, but this is a movie that has a cult audience within the cult genre audience. Again, I’m an evangelist for this movie, one that I feel does the best job of translating the 80s metal geek experience. Come on, video labels. Make this happen. No false metal.
3. The Thunder series (1983-1988): I get it. I’m probably the only person who cares about Mark Gregory this much. But in a universe where Severin has released Strike Commando, the idea that these three Fabrizio De Angelis-directed Rambo ripoffs don’t have an expensive box set with Kat Ellinger commentary kind of blows my mind. How can we make this set happen?
4. The Astrologer (1975): No, not Suicide Cult. I’m speaking of the auteur project by director, producer, psychic to the stars and actor Craig Denney and I’m really daring to dream here, because getting this released on blu ray is about as likely as us seeing The Day the Clown Cried in our lifetimes. Do I have to personally write the Moody Blues and ask them to forgive the fact their music was stolen? Do I have to go all Robert Stack and find out if Denney faked his death? I know AGFA has a print of this and man, other than that YouTube link a few years back and some secret showings, I figure that if you don’t know, you’ll never know. IYDKYNK as the kids would say.
5. The Spider Labyrinth (1988): When it seems like the well of Italian horror has run dry, we fill it back up with acqua or, more to the point of this article, more films. Like this one, a Gianfranco Giagni-directed spider-fearing conspiracy movie with hints of Argento and a spider child that must be seen to be believed.
6. Felidae (1994): Speaking of Italy, how weird is it that one of the best post-70s giallo films was a cartoon made in Germany (where it does have a DVD release)? Wait — a cute cat movie that’s a giallo? Yes. With wild dream sequences, mysterious allies, a cult, graphic murders and even a sex scene, Felidae has everything that most giallo does. And unlike some films like Your Vice Is a Locked Room that only have one cat — the black badass known as Satan — nearly every character here has four legs and a tail.
7. Cross of the Seven Jewels (1987): Man, this movie. Imagine if Satan was a werewolf who was challenged by a hero that also turns into lycanthrope when he loses his huge cross with seven jewels and then throw in the mob, a Satanic cult led by Gordon Mitchell, lots of Black Masses, orgies, whipping and a fortune teller named Madame Amnesia. How is this not in everyone’s collection?
8. Profumo (1987): Vinegar Syndrome keeps releasing these Forgotten Gialli sets and man, every time I hope that they have stuff like Obsession: A Taste for Fear, Mystere and this movie on them. I always thought The Devil’s Honey had the most ridiculous sex scenes in a quasi-giallo and then I saw this, a movie that has Russian roulette as foreplay.
9. Camorra (A Story of Streets, Women and Crime) (1985): Harvey Keitel in a Lina Wertmüller-directed giallo-adjacent film in which criminals are getting killed by a syringe to the unmentionables? And it’s a Cannon movie? How do we not have this?
Here’s an excerpt from a longer interview I did with the main man of all things Cannon, Austin Trunick.
B&S: I want more Cannon stuff to come out on blu ray and be reconsidered.
Austin: I want Vinegar Syndrome to release Camorra (A Story of Streets, Women and Crime). It hasn’t gotten any sort of official US release. It’s available in Europe, but here it’s near impossible to see. When I watched that, the copy I was working from for the book was a VHS rip onto a DVD with Greek subtitles that I ordered from like an English bootleg site. You couldn’t find it, right?
B&S: I watched it on a Russian bootleg site with someone screaming Russian dialogue over the actual movie. (laughs) That’s the only way to watch a movie.
Austin: It’s by Lina Wertmüller, a critically acclaimed director but she also wrote some great Italian genre movies. It has Harvey Keitel playing a drug smuggler. Angela Molina is in it and there’s a mysterious killer. It’s very giallo, but someone is stalking and murdering drug dealers and leaving as their calling card — a heroin syringe jammed in the crotch. And it’s a wild movie and it’s a Golan Globus production and has never been released in the U.S.
Vinegar Syndrome or even Fun City should be all over that movie.
There are so many that are kind of languishing right now and haven’t had any sort of release. I don’t know the rights situation for Godard’s King Lear which is a movie that I like talking about it more than watching it. And you would think that somebody, if not Criterion, would have at least put out something. Maybe it had an MGM release in the U.S. on DVD but I even feel like that was like a region one bootleg or something in all regions from somewhere else.
Scorpion/Code Red has put out some stuff, though.
Can I pitch you on one of my ultimate releases?
If they’re not already working on it, one of these labels should be working on it. America 3000 is a weird, weird movie but it hasn’t had a release with its original soundtrack. Not even on VHS. Shout! Factory released it on a four-pack but it’s the wrong soundtrack. David Engelbach had actually gone and did an entirely different soundtrack, the voiceover was different, much less pronounced and the music cues were all different.
That’s what was in theaters, so there are theoretically film prints with the correct audio. But every version that’s been on streaming or DVD has the wrong music and dialogue on it.
10. Night Train to Terror (1987): I get it. There’s already been a great early Vinegar Syndrome release of this movie.
But if Austin can make his pitch, here’s mine.
My dream is that Vinegar Syndrome releases a box set of this movie with all of the complete films — Scream Your Head Off/Marilyn Alive Behind Bars, Gretta/Death Wish Club and Cataclysm/The Nightmare Never Ends along with Phillip Yordan’s movie before this with the same team, Savage Journey, and the movie Yordan made after with much of the same crew, Cry Wilderness — because their first release is out of print.
I want people to be as obsessed with this movie as I am. Let me put this out into the universe.
I have so many other picks — a box set of Joe D’Amato’s 11 Days, 11 Nights, any number of Bruno Mattei films, Mexican magic like Vacaciones de Terror 2 — but now is when I ask: what do you want to see a big fancy blu ray release of?