The year started with cries that cult DVDs were doomed, talk of “over-saturation” and “the end of an era” were banded about. Yet we are still here, and much to everyone’s surprise, heralding the launch of an all new cult DVD company, in England!
Shameless Screen Entertainment has been established with the sole intention of distributing ex-video nasties, and the more extreme cult cinema. Their first two titles released earlier this month are a good example of this, and reflect the real possibilities… or the possible realities of this new company.
Phantom of Death is a real plus. Previously only available on DVD from Germany, and generally not very well known, despite the presence of the notorious Ruggero Deodato at the helm, it is presented fully uncut and in a good looking widescreen print.
New York Ripper is more of a concern. It has been readily available on DVD in the US (although it is OOP at present), and recently released on a very good, feature packed Swedish DVD, the Shameless release has also suffered from that curse that will doubtless hang over the company for a while to come – BBFC cuts. I won’t get into the idiocy of mature and consenting adults in the UK being barred from watching a film freely and fully available in the US, Scandinavia, Italy, France, Netherlands, Australia and Germany.
Ultimately Shameless have no way of telling, before they submit a film, whether or not it will be cut, and with the high cost of submitting a film, they can’t afford not to release it afterwards. However, they do know when a film has been previously released, and perhaps should be looking to fill the gaps in the market rather than simply doubling up – although from the Joe-six-pack perspective, titles like “New York Ripper” are much better known, and likely to sell a lot better in stores.
Shameless are certainly the most exciting company to emerge this year – their superb cover-art and well written case notes show a real love for the films that many of the other cult DVD companies, and certainly the majors seem to be missing. Some will doubtless criticise the lack of bonus features on the discs, but at their own admission, the company have said that the cost of recording interviews etc. would force them to cut their releases from two a month, to one every two months – and while it is a pity not to get to hear Michael York explain just how he came to be cast in a Giallo film, it is a worthwhile sacrifice to simply get the film out on DVD.
So lets just hope that they survive the BBFC maulings, and make enough sales with the better known titles to allow more unreleased goodies to emerge in 2008.
Read more about the upcoming Shameless titles at our upcoming page, or their own site at Shamless-films.com