Video Violence : 13 Years of Anchor Bay (Page 9)

Author: Brett H. & Brett G.
Submitted by: Brett H.   Date : 2010-10-25 19:00

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Not only did Anchor Bay release many of the first niche horror DVD releases, but the company additionally put some of the first horror double feature discs on the market in 1998. Their first foray involved the opening two Blind Dead movies, both of which became highly sought after collectors pieces. Two similar, yet different excursions into Spanish terror, the Blind Dead hunted by the way of sound due to having their eyes pecked out prior to being executed. Hundreds of years later, the mummified Knights Templar would creep out from their antediluvian graves to feast on the blood of any intruder as a sacrifice to their dark lord. Abundant gothic atmosphere, ingenious costumes, and modern gore and nudity set Amando de Ossorio's series apart from the pack.

A few months later came a much less enthusiastic package of Ulli Lommel movies, featuring a witch hunt film, The Devonsville Terror and a routine eighties slasher in The Boogeyman. Devonsville featured genre veteran Donald Pleasence as an accursed descendant of witch hunters who is hell bent on proving the wrongful deaths of many women by his ancestors in order to save his own life in a fun, but rudimentary affair. An unsung double feature from the era featured the 1945 anthology favorite, Dead of Night, packaged alongside The Queen of Spades. Whereas these releases entered the market siamese style, later on Anchor Bay would employ the tactic of the double feature to related releases from their back catalog, obviously to re-ignite slowing sales and give fans more bang for their buck. Hammer films from their library were doubled up and released at a lessened cost in a dozen or so releases as well as Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento films with each man getting his own line of double features.

Later on and even cheaper yet would come Anchor Bay's popular Drive-In Double Feature series, pairing up most of the lesser known movies in their previously released stockpile, including 80s slashers, Bruno Mattei Italian trainwrecks and some horror/comedies. The line featured marquee-inspired cover art and did produce some new films, most notably a double bill of Hellgate and the insane Canadian film, The Pit. Other than the Pit of troglodytes living in the woods behind his house, twelve-year-old Jamie and his teddy bear are the center of this twisted, cheesy and outrageous story. Jamie is autistic... and horny, psychotic, and sociopathic, stopping at nothing to look at all the nudie magazines. Since young Jamie has no friends, he turns to trusty Teddy, who is about as wacky as it gets. There certainly aren't many films out there, especially Canadian, similar. Other titles released were the recent horror films, Horror 101 / Horror 102: Endgame and lesser known Anchor Bay catalog titles like Brian Yuzna's icky goo-fest Society and Tobe Hooper's Spontaneous Combustion amidst a slough of good pickings from the vault.

Above and beyond these deals were cheap Anchor Bay re-releases (and sometimes re-re-released) in the form of a few "six packs" shipped in silvery cases depicting the each film's cover/poster art on beer cans. Limited edition tins were also a staple of Anchor Bay special editions, featuring all the goodies of their original discs inside large, numbered, oblong numbered tins, oftentimes featuring small lobby cards and other items. Linking releases together by advertising them as part of "Giallo" or even "Dario Argento" and "Lucio Fulci" collections, AB subtly made the audience crave all of their catalog releases to complete their own personal sets. While the most famous gimmick may well have been the aforementioned Evil Dead book replicas, they also released a Halloween set featuring a mini bust of Michael Myers and used holographic slipcovers to entice buyers. Continuing that theme, the first two Hellraiser films were repackaged inside of a replica of the Lament Configuration itself.

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