Thai posters are glorious, in their own special way.
UK genre label 88 films has, up until now, mostly been a sort of "Bizarro" equivalent to US labels like Full Moon and Troma Films - releasing high quality encodes and bonus feature packed special editions of the same movies that the US branches crapped out in whatever quality they could manage. They're limited by the same materials as their US equivalents, but whoever is handling the materials clearly has a better grasp on it, and the results are a notable improvement for about the same price. They've moved on to doing a wider range of American cult movies - slasher flicks, in particular - and while I'm not the biggest fan of every title they've announced, I like these guys on principle. Plus, they're selling the original Toxic Avenger, Castle Freak and The Last Horror Film at cheaper prices than their North American equivalents; if you need a better excuse to support a region-free UK label, you may need to re-think your trashy movie priorities.
Their most recent announcement in particular is an interesting one: THEY WANT TO REMASTER ZOMBI HOLOCAUST. They're asking for 7,500 pounds ($11,786) to craft a new 2K scan from the camera negative, and if you pledge 20 pounds (or $39.28 with all shipping fees) you get a copy of the finished BD, complete with an exclusive slipcover for backers. They're up to a bit over one-third of their stated goal, and have admitted that if they fail, they'll default to using the same crumby Media Blasters produced master I bitched incessantly about when it was released a couple years ago. No, it wasn't an upscale as I'd initially guessed, but man was it crap all the same...
I'm trying to get people to see this not because I think Zombi Holocaust is a particularly good movie - frankly, this is all anyone should waste their time with more than once:
DOCTOR BUTCHER M. D - MEDICAL DEVIATE!
There's about three minutes worth of really great one-liners and gore show pieces, but it's such a lazy and shallow imitation of substantially more worthwhile Italian genre fodder that you're really better off just having a double feature with Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 and Umberto Lenzi's Eaten Alive for a much better experience. Still, watching B-movies cannibalize their own trends is a fascinating little historical foot-note unto itself, and it's nice to see any studio willing to give it the white glove treatment, top shelf content or not.
I know 88 Films has done some great work, though I'm disappointed to admit I've yet to purchase any of them myself. This reminder - and the great prices on their own website - are tipping me into trying a few of their catalog entries, and you can bet I'll be grabbing that sweet exclusive slipcase for a movie I've always thought was pretty "meh". To be honest, I hope this does so amazingly well that they'll consider doing a similar project for BURIAL GROUNDS. I don't doubt the OCN for that is a bloody mess, but for a dull turd like this to get a new 2K scan and for a shambling, accidental masterpiece like that to remain in its current state would be utterly unforgivable. In a karmic sort of way, I mean.
Not sure what's up with Burial Grounds, but if you want to prove that there's a market for trashy good Italian exploitation, give them money. If you want to get properly mastered garbage cult movies, you have to prove there's money to be made in properly mastering them in the first place. Arrow Video has done some cool stuff using similar means - Happiness of the Katakuris and the Walerian Borowczyk films in particular - but those are the rare hybrid of B-movie schtick and high-brow symbolic transcendence that will always get curious support, if nothing else. Zombi Holocaust is another beast entirely... sort of a big slobbery Boxer to a batshit crazy Chinese Crested. If that makes any sense.
Buy this, too. Yes, I hate recommending Shout Factory titles unseen myself. But fucking hell, is that CRUEL JAWS? On Blu-ray?! How did-- when the fuck-- REALLY?!*
Goddamn it Cliff, I'm buying this even if it's a train wreck, even knowing that their upcoming "Special Edition" release of DOG SOLDIERS is a fucking upscale. So just skip that pile of ass and get this instead... and hope it's not a pile of ass.
Honestly, I wish I had one label left I trusted. Well, besides Arrow Video. I'm not sure what to make of 88 Films just yet, but I've certainly got my eye on 'em. We'll see, ladies and gents. We'll see.
* UPDATE: Ha! Apparently Shout Factory just now realized that CRUEL JAWS is chock full of footage "borrowed" from a certain Steven Spielberg franchise, and have pulled the plug on the release for fear of this release getting legally hate-fucked into oblivion. For those unaware, it's this very issue that's prevented the film from ever getting a legit DVD release up to this point outside of a few European releases from labels that had less than zero fucks to give, and it's long been figured that the film would either have to be dramatically re-cut, or someone would have to crap out a limited edition in the hopes that Universal would simply ignore it.
Thanks to hansolo for pointing out that Shout Factory finally did their research... after taking pre-orders. EXTERMINATORS IN THE YEAR 3000 is still coming out, for those who are more excited by middling post-nuke adventure movies than hilarious shark flicks. This is pretty far down on my list of post-nuke flicks I'd love to see in HD, but with the loss of CRUEL JAWS, I'll simply bide my time and see what reviews say about this now single-feature.