Thursday, August 16, 2007

Explore the "Welcome To The Grindhouse" DVD line


It has become no secret that the Weinstein brothers have decided to release DEATH PROOF and PLANET TERROR in separate DVD packages, and at this point there has been no word that how the select few who made it to U.S. theatres to see the two as the double-bill GRINDHOUSE will ever get to see it exactly like that again.

With the term "grindhouse" now back in chic as a catch all term to mean basically anything made on a low budget before 1982, DVD companies have been scouring public domain titles and blurry third generation bootleg VHS tapes to compile into multi-disc collections under umbrellas like "Grindhouse Trash" and "Grindhouse Horror"

One of these companies BCI / Eclipse. BCI, however, is going straight for the jugular of Harvey's fat neck. Their double-feature series is called "Welcome To The Grindhouse", an obvious zing to the horribly misconstrued trailer advertisement for GRINDHOUSE, as well as a blood red font to mimic GRINDHOUSE's poster tag, and a DVD cover with a remarkably similar "theatre front" design that some may have seen on display in your movie theatres right around April 6th.

Things get worse, as in better, from here for those chubby money grubbing ex-Miramaxers. Starting up one of BCI's DVDs, you'll get a scratchy-print camera pan-across the title "Welcome To The Grindhouse" (once again recalling distant memories of April 6th). The DVD menus allow for watching either movie seperately, or a third luring choice - The Grindhouse Experience.

Choosing this third option, and my humble opinion the *only* option, will bring a smile and a tear to pretty much everyone out there. It starts off with the beautiful and beat-to-hell "Prevues" card, followed by several trailers for other titles soon to be released by BCI. Next of course is the "Feature Presentation" and the first film. A second batch of trailers follows, and then second feature presentation. All without having to touch your DVD remote once. Oh, it is glorious! You may want to pour soda and few kernels of popcorn on your floor to complete the experience.

BCI also does right with not only their film selections, but how they package them. Each disc has a double-bill theme from black magic horror to sexploitation, kung fu to grizzly slasher. Most of these films, coming from the Crown International library, are also seeing either a DVD debut or are seeing print once again for the first time since early in the digital format's life. BCI also has made the choice to do zero clean-up on the prints, preserving the really-real print scratches and blemishes, frame jumps, and splotchy audio. It lowers the disc production costs and in the process somehow makes these movies more authentic or important than they really are. Most of the titles at this point, save for the Sonny Chiba titles and maybe DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE, you'll probably never have heard of before.

All said and done, this is basically BCI giving the middle finger to two schlubs who had allowed two life-long fans of cinema to re-create and bring back the "movie experience" but through pure stupidity and bad advertising forgot to bring the audience. BCI now invites you with welcome arms to put on your raincoat, buy a bag of stale popcorn and some warm soda, and sit back to enjoy the feature presentations.


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