So I’m making my usual daily rounds on the Internet and happen upon an article on Fangoria today that filled me with lots of warm fuzzies. With all the movies – old and new, crap and not crap – getting DVD releases these days, where’s the love for all those made-for-TV gems of the 1970s? Whether it be due to rights’ issues, laziness, or just the belief that no one out there wants to see any of these movies again, a ton of them remain locked in limbo, many having never even gotten a proper VHS release and not having seen the flicker of a TV screen since making the syndication rounds in the early 80s. Thank goodness for the new DVD company Wild Eye Releasing and their dedication to giving some love to the made-for-TV genre movies of the polyester era.
Wild Eye Releasing’s Wade Wells told Fangoria, “We are dedicated to bringing marginal, forgotten and nostalgic horror and cult films into a spotlight that otherwise was not there. This is why we have chosen to launch with a TV Movie Terror Collection line. Classic made-for-TV horror holds a sacred place in the hearts of many fans, yet has been discarded or ignored by the very studios and production companies that made them.” I hereby declare Wade Wells a great, great man.
The first two releases (available right now!) are two obscure ones, so obscure I must confess I’d never even heard of them before until today.
Maneaters Are Loose! – Right off the bat we’ve got a wonderfully sensationalistic 70s TV movie title. If this were the Sci-Fi Channel today, it would probably be called Maneater: Jaws of Terror. Do you think future generations will look back fondly on today’s colon adorned titles the same way I marvel at the 70s TV movie obsession of ending movie titles with exclamation points and question marks?
But anyway, this 1978 TV shocker has the suburbanites of a cozy California town in mortal danger after a boozed up animal trainer unleashes a pair of vicious Bengal tigers. Tom Skerrit (who would star in Alien a mere year later) plays the heroic sheriff that has to save the day. Other notable co-stars that could wind up tiger fodder include Steve Forrest, Harry Morgan, Dabney Coleman, and Diana Muldaur.
Shark Kill – Sadly, no exclamation point for this one. Made in 1976 to capitalize on the mega success of a certain shark film from a year earlier, a great white shark attack on two oil rig workers prompts a marine biologist and a temperamental diver to think they’re Quint and head out in a rickety boat to get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing. Then a yacht full of drunken revelers slams into them. The two wannabe shark hunters become potential shark bait, left floundering in the water with the shark encircling them. That’s gotta suck.
Both DVDs are bare bones, priced at only $9.99 each. Don’t expect any special features for a while as Wells said just finding complete undamaged prints and restoring them was challenge enough. I can’t help but wonder what special features could there have been for such obscure decades old TV movies like Maneaters Are Loose! and Shark Kill… Bare bones or not, if Wide Eye’s DVDs have menus, they’ll already be a superior distribution company to York Entertainment these days.
Check out Wild Eye Releasing’s website for more info, including news of their next two releases: the 1972 chiller Crawlspace (currently up for a remake from Paramount) and the 1973 satanic panic flick The Devil’s Daughter. This is definitely a company to keep your wild eyes on!
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