ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview with Richard Elliot, Managing Director of 88 Films
By James Whittington, Saturday 17th March 2018

Recently I've been lucky enough to review some rather tasty Blu-rays from 88 Films. This company has been behind amazing releases of titles such as A Cat in the Brain, Anthropophagous and Don't Go in the Woods...Alone. So I decided to chat to managing director Richard Elliot about 88 Films and how they survive in a cut-throat market.

HC: How did 88 Films start?

RE: 88 Films started after James and I met working for another label and it was the usual "we think we can do it better than the boss" scenario. So we slowly developed an idea of what we wanted to do after work down the pub and after lots of head scratching and pork scratchings and some setbacks BE Movies was born... which quickly became 88 Films! From that point we've never really looked back, we both love working in the business and working to promote and market films every day.

HC: How do you decide on which movies you want to release?

RE: There are lots of factors that go into deciding what to release. Ultimately the main factor I suppose is "will anyone want to buy it?" After that we have to have an interest in the film, it has to have viable materials, it has to be available for a period of time and be at a "reasonable" price and we also have to decide if it sits well in our catalogue and whether we can give it 100%.

HC: What are your budgets for creating "extras"?

RE: If Calum is reading this... it is actually very small! He and Naomi Holwill have created some miracles for us. It actually varies from product to product depending on sales expectations and availability of talent/experts to talk about the films. We have produced some great feature productions with Naomi and Calum though including Eaten Alive which can be found on Zombi Holocaust and Me Me Lai Bites Back which can be found on our jammed release of Man from Deep River. And I believe they have a Category 3 documentary coming soon which fits in well with our Hong Kong range.

HC: Your use of original artwork for covers really recreates the glory years of VHS during the 80s, is this deliberate?

RE: Yes 100%. When you're dealing with straight to video titles from the 80's and 90's the artwork plays such a huge part of the experience and the memory. It was the only tool distributors had to make you pick up the box and take it to the counter to rent it. People might not remember or recognise a title of ours but when they see the cover it can jolt their memory. Plus so much 80's artwork is majorly cool it isn't it!

HC: Are there any releases from other labels you've seen, and you've thought "We could have done better than that"?

RE: Yes, but only from Screenbound.

HC: Which title has caused you the biggest headache to release and have you had any issues getting movies passed uncut?

RE: Oh dear, where do we start? We've had several titles cut over here, once for a child being involved in a murder - that was Spanish Chainsaw Massacre - but the rest of the time for animal cruelty which although its historical and attitudes were different back then from a personal point of view it's very hard to argue about too strongly. They cut cock-fighting from Man from Deep River even though it was filmed in Thailand where cock-fighting is still legal to this day. So go figure. I mean we wouldn't want to watch a cock-fight and we agree it is barbaric and horrible and cruel but we also don't think you can cut something when it is legal in another country and filmed out there... Not to mention this was 1972 for goodness sake. God help the BBFC if they ever go to the Philippines where there are cock-fighting arenas. I guess they will have to censor an entire country (laughs). Cut films definitely affect the sales though so we try to avoid films that might be cut where we can. In terms of Production nightmares we've definitely had a few but hopefully you can't tell at the end of it.

HC: In a world of downloads and increasing internet piracy, how difficult is it for an independent label like yours to survive?

RE: I would say running 88 Films and doing what we do is a lifestyle thing, we both love our job and going to work is never a chore, stressful sometimes yes but never a chore. We know we're never going to make any serious money out of this business but at the moment it's going OK and despite a bit of a downturn in the last few months we hope to be around for a long time to come. That's mainly why we concentrate on website exclusives because it helps us to build a closer and hopefully stronger relationship with our customers which we will need as the DVD/Blu-ray market continues to shrink.

HC: Do you find collectors like myself enjoy the physical product more?

RE: I certainly hope so. Personally, I completely get the user-friendliness and high quality of Netflix and Amazon Prime but would I want that to be my only way to view Lord of the Rings, Terminator, Indiana Jones, Star Trek V, The Toolbox Murders? Most definitely not! There is something so wonderful about being able to feel a product in your hands and display it in pride of place. I love the journey home from HMV with my new purchase and the anticipation of watching it when I get back. You just don't get that with digital, and you never will.

HC: What's your favourite line of 88 Films releases and what's your favourite release so far?

RE: I love the Italian Collection, I think it's our most consistently strong line and we've released a really great mixture of little known and notorious films that I'm very proud of (plus there are plenty more to come in the future) In terms of a favourite release, probably our multiple versions of The Toxic Avenger. The franchise sold really well and to get our little logo into so many homes is pretty cool. From a technical point of view, I'm really pleased with how our second attempt at Anthropophagous came out, we had great packaging, really solid extras and the film looked and sounded fabulous. But it's a downer Calum didn't want us to re use 42nd St Memories. We called him a kn*b for that (laughs).

HC: So, what does the future hold for 88 Films?

RE: More of the same hopefully, we're planning a deluxe hard box release for later this year in our wonderful Italian Collection with a huge book to accompany it which if it goes down well we will aim to repeat but beyond that we're going to continue to hunt down as many cool niche releases as we can... and we'll probably drink a lot of coffee doing it!

Richard Elliot, thank you very much.


Related show tags: A CAT IN THE BRAIN, BLOOD HARVEST, DOGS
MORE ARTICLES
New Black Label titles from 101 Films
Posted in News, Wednesday 17th July 2019
Rabid 1977The next two titles on the 101 Films Black Label will be released in August and September. A pair of gruesome cult horrors; one a David Cronenberg classic, and the other a lost gem from the early '90s. Both titles are presented in Limited Edition versions with slipcase and booklet, limited to 3000 units.

On 26th August get set for Rabid (1977), David Cronenberg's early classic, stacked with extras, including a brand new feature-length documentary and an audio commentary with the Soska Sisters... and on 23rd September a UK debut on any format for Skinner (1993), starring Ted Raimi as the eponymous serial killer, in a film that was quite literally lost for several years.

Rabid is the enduringly te...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest fave Big Bad Wolves finally coming to HD
Posted in Frightfest, News, Wednesday 17th July 2019
Big Bad Wolves cover

101 Films presents Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado's Big Bad Wolves (2013), a brutal and unpredictable thriller that addresses the perils of victimhood and the consequences of vengeance.

A series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course: The father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings - a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder.

Released on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK, this release includes Last Night at the Empire: Big Bad Wolves at FrightFest, a brand new documentary on the background a...

SHARE: READ MORE
Important information for Freeview viewers in south and central Wales
Posted in News, Tuesday 16th July 2019
Horror Channel fans living in parts of south and central Wales using the Freeview platform please take note that TV signals in this area will be updated on Wednesday 17th July and you may need to retune on this date.

If you are still missing services after completing a full retune, or would like more information, visit the Freeview website or call the Freeview Advice Line free on 0808 100 0288 for assistance.

SHARE: READ MORE
Man of a Thousand Faces will appear in HD in October
Posted in News, Saturday 13th July 2019

One screen legend pays homage to another in Man of a Thousand Faces, an enthralling biopic which sees Oscar-winning tough guy James Cagney give a multifaceted portrayal of silent cinema legend Lon Chaney. This classic is being released onto Blu-ray on 28th October thanks to Arrow Academy.

In early horror classics such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of The Opera, Lon Chaney captivated audiences with his vivid personifications of grotesque and afflicted characters. His extraordinary make-up skills, and miraculous ability to completely transform into grisly yet sympathetic and tragic monsters, garnered him international acclaim and the famous moniker of this fil...

SHARE: READ MORE
Asylum - Blu-ray review
Posted in Reviews, Saturday 13th July 2019
Asylum
Second Sight Films
Certificate 15

When you read that a film has the writer Robert Bloch (Psycho) and been directed by Roy Ward Baker your interest will be pricked. When you also learn it's from Amicus the you know it's a "must have" purchase. This is exactly what Asylum is, a cracker of an anthology movie which has been given the special HD treatment thanks to those lovely people at Second Sight Films.

Asylum boasts an all-star cast including Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Herbert Lom, Robert Powell, Patrick Magee, Barry Morse and Charlotte Rampling each who play this bizarre but entertaining movie perfectly straight. This was the fifth portmanteau film from Amicus and is a fine and beaut...

SHARE: READ MORE
The House that Dripped Blood - Blu-ray review
Posted in Reviews, Saturday 13th July 2019
The House that Dripped Blood
Second Sight Films
Certificate 15

Amicus was famous for its anthology movies, and The House that Dripped Blood was one of their most famous ones. It contains a few good scares, as well as more than its fair share of in-jokes and homages to horror cinema's past. Written by Psycho author Robert Block and directed by newcomer Peter Duffell, the film boasts the usual Amicus star line-up coupled with some great set designs and an over enthusiastic score. Oh, a spoiler here, there's no blood!

Scotland Yard's Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) investigates a mysterious mansion with a ghoulish history and a chilling fate for its occupants in four tales...

SHARE: READ MORE
Sponsored by Horror, catch Marina Sirtis starring in the play Dark Sublime.
Posted in News, Friday 12th July 2019
Dark Sublime Banner

Making her West End debut, Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation) is starring in the acclaimed play Dark Sublime from Michael Dennis. Supported by Arts Council England and sponsored by Horror Channel, the production is running at Trafalgar Studios, London.

The piece concerns Oli who arrives at the door of Marianne (Sirtis), a fading jobbing actress. He's impatient to make an impression, to make a friend. Marianne knows about waiting - for her turn at something more substantial than a half-remembered role on a cult TV show, for her best friend to see her differently. As Oli forces her back into the past, and a strange, outrageous world she hasn't visited in almos...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest reanimates its "New Blood" search for new writers
Posted in Frightfest, News, Wednesday 10th July 2019

With FrightFest entering its 20th year, the search is set to resume for new writers in the horror genre. For the third year running, New Blood reunites FrightFest with Giles Edwards of Queensbury Pictures with its mission to find emerging UK-based writers dedicated to the genre and nurture their projects from script to screen. Queensbury is ultimately interested in buying the finished script rather than the idea, and so, this year all successful final candidates if selected should be able to send even a rough draft of the first ten pages of their script through with their acceptance.

Already the scheme has delivered one new project Broadcast Signal Intrusion. Written by Phil Drinkwater and Tim Woodall...

SHARE: READ MORE
The Blair Witch Project on the big screen thanks to Grimmfest and Horror
Posted in News, Sunday 7th July 2019

Grimmfest will be having a special 20th Anniversary screening of The Blair Witch Project on 35mm on July 24th at Plaza Cinema, Stockport and is being supported by Horror.

Unless you've been living in abandoned cabin in the woods for twenty years you'd know that The Blair Witch Project concerns three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.

The movie showed the power of the internet, telling the world about this 'real-life' documentary style film with an incredible campaign, it also re-awakened the 'found-footage' sub-genre into the horror-sphere. Whilst the film was made for only...

SHARE: READ MORE
Relive those dog flashbacks in HD as The Hills Have Eyes Part II comes to Blu-ray
Posted in News, Saturday 6th July 2019
The Hills Have Eyes Pt 2

The hills are once again alive with the sound of screaming in Wes Craven's hugely entertaining follow-up to his own groundbreaking 1977 The Hills Have Eyes.

A motocross team on their way to trial a new super-fuel head out across the desert lead by Rachel, who, unbeknownst to the rest of the group, is a survivor of the cannibal clan which menaced the Carter family several years before. Opting to take an ill-advised shortcut across the desert, the busload of youngsters drive straight into the path of the remnants of Rachel's demented cannibal kin - the menacing Pluto, and a hulking, blood-hungry brute by the name of The Reaper.

Made by Wes Craven immediately prio...

SHARE: READ MORE
Hammer's Lust for a Vampire to rise on Blu-ray
Posted in News, Saturday 6th July 2019
Lust for a Vampire cover

The second in Hammer's racy and rapturous Karnstein Trilogy, Lust for a Vampire - directed by Jimmy Sangster (writer of the legendary Dracula and The Curse of Frankenstein) - returns to wreck gloriously seductive horror once more. Bursting at the seams with lovingly put-together extras including a new featurette on Hammer in 1970, Lust for a Vampire will arrive on Blu-ray for the first time and DVD on 12th August.

In 1830, forty years to the day since the last manifestation of their dreaded vampirism, the Karnstein heirs use the blood of an innocent to bring forth the evil that is the beautiful Mircalla (Youtte Stensgaard). The nearby Finishing School offers rich pickings not...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 announces 20th year record-breaking line-up
Posted in Frightfest, News, Thursday 4th July 2019
FrightFest 2019 Banner

The UK's biggest and boldest horror and fantasy film festival is celebrating its 20th bloody year. Since 2000 it has made its indelible mark, not only on the ever-burgeoning horror community but also on the UK genre landscape as a whole. The internationally renowned event leads the way in attesting to the versatility of the genre, its reinvention and its growing importance in the cultural landscape and this year is no exception.

Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 is back at the Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema from August 22nd - August 26th. Hosting a record-breaking seventy-eight films, embracing fourteen countries and spanning six continents, this year's...

SHARE: READ MORE
Articles Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Guardian
THE GUARDIAN
Sunday 21st July
9.00 PM
Anaconda
ANACONDA
Sunday 21st July
10.50 PM
Freaks Of Nature
FREAKS OF NATURE
Friday 26th July
10.55 PM