ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview with Richard Elliot, Managing Director of 88 Films
By James W, 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
The latest film with horror icon, Barbara Crampton is coming soon - Dead Night
Posted in News, Tuesday 18th September 2018
Dead Night DVD cover

Following its European Premiere at Video FrightFest 2018, STUDIOCANAL announces that Dead Night will be arriving on DVD and Digital Download 8th October, just in time for Halloween!

Everything and anything goes in to this ambitiously quirky delight, oozing eeriness and evil, from the producers of John Dies At The End and Phantasm: Ravager.

The film features a stellar cast including horror icon Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, You're Next, We Are Still Here) with a strong supporting cast of genre favourites including AJ Bowen (The Guest, House Of The Devil) and Brea Grant (Halloween II, Dexter).

James, his wife Casey, their two kids Jessica and Jason, and sick friend ...

SHARE: READ MORE
First film to be released under the FrightFest Presents label - The Dark.
Posted in Frightfest, News, Tuesday 18th September 2018

The first film to be released under the FrightFest Presents label, the new venture from leading independent distributor Signature Entertainment and leading genre festival FrightFest, The Dark received its UK premiere at this year's prestigious FrightFest in London, and is perfect for genre fans who love nothing more than a backwoods shocker featuring ghouls, gore and flesh eating, but one done with panache and poignancy.

An undead young woman, Mina, stalks the 'Devil's Den' woods where she was killed. If anyone enters the woods, she kills them and feasts on the body. But when she stumbles upon a young blind boy named Alex in the back of a car, who shows signs of horrifying abuse, she can't bring herself to kill...

SHARE: READ MORE
Is Phantoms the perfect book for Halloween?
Posted in News, Tuesday 18th September 2018
Phantoms book cover

The brightest names in horror showcased in Phantoms, a ghastly collection of ghost stories that will have you watching over your shoulder, heart racing at every bump in the night.

In "My Life in Politics" by M.R. Carey the spirits of those without a voice refuse to let a politician keep them silent. In "The Adjoining Room" by A.K. Benedict a woman finds her hotel neighbour trapped and screaming behind a door that doesn't exist. George Mann's "The Restoration" sees a young artist become obsessed with returning a forgotten painting to its former glory, even if it kills her. And Laura Purcell's "Cameo" shows that the parting gift of a loved one can have far darker consequences than ever imagine...

SHARE: READ MORE
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Secondary Phase arrives for the first time on vinyl LP
Posted in News, Monday 17th September 2018

For the first time ever on vinyl, here are Episodes 7 to 12 of the BBC radio series that became a global phenomenon. First broadcast in 1978 and 1980, the Secondary Phase features storylines and sequences unique to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's radio series.

Pre-orders for the Amazon limited run have gone live today. 500 exclusive editions will feature a 12"x12" artwork print signed by Paddy Kingsland of the Radiophonic Workshop. Once again the highly collectable volume will also feature specially commissioned artwork and sleeve notes on 3 x 180g heavyweight orange vinyl.

Follow Zaphod Beeblebrox as he journeys into a totally weird new dimension, and intrepid Earthman Arthur Dent as he tries ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Let us give thanks! The new teaser trailer for Captive State is here
Posted in News, Sunday 16th September 2018

From Rupert Wyatt, the director of Rise of the Planet of the Apes comes a gritty and smart sci-fi thriller, Captive State.

Set in a Chicago neighbourhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force, the movie explores the lives on both sides of the conflict - the collaborators and dissidents.

Starring John Goodman, Vera Farmiga, Ashton Sanders, and Machine Gun Kelly, Captive State will be released in 2019.

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, the creative forces behind Crystal Eyes
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, Saturday 15th September 2018
Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano

FrightFest 2018 exposed attendees to horror from all over the world and one that made an incredibly stylish and retro impact was the superb giallo inspired shocker, Crystal Eyes. Here the co-writers and co-directors Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano tell us all about this affectionate love letter to the classics of the 80s.

Where did the idea for Crystal Eyes come from?

Crystal Eyes was supposed to be the third episode of our web-series called No Podras Dormir Esta Noche (You Won't Sleep Tonight) which paid homage to different horror sub genres in each episode, and eventually it turned into a feature film. We love Giallo si...

SHARE: READ MORE
Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story - Blu-ray review
Posted in Reviews, Saturday 15th September 2018
Amazonia Blu-ray cover

Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story
88 Films
Certificate 18

Known around the world under several different titles such as White Slave, Cannibal Holocaust II, Blonde Captive and Forest Slave, Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story was one of the last hurrahs of the Italian Cannibal movie genre. Like most gut-munchers it claims to be based on fact, but the real fact here is that its more melodrama then splatter movie. This isn't a bad thing at all.

Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story tells the story of a western blonde (Elvire Audrey) who is captured, stripped and tormented by a group of jungle head-hunters. Can she escape from this tribe or will s...

SHARE: READ MORE
Another tasty piece from 88 Films, Popcorn.
Posted in News, Saturday 15th September 2018
Popcorn Bluray cover

The latest title in the superb Slasher Classics line from 88 Films is a true legend of the genre, Popcorn.

Canada took the slasher movie to the next level when the country produced the trendsetting Black Christmas in 1974, at the height of what has become known as 'Canuxploitation'. Later shockers from the nation of moose, Mounties and maple syrup included the equally effective My Bloody Valentine (1981) and Happy Birthday to Me (1981) but by the turn of the eighties the terror-trend was drying up... at least until the plasma-spilling shocks of Popcorn in 1991!

This is Canadian slice and dice action par excellence - and returns to the good old days of splashe...

SHARE: READ MORE
It's no joke, cult classic Harlequin is coming to Blu-ray
Posted in News, Saturday 15th September 2018
Harlequin Blu-ray cover

For fans of Ozploitation it is the likes of Mad Max (1980) or even the trash-tastic Turkey Shoot (1982) that may first pop into many a horror hound's mind - however, the cycle offered so much more and never is this clearer than with the surrealist shocks of Harlequin (1980) a true genre standout that was also released under the more ominous moniker of Dark Forces and is being unleashed on October 8th.

In this oddball mix of sci-fi, horror and political espionage, a mysterious healer appears in the abode of a leading American senator who finds that his terminally ill son is quickly cured of his leukaemia. The appreciative politician opts to keep this puzzling pres...

SHARE: READ MORE
PICK OF THE WEEK
Miami Magma
MIAMI MAGMA
Saturday 22nd September
6.45 PM
The Plague Of The Zombies
THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES
Sunday 30th September
10.55 PM
Skyline
SKYLINE
Wednesday 26th September
10.45 PM