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 INTERVIEWS Interview with Airell Hayles writer and co-director of They're Outside
Posted on Saturday 1st August 2020
FrightFest is once again on the horizon but this time, due to global events the event has become a virtual experience with all films being accessed online. Horror is once again sponsoring the First Blood strand of the event. Here we chat to Airell Hayles whose movie They're Outside mixes found footage and pagan horror genres to great effect.
HC: Where did the idea for They're Outside come from?
AH: This idea for They're Outside came from a couple of things. I remember as a kid hearing that my uncle suffered mild agoraphobia, and when I learned what it was, I was fascinated by this idea of some people being kind of scared to leave their homes. Of course, the recent Covid-19 events h...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Fionn and Toby Watts, directors of Playhouse
Posted on Saturday 1st August 2020
FrightFest is once again on the horizon but this time, due to global events the event has become a virtual experience with all films being accessed online. Horror is once again sponsoring the First Blood strand of the event. Here we chat to talented brothers Fionn and Toby Watts who have delivered a gothic, creepy piece named Playhouse.
HC: Was there one film or person who influenced or inspired you to become film makers?
FW: As a young boy I remember being absolutely blown away by the image of The Terminator's exo-skeleton rising from the flames. Around the same time I saw Candyman at a sleepover (rented by my friend's 'older' brother...) and it was such an i...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tony and Ryan Smith co-writers of Volition.
Posted on Tuesday 7th July 2020
FrightFest 2019 delivered some amazing movies and one of the best was Volition from the talented brothers Tony and Ryan Smith. Now that the movie has been unleashed onto Apple TV, Prime Video and other Digital Platforms we chatted to them about this acclaimed movie and their plans for the future.
HC: You both hail from South Africa, what's the movie industry like in that country at the moment?
TDS: I believe the South African film industry is very healthy and it's a place Ryan and I would love to revisit and make a movie about. I have a number of filmmaker friends who film there and absolutely love the people, the scenery and the incredible crews.
HC: Did you know from an...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam Green, director of Victor Crowley
Posted on Wednesday 13th May 2020
Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Adam Green's Victor Crowley, the great director shares his personal tragedies, George Romero's inspirational words, the importance of genre comedy and hints that the Bayou Butcher may rise again...
HC: Adam, you're back on Horror Channel with your latest Hatchet instalment, Victor Crowley. Excited?
AG: I'm always thrilled to hear that another one of my films will be playing on the UK's Horror Channel! It's crazy to think that the US hasn't had a horror specific television channel in 6 years now, only horror themed subscription platforms like Shudder. Then again - look at the real life horror we're dealing with here as far as our current President goes...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Lukas Feigelfeld, director of Hagazussa
Posted on Friday 17th April 2020
The themes of witchcraft and the occult are making a bit of a come back at the moment. Movies such as The Witch and Midsommer have brought the genre back into focus and now Hagazussa from writer/director Lukas Feigelfeld takes the genre to another, even darker level. Here he chats about this incredibly atmospheric movie which is being released on May 11th thanks to Arrow Video.
HC: Where did the idea for Hagazussa come from and how long did it take to write?
LF: I had been living with the idea of doing something witch and folklore related for many years. Part of my family originates from this particular area in the Austrian Alps, and from a young age on I was greatly fascin...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with actor Nicholas Vince star of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Posted on Monday 30th March 2020
Fridays in April on Horror will deliver to you three of the most viscous and acclaimed horror movies ever made, Hellraiser, Hellraiser II: Hellbound and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. One of the stars of the first two movies was Nicholas Vince who brought so much to the character of "Chatterer".
Here he, err, chats to Horror about how he become involved in such memorable movies and his plans for the future.
(Photo credit Dawson James Photography)
HC: When did you first meet Clive Barker?
NV: I met him at a party in May 1984. We got on well and he invited me to model for him; for his painted covers of the first UK hardback editions of his Books of Blood.
HC: What...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Vendetta
Posted on Thursday 19th March 2020 Vengeance Season on Horror contains the UK TV premiere of Vendetta, the superb all-male maelstrom of mayhem from Jen and Sylvia Soska. We chatted to these incredible talented creatives about this action-packed thriller and what they have planned for the future.
HC: Have you always been wrestling fans and if so, when growing up, who were your faves?
Sylvia: We got introduced to wrestling during the epic Kane brother storyline during the Undertaker and Heartbreak Kid feud that led to the first ever Hell in a Cell. I mean after that kind of an introduction; how doesn't the magic of wrestling have your heart for the rest of your life? If it isn't obvious, I'm a Shawn Michaels fan.
Jen: Und...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted on Tuesday 18th February 2020
Ahead of the UK premiere of serial killer thriller Anderson Falls at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Julien Seri reflects on this, his first 'American' experience, challenging fight scenes and the importance of personal vision.
It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?
JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.
When did you first hear about the Anderson Falls script and why did you think it was perfect for yo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Ahead of the World premiere of A Ghost Waits at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Adam Stovall reflects on getting through depression, creating paranormal romance and the influence of Tom Waits...
You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?
AS: I've known since I was a little kid sitting in the basement watching the network TV premiere of Back To The Future while holding my Back To The Future storybook and waiting for them to premiere the first footage from Back To The Future 2 during a commercial br...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Simeon Halligan, director of Habit
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Simeon Halligan is one of the busiest people working in the industry today. Writer, director, producer, director of celebrated film festival Grimmfest, in fact the list goes on.
His latest film is the neon tinged, blood-splattered masterpiece Habit which is showing on Horror February 14th so we thought we should get the story on how he brought this shocker to the big screen.
HC: When did you first become aware of the book by Stephen McGeagh to which Habit is based?
SH: I read the book a couple of years back and really liked it. A combination of gritty realism and dark fantasy; set within a very recognisable Manchester. There's a juxtaposition in the book; from a kind of soc...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jackson Stewart, director of Beyond The Gates
Posted on Wednesday 22nd January 2020
Jack Stewart's sublime retro horror Beyond the Gates was recently shown on Horror. Jackson is one of the strongest creatives around at the moment but he took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about this contemporary classic and his future movie plans.
HC: Was there one film that you saw growing up which gave you the idea that you wanted to work in the film industry?
JS: There were definitely a number of them; I think the ones that stick out strongest in my memory were Temple Of Doom, Batman '89, Nightmare On Elm Street 4, Raising Arizona, Back To The Future, Marnie, Army Of Darkness, The Frighteners and Dirty Harry. All of them had a big emotional impact on me. Dirty Har...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with acclaimed author Shaun Hutson
Posted on Friday 20th December 2019
The British horror legend Shaun Hutson is back with Testament, a new novel featuring one of his fans most loved characters, Sean Doyle so we decided to catch up with this talented chap about his acclaimed work.
HC: Was there one author who inspired you to become a writer?
SH: My inspirations were always and still are cinematic if I'm honest. Even when I first started writing my influences and inspirations came from things like Hammer films, from TV series like The Avengers (with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and from old Universal horror films. I read the Pan Books of Horror Stories when I was a kid and I think they were probably the first "literary" influences I ever had. I also read lo...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 12th August
Monday 10th August
Friday 14th August