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 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 Interview with Tyler MacIntyre, director of Patchwork
Posted on Thursday 12th December 2019 On the eve of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Patchwork on December 14th, director Tyler MacIntyre reflects on body image issues. twisting audience expectations and his admiration for current female genre directors.
HC: Patchwork finally gets its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Excited or what?
TM: Relieved actually. It's been a long time coming. The third screening of the film ever happened at FrightFest in Glasgow and since then I've had people asking me when it was going to come out. The UK genre fans are among the most diehard in the world, so I'm very excited to finally have it available for them.
HC: You were in attendance when Patchwork, your directorial feature debut, rece...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with James Moran, writer of Tower Block
Posted on Monday 25th November 2019
Writer James Moran is about to do what few other writers have done in the past, the Horror Channel Triple! He is one of the few creatives who has had three of his movies play on the channel; Cockneys Vs Zombies, Severance and now Tower Block which is playing on November 29th. So, we decided to chat to this talented chap about this superior thriller and the rest of his career.
HC: Your first movie, Severance is a huge favourite with Horror Channel viewers, were you ever tempted to pen a sequel?
JM: Thank you, I'm really glad that people can still discover it with every new screening. Everybody wanted to do a sequel, we actually had several meetings about it. Nothing came of it, they carried on with...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gary Dauberman, writer and director of Annabelle Comes Home
Posted on Saturday 23rd November 2019
Gary Dauberman has been the scriptwriter for some of the most successful horror movies of the last few years including IT: Parts 1 and 2, Annabelle and The Nun. His latest movie, Annabelle Comes Home which is also his directorial debut, has just been released onto DVD and Blu-ray. We caught up with this talented chap about his career to date.
HC: What was it about the horror genre that grabbed your imagination and made you want to become a writer?
GD: The earliest movie going experience I can remember was my parents taking me to Raiders of the Lost Ark and I was 4 or 5 or something and I had to sleep with them for a week, you know the opening up of The Ark and the face melting, a rea...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Cameron Macgowan, director of Red Letter Day
Posted on Friday 1st November 2019
FrightFest 2019 exposed a lot of new talent in the movie industry and one of the stand-out pieces was Red Letter Day from Cameron Macgowan.
HC: Where did the idea for Red Letter Day come from and did it take long to write?
CM: I have long been a fan of the 'Humans Hunting Humans' subgenre of film (Battle Royale, The Running Man, Hard Target, etc.) and was inspired to set one of these films in what many people consider the 'safe' location of the suburbs. Suburban communities feel like the perfect setting for a horror film as you can walk for miles without seeing a single soul all while knowing that you are surrounded by many people. This mixed with a desire to satirise the current socio-political climate ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis, director of Swallow
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019
Ahead of the UK premiere of Swallow at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his feature debut, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the genre.
HC: Swallow is your directorial debut. How difficult was it to get the project off the ground?
CMD: Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say "script is coin of the realm". The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out. The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019
Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...
HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?
PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted on Thursday 10th October 2019 It was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.
HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?
LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.
HC: W...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Saturday 29th February
Friday 28th February
Saturday 22nd February