MGM; Please release the rest of your horror library

Discussion in 'DVD' started by cineMANIAC, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    Halloween comes once a year-why release horror movies around this time only??
    My collection is nearly complete but where the heck are The Stepfather and Death Ship? How about special editions of Motel Hell, Scanners, Miracle Mile, Audrey Rose.... I consider anything the studios release from this point on as non-essential because I own copies of just about every movie I care for. But some of these movies remain frustratingly elusive for some reason. Why does everything have to be a tie-in to a remake? I dont understand
     
  2. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    FYI MGM does not hold the rights to DEATHSHIP nor STEPFATHER.
     
  3. AlanBrom

    AlanBrom Second Unit

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    MGM must release: Quatermass Xperiment, Hands of the Ripper, Twins of Evil, Vampire Circus, Master of the World, Burn Witch Burn, The Devil Within Her, Cauldron of Blood, The Crimson Cult, Black Sabbath (AIP Version), The Incredible Melting Man, Dr. Blood's Coffin, Horror House, Blood Bath, The House That Dreaded Sundown, Without Warning, The Time Travelers, Queen of Blood, Octa-Man, Grave of the Vampire, Space Monster, Old Dracula, Blood and Lace, House of 1000 Dolls, The Brain that Wouldn't Die, The Evictors, The Black Sleep, Curse of the Faceless Man, Pharoah's Curse, Crucible of Horror, Cauldron of Blood, The Blood on Satan's Claw, Daughters of Satan, Sugar Hill, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, The House of Long Shadows and others.

    I still don't understand why major studios only release horror films on DVD for Halloween promotions. But MGM didn't even give us much this Halloween.

    And please, no posts about how some of these are available as foreign DVDs. I'm talking about MGM stepping up and releasing their superior transfers for Region 1 buyers. Write to Julia.Simmons@fox.com
     
  4. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

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    Has MGM released any catalog titles since that big batch last May? They seem to have scaled back considerably, if not implemented a full moratorium. Perhaps they're waiting for their distribution deal with Fox to run out.
     
  5. Wesley Ray

    Wesley Ray Extra

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    I would definitely like to see The Town That Dreaded Sundown, To All A Goodnight, and Hospital Massacre get an R1 DVD release.
     
  6. RoyM

    RoyM Stunt Coordinator

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    I second everything you said, Alan...

    As a matter of fact, I was watching the recent Sony Icons of Horror/Hammer release last night and thinking what a nice package of four pretty good old-school horror films. And all of this from Sony, no less - not exactly the best studio typically when it comes to releasing such product.

    A pity about MGM lately - they used to proudly hold the mantle for just that type of release.
     
  7. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    MGM owns the Avco/Embassy library so they hold the rights to The Stepfather and Death Ship as they were both distributed by Embassy. Dont get me wrong, I love MGM; I have dozens of their cult titles and they're all wonderful but the company is inconsistent and that drives me nuts. Also, there is no excuse for releasing anything in full-screen only these days. Miracle Mile is IMO the best end of the world movie ever made and there it is in fullscreen. Note to MGM: We watch horror movies throughout the year, not just on Halloween
     
  8. AlanBrom

    AlanBrom Second Unit

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    Damn right!
     
  9. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

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    Actually Studio Canal owns the Avco/Embassy library. MGM currently has the TV and video rights to a select handful of Embassy titles (such as The Graduate, The Onion Field, etc.) but the films themselves are owned by Studio Canal.

    Avco Embassy distributed a number of films between 1975 and 1981 that are no longer part of its library. These include ITC titles (The Domino Principle, Russian Roulette, Man Friday, etc.) that have since reverted back to ITC, as well as a number of indie pickups (Phantasm, The Premonition, The Exterminator) that are now controlled by other parties.
     
  10. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    The Stepfather films (yes, there are 3) are all controlled by ITC, which means there are several possibilities:
    1. Lionsgate holds the rights as they do with other ITC titles (The Last Unicorn, On Golden Pond, etc.);
    2. The Stepfather films may have been acquired by Universal in the same deal that netted them The Return of the Pink Panther; and
    3. There may be a remake coming, according to IMDb, which may sort out where the video rights lie.
     
  11. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    Is there a database or website that lists films owned by individual companies? I know Studio Canal is a french conglomerate and that they swallowed up a bunch of indie distributors and took along those distributors' libraries with it. Anchor Bay released Superstition, a horror film made in 1982 produced by Andy Vajna, the guy behind Carolco, now owned by Lionsgate. So how did Anchor Bay end up with it? They also released The Manitou, an Avco title. Anybody couldve released those, including MGM. If I just knew who owns what I would know who to email.
     
  12. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    No database, but here is a way to suss it all out.

    MGM initially inherited home video rights to the Embassy library because their home video arm was spun into a separate production company (Nelson) whose assets MGM bought. At first, this gave them everything, but then they and Canal+ didn't like the arrangement any more, so they cancelled it. The "divorce," as it were, gives MGM the DVD rights to any Embassy film that they had previously released on VHS, and no more than that. That's how they continue to handle THIS IS SPINAL TAP, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE SURE THING, etc.

    StudioCanal then takes the Embassy titles to Anchor Bay, with whom they already had a deal in place for the DEG and EMI libraries, some Salkind productions, and other miscellany in their vault, such as SUPERSTITION. That deal expired last year, but some contracts are still valid, so Anchor Bay can do reissues on those titles (like WINTER KILLS) until those rights expire.

    What's happened now is Canal+ is making Lionsgate their primary label for everything they own - Embassy, EMI, DEG, the works. Lionsgate already had rights to the popular Carolco titles, since the former Artisan Entertainment had been an equity investor in those movies. The arrangement is a service deal, in that Canal+ prepares the entire DVD themselves - transfer, supplements, etc - and then hands over the finished work to Lionsgate to release, which explains the eclectic catalog material that has been forthcoming from their end that stands in contrast to the normally reticent stance on catalog titles Lionsgate has. Occasionally, Canal+ will still take movies elsewhere, such as the Criterion Collection, so they are free to take a movie anywhere they want, or maybe reup with somebody like Anchor Bay if they want a title bad enough (I suspect EVIL DEAD 2 will stay with them rather than go to LG).

    But in conclusion, yeah, any future Embassy requests should first be addressed to Lionsgate.
     
  13. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    For your info, here are some Avco Embassy titles no longer controlled by Canal+

    HUMONGOUS
    DEATH SHIP
    CITY ON FIRE
    STINGRAY
    SCALPEL
    BALTIMORE BULLET
    PSYCHIC KILLER
    THE PREMONITION
    DIRTY TRICKS
    GO TELL THE SPARTANS
    DEAD AND BURIED
    PROM NIGHT
    HOG WILD
    SCANNERS
    PHANTASM
    THE EXTERMINATOR
    BORN AGAIN
    IN PRAISE OF OLDER WOMEN
    DIFFERENT STORY
    SHOOT
    DEADLY HERO
    SAILOR WHO FELL FROM GRACE WITH SEA
    PAPER TIGER
    NIGHT WATCH
    RIVALS
    PLACE CALLED TODAY
    HOT PANTS HOLIDAY
    SIDEWINDER ONE
    TAMARIND SEED

    to name a few
     
  14. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Question:

    Due to it being "presented" by Joseph E. Levine (deceased), who is normally associated with Embassy product, is SANDS OF THE KALAHARI (1965, released to U.S. theaters by Paramount, U.S. TV distribution by Columbia, during its "Coca Cola" era) --which has never seen official release on any home video format anywhere in the world-- now considered an Embassy title, controlled by Canal+, thus a potential future Lionsgate release in R1?

    My guess is that it's either with Canal+ or Sony, but I've never been able to figure this out for certain. A great, under-seen color/widescreen adventure film, reuniting the star and director of ZULU (1964), Stanley Baker and Cy Endfield, plus Stuart Whitman, Susannah York, Theodore Bikel, Gordon Jackson and Nigel Davenport.

    With A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH coming out in R1 in January, SANDS OF THE KALAHARI is now my most-wanted unreleased-in-R1 (or anywhere else) film.
     
  15. AlanBrom

    AlanBrom Second Unit

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    Add NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT (Cushing/Lee) to the list.
     
  16. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    This isn't a horror movie but Lionsgate released The Manhattan Project on DVD not too long ago, an MGM title, after MGM themselves released it. This film was produced by Gladden Entertainment - anyone know what other titles they were involved in?
     
  17. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Whats really annoying is Ive seen some of the titles listed in Alans post on MonstersHD, with very nice PQ.

    What I remember from that list, I know I watched Blood on Satans Claw and Twins Of Evil quite a few times. Ive seen some other oldies vampire flicks on there I wasnt too familiar with when I saw them- so I wouldnt be suprised if Ive seen some of those others as well.

    Kind of ridiculous that a decent version of Twin OF Evil isnt available.
    These should be not only on standard DVD, but Bluray as well!
     
  18. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    Studio Canal+ seem to be good guys-several R2 catalog titles they took over either quietly became anamorphic, were cleaned up, or both. They seem to snatch the good indie-or cult titles
    Their opening logos are always rather odd
     
  19. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    They're very French. And annoying.
     
  20. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    It's conjecture, and a little messy, but here's my reasoning.

    Gladden Entertainment was founded by David Begelman out of the ashes of a previous company called Sherwood Productions, both of which had theatrical deals with 20th Century Fox. Gladden made an initial homevideo deal with (and possibly received some production money from) Thorn EMI - the first VHS release of THE MANHATTAN PROJECT was on their label.

    Shortly afterward, Thorn EMI agreed to merge with Cannon, and that lasted about six months. During that time, Cannon took over EMI's U.S. label, which was a co-venture with HBO, and at the same time assumed a stake in some Gladden productions, resulting in some strange splits. MANNEQUIN, for example, instead of getting a VHS release through "HBO/Cannon", was funneled to Media, because Cannon had signed an output deal with them before merging with EMI. Six months later, though, Cannon was in debt, and they sold off the EMI library (though they kept a few of their newest titles like DREAMCHILD and MORONS FROM OUTER SPACE), and gave up their stake in the HBO label. The EMI library ultimately wound up at StudioCanal. Cannon also likely gave up their stake in any future Gladden projects.

    Gladden, meanwhile, borrowed money from the Belgian bank Credit Lyonnais, the same bank that literally dozens of indie production outfits borrowed from, and all of whom ultimately defaulted to when they went out of business. Those films, called the Epic package, were sold to Polygram, then when Universal bought Polygram, those films along with Polygram's pre-'96 films, were sold to MGM.

    Confused yet?

    So, in all likelihood, MGM got some ownership stake in THE MANHATTAN PROJECT, since they inherited the movie in the Polygram buy. However, StudioCanal likely still also owned part of the movie from EMI's equity stake before the Cannon merger. So the lawyers must have hashed out a deal where MGM got to put the movie on DVD first, and then the rights would revert to StudioCanal and they in turn did their expanded release with Lionsgate.

    Yeah, I sometimes have a hard time keeping this straight too. :/
     

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