| February 4: RIP Paul Partain; new CHAINSAW & HENRY DVDs |
As has been reported on other genre sites, actor Paul A. Partain, forever remembered by horror fans for playing the wheelchair-bound Franklin in the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, died last week at age 58 of cancer. You can find more info here. Blue Underground’s David Gregory wrote Fango to say that Partain was "a lovely bloke who was extremely hospitable to me and my two English cronies when we went to Texas a few years back to shoot my first documentary, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE SHOCKING TRUTH, armed only with a camcorder and a love of Tobe Hooper’s classic. I was also fortunate enough to moderate a commentary track a few months ago with Paul, Marilyn [Sally] Burns, Robert Burns, the great art director of CHAINSAW, also now gone, and Allen [Jerry] Danziger," seen above left to right, with Gregory on the far right.
But what’s that about a commentary? Sounds like a fresh DVD of CHAINSAW is in the offing, and Gregory confirms, "MPI Home Video has been preparing, for some time now, a new two-disc special edition of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. They licensed THE SHOCKING TRUTH—an 80-minute, updated version—and since then they’ve asked me to produce some other extras for it. They include that commentary, and various others we’re compiling right now. They’re also doing a new transfer, and I know that MPI has met with Tobe and Kim [Henkel, screenwriter], but I don’t know the extent of their involvement, if any. MPI doesn’t have a date at the moment, so it’s still up in the air as to when it will be released. Suffice to say that it will blow away any previous release of CHAINSAW to date."
DVD-philes might be wondering why the new CHAINSAW won’t be coming out under the Blue Underground label, and Gregory explains, "Basically, Blue Underground sometimes produces extras for other DVD companies, MPI being one of them. For example, we’ve just produced a long documentary on HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER for another upcoming new special edition, which features everybody from that movie. We have director John McNaughton, producer Steve Jones, the DP, Charlie Lieberman, the editor, Elena Maganini, and the stars, Michael Rooker, Tom Towles and Tracy Arnold. There’s also a very interesting bit with Lisa Temple, the woman in the home invasion; it was her very first movie, and she passed out during the shooting of that scene. They’ve done a new hi-def transfer of HENRY with McNaughton supervising, and I’ve recorded a new commentary with him. There’s a documentary about Henry Lee Lucas, a bunch of storyboards—it’s a great package that’s also going to be two discs’ worth."
Of course, Gregory has also been hard at work on titles to be released under the BU banner. "We just finished up BAD BOY BUBBY, which is a masterpiece of Australian cinema and a very bizarre film. There’s an interview with Rolf de Heer, the director, an interview with the star, Nicholas Hope, and a short film with Hope that got him the role, where he plays a serial killer. It’s called THE CONFESSOR CARESSER, and it’s equally freaky. We’re also getting started on Dario Argento’s THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE; we’re doing a new hi-def transfer from the original negative, and that’s underway in Rome right now. We have a new interview with Dario, and one with actress Eva Renzi.
Finally, Gregory reveals, "We’ve made good progress on the BLIND DEAD boxed set; we’ve found good elements on NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS, the fourth film. The transfers on the first three are all either completed or underway, and we’re also gathering a few tasty extras, but I can’t say what they are yet. A couple of them will include Amando de Ossorio, the late director." Look for release date updates on all these titles as soon as we find ’em out. —Michael Gingold
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