Any child growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s with cable television (particularly with premium movie channels) tended to get their little minds blown on a regular basis. This was thanks to the fact that the majority of entries on cable television in those days were from the back rows (and sometimes back rooms) of the local video mart. Here be the beauties that made enough revenue to cover their getting into theaters (with some change left over for those involved with their production), and then were foisted into the video rental circuit a few years after. And once cable television made its way to most homes in the U.S., these were the darlings of many a Friday or Saturday night.
I often held a silent vigil by the television in the den on these nights, patiently waiting for the parents to either meander off to their bedroom or pass out in their sofa or recliner. Then it was prime time. USA’s Night Flight would begin it’s four-hour telecast of non-stop music videos, obscure film shorts or even more rare feature films like 1973’s Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage), The Kentucky Fried Movie and Fritz the Cat. And then of course, there were the movie channels, which brought forth those crusty jewels without editing or commercial interruption. And the cream of the crop were the films of producer Roger Corman.
Corman was the king of the low-budget film, who started in the 50’s, and kick-started the careers of such famed filmmakers as Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now), Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, Gangs of New York), Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia), James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar), Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon), Joe Dante (Gremlins, Explorers), and many more.
To my great delight, these films are getting released on DVD (some for the first time, ever the bootleg disc choices at fan conventions), and with proper respect. Don’t laugh, I’m serious. At long last, the likes of Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World and Humanoids from the Deep are getting the two-disc, multi-commentary and bonus features treatment. And I don’t have to sit up late to watch them anymore, either. I received the first two titles in the mail today, so again — expect more raving to come.