Some folks may’ve heard that both the US and UK incarnations of Tartan Films had closed their doors, leaving us bereft of many future foreign film releases. I’ve been the main reviewer of Tartan US releases on DVDActive.com for some time now, and even got my name aboard two releases (the one wasn’t actually released before the company went under, which makes it two and a half releases). I’d developed a great rapport with the company’s PR pro Debbi Berlin, and I’ve done my best to keep in contact with her during the downfall.
But today came good news.
Most of you have probably already read Alex’s front-page item on the company’s semi-rebirth after both the UK and US catalogues were purchased by Palisades Media. I’m pretty sure I got the same e-mail Alex did, and I was thrilled to see Debbi’s name attached to something that wasn’t Tartan. In his article Alex mentions the possibility of an official US release of Battle Royale, but the possibilities don’t end there.
Tartan UK had already released Blu-ray copies of Park Chan-Wook’s I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK and Lady Vengeance, along with Kim Ji-Woon’s A Tale of Two Sisters, and announced John Hillcoat’s The Proposition. I’m not sure what the US release rights look like for Proposition or I’m a Cyborg, or other Tartan UK items like Save the Green Planet or Battle Royale, but there is a good outlook on Lady Vengeance and A Tale of Two Sisters at the very least. And perhaps there’d be an eventual hi-def release of 12:08 East of Bucharest, Mysterious Skin, and Álex de la Iglesia vastly under-seen El Crimen Ferpecto (that was a hint).
On Tartan’s original release docket before they collapsed were films like Doomsday: The Sinking of Japan, Taxiderma, Princess, Ex Drummer, and Tetsuo II, so we’ll hopefully be seeing those someday. It appears that things won’t really get going until next year, but news is good for now.
And as a side, apparently Asian exploitation specialists Panik House, and basic horror house Subversive Cinema are both closed up as well, and things aren’t looking as sunny for horror fans over at Anchor Bay now that Starz is in control. Fans of weird and wonderful horror and grindhouse should really be worried about the state of the once oversaturated DVD market. Is the end of physical media going to kill the little guys first? I’m pulling for Blue Underground, Synapse, Code Red, Severin, Dark Sky and all the other companies catering to my crowd, but the future is looking a bit grim…