Kino Lorber today announced their acquisition of the North American rights to the library of Redemption Films, the UK-based library of cult genre films. Kino Lorber plans to release up to 35 films from the catalog next year in various formats, including repertory theatrical screenings, accompanied by a national marketing campaign.
The first five films will be a series of five erotic vampire films by Jean Rollin, all of which will be fully restored, released on Blu-Ray and DVD with extensive extras. The collection also includes Wes Craven’s “The Hills Have Eyes: Part 2” and Jack Cardiff’s 1968 cult classic “Girl on a Motorcycle.”
Nigel Wingrove, founder of Redemption Films, says, “I see our deal as a really exciting and creative opportunity both for Kino Lorber and the Redemption brand. Existing fans of horror and exploitation cinema will certainly celebrate, but this almost forbidden and often misunderstood genre that Redemption has long been instrumental in promoting, will now with Kino Lorber’s involvement, be made available in the best possible quality for the first time.”
Full press release reprinted below:
¬KINO LORBER ACQUIRES ALL NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS TO FAMED HORROR AND CULT LIBRARY FROM REDEMPTION FILMS
Jean Rollin films as well as other European horror and cult classics to be released under Kino Lorber’s new Redemption Films banner
New York, NY – October 20, 2011 – Kino Lorber is proud to announce that it has closed a deal to become the exclusive, all-media U.S. and Canada distributor of Redemption Films, the notorious UK-based library of classic European cult horror films.
Under its new Redemption label, Kino Lorber will release up to 35 films in 2012, on DVD, Blu-ray and all digital and VOD platforms – followed later by broadcast airings. Key titles will also be offered for repertory theatrical and midnight screenings with HD masters newly transferred and restored from 35mm negatives. The theatrical and home entertainment launch will be accompanied by a national marketing campaign to familiarize fans with the Redemption brand and widen the commercial scope of these sought-after horror films.
The first Redemption releases in early 2012 will be five erotic vampire films made by French filmmaker Jean Rollin (1938-2010): The Nude Vampire (La Vampire Nue, 1970), Shiver of the Vampires (Les Frisson des Vampires, 1971), The Iron Rose (La Rose de Fer, 1973), Lips of Blood (Lèvres de Sang, 1974) and Fascination (1979).
Each has been newly mastered in HD from the original negatives to a high technical and aesthetic standard, and will be released on Blu-ray and DVD, accompanied by an array of special features – as well as a 20-page essay by cult film expert Tim Lucas (editor of Video Watchdog magazine and author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark).
In addition to the classic horror films of Jean Rollin, the Redemption Films library also includes Wes Craven’s original The Hills Have Eyes: Part 2 (1985), Jack Cardiff’s cult classic Girl on a Motorcycle (1968), Martin Campbell’s (Casino Royale, Green Lantern) debut feature The Sex Thief (1974) and Italian horror legend Mario Bava’s Hatchet for a Honeymoon (1970) – among many others.
Kino Lorber V.P. Bret Wood, who curated the Rollin series and manages the Redemption brand says: “Having access to the original negatives of a director like Jean Rollin, who is ripe for critical reappraisal, is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a DVD and Blu-ray producer like me. To be able to systematically and meticulously re-master the films in HD, curate an exciting blend of special features, and then, release these films as a cohesive body of work is a cineaste’s dream come true.”
Kino Lorber President and C.E.O. Richard Lorber added: “The Rollin collection is an ideal brand extension for our company, well known for great German horror and sci-fi classics going back to the silent era. Along with our restorations of Metropolis and Nosferatu, under our Redemption label we’ll bring something new to our fans we believe they’ll eagerly embrace. No cinephile or horror buff can resist Rollin’s signature works of ‘vampire-erotica’ with his inimitable style that crosses Corman with Cocteau.”
For years, Jean Rollin was a mystery to American audiences. Only one of his films received a significant U.S. theatrical release (Requiem for a Vampire, retitled Caged Virgins), but some of his other films circulated in pirated VHS copies or were shown as horror shlock on late night cable networks. Cinephiles, however, discovered him and he was written about extensively without most of his works being available to be seen.
Nigel Wingrove, renowned horror film connoisseur, curator and founder of Redemption Films, acquired the rights to the films from Rollin himself in the 1990s and began issuing authorized versions of the films on DVD in England and eventually in the U.S. However, Wingrove was unable to undertake the restorations to produce the quality HD versions collectors and fans now demand.
So as Rollin’s reputation solidified, and his cult following expanded beyond horror aficionados, his films remained widely unavailable – until now. In partnership with Wingrove, Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray and HD Redemption releases will correct this – to the honor of Rollin who died in December of 2010.
Rollin’s films are laced with eroticism and fantasy as they weave the interlocking tales of vampire curses, underworld blood cults, and enchanted cemeteries. Raised in an artistic environment, Rollin’s cinematic vocabulary is broad, and he infuses his low-budget visions with compositions that recall both the great paintings of Romanticism and the playful surprises of the Surrealist movement.
Wingrove says, “I see our deal as a really exciting and creative opportunity both for Kino Lorber and the Redemption brand. Existing fans of horror and exploitation cinema will certainly celebrate, but this almost forbidden and often misunderstood genre that Redemption has long been instrumental in promoting, will now with Kino Lorber’s involvement, be made available in the best possible quality for the first time.”