Bear in mind that I like movies for different reasons than most film-fan-folk. I like movies partly because I study them for filmmaking tips and tricks, cool shots, framing, pacing, clever ideas and such that I can steal for my own movies. I'm one of the few people that like "Day of the Dead" better than "Dawn of the Dead", primarily because of the dandy effects from Greg Nicotero and friends. That and the tidbit of info that the zombies can learn.
Give me a DVD with a commentary track, and I'll show you a poor man's film school (except maybe for What Lies Beneath, which has one of the worst commentary tracks ever). A bad film with a commentary track can provide a wealth of information about why they made the decisions they did, what went wrong, and what went right.
So Barb got a couple of DVDs a couple of days ago, and I've been doing pretty much a one a day immersion. Watch the film, watch it again with commentary, watch the behind-the-scenes stuff... all in all, quite happy.
The first day was this little vampire film called "Near Dark" with Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton and a few other folks you may have heard of. Not a groundbreaking film, but pretty good all around.
Second film was "Reign in Darkness". An Aussie film about vampires. Interesting film, several problems with the writing, directing, lighting, acting, but a good premise with some brief awesome bits. Nice commentary and BTS, and a great exercise for low-budget filmies (what would you have done to make this better?).
Today... ah, today I spent with yet another vampire film called "Stakes".
I once walked out of a film in a theater because it was so bad. Only once.
This DVD I had to stop watching halfway through. I had to take a shower. It was *that* bad.
I did manage to complete it with the commentary, which made it bearable. It was made in Maryland by a couple of guys who shot it on video. Not their first film. Nor their first DVD release. And watching the BTS, they actually had some decent lighting equipment-- more than what I have-- but they used it badly. There was only one shot that I actually liked the lighting, and it wasn't spectactular by any means.
On the commentary, the two main guys made a point of mentioning that they make films just because they like to make 'em, and they have fun, and they know that a lot of people don't like them. In their words, "If you don't like our movie, then go out and make your own".
I just want to know how these guys got distribution.