Friday, July 6, 2012
When I discovered the HK movie there was only one way to get the films; thru tape-trading with other fans. Some of those fans would live in cities that had Chinatown video stores; They'd rent films and dupe them onto a blank video tape. This was a time when you couldn't just BUY original tapes cos they didn't sell them anywhere. At least not the HK movies that some of us had wet dreams about. Feverish wet dreams.
Then something quite wonderful happened; In the UK two labels sprung up to distribute these films. One label was the (notorious? Infamous?) EASTERN HEROES label run partly by Toby Russell. The other label (and in my view the better one of the two) was MADE IN HONG KONG. Out of a sudden you could chuck out your 4th generation vhs dupe of A BETTER TOMORROW, THE KILLER or A CHINESE GHOSTSTORY. Now they came out on letterboxed and subtitled sell-thru vhs with cool box art and for the most part great info written on the inside of the sleeves.
Most of the films have since then been granted DVD (and now blu-ray) releases (altho some of these tapes are still the only/best way of watching the films!). But in contradiction to most other collectors I haven't got rid of the old MIHK tapes to make room for dvd's. To me they have value! These were the tapes that kind of SAVED the UK and Euro Hong Kong film collectors.
Anyhoo, quite a number of the tapes I never got hold of back in the day and so I'm actually buying them now. And one of the coolest releases that I never got hold of was the limited collector's editon box set edition of THE KILLER!! I got the ordinary (but still highly cool edition as it was subtitled and letterboxed!) MIHK release of the film. And before that I'd bought the fullscreen, English dubbed vhs (also from the UK). But now... a couple of decades down the line... I have finally got hold of said box set. Or at least I have won it on eBay UK and will hopefully get it soon - but of course you never know with mail these days. Let's cross our fingers and hope that I also actually RECEIVE the fucker! Hah!
PS: Check out the response post over on A hero Never Dies.