Vinegar Syndrome is, in a sense, the new kid on the block. They haven’t even existed for an entire year yet but have made a splash in exploitation film circles with Blu-ray releases like The Lost Films of H.G. Lewis, Massage Parlor Murders and recently The Telephone Book. They’ve also been issuing double features of horror, drive-in and adult oddities on DVD to the masses hungry for cinematic oddities. In a day and age where many are predicting the death of physical media, it’s refreshing to see a ‘young’ company take chances in a market that is shaky at best.
But there’s more to Vinegar Syndrome than just what makes it to the shelves of your local DVD retailer (if you have one) or to your favorite e-tailer’s site. In the Connecticut based headquarters that they share with sister company Process Blue (a film scanning and restoration facility that has done work for plenty of more established companies like Synapse Films, Troma, Distribpix and Drafthouse Films) there exists an archive, a veritable treasure chest of celluloid. Now, a lot of the titles in the archive are not properties that Vinegar Syndrome will likely ever be able to release, but quite a few of them are. So as we go through this tour, keep in mind that just because you see elements here for a certain title, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re putting it out on a nice, shiny disc any time soon.
So with that out of the way, let’s journey through the hulking warehouse that keeps some of these legitimate cinematic treasures safe and sound, preserved for posterity much to the relief of fans around the globe.
Film. Lots of it. Everywhere. Canisters containing prints, negatives, interpositives, 16mm elements, 35mm elements, trailers, features, shorts, documentaries – you name it, it’s probably here in one form or another. See?
Remember that ‘Hot Number’ trailer included on The Telephone Book Blu-ray? It’s here.
Some Mishkin stuff, elements for the infamous Dracula Sucks, and more… and that’s just what’s laying on a table and shelf near the lab!
Moving into the main warehouse area, you kind of get the impression that you’ve entered the exploitation movie equivalent of the warehouse that you saw at the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark! There are boxes and boxes of film elements here. Most of it is shelved but there are pallets and piles and stacks too. It’s pretty impressive…
The elements for The Virgin & The Lover are here…
…along with some original paperwork.
The titles on the boxes speak for themselves.
It’s a De Renzy Frenzy! The ‘trailor’ for Femmes De Sade? Yes please!
Film! Trailers! AWESOME!
Black Socks? Yes!
More neat old paperwork.
And more dirty old movies!
And what about this? The 35mm negative for Roger Watkin’s Last House On Dead End Street under its original title of The Funhouse? Is that what this is? Damn right that’s what this is.
More Watkins goodness lurks here too…
That’s just the tip of the iceberg though. More elements for Dracula Sucks (notice that someone scratched out sucks… somebody with a higher opinion of Dracula, perhaps? We’ll probably never know!) and hey, some Andy Milligan? Excellent!
John Lyons, VS partner and our official tour guide, is a man of few words but he zips around that warehouse like a man possessed, answering questions and blurting out random bits of trivia and fun facts as he shows off a seriously impressive collection.
Sex Wish? Ick! That one’s nasty, but oh so awesome.
Elements for Cheerleading Section? They exist!
Vengeance Is Mine!
The original negative for Double Helix!
Seriously, there are just stacks and stacks of films here….
There’s more here than just boxes and film canisters though. Slides! Promo materials and stuff like that – all the assets that come along with film acquisitions. It’s here, archived and stored away.
But wait – there’s more film!
With that part of the tour over, it’s time to head upstairs to the lab – this is where the elements are scanned and digitally restored.
You can see Distribpix’s Steven Morowitz working away on the high definition restoration of Radley Metzger’s Barbara Broadcast, the workstation set up in between the scanners.
Before we left, the Vinegar Syndrome guys were kind enough to show us some of their current ‘work in progress.’ Now, what you’re about to see may be nothing more than some pictures of computer monitors. That in and of itself isn’t particularly exciting… until you realize that these are titles being prepared for DVD or Blu-ray release via Vinegar Syndrome sooner rather than later. Some of these have been announced before, but many of them have not. So without further ado, be on the lookout for…
The Doll Squad!
The Phantom Gunslinger!
Hmmm….what could this be? It’s already been announced and we don’t want to spoil it.
Vengeance Is Mine!
The Vixens Of Kung Fu!
Confessions Of A Teenage Peanut Butter Freak!
Good Luck Ms. Wykoff!
The Night Hustlers!
One Naked Night!
The Oral Generation!
The Blue Hour!
No Return Address!
And last but not least…. Night Train To Terror!
So there you go. A rare glimpse inside the storage and operations facility of a company that not only brings the titles readers of this site love to our favorite home video formats but archives and catalogues their original elements and related ephemera. It’s a pretty sizable operation and we here at R!S!P! appreciate the kindness of the guys at Vinegar Syndrome headquarters and the opportunity to poke around and photograph their digs!