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Ghastly ReflectionsI Was A Teenage Horror Fanatic! or how Revok changed my life!
POSTED BY TERENCE NUZUM, May 28, 2014    Share

Back in the days before you could download everything you wanted to see, before there were more specialty DVD companies than you can count, and before youtube, one would have to really search for a rare horror title. Sure there were conventions but there you could only buy whatever the bootlegger was offering and back then it usually wasn't horror or rare art films. You might stumble across some rare out of print VHS release at your local video store but again the selection was limited. To find the really rare stuff, the good stuff, you had to search. It could usually be found on the then new institution we now know as the Internet. In the year 1996 or so me and my friend Andrew found a little gem of a site called Revok Film Prodigies. This website that sold bootlegs of Directors Cuts, art films, Italian horror films and more opened my eyes to a world of film beyond my limited American selection. Revok was my grail, the rosetta stone of my euro-horror film knowledge. Ill go on a limb and say without Revok I wouldn't be the horror fan I am today.

Revok Film Prodigies back in the 90's had a vault of goodies. Everything from the Dune 3 hour TV cut to the then unreleased Jodorowsky classics El Topo and Holy Mountain. How did they do this? A simple loophole known as the Berne Act. The Berne Act states that any film unreleased in the United States is considered Public Domain and therefore free game to release. The fortunate thing for me was that Revok was in Canada and all these awesome horror goodies were up for grabs and just a tap of the keyboard away.

Looking back now I envy my younger self. I was 14 or 15 when me and my best friend discovered Revok. Finding it was like opening Fort Knox and knowing you couldn't get caught. Inside this vault was treasures we had only heard about. Luci Fulci's Zombi 2, The Beyond (not the crappy American cut), the unrated Last House on the Left, Bad Taste, Braindead (not Dead Alive), Fando y Lis, the short films of David Cronenberg, and so much more. The best part was not just finding these but the fact that it felt sort of underground and sort of illegal. It wasn't of course, but it felt like me and Andrew were part of a underground trading circle that had to be kept secret. A lot of the times we didn't let our parents know our purchases especially titles like El Topo or Last House on the Left. It also didn't help that the video tapes came in a all black paper sleeve and colored paper for labels that made them look all the more like some forbidden porno or illegal snuff tape.

I can remember saving all my allowance for a large order at Revok. We would try to pick the rarest things and I of course would try to pick the most taboo and weird. Picking El Topo was one of the greatest decisions in my life. I can remember making a whole night of watching and studying every frame of that film. Completely enraptured by the bizarre tale in front of me. Or the time I first saw Lucio Fulci's Zombi (or Zombi 2). Italian horror had now passed before my pupils and my mind would never go back. Bad Taste by Peter Jackson (pre Lord of the Rings) was also a great pick with its zany blend of horror, comedy, and gore it was unlike anything I had ever seen with the exception of Evil Dead. Speaking of Raimi, one of the my only Revok disappointments was ordering a tape called The Short Films of Sam Raimi and finding out it was really the short films of Scott Spiegel, but starring Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Revok was also the first company to release, up until recently, the ultra-rare Stephen King endorsed The Boogens. That too was a bit of a disappointment but again something that no one I knew at the time owned.

Revok eventually started releasing these films on DVD with fancy covers but by this time I had exhausted the catalog of things I wanted. It was this along with the fact that legit companies were finally springing up and releasing these rare films. Anchor Bay is a good example but that's for a different column entirely. Revok still operates today and looking at their website in preparation for this article has fired up excitement in this old horror fan once again. While I'm unlikely to stumble across anything as eye opening as El Topo again, maybe just maybe something really cool will put a spark in these jaded old horror fans eyes. If you haven't checked out Revok or are a young new horror fan go to their site now and get ready to open up a door of gruesome and bizarre wonder. Check out the home of the rarest and hard to find titles at www.revok.com

"Ghastly Reflections" is ©2014 by Terence Nuzum. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2014 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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