Bootleg Hell: Introduction

Credit where credit is due – I owe the title of this column to my wife, who just slapped me in the face with the obvious after I struggled for a week with the name of this series. Her reply was just “Why not just make everything into some kind of hell? You’ve got a brand going on here.” A part of me now wants to make at least one of these a landscaping pun though. We’ll see if I find that acceptable in time.

I used to have a bootleg guy. For years it was the only way to get art films if you were my breed of insufferable twit, and I was led to him because it was the only way I could get a VHS of The Color of Pomegranates back in the day1. It was a longtime business setup, because if there’s one horrible habit I never got out of, it’s finding a masochistic glee in the lost and the forgotten – especially in television.

I’ve picked up tapes (and eventually, homemade DVDs) from swap meets and trading over the years, because there’s just a particular fun in finding out that sometimes, a forgotten series is a lost gem… or a failure on a much larger scale than anyone knows, because only four people ever watched it in its time. Just like License Hell, I’m going to get flexible with a lot of these updates over time, and one or two of them may be things which eventually got legal releases, but which have a story of how they came to me in the first place to go with it.

That said, if anyone knows a guy, maybe drop me an email, because it’s been a while since mine up and vanished, and I’m still trying to find copies of Homeboys From Outer Space (or most of the UPN lineup from those first two years, honestly).

  1. Yes, I know there’s now a Criterion blu-ray of this. You’d damn well better believe I’m going to make good and buy it next paycheck.

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