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).