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Setting Up Camp Motion

19 Jul, 2007 By: Billy Gil

Camp Motion release Beauty Queen Butcher is out Sept. 11 (prebook Aug. 14) at $12.98.

Michael Raso, president of Camp Motion Pictures, grew into adulthood during the golden era of VHS, in the mid-to-late 1980s. But the 42-year-old label head is concerned with that little-remembered bronze age of early home video: the height of the direct-to-VHS phenomenon.

“Filmmakers who made these films made them at a time in the '80s when there was a great demand for product,” Raso said. “Films that normally would not have had an opportunity to be made were snatched up and marketed to video stores, and some of them did extraordinarily well.”

Raso, who worked at a DTV label in the '90s, and in film photography and production, including on the 1990 Camp Motion release Ghoul School, started Camp Motion Pictures in January to release those low-budget direct-to-video titles of yore, to be distributed by Koch Entertainment. He said fan response has been staggering.

Raso and crew tracked down filmmakers and tried to find the original components of these “shot on video” films and “tried to make them look as good as they can.” After contacting directors Mark and John Polonia, Raso not only is releasing their film Splatter Farm Aug. 14 (DVD $12.98, with commentary, a documentary and shorts), he produced a new DTV film for the series, Splatter Beach, due Oct. 9 (prebook Sept. 11) at $19.98.

Other films in the Camp Motion series slated for release include Beauty Queen Butcher, out Sept. 11 (prebook Aug. 14) at $12.98. Nov. 6 (prebook Oct. 9) will bring Killing Spree at $14.98.

Additionally, Raso set up two labels to accommodate titles that didn't quite fit the Camp Motion mold, launched at the same time as Camp Motion, with Koch releasing two a month from among the three labels. Secret Key Motion Pictures handles old softcore erotica films (some of which have a comedic or horror bent) and will release House on Hooter Hill Sept. 11 (prebook Aug. 14) at $14.98, as well as Dracula's Dirty Daughter Oct. 9 (prebook Sept. 11) at $14.98. Meanwhile, Bloody Earth Films will release films deemed too serious in subject matter for Camp, including the Nov. 6 (prebook Oct. 9) DVD of Feast of Flesh at $14.98.

“I was a fanatic [of these films], no doubt about it,” Raso said. “I went to the video store every week to see what was new. It didn't matter the budget – if it was Cannibal Campout, even better. If the acting and production values weren't so good, so what? The gore and camp factor made it such an enjoyable experience.”

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