York Gives B-Movie Fans Something to Laugh at With New Series of Titles20 Sep, 2003 By: Jessica Wolf
York Entertainment is tapping into some public domain titles to create a new comedy series, “Laugh Track,” which overdubs classic films with new dialogue and sound effects and spruced-up soundtracks featuring pop and hip-hop music.
“It's like ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000' but with a hip, urban flair, a la ‘Def Comedy Jam,’ said Arik Treston, director of independent retail promotions for York.
Treston said York hopes to attract a young audience and not only create a new viewing experience but introduce a new demographic to some older cult classics.
“York is known for really finding those different avenues,” Treston said. “We're always looking at where things are untapped, where we can fill the void. Studios are so ‘A'-centric with the movies they release, but we know there are spaces on the shelves that can be filled in by different product.”
York has enlisted several different crews of up-and-coming comedians to work on the different movies in the “Laugh Track” line so each title will get its own very fresh, very unique overdubbed style, Treston said. “We want to make it feel as organic as possible, and that's whey we kept a different cast of characters for each title,” he said.
York plans two or three releases each month from the new line, beginning Oct. 21 with the overdubbed versions of Psychomania, a 1971 British biker horror movie; Captain Apache, a 1971 spaghetti Western starring Lee Van Cleef; and The Chinese Connection, a 1972 martial arts classic featuring Bruce Lee.
More will follow in November, with the Jack Nicholson starrer The Terror and Alfred Hitchcock's Secret Agent. In December, horror fans get a Laugh Track treat with Night of the Living Dead.
Each title is priced at $9.99 on VHS and $14.99 on DVD.
All the DVD releases in the line will include the original version of the film, as well as extensive making-of and behind-the-scenes footage.
“The actors had a blast doing it. They get to improvise and have fun with it,” Treston said. “[But] it's much tougher to do than people may think.”
Treston said the titles should work for rental and sellthrough markets. The price is low enough for fans that would like to own a copy and for rentailers to get a quick return on invesment, and the concept is new and fun, which should tempt renters.
He said reception from the retail community is encouraging. “There's a lot of interest out there,” Treston said. “It's new, the price is so low, it's really hard for anyone to lose.”