Lunatics: A Love Story on DVD?

High on the list of movies that are still in desperate need of some kind of DVD or blu-ray release (there wasn't even a laserdisc!) is Josh Becker's Lunatics: A Love Story from 1992. But technically, strictly speaking, if you're really going to get picky and split hairs about it, you should know that there is sorta kinda actually an at least semi-official DVD release of it. It's sold exclusively through Becker's site. I mean, it's a DV-R, not a pressed DVD; but hey, if Warner Archives can do it...

So, we've recently seen excellent special edition blu-rays of the early Evil Dead team's works... (Night Of) The Intruder and Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except from Synapse, Crimewave from Shout Factory, all three of which had also been issued many other times by many other companies. And These blus are great releases in terms of restoring and presenting the film, in terms of terrific extras, and in terms of just being fun indie movies. I'm very happy to have them in my collection. But I honestly think anybody who enjoys any of those films would get at least twice the kick out of Becker's Lunatics. It's got higher production values than a lot of them, A more engaging cult-film oriented story with likeable characters, and stars Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell. So where's Lunatic's special blu?
Lunatics has a bit of a Psychos In Love premise, where two completely deranged lunatics wind up meeting and falling in love. But instead of being psycho killers, this is a pair of sweet, harmless loonies, who just face a ton of external problems dealing with the world. Raimi is a paranoid and completely delusional poet who covers his apartment in tinfoil to try to fend off his delusions of evil surgeons (mostly played by Bruce Campbell), rappers (played by the legit hip-hop crew Detroit's Most Wanted, who rap aggressively at him in his mind) and nightmarish spiders. He winds up crossing path with the ultra sweet Deborah Foreman, who seems to good to be true except for the fact that she's completely neurotic and possibly cursed after being dumped by her heel of an ex, also played by Bruce Campbell (essentially his Crimewave character reprised). A large part of the fun of this movie is seeing the world through Raimi's eyes, where his wild delusions are as real as anything else, and the lengths he'll ultimately go for a totally deranged romance. It's full of creative shots, like Raimi seeing his couch extend to a crazy length, separating him from Foreman. In other words, it's a charming rom-com where our hero just happens to have to take a baseball bat to fight a giant stop-motion spider that only exists in his mind to get the girl.
Unfortunately, no company has ever released this on disc, in the US or abroad. The only option is this DV-R Josh Becker sells to tide fans over while we wait, and wait, and wait. But if Becker has any kind of quality source materials for this film, he hasn't used them here. I mean, just look at the menu to get an idea of how no-frills this DVD is.
What a great special effect - he has no face! Oh... it's not supposed to be like that?
Next you'll tell me that Bruce isn't supposed to be a hologram in this scene...
It doesn't even come in a case; you just get a plain paper envelope with the disc inside, which at least has a nice label, I guess. But let's talk quality. This looks like it was recorded off of television onto a VHS tape, and then transferred to digital using a dodgy process with a pull-down issue adding ghosting to some of the soft, murky frames. A "Love Stories" watermark even pops up intermittently throughout the film, showing us that this was taped off of the Encore channel.

One small plus side is that Becker will sign the discs if you ask him when ordering. So it makes this a bit of a collector's item that you'd probably hang onto even after a special edition came out (if it ever does!). Since it just came in a paper sleeve, you could just slip it in the new case. And you might as well support the artist by purchasing an "official" disc than bootlegging it, because this film has too much of a demand for it to just sit completely unseen until somebody finally rescues the film.
Oh, and while we're talking about restoring classic cult from the Evil Dead crew, Code Red should really give us a widescreen blu-ray of The Carrier. It's even got Bruce Campbell in it, too (technically). We know the director has widescreen 35mm film elements for it, and it's super wacked out and underrated. Just sayin'.

Anyway, Lunatics: A Love Story. Great film, deserves so much more than this. We are in desperate need of a special edition here, people. For crying out loud, it's 2015 already.

1 comment:

  1. If anyone is still looking for this on DVD, it has just been released in Australia. Dependinf when you're from you may need a special DVD player to play discs from other countries, but I think computers can play them with the right software.