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Petition for Canadian Horror Films PROM NIGHT and CURTAINS on DVD and Blu-ray Now Online
By Jonathan Stryker
Jan 6, 2013 - 8:00:00 AM

All of us genre lovers know that horror films are a hot commodity. Some of the most well-known slasher films of the 1980's have been re-issued on DVD and Blu-ray by companies looking to cash in on audiences' seemingly insatiable appetite for murder and mayhem while also introducing them to a new generation of fans with disposable income.  Two titles that fans are requesting on DVD and Blu-ray in the way of special editions are Paul Lynch's PROM NIGHT (1980) and Richard Ciupka's CURTAINS (1983), both Canadian productions through Simcom, the former having fared far better on home video than the latter. 

PROM NIGHT was originally released theatrically by Avco Embassy Pictures on July 18, 1980:

When it came time to releasing the film on home video in 1981, MCA Home Video distributed it on VHS:

MCA also released a laserdisc pan-and-scan version on their laser rot-prone DiscoVision line the same year (curiously, the film bypassed the RCA Select-A-Vision Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED) stylus-based format of the early 1980's, the direct competitor to laserdisc):

Virgin Vision, Inc. released it on VHS in 1988 with this less-than-inspiring cover: 

The film fared better when a widescreen laserdisc sourced from a 35mm interpositive followed in 1997 courtesy of Elite Entertainment, however it still lacks the high resolution of Blu-ray that contemporary audiences have come to expect:

In February 1998, Anchor Bay Entertainment released a widescreen DVD that included the original theatrical trailer (1.85:1 presentation is a must for this title as a boom mike is clearly visible in several shots in the full frame format, an issue that also surfaces in Tom DeSimone's HELL NIGHT from 1981).  After the rights lapsed, the film was picked up by Echo Bridge Entertainment and reissued in October 2007, this time dispensing with said trailer:

Overall, PROM NIGHT has been released on home video in three different formats no less than six times in the United States alone.  This number excludes the international, non-Region 1 releases around the globe.  All of six U.S. versions contain only the film without any additional extras that are practically a requirement to home video now: running commentaries, on-set interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, isolated musical scores, comments from contemporaries, stills galleries, etc. 

CURTAINS, on the other hand, is a thriller that has suffered indignities far too numerous to list.  Plagued from the outset by a problematic production, the financing ran out and put the cast and crew on hiatus for over one year. 

Much of the crew was replaced, and despite having been released theatrically on April 8, 1983 to many respectable movie theaters by the long-defunct Jensen Farley Pictures, CURTAINS has only appeared on home video twice in the United States.  In December 1983 Vestron Video released it on VHS:

In October 2010 Echo Bridge Entertainment released it as part of THE MIDNIGHT HORROR COLLECTION: BLOODY SLASHERS set which also includes HOBOKEN HOLLOW (2006), SECRETS OF THE CLOWN (2007), and ROOM 33 (2009).  In a maneuver regarded as perfunctory by those not in the know, CURTAINS appears to be lumped in with these three contemporary tales for no better reason than to "round out" the other titles, the original ad slick jettisoned and replaced with an image of a hand parting a curtain, easily the least inspired artwork used to promote the film:   

CURTAINS was also released in April 2007 by Black Horse Entertainment as a Region 0 DVD in the NTSC format, which means that it will play on all DVD players worldwide.  As with the Echo Bridge Entertainment release, the original poster artwork was not used.  Again, an uninspired makeshift cover image that fails to accurately represent the film in any way adorns the case:

CURTAINS can be found at horror film conventions on DVD-R sporting its beautiful and atmospheric original one-sheet artwork:

However, the DVD transfer is sourced from the Vestron VHS cassette and is therefore in dire need of color correction and a 2K/4K high definition upgrade is long overdue. 

PROM NIGHT has a very creepy score by Paul Zaza and Carl Zittrer (the latter scored a handful of films for Bob Clark, including the classic 1974 film BLACK CHRISTMAS and was also a musical consultant on "Act II" of CURTAINS).  Mr. Zaza also scored CURTAINS, which might have been a rejected score for PROM NIGHT as several cues that appear in PROM NIGHT also made their way into CURTAINS.  Mr. Zaza also scored 1981's GHOSTKEEPER, yet another Canadian horror thriller.  The scores to all of these films are beautifully composed and all deserve soundtrack album releases. 

Director Ciupka's name was also removed from the credits to CURTAINS and the directing duties are now attributed to Jonathan Stryker, the name of the director within the film as played by John Vernon (as well as the pen name of Yours Truly); whether or not this has any bearing on the lack of a DVD release is a mystery.       

Fans can ponder why these titles are not available in full-blown special editions, and there are probably many legitimate reasons why the current DVDs turn up in Walmart discount bins.  The original 35mm film negatives to each respective film may not be available as the whereabouts may be in question, or they may no longer even exist; management might feel that an insufficient number of fans willing to pay for the films exists and there is a fear of losing money on these titles; both films were made as Canadian tax shelter projects and this may also pose a problem.  With the glut of far lesser quality horror thrillers available in beautifully designed special editions, the mind reels as to why these two films in particular have been marginalized (especially CURTAINS) and seem to be anathema to the royal treatment. 

Echo Bridge Entertainment, a DVD company that uses the slogan "The Entertainment Alternative for What the World Wants to See," is now being approached by fans on an online petition website respectfully asking them to release the rights for these two films to Scream Factory, the Shout! Factory subsidiary that is making a name for itself with beautiful deluxe versions of genre favorites TERROR TRAIN (1980), THE FUNHOUSE (1981), HALLOWEEN II (1981), HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982), and the upcoming DEADLY BLESSING (1981) to name a few.  This company would be an ideal organization to release these films as their work thus far has proven that they will spend the time and provide just the proper amount of TLC that these films deserve. 

As of this writing, the petition has 245 signatures and is looking for a total of 1200, which is not an impossible number to reach.  Please click here to sign the petition on Petition Buzz requesting licensing of PROM NIGHT and CURTAINS!

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