What’s up, X-Rated?

A while ago we reviewed Byleth, a dvd released by a German label called X-Rated. We noticed this movie thanks to Xploited Cinema, which – as you know by now – stopped offering new titles a year ago. For smaller labels like X-Rated and Onar Films it meant the loss of an ally, a site where lots of people could read about new releases. It took me a while to find out what X-Rated have been up to lately, mainly because they don’t have a site for the label. The Austrian site DVD-Forum.at gave me some answers (and you also find the covers there – thanks are included). X-Rated, you’ll be glad to hear, is still around. In the past three months new releases have been issued, some of them quite interesting for the cult enthusiasts amongst us. So let’s have a look…

After Death (X-Rated 224) is an Italian splatter movie by Claudio Fragasso. The film was originally titled Oltre La Morte and has also been released as Zombie 4 or Zombie Flesh Eaters 3. In this film a woman goes back to the island where her parents were killed. They had been working on a cure for cancer and accidentally raised the dead by angering a voodoo priest. With the woman is a group of mercenaries and they meet up with some other researchers. They raise the dead again and all hell breaks loose.
The film is presented in widescreen format twice: the Italian version was 81 minutes long (not censored apparently, but a different cut) and is presented in its original 4:3 letterbox format. Audio options are Italian, English and German. Then there’s the export version, which ran for 89 minutes, and is presented in English or German in a 1.66:1 widescreen version. (A major change as the German VHS version of the film was only 72 minutes long!) None of the versions have subtitle options.
Extras include the Italian trailer and two German trailers. In typical X-Rated style you can even choose the cover. Cover A has the German title (Das Böse ist wieder da), cover B the English title (After Death) while cover C prefers Zombie IV as a title.
This film may be released on dvd in other countries, but no other release combines all these versions. This is what makes X-Rated such an interesting label and it’s a shame they don’t get more attention.

X-Rated’s 225th release is Mutiny in Outer Space, a trashy combination of sci-fi and horror. Two astronauts return from a lunar mission, unaware they’ve contracted a deadly fungus in one of the Moon’s caves. Soon the lunar fungus starts contaminating the entire space station. The director was Hugo Grimaldi, although we will forgive you if you haven’t heard this name before. He only directed a couple of movies and made most of his money by editing and producing.
Once again X-Rated have released the film in three versions.  Covers A and B are reworked posters, so you’ll have to turn your head if you want to adore them. Cover A uses the original title (Mutiny in Outer Space) and is the most attractive cover. Cover B uses the Spanish and German titles of the film (Motin en la Nave Espacial / Panik im All). The movie was also released in Germany by another title, X99 im Weltall, as (the rather ugly) Cover C shows.
The film is presented in fullscreen format in two versions: the German version is cut by six minutes, but the uncut US version is also present in its original language. The titles for the German Super-8 version, when it was dubbed X99, are also there as an extra. Other extras are two trailers for the film.

Not every X-Rated gets the multiple cover release though, as their next offerings prove. Hell’s Gate (a.k.a. Le Porte dell’Inferno) is a film by Umberto Lenzi. A quick search didn’t show any other DVD versions out there and the cover boasts the film is presented uncut. Possibly lesser good news for the international audience is that the film is only presented in Italian and German this time and that the film is presented in 1.33:1 format. Hell’s Gate tells the story of a couple of explorers who are investigating a tunnel system underneath a cursed church. Not a good idea, it seems: the dead wake up and a 700-year-old curse also pops up again. I guess you can imagine what happens next…

Also released: Return of the Living Zombies, Jack Bender‘s 1986 horror comedy (originally released as The Midnight Hour). The film is presented in 1.33:1, which makes sense as it was originally made for tv. Anchor Bay once released it as well, but that version is out of print by now (and the cheapest copy on Amazon is $134). There are no extras, but the film is presented in German as well as English. Melissa and a couple of friends unwittingly wake Melissa’s ancestor Lucinda. Lucinda was a witch and brings a couple of dead friends back to life for some revenge. Melissa and her friends get the help from Sandy, a a cheerleader from the 50’s. The question is: who will win?

That’s the recent output of X-Rated Kultdvd and I guess you’ll agree that it’s a real shame that these dvds are so obscure. We’ll check back with them later in the year (we hope). I’m curious what they’ll be releasing next…

(with thanks to dvd-forum.at)

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