If the headline of this Newswire makes sense to you, you already know why the American Genre Film Archive’s new Kickstarter campaign is a big deal. If not, thanks for clicking on it anyway. Here’s what’s up: The American Genre Film Archive is based in Austin, Texas and is devoted to preserving exploitation movies and other forms of genre cinema generally ignored by more “prestigious” film archives. Something Weird is a video company founded by the late Mike Vraney, whose personal obsession with exploitation and horror cinema is reflected both in his company’s output—which includes thousands of titles, including the films of Herschell Gordon Lewis, David F. Friedman, and Doris Wishman—and in his massive 35mm film collection.
After Vraney’s death from lung cancer last year, the fate of his personal collection was uncertain. Now AGFA has partnered with Vraney’s widow and business partner, Lisa Petrucci, to re-distribute titles from that collection. But considering the fragile nature of 35mm prints, especially prints as rare as those in Vraney’s collection, renting them out to theaters on a regular basis just isn’t practical. Thus, AGFA is trying to raise money for a 4K film scanner to digitally transfer films from Vraney’s collection (and, eventually, the AGFA archives) so they can live again on the big screen.
First in line for preservation is 1971’s The Zodiac Killer, a sleazy and kooky quick cash-in ostensibly made in hopes of catching the real Zodiac Killer, then still terrorizing the California countryside. That plan obviously didn’t work, but the film remains entertaining as ever. Curious viewers can obtain a digital download of The Zodiac Killer by donating $10 or more to the campaign, along with AGFA, Alamo Drafthouse, and Something Weird swag at various donation levels. The campaign runs through October 28, so get on it, weirdos.