Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Giant Spider Invasion that Wasn't

We were, needless to say, bummed when we learned that the previously announced two-disc special edition DVD of Wisconsin filmmaker Bill Rebane's The Giant Spider Invasion had been cancelled by MVD Entertainment because of a long-standing dispute between Rebane and RetroMedia's Fred Olen Ray regarding the video distribution rights.

RetroMedia bought exclusive rights to both Giant Spider Invasion and Rebane's Blood Harvest several years ago. The Giant Spider DVD was released in 2002, and included an introduction by Akron horror host The Son of Ghoul, and a reproduction of the comic book originally published to promote the film. Rebane then re-sold the rights again to BCI/Brentwood (in violation of his agreement with RetroMedia), which unleashed Spider in a four-film packaged called "Invasion of Terror," alongside The Black Room (1984), Craze (1973) and Rebane's Invasion from Inner Earth (1974). Ray filed suit against Rebane, and in 2007 courts in California and Wisconsin ruled in RetroMedia's favor.

You can read Rebane's version of events here, and Ray's thoughts on the matter (and supporting legal references) here.

Rebane has been offering a special edition of the film through various channels (including on a DVD-R for some time, and this material was apparently going to be used on the MVD release.

If you REALLY need a Rebane fix, you can always check out some of his other films. Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake (1975) is on an old DVD from Troma under the title Croaked: Frog Monster from Hell. His final feature, Twister's Revenge! (1987) is on the "Drive-In Movie Classics" 50 film pack from Mill Creek, while that same company's "Chilling Classics" collection boasts no less than three Rebane epics: The Alpha Incident (1978), The Demons of Ludlow (1983) and The Cold (a.k.a. The Game, 1984). Mill Creek's "Apocalypse" 20 movie set includes Invasion from Inner Earth under the title They.

RetroMedia issued a special edition disc of the Tiny Tim tour de force Blood Harvest (1987), and Something Weird offers the Rebane-meets-H.G. Lewis classic Monster a Go-Go (1965) on a double feature disc with Psyched by the 4D Witch (1972). RetroMedia also released my favorite Rebane film, The Capture of Bigfoot (1979), on the"Bigfoot Terror" four-movie set, where it makes a nice double feature with the New York lensed Shriek of the Mutilated (1974).

You can view some clips of the bonus material from Rebane's release of the film on YouTube, including a weird segment where a guy reads portions of Stephen King's description of the film from the book Danse Macabre. Click here and here.

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